When it comes to freelance blogging, arguably the easiest way to increase your rate is to make efficiency improvements. The client pays the same price and gets the same product, but you’ve worked more quickly and as such attain a higher equivalent hourly rate. It’s a topic I’ve talked about before.
With the above in mind, today I want to talk about arguably the most important factor that defined my growth as a freelance blogger. It played a major part in me going from earning $20 to $150+ per hour in a two year period from 2011 to 2013. As far as efficiency improvements go, it’s the daddy.
Write On What You Know
At the time of writing I have ten regular clients. The breakdown in terms of topics I cover is as follows:
- WordPress: 4 clients
- Freelancing: 3 clients
- Online Marketing: 2 clients
- Entrepreneurship: 1 clients
What’s the common thread that holds these topics together? I’m experienced in all of them. I’m an entrepreneur, I’m an online marketer, I freelance, and I use WordPress. These are areas that I am personally involved in on a day-to-day basis.
In the past I’ve worked with a handful of clients on topics that are unfamiliar to me. There’s a reason why I don’t work with them anymore. When I can write up a WordPress article in under an hour and a similar-sized article for the same amount of pay on a topic I’m unfamiliar with takes two hours, which client seems a better long-term fit?
The more clients you work with on topics that you’re intimately familiar with, the faster you’ll be able to get your work done and the more money you’ll earn.
The Economy of Topics
The more articles you can write on topics that you’re familiar with, the better. In fact, I would go as far as to niche your service offering down to those kind of topics (just as I do).
However, you must be careful not to pigeonhole yourself into writing on topics that do not attract decent rates.
Consider the topics I write on. Each of them can be associated with profitable markets (which invariably means that you can make money). My WordPress clients sell premium themes, plugins and online tools. My freelancing clients sell online tools. My online marketing clients sell web hosting and (you guessed it) online tools. My entrepreneurship client sells websites.
If you can write efficiently on celebrity gossip, it probably won’t help you. No one wants to pay much for that.
I advise that you follow my lead. The beauty of my advancement is that it has been a self-fulfilling prophesy. I started out as a blogger, which enabled me to land a couple of gigs writing about WordPress (the blogging software I use). I started writing about freelance blogging on Leaving Work Behind as a result of those first couple of gigs, which led to additional jobs writing about freelancing. As LWB grew, I then attracted clients who wanted me to write about online marketing and entrepreneurship.
My advancement as a blogger and a freelance blogger can be neatly tied up in a package. What’s even better is that I’m never at a loss for new topic ideas, as I’m living those topics that I write about.
Even if you’re writing on topics you are comfortably familiar with, you can still spend a lot of time researching. I know I have. The key is to focus on topics within your niche that don’t require a lot of research.
Think about what you already know that can be transformed into blog posts. These are the easiest blog posts you will write. You simply translate what you have in your brain onto the page. That is exactly what I’m doing with this post and it’s a piece of cake.
On the flip side, you might choose to create a heavily-researched piece which requires hours of fact checking. That might be a good idea to throw into the mix every now and then to keep things fresh, but your bread and butter should always be those posts that just flow out of your fingers.
Don’t get me wrong — I’m not talking about writing cookie cutter posts. You shouldn’t use this advice as an excuse to all but copy what other people are doing. Each post should be individual to you, which means that it should be unique. Even if you’re writing on a well worn topic, you should be able to put a unique spin on it, based upon your own personal experience.
At this stage, many of you may be thinking that it’s all well and good to write on topics that you know, but what if you’re not suitably familiar with any particular topic?
To this I offer a simple piece of advice: learn.
Take a look at the client topic breakdown I supplied above. In May 2011 I knew precisely nothing about WordPress, freelancing and online marketing. Fast forward a year later and my rate for writing on such topics was accelerating at a dramatic rate.
You may need to do the hard yards to get into a position where it is easy to write on a topic, so if you don’t feel that you are “expert” on any profitable markets, choose one and endeavor to become an expert on it.
I will say one thing in closing: it is far easier to write about something you are personally involved in (such as I am with WordPress, freelancing and so on) than not. I don’t recommend that you seek to become an expert on a topic that doesn’t play a part in your day-to-day life.
What Do You Write About?
Now that I’ve told you what I think you should be writing about, I’d love to know what you are actually writing about.
Do you write on topics that you are comfortably familiar with? Do you avoid the kind of posts that require heavy research? Or are you bogged down by unfamiliar topics and research-heavy pieces? Let us know in the comments section below!
Photo Credit: Unhindered by Talent