One question I keep seeing asked all the time lately is: How do I get paid for blogging work? or Why is everyone else getting paid blogger work and not me? As you might know, I’ve been doing blog outreach since the start of the year and thought I’d use this blog post to share some suggestions on what might be holding you back, what stops me working with a blogger and how you might be able to get paid work in the future. So here are my ten reasons why you’re not getting paid blogging work…
1. You apply for EVERYTHING
I know we all want to earn from our blog and there’s a mixed debate over whether we should ‘niche down’ but there’s nothing more off-putting than a blogger who will clearly blog about anything they’re paid for. I can recognise a blog that’s full of paid guest posts instantly and the blogger makes no effort to change the content for their readers.
So if you’ve got a post about car tires next to a post about make-up and then one about holiday homes; how can I learn anything about your readers or you as a person? Sam from Socially Sam agrees. “If your blog just looks like a walking talking advert for whatever brand will give you stuff, it’s a turn-off.”
I understand that bloggers might not be able to afford to turn work down but these type of ‘content farm blogs’ greatly reduce your chances of other paid work. Why not put your own twist on it?
For example, my blog is about freelance so if I wanted to write about these things and (although car tyre companies, please don’t email me!) I might do a post about using your car as a business expense, saving for things like holiday homes or 10 minute make-up routines for busy business women. It takes a bit longer but copied and pasted guest posts are very easy to spot.
2. I can’t find examples of good sponsored work already
I don’t know why bloggers try so hard to hide sponsored content. It should be something to be proud of! I’ll often see if I can see examples of previous sponsored work (in a clear category and not hidden away) and whether it’s been shared or commented on.
Many bloggers try to do the bare minimum when it comes to sharing sponsored posts and I really don’t know why but to me it feels as if they’re almost ashamed or embarrassed by it.
Sponsored posts should be just as good (if not better) in quality as non-sponsored posts-so why wouldn’t you want to share them and get traffic too?
3. You don’t have contact information/social links on your site.
You’d be surprised how many bloggers don’t have clear contact details on the site or links to their social channels are broken. I find contact forms really irritating (as I can’t attach a document or forward something on) and I’ll often just click off!
4. You don’t reach out.
Tweeting that you’re looking for sponsored posts is not reaching out. Make a list of companies that would be a good fit and email them yourself! Read my 8 tips for emailing PRs to help. The most successful bloggers are constantly emailing and networking!
5. You don’t actually think about what benefits your readers or the brand
It’s obvious when a blogger is invested in a project and when a blogger isn’t thinking about their readers or the brand. One of the biggest mistakes many make is not explaining how their blog can benefit the brand. I saw a blogger tweet the other day: ‘Any idea what brands are good to reach out to?’ with no mention of how she could actually help the brand or what her blog was about.
As my blog outreach is health based, I’ve had bloggers apply for campaigns with the vaguest link to the condition (such as a distant relative had it in the 80s!) and it’s actually quite offensive to those who actually devote their blogs to it! If you’ve never written about a blog topic, why should I have any belief you have an interest in it? You should be naturally have written about it previously so if you’re wondering why you’re not getting any travel press trips, write about your most recent holiday first!
5.You don’t meet deadlines
If you aren’t able to promptly meet deadlines then,like in any job, you won’t be top of my list to work with next time. Of course, we all have setbacks but you have to be professional about it. It takes two seconds to send a tweet or an email-so there really is no excuse to keep someone informed. At the end of the day, the second you start taking payment for work; you’re a business, so you need to act like one! “If you want to be taken seriously, you need to be serious and businesslike. Being professional goes a long way.” adds Sam.
Another aspect of professionalism is online bitching. “Who wants to associate their brand with someone that starts fights constantly for attention?” explains Sam. So be mindful the next time you jump in to a twitter spat!
6. You don’t have the stats to back it up
I know it’s often said but numbers DO matter. Yes I know they can be faked-so it’s certainly not just ONE number; but I’ll look at comments on Instagram, blog views, social etc and just how engaged your following is. I am all for working with small bloggers but I’ve had bloggers with under 100 monthly views apply for campaigns and quote extremely high fees!
“I look at social media followers and scroll through their latest followers. If there are obviously lots of spam or bots, that indicates to me they don’t care about the quality just the quantity and don’t take time to block out rubbish” explains PR Charlotte who runs Smoothie PR. Don’t think you can just buy your way to success- “it’s getting easier and easier to spot the fakers. If you’ve brought your likes, be ready for the paid posts to dry up!”
7. You’re trying to run before you can walk…
It’s exciting to work with brands but you have to ask yourself ‘what can I offer?’ before you do. Although it’s annoying to see the same faces get campaigns, it does take time to build up a following. Ideally, only apply for campaigns you’re confident you can really deliver on! That doesn’t mean you can’t make money from your blog if numbers aren’t high yet-you could use it as a platform to showcase your work and blog for other sites or set up a passive income project.
8. You keep working for free.
If you keep working for free or extremely low pay, it’s difficult to get out of the cycle. Similarly, if you accept any campaign for low-cost items, the PR is likely to pay you for a different once. My post: ‘when should you work for free’ explains how to use these kinds of requests to your advantage and stop getting stuck in a cycle of free work.
9. If grammar is poor
“If a blogger’s initial pitch email was full of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, it would put me off working with them” explains Charlotte. And I agree. Why the amazing thing about blogging is that it opens doors for any type of writer, if you’re expecting to be paid for your work then spelling and grammar need to be worked on. The Grammarly plugin is amazing and so useful if you struggle.
10. The attention to detail isn’t there
One of the first things I’ll look at is site design and how easy it is to navigate. A good theme is inexpensive and makes a blog look far more professional. “If their website is unprofessional with poor photos or is difficult to read, I wouldn’t work with that blogger” adds Charlotte. Think about how you can make your layout clear and well-presented and show you dedicate time to your blog. “Using free to host websites-especially if you don’t even have your own domain-doesn’t look good.” adds Sam. “A blog needs to be a work of art and look quality; not thrown together with little thought.”
I hope those tips helped! I know it’s pretty quiet at the moment (so don’t fret if your inbox is quiet, closer to Christmas things DO pick up) but working on the above while it is, could do wonders for your blog and business!