There’s a difference between blogging and freelance blogging, but they are related. It’s obviously confusing to some though as far as what I teach, because I get a surprising number of questions about blogging itself, so I’m going to do what I can to help clarify.
The main difference is one you do for yourself and the other for someone else. I’m going to assume that you know what a blog is and not really explain that to you. (Hint: it’s a place where you post your content, like right here!)
Ashley’s Blogging History, the Cliffnotes Version
AOL, eBay, and Beginning to Blog
When blogging first got started, I jumped on the bandwagon because I thought it was a super duper cool concept. I started a live journal in high school, around 2001. A friend of mine was making websites and had this vibrant online life that I thought was terrifying at the time. She would buy things on eBay and put her credit card information on the internet and it was crazy!
I was buying things on eBay. My family got AOL in 1997; I don’t know if we would be considered early adopters at that point, but we were rocking the AOL for a long time. I was an early user of blogs, but had no idea that they could make money.
A Peek of Ashley in High School
If you by some strange force of sleuthing, find my old live journal, it’s still out there! It’s mostly a combination of random “this is what I did today,” kind of stuff like telling funny stories or stories that I thought were funny at the time. I go back and read them and it’s like, God bless it.
Only a 17 year old would think it was funny. I did a whole lot of quizzes. Like, Which Unicorn Are You, and, What is Your Sofa Name? I also kept a bunch of private entries. It was more an online diary for me. This type of blog is what I eventually learned is called a cat blog, a blog where you talk about what your cat did today. MEOW!
College, Google Blog Aggregator, and Intro to Freelance Writing
I was still in college by the time 2005 rolled around, and I noticed that there were some blogs being marketed with ads on them. By then, people were beginning to figure out how to monetize this new platform, but I was not one of them.
However, I was an avid consumer of the product. I started reading blogs, getting newsletters and checking them daily via my Google reader blog aggregator. I found bloggers that I really liked and benefited from the information that they were sharing.
I noticed that these bloggers were making money with their blogs, but that seemed really complicated and I didn’t feel I had something I wanted to share at that point. But, I noticed some of them mentioned making an additional stream of income with their blog by freelance writing.
That’s how I got started with freelance writing. But enough of my origin story! We’re talking about the difference between blogging and freelance blogging.
Blogging vs. Freelance Blogging
Blogging is when you have your own blog with your header and your domain. You have your publishing schedule, your pins, your email list, and your content marketing plan. You may have any and all of those things to whatever degree, none of them but a blog, or way more than I even mentioned.
A freelance blogger writes blog content for other people’s blogs, not for their own. When I get questions from people about what are the best plugins for my blog, how do I make money from my blog, and do I need to use this or that email service provider for my blog, I have to say, I can offer you some suggestions, but I’m not a blogging expert. I can recommend some courses if you really want to get into it. But I teach freelance blogging.
The amazing thing is that a lot of bloggers do find ways to monetize and ways to build these really successful income-producing blogs. I know bloggers who are making six and seven figures from this. It’s incredible!
I cannot believe we live in a magical time (cue fairy dust). I can’t believe I sit there and pick up my keyboard all day and then money magically appears in my bank account. That’s the thing that happens for me everyday. It’s a thing that can happen for you every day. It’s amazing. Some of these bloggers have figured out how to do this for themselves.
Bloggers Who Hire Freelance Bloggers
A lot of my clients have been bloggers who need more content. Bloggers may develop their own content machine with an editor and writer. Newsflash, if you’re reading a money making blog, a blog that is super optimized with affiliate marketing–for example, they want you to buy their friend’s course through their affiliate links–and they have sponsored posts, it’s a money making blog and odds are very good that they are no longer writing their own posts, especially if they’ve been around for awhile.
So a lot of the ghost writing I’ve done has been for these successful blogs that are making six and seven figures. People who are running a seven-figure business don’t have time to sit and peck out five blog posts every week. They hire someone else to do that for them. If you are a freelance blogger, you are the person hired to do it. These can be one of your main sources of clients.
This is a fun gig to have, especially if you find someone whose blog you really like. Maybe you’ve been a longtime reader. You can send them a pitch and say, “Hey, I’m a writer. Do you work with freelancers? I would love to support you in your business and to produce some of your content so that you can focus on higher-level strategy.”
Businesses That Hire Freelance Bloggers
The other source of blogging clients you can find is in the corporate space, what is often called the B2B space. These are the big companies with names you might recognize. They’re the Fortune 500 and the INC. 100 and all the businesses with a capital “B” with offices and dress codes and you clock in at nine and you clock out at five. Those guys also have blogs, although not all of them.
Some of them are just complete dreck, but a lot have blogs or know they need blogs and don’t have one. Blogging has become such a deeply ingrained part of our culture that it’s how people communicate with their audience. It’s one of the ways that we as businesses can provide long term valuable content for our audiences, which raises our profile and increases our bottom line. Ultimately, blogs are a marketing tool.
As a freelance blogger, you would identify these businesses, either the ones who you know work with freelancers because they say it or post a job or whatever. Go to them directly and ask, “Hey, do you work with freelancers?” A lot of my work has come from inquiries like that.
That is what you do as a freelance blogger. And if you are a blogger blogger, you are running your own site.
Being Both a Blogger AND a Freelance Blogger
I don’t recommend that you do this in the beginning.
It is possible that you can do this in the beginning, especially if you have a lot of time on your hands or if you are supremely organized and you have at least 20 hours a week, but I don’t recommend it. I’ve only known a couple of people in all the hundreds and hundreds of freelancers I’ve met who have done this really well and consistently because it’s hard and it’s demanding. But if you are one of those people and you want to have your own blog to support your freelance business, that is a thing that can happen.
Technically then that makes you both, you are a blogger and also a freelance blogger. It’s easiest to just refer to yourself as a freelance writer. If you’re going to be a freelance writer and you want to have your own blog, which is not a bad idea, it’s just if you want your blog to become a major marketing machine, it’ll take a lot of your time.
Then you have to choose your audience. You need to decide if your blog audience is going to be your prospective clients or fellow freelancers. If these are your prospective clients, chances are nearly guaranteed, like 98% (I made that up! I don’t know what the actual statistic would be.). But the vast majority of your clients are not going to be freelance writers.
If you have a blog about freelance writing, you may get some interest from big names. I know people who do this. I know people who’ve had work come to them from other freelance writers because they were so well known and they marketed their freelance writing blogs so well. But most of us, it’s not a major source of work.
I recommend that if you’re going to have a blog attached to your writer website or professional writing persona, that you write a blog that is interesting for your prospective clients.
Once you have a niche, you can write about things that are happening in your niche. You can write about marketing trends in general, marketing trends specifically for the writing service that you offer, or marketing trends specifically relevant to your target client. You can write about how to use different types of marketing. If you offer everything from blog posts to emails to sales pages, you can blog on your writer website about the benefits of email marketing for small businesses.
You can have a series about “5 Things to Consider When You’re Writing a Welcome Sequence.” And “How You Can Do an Abandoned Cart Email with a Template”. Things that are useful for your client, but also set you up as someone who knows about what they need. That raises your profile and makes you more memorable.
So when a business owner, marketer, or entrepreneur Googles “how to write an abandoned cart email for sweatshirts” and you have something like that on your blog because you specialize in ecommerce copywriting, they find you.
Next they exclaim “Oh, sweet, this person really knows what she’s doing. Oh, she’s a freelance writer. Awesome. I wonder if she’s free for hiring? I can use help with this.”
That’s the difference between blogging and freelance blogging, how they overlap, how they are related, and how they are very, very different. And remember, I teach freelance blogging!
To continue this conversation, if you have more questions, or if you want feedback on anything, I invite you to join me in my Facebook group The Inkwell Guild. You can find the link to it at copychatter.com.
If you want to learn more about finding freelance writing clients who are going to pay you well, pay you on time, give you recurring work and make you really, really happy to be a freelance writer, then I have something for you–Client Bound, my new course on how to find freelance writing clients. If that sounds good to you, I recommend that you go to copy chatter.com/clients and check it out.