If you’re wondering what rates to seek for blog writing, you’re not alone, judging by the search terms used to find our site.
The confusion is not surprising, given that rates are all over the map. I’ve found that clients typically offer their bloggers a set rate, and there isn’t a tremendous amount of negotiating room.
In the past five years, here are some of the different rates I’ve been offered for blogging. All were all pretty standard for the publications that offered them:
$500 a post for reported posts.
$2,500 for a series of eight blog posts on a particular topic.
$200 for five posts a month, plus a very small cash bonus for unique and repeat visitors.
$300 a post, plus a 50 cent bonus for retweets and the like.
$150 a post for a summary of something going on in the news or a very simple reported post.
If you’re just starting out as a freelancer, you may wonder if you should accept rates like this. Shouldn’t you just limit yourself to higher paying conventional articles?
It’s not so simple.
Often the value of blogging goes beyond the pay. Some of the lower paying blog posts I’ve written personally have driven significant traffic to this website, because I’ve been allowed to include our web address or a live link within my posts. A couple of the mid-range gigs have allowed me a lot of freedom to write about topics that interest me and therefore to raise my profile as a specialist in certain key areas. Recently, I’ve noticed that some of my clients value “thought leadership” in the writers they hire, and writing a blog that has some traction can help you gain credibility on this front.
Of course, it’s nice to get paid more for the reported posts, but there’s a reason they pay more: Interviewing people takes more time than riffing on a familiar topic does. Reported blogs may also involve more editing, which can add additional time to the process. However, writing blogs like this usually does not involve working with three or four levels of editors, the way a much higher paying magazine piece might, so $500 a post can end up being a decent rate.
One thing I’ve discovered is that some publications will pay journalists to blog for them but, at the same time, expect experts in other fields–whether they are lawyers, marketers or business consultants–to blog for free. I assume this is because the journalists usually turn in clean copy, reducing work for the editors, while even top experts in other fields may not be trained to write in the style that the publications expect. Some friends who fall into the expert category have asked me if it’s worthwhile to pursue these opportunities without pay.
I think the answer depends: Will you get enough out of blogging for a particular client to justify the time you spend on it? Could the blog drive traffic to your site that would otherwise cost you $1,000 a month in advertising to generate? Is it likely to get your name in front of a small niche audience that would be hard to penetrate otherwise? If so, your hard work may pay off, from a marketing perspective.
Then again, if you’re putting in a lot of time into a blog that is getting ignored, you may be better off investing those hours in other raising your visibility in other ways, like public speaking, writing a book or even Twitter.