When I started building my first websites I didn’t have a lot of money to invest on them. I would pay for the domain names and shared hosting accounts, but that was it. The problem is that I wanted to invest in some parts of the websites to make them grow faster (e.g., I wanted to buy a logo, a custom design, some advertising and so on).
This forced me to look around for alternative income sources, as I knew I would need to wait from six to twelve months before my sites would start generating any signicant money (if not longer…).
The solution I found was freelance writing. Through the guest posts that I would publish on larger sites I came to know the respective owners, and then it was just a matter of asking them if they were interested in hiring a freelance writer.
The initial response wasn’t great, however. Most established bloggers and site owners already had staff writers to cover the normal workload, so they would turn my application down. That is when I realized I needed to change my approach. In other words, I needed to offer something different, something that wasn’t “normal.”
At the time I was already seeing my websites grow in traffic, and I started to ask myself: “What is the single most important factor contributing to the growth of my sites?” The answer was easy to find: the linkbait pieces (i.e., very large and structured articles packing a lot of value to the reader) that I would publish once in a while. Those articles would attract hundreds, if not thousands of backlinks, and they create a huge spike on my traffic charts.
All I had to do was to offer linkbaits to those larger sites. I started by writing an article titled “Top 20 Sports Cars of All Time”, and offered it to the owner of a popular car blog. He liked it, and said he was willing to pay $200.
You can imagine the feeling I had once the $200 hit my Paypal account.
Long story short I kept writing more linkbaits and expanding my network of site owners who were interested in purchasing them. After some months I was making up to $1,000 for a single article, and I was able to invest that money on my other websites.
If you want to get started with this strategy, here’s a quick guide:
- Make sure you understand what a linkbait is (just Google it, as there’s plenty of material around the web), and learn how to create one.
- Identify large blogs and websites where you could offer your linkbaits, and try to build a relationship with the owner (e.g., by writing a couple of guest posts there and exchanging some emails).
- Brainstorm ideas that would work as a linkbait piece on those sites, and then spend some time actually writing one (be prepared to spend many hours researching and writing the article).
- Send an email to the site owner offering your linkbait piece. Make sure to include the piece on the email itself, as you want the site owner to read it before making his decision.
- Start charging on the low end (e.g., $100 per linkbait) and work your way up as you get more clients and feel the market.
Writing linkbaits is only one strategy you can use to make money as a freelance writer, though. There are many other routes you can follow, depending on your background and interests. That is why I decided to create a Freelance Writing Course with Ali Hale, a friend of mine and professional freelance writer.
The course is broken down in 6 weeks, each covering a different module. We are closing the doors to new students on Friday (May 6), so make sure to check it out today!
Daniel Scocco is the owner of DailyWritingTips.com, one of the most popular writing blogs on the web.