I had lunch with a fellow freelancing friend (say that three times fast!) last week. We were talking about our current projects, and which were the most lucrative. Right now I'm in the midst of a rush ghosting gig, writing a book in twelve weeks. I'm a little crazed. But the money is good, the client is responsive, and I'm able to turn the chapters around fairly quickly. I'm close to making the hourly rate I aim for ($100/hour). (Want to know more about ghostwriting books? Check out Goodbye Byline, Hello Big Bucks: The Writer's Guide to Making Money Ghostwriting and Coauthoring Books.)
As for my friend? She's ghosting, too--ghost-blogging for several corporate clients, and is making good money from it. For example, for one client she's paid $300 for a blog post of 500-600 words. The work is relatively simple; the client chooses the topic, she interviews him, and then writes up the post for his review and approval.
The first couple of blog posts may not pay that well in terms of hourly rate as she becomes familiar with his voice and gets up to speed on the topics and industry she's covering. But the longer she works for the client, the more money she makes per-hour--she's able to spend less time writing the posts and less time making any edits as she "knows" her client.
That's great for any freelancer, but the benefits don't stop there. The more she blogs, the more irreplaceable she becomes to the client. After all, she knows his voice; she knows his company; and she knows his industry. That gives her job security (or at least freelance gig security) in an ever-changing environment and that is valuable.
That's just one reason ghost-blogging is a smart choice for freelancers today. Blogs need feeding, and need feeding often--typically at least once a week, often more often. That's a lot of work for writers like you and me. While blogs typically pay anywhere from $50 to $500/post, ghostwritten posts tend to pay the most--up to $1/word.
So how do you crack this lucrative area? First, yeah, you need some blogging experience; clients will want to see examples of your work. Second, consider your background and topics you've covered before. If you've written about a particular industry or profession, look for blogs in that subject area and draft an LOI highlighting your relevant qualifications. Make it your goal from the outset to nab an ongoing gig, not just write a post or two--that's hardly worth your while.
While your client probably already has ideas for posts, coming up with your own can make you more valuable. Stay up on what's happening in the topic you're writing about--the more you know about your client's industry or business, the more valuable you become. Ask if the client wants your help coming up with art/photos for the post, and whether he wants you to promote the posts on social media sites. Your goal is become the go-to person for blog posts for your client; when you do that, you ensure steady work with zero marketing time, which boosts your hourly rate and your productivity!
** Last chance! If you're reading this before July 1, 2013, you have a few hours left to take advantage of my 50 percent discount on print editions of Six-Figure Freelancing: The Writer's Guide to Making More Money, Second Edition or Dollars and Deadlines: Make Money Writing Articles for Print and Online Markets. Order directly from Improvise Press,and use the discount code, THANKYOU (all caps/no breaks) for 50 percent off of your order, the best price you'll find in any brick-and-mortar or online bookstore. The last shipment of books will mail Monday, July 1, 2013, so don't wait!
Writing Is Hard Work
7 months ago