A Career Path for the On-Line Writer?

career path - applicable to the writer?

Does a blogger have a career path?

A few years ago I asked the ques­tion whether blog­gers ful­filled the role of either jour­nal­ists or colum­nists. It is true that the pop­u­lar­i­ty of the Inter­net has changed how we view writ­ing for­ev­er, any­one can pub­lish any­thing they want and they fre­quent­ly do, but can they make a career doing it? One of the great­est chal­lenges of the Inter­net though is one of qual­i­ty and val­ue, sta­tis­ti­cal­ly 99.99% of every­thing pub­lished on the web is poor qual­i­ty in one of the fol­low­ing ways:

  • Offers lit­tle valu­able information.
  • Is bad­ly researched.
  • It was writ­ten by some­one hav­ing no sub­ject mat­ter exper­tise.
  • The piece is poor­ly constructed.
  • Demon­strates poor use of language.


The Role of the Writer in the Modern World

Information provision. A career?Select any sub­ject and there is some­one writ­ing about it! No longer does any­one have to search long and hard to find a jour­nal­ist to tell their sto­ry to (if you are lucky). They mere­ly write the sto­ry, self pub­lish it through a blog or writ­ing site and hope some­one will pay atten­tion (helped by a push from Social Media). I saw reports of a local inci­dent pub­lished on a blog and through Twit­ter 12 hours before any of the TV news out­lets report­ed the sto­ry and the first that did was on anoth­er continent.

Most blog­gers do not see them­selves ful­fill­ing the role of the jour­nal­ist, they prob­a­bly see them­selves as colum­nists, telling the sto­ry behind the sto­ry and doing so for the love of writ­ing or because they were impact­ed by events. If they wit­ness an earth­quake, hur­ri­cane, a plane crash, a mur­der, or a rob­bery at their local drug store there is no need to wait for news reporters to tell their sto­ry to, they can do it them­selves and start pub­li­cis­ing it.

Jour­nal­ists in our local metrop­o­lis adver­tise on local TV sta­tions pro­vid­ing their email address as a way to seek out sto­ries to report on. In truth there is a poten­tial role for the Blog­ger to become a jour­nal­ist, but they would be bet­ter of work­ing with an on-line news­pa­per, like the Huff­in­g­ton Post, than adding the sto­ry to their own blog.


The Blogger

Get it down - writingMost blog­gers spe­cialise, they write on a top­ic they are pas­sion­ate about, but there is no rea­son why they can­not branch out, once in a while, and write some­thing dif­fer­ent. Most blog­gers, how­ev­er are not look­ing for a writ­ing career.

At one time I had a spe­cial­ist IT strat­e­gy blog, relat­ed to my for­mer career. Next I was work­ing with a com­pa­ny involved in Social Media and mar­ket­ing, so I start­ed adapt­ing that blog to those top­ics. Then I became inter­est­ed in writ­ing on a wider range of top­ics so migrat­ed to gen­er­al writ­ing sites. I then took on a role as an edi­tor for an on-line mag­a­zine and became inter­est­ed in improv­ing the qual­i­ty of the writ­ten word, it was also about this time I start­ed mod­er­at­ing for a gen­er­al writ­ing site. Think­ing about writ­ing ulti­mate­ly lead to con­tri­bu­tions made for Two Drops of Ink then the for­ma­tion of GobbledeGoox.

Whilst I am tak­ing steps to mon­e­tise the site I still antic­i­pate earn­ing a liv­ing through the use of oth­er asso­ci­at­ed skills, e.g. copy-writ­ing or edit­ing assignments.


Can there be a Career as an On-line Writer?

Some blog­gers have made mon­ey from their blogs, those that do gen­er­al­ly pro­vide asso­ci­at­ed exper­tise, train­ing cours­es, e-cours­es, e-books, speak­ing, con­sult­ing ser­vices etc. Anoth­er angle is to ask your net­work of con­tacts if they need a writer or blog­ger show­ing them your blog when­ev­er exam­ples are required. In oth­er words the blog becomes an avenue for gen­er­at­ing income by oth­er means.

reading-newspaper-by-kaboompics-cc0-public-domain-from-pixabayIt is true that some writ­ers earn from writ­ing sites, but the major­i­ty sup­ple­ment their income by a few dol­lars a month, leav­ing their writ­ing as more a pas­sion than a pro­fes­sion. Look on Craigslist or any job site cov­er­ing your local area and there are jobs adver­tised for writ­ers and truth is most on-line only jobs pay much less than their coun­ter­parts work­ing in cor­po­rate offices.

You can build a liv­ing by sell­ing your ser­vices and most writ­ers I know do pre­cise­ly that, seek­ing roles cre­at­ing adver­tis­ing copy, edit­ing, or some­thing sim­i­lar, while con­tin­u­ing to write their blog for the love of it.


The On-Line Columnist?

A colum­nist pro­vides an analy­sis of events and tend to offer a more crit­i­cal per­spec­tive either by look­ing back at pre­cise­ly what hap­pened or analysing future pos­si­bil­i­ties. Some blog­gers are clear­ly colum­nists because they add their own per­spec­tive as well as that of learned aca­d­e­mics or busi­ness lead­ers to their commentary.

To become this type of writer takes in-depth knowl­edge of the sub­ject plus a will­ing­ness to point out the mis­di­rec­tion a busi­ness or indus­try is tak­ing. The colum­nist chal­lenges how peo­ple think, and often demands an alter­na­tive.


Perhaps Another Role?

Not career related at allNot all blog­gers report news or pro­vide a reg­u­lar col­umn, some sim­ple write as an out­let, some a place to pub­lish their sto­ries, or poems, oth­ers love to pro­vide spe­cial­ist tips (one of the ori­gins of the blog). Many blog­gers have no inter­est in mak­ing mon­ey from their creations.

There are writ­ing jobs to be found for any writer seek­ing them, many of these will be nor­mal 9 to 5 roles in an office in a city near you while oth­ers allow the writer the flex­i­bil­i­ty to work from home. The choice is yours.


A Word from ProBlogger

Dar­ren Rowse has laid out where he makes his mon­ey through blog­ging (first half of 2016):

  • 46% Affil­i­ate commissions
  • 31% Prod­uct sales
  • 8% Adsense advertising
  • 6% Spon­sored posts
  • 5% from his job board
  • 3% from events
  • 1% from speak­ing and book royalties

I use Dar­ren as an exam­ple as he has been mak­ing a liv­ing from his two blogs for many years, it is his career. You should under­stand that if you are going to make mon­ey from your blog it is like­ly to be done in a sim­i­lar man­ner and you will need to iden­ti­fy places that pro­vide affil­i­ate sales oppor­tu­ni­ties as a start­ing point and then expand from there.



Career? Making money?

Writ­ers Digest often talk about ways to make mon­ey from writ­ing and Bri­an Klems sug­gests the fol­low­ing strate­gies for suc­cess in build­ing your on-line writ­ing career:

  1. Spe­cialise or gen­er­alise (make the choice).
  2. You must seek out leads (poten­tial clients) and cold call them.
  3. Gen­er­ate ideas.
  4. Use your per­son­al experience.
  5. Don’t be stuck to your com­put­er (e.g. go talk to people).
  6. Think about rela­tion­ship building.
  7. Look for a steady income stream (e.g. from ad copy or resume writing).
  8. Be smart with social media.

The point is that if there is a career path for an on-line writer then there must be an income and where bet­ter to look than at an expert, some­one who has been mak­ing a liv­ing doing it for near­ly ten years. As you may have noticed I have start­ed to mon­e­tise this blog but I will be the first to admit that I still have a long way to go I am work­ing on many of these meth­ods, but will revis­it this sub­ject in time.



What do you think about the pos­si­bil­i­ty of earn­ing from your blog? What tips do you have to offer?


Buy Peter B. Giblett a cof­fee to thank him for the thoughts expressed here. The fea­tured image here is by Peter Giblett based on an idea by Dave Crisp. Oth­er images used here come from roy­al­ty free or pub­lic domain image col­lec­tions, such as Pixabay.



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