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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