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I Want to be a Freelance Journalist – Should I Keep a Blog?

Blogging has become an internet phenomenon. People from all walks of life, different ages, ethnic and cultural backgrounds keep regular blogs about anything from the price of petrol to what they had for breakfast that morning. As a fledgling freelance journalist blogging can be a really useful tool. You can use it to promote yourself and network with others.

Ten Reasons to Keep a Blog

As a freelance journalist there are great advantages to keeping a blog and I’ve listed 10 of them below:

1. Cost – blogs are really easy and cheap to set up. In fact, other than the cost of your time, you actually spend nothing on running most blogs and setting them up is usually a simple step-by-step process that can be mastered by most people – even novices. See websites such as Wordpress or Blogger as examples of free blogging websites.

2. Practice 1 – blogs are a great way to get into the habit of writing every day – essential practice for any budding freelance journalist.

3. Practice 2 – and getting into the habit of typing everyday means that you’ll become quicker at it. This means you’ll get more done in the time you have and improve your efficiency.

4. Accuracy – the more you write the better you will get at spelling, grammar and language use, essential skills for any freelance journalist.

5. Openness – having a blog, especially if it allows comments, shows that you are willing to interact in the most open of environments with potential clients, clients and critics.

6. Expert status – if you add relevant, quality content to your site on a regular basis you will quickly be recognised as an expert in your field. People will trust your content and come back time and again to read what you have to say. Being seen as an authority, with lots of followers reading your blog, could entice more clients to request your freelance journalism writing services.

7. Search engine friendliness – search engines love text and blogs are, if you update regularly, stuffed full of text. So it works in your favour as a freelance journalist to post regularly – it’ll keep your blog up at the top of the list in search engine results and your followers coming back for more.

8. Networking – contacts are vital to any freelance business so the more you can accumulate the better it is for you. Potential clients can contact you easily through your blog, recommend you to other clients and give you repeat work. Plus, you can network with others by responding to the comments they leave and by leaving comments on other people’s blogs.

9. Showcase your work – you can add samples of your writing or links to where your journalism writing appears online. Potential clients will be able to see how you write and decide if you are suitable for the jobs they are offering without you having to spend a penny on advertising.

10. Monetize your blog – you can earn money from your blog using tools such as Google Adsense. However, this is a whole other topic so rather than go into detail here, have a look at this video for an introduction to making money from your blog: http://wp-community.org/2011/02/07/monetize-your-blog/, and this blog is a really fun read too: www.becomeamumpreneur.com/tag/monetizing-your-blog/.

 

Follow and Learn From Great Bloggers

Looking at other people’s blogs is a great way to see what can be achieved in terms of design and content. They can give you ideas for how to lay your blog out, what designs to use, how to arrange your content and what styles of writing gain the most followers. Here are some really successful blogs for you to look at to see what kind of standard can be achieved:

http://www.stonyfield.com/blog/

http://dannybrown.me/

http://sweetleafteablog.com/

 

Listen to The Experts

There are, literally, hundreds of websites out there to help you with your blogging and it can get a little mesmerising! So, here are some recommended websites to get you started. They’ll give you advice, hints and tips on creating content that’ll have your followers coming back for more, impress potential clients and help make you a little money from your blog on the side too:

http://www.problogger.net/

http://www.copyblogger.com/

http://www.dailyblogtips.com/

 

If you would like to find out more about being a freelance journalist request a free Writers Bureau Freelance Journalism prospectus with no obligation to enrol.

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Cathal Coyle

"My short-term intention is to continue combining writing for newspapers and magazines with my current job. I'm enjoying my writing 'sideline' but I may find as time goes on that I want to make the transition to full-time writer."

Cathal Coyle

 
NUS Student Discount Card Association of British Correspondence Colleges
British Institute for Learning and Development

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