We recently talked about 30 ways to build your writer platform. In that list of things to consider pursuing to build your visibility, you may have noticed that several platform-building techniques have an added bonus--you can get paid for your efforts!
This is one of my favorite things about query-free freelancing. Unlike spending a lot of unpaid time writing queries to various companies and publications hoping for a bite or two in paid gigs, I'm able to earn money writing for myself while I work at attracting clients. Today I'd like to share a few of my favorite platform tools that contribute significantly to my income as a writer.
To date, blogs have been the most beneficial tool I've found for attracting clients. So many order emails and queries coming in start out with something along the lines of "I found your blog at suchandsuch.com, and I'd like to hire you to help me with...." I run several blogs. They've attracted writing clients, but also PR clients back when I ran a full-service firm. They never failed.
Basically, I was able to write what I wanted to write and it helped me build demand for my services as well as my general network. It also allowed me to earn some decent income. My blogs vary quite a bit. Some earn a few hundred dollars per month with plenty of posting. Others earn the same with almost no updates. My best in the past used to earn around $2000 per month (after only a few months live) and I rarely visited it, nonetheless updated it.
That might not sound like a lot if you're used to earning $1.00 per word or more. It also might sound fine and dandy if a few hundred to a few thousand per month would help you out while you're working to attract higher-paying clients. And despite what some new bloggers seem to think, there's nothing "hard" about earning money. You just have to work with a niche that monetizes well and write content that people actually want to read. No hours on end marketing the site. No flooding it with sub-par content to attract search traffic. Seriously. Now it won't work as well in all niches for direct income (the music niche, for example, is notorious for being difficult to monetize), but you'll never know unless you try (and my two highest-earning niches were a complete surprise--even the keyword research didn't suggest the averages of $2 per click that the blogs bring in).
I'm also a big fan of e-books and reports. My shorter ones are often given away for free for marketing purposes (more people read and pass around the free reports or they can be used to attract registrations like on this site). Longer ones I charge for. I've charged between $17 and $37 for e-books, and both price points worked quite well (and still do). You just target the content and price to your audience. Before you know it, you'll have people reviewing your product and spreading the word about you, and a few grand in your pocket that you otherwise wouldn't have had. Not too shabby for something that helps cement your authority status, grows your network, brings in exposure, and attracts clients.
No, most platform-building tools won't line your pockets with cash immediately. But if you're going to spend weeks or months promoting yourself anyway (whether that be through queries or query-free methods), why not hit that end point not only bringing in paying work but with an established supplemental income as well? Besides, there's something extremely rewarding and enjoyable about being able to write for yourself and not solely for others. Give it a shot! Earn a bit of money through your marketing!