We need to talk about something for a moment: unpaid guest posts. This has become a controversial subject recently, due to freelancers who have been asked to submit free work via contests that can be used by the contest holders, even if it is not ‘selected’ as winning. It is a pretty shady practice that has a lot of tempers flaring, especially when it comes from large organizations with plenty of money.
Unpaid guest contributions are not the same thing. You are submitting a piece under your name to be hosted on a high traffic site with a link back to your own site in your byline. Essentially, you are being paid in exposure. This is an effective means of promoting yourself, and many writers, designers, developers and other freelancers take advantage in order to generate for traffic referrals, and eventually paid work.
While there is nothing at all wrong with this, there are times when that just doesn’t cut it. Most of us don’t have the time to dedicate to regular unpaid work, because it takes away from income generating projects with a long time to wait before results are seen. Finding blogs that pay while still offering that exposure it more effective.
Sadly, a lot of blogs have stopped offering paid work, or never did to begin with. They act on links alone, and because that is a valid offer they get plenty of submitted pitches without having to resort to offering payment.
Though within their rights, and still providing a service, these blogs just don’t have what current freelancers need to make it: cash.
My recommendation to writers is to always schedule time for guest posting into their monthly plan, but to make at least half of that time dedicated to paid blogs. Ones that actually offer a fairly decent rate for topics you may be interested in.
For example, I spent three hours once working on a list for Listverse. It was accepted, and not only did it pay $100, but it has provided me with a sample to send clients that really gets noticed. I also receive semi-regular fan mail for the piece to my email, and it gets regular comments. I am planning on submitting to their site again, in the future.
Having a couple of paid blog posts on high visibility sites pays more than just that initial rate. So here are fifteen blogs that pay at least $50 for your submissions. Each also has large enough fan base to make it worth it, long term.
- Listverse – Pays $100 for long, well written list-style articles on various topics. Much include proper formatting and attribution based on their guidelines.
- Cracked – Pays various amounts for content, such as comedy articles, photos and contributions to contests. You have to join the forum and pitch ideas through there. You can pick up abandoned articles to finish, if accepted by the admins.
- Make A Living Writing – Pays $50 per post on publication. Does not accept pre-written posts, so you have to pitch an idea for acceptance first.
- Read. Learn. Write. – Pays $50 per post based on publication. Buying only exclusive, first time publication rights.
- The Penny Hoarder – They only pay when it has been preapproved by the editor. So make sure you work out the details along with your pitch. Otherwise, you are only given a link.
- Brazen Careerist – Pays $50 for lists of networking events in various cities.
- IWA Wine Blog – Pay starts at $50 for people writing about storage, choice of, or other related wine topics. Experts can negotiate a higher price.
- Tuts+ – Pays anywhere up to $150 for long, expertly written posts on related topics. The highest rates are given to tutorials. They also buy video content.
- Your Online Biz – Pays $100 for articles pertaining to running an online business, and how to create a valid income on the web. Payments are sent at the beginning of the month after your post is published.
- A Fine Parent – Pays $100 for articles written about “mindful parenting”. They provide writing prompts to help get you started.
- A List Apart – Pays $200 for articles 1,500 – 2,000 words a piece, about design and developing topics.
- Austin Briggs – Pays between $55 and $105 for articles about story development, writing process, and connecting with readers.
- Belt Mag – Pays $500 for long-form reported pieces, $100 for commentaries and $50 for essays. All topics are related to living, working or important issues in the Rust Belt area.
- BirdChannel – Pays an average of $50 for articles based on topics important to bird lovers.
- Coastal Review Online – Pays up to $200 per submission, though $75 is average for many of their articles. Topics cover environmental and conservation issues.
When Pitching To These Blogs
- Make sure you are following their guidelines exactly.
- Read through a handful of posts to get an idea of what they are looking for, including tone.
- Keep your pitch short and sweet; an initial post should be about three or four sentences. Introduce yourself, introduce your idea, and thank them.
- When you get the go ahead, don’t worry if you feel like the rate they pay doesn’t match up to your per hour rate. Some writers make the mistake of rushing through to meet their own financial deadline, so they don’t ‘waste time’ on a single article. Keep in mind this is on a high profile site, and will pay in more than just the rate.
- Always do your best work. Never pitch a generic idea, or be halfhearted in your execution of that idea. This should be your very best work, which actually offers something to the reader. You want to say something unique, and say it well.
Build your name: This always helps!
Do your homework and optimize your digital footprint for any background checks. The top search results for your name should ideally be owned by you. Linking to your social media accounts throughout the blog will help boost them.
Getting listed in as many genuine places as you can is also very important. If you a local blogger, for example, spend a day to get listed in prominent local directories that offer a separate listing your your brand name, like DirJournal and Patch for example.
You can find blogs that will pay you for your work. This allows you to justify the time spent guest posting, gains you much needed visibility, provides you with a platform for a useful sample for the future, and gives you a bit of cash for your trouble.
Any other sites to go on the list? Post them in the comments!