Should You Forget the Money and Blog for Exposure?

Filed as General on February 23, 2012 8:00 am

Many people blog as a hobby. Blogging can be therapeutic, a great way to stay in touch with friends, great way to keep your memories organized, and a great way to connect with like-minded people on the Internet. For this reason, many try to make money online through blogging. There are three ways to make money as a blogger:

1. Work as a blogger for a company. The company will pay you to contribute articles to blogs across the Internet. All you need to do is incorporate a link back to the company for SEO purposes.

2. Do freelance writing/blogging. Many websites will offer payment for quality content.

3. Own and manage your own blog. By owning and managing your own blog you are setting yourself up for a platform for advertisers. However, this takes a great deal of time, money, and work to create a profitable blog.

Now starting a business and creating a profitable blog is a long and sometimes frustrating process. In other words, most bloggers begin their careers as one of those first two options. I am one of the lucky bloggers because I blog for a company who pays me full-time. No matter how many articles I get placed and no matter where they get placed, I know I’m getting paid. Unfortunately, most bloggers aren’t quite so lucky and they have to jump from blog to blog to try and find websites that will pay for content.

However, I can’t help but notice that more and more blogs are beginning to offer links back to a website as opposed to payment. There are, of course, many blogs that still pay for quality content, but slowly more and more are moving away from this idea. This led me to wonder: Is it a good idea to offer content to a blog who doesn’t offer payment?

Top 3 Things to Consider before You Blog for Exposure

This has actually been a huge controversy for quite some time. Many websites and blogs used to make promises to writers about payment and never follow through, so many writers have spoken out about how wrong it is to not pay a writer for great content. I have to say, regardless of the fact that I am a writer, I couldn’t agree more with these arguments.

However, now that many businesses are catching onto the fact that they can get great content for nothing but a link in exchange, finding places to publish your content is becoming increasingly difficult. Even if you do find a website that will pay for your content, you need something to show for it. For this reason, many bloggers are working simply to gain exposure in the hopes of landing a job with a company or build a portfolio. There are a few things I would keep in mind if you’re going to blog to gain exposure:

1. Metrics – If you’re going to blog for exposure, you want to make sure it is for a site that will really deliver. In other words, check the Google PageRank of the site, the social media efforts of the site, and ask the editor questions. See how many unique visitors the site gains per month and ask them what they will do to promote your article and help it rank well on a Google search engine page.

2. Time Limit – You should definitely stop yourself from blogging for free after a certain amount of time. Tell yourself that you will try it for one month, and then if you don’t see any paid opportunities popping up then quite blogging for free. If you really are gaining good exposure then keep it up, but don’t continually extend the time you’re going to “give blogging for free a try.”

3. Savings – It may sound obvious, but you will want to really analyze your finances before singing up to blog for free. Although exposure may lead to a paying job, you must be able to afford getting there.

In general, I would say that I find more authoritative blogs who do not pay for content as opposed to those that do pay for content. I would also say that I have gained a ton of exposure through blogging and it absolutely has opened the door to many well-paying writing gigs. Nonetheless, it took me a long time to gain this exposure. I would not have been able to get to where I am today by blogging for free. It would have been impossible for me to live five months without getting paid.

My advice: blog for free only occasionally. Do not make it a habit. Your writing and your time is valuable, and it deserves compensation. In most cases, no one would ask any other profession to work for free; writers should not accept this kind of treatment unless they know they are getting something (great exposure) out of it.

Do you ever blog for free? Has your experience been positive or negative?

Photo Credit: anatomyofadinnerparty.com

Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer on topics ranging from social media to credit card processing. She writes for an online resource that gives advice on topics including 401k limits to small businesses and entrepreneurs for the leading business directory, Business.com.

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