I’d heard from other writers that posting in the services section of CraigsList.org was a good way to gain more clients. Though I was skeptical, I figured it was free, so I forged ahead, promoting myself as an online copywriter and blogger. I didn’t hear anything right away, and then almost a week after I’d posted, I got an email from someone saying he needed a writer to ghostblog for his law firm. I was still skeptical (after all, I don’t have a law degree and I’ve barely sat through a complete episode of Law & Order), but I agreed to a phone interview to find out more.
A quick Google search revealed that the emailer did have a law firm and actually worked with a company that specializes in improving a lawyer’s online presence through blogs, podcasts, and other tools. He assured me that he needed someone to write in simple terms for prospective clients and that the partner company would get me set up, so I agreed to a two-week paid trial period.
After I reread my original CraigsList post (after all, I must have done something right so I wanted to figure out what it was and do more of it), it hit me. Out of the dozens of posts touting writing, editing, and proofreading skills, mine was the only one that offered blogging services.
During the first week of the trial period, I had two phone training sessions focused on finding relevant content to write about, and optimizing my posts with links and keywords. By the middle of my second week, someone from the partner company called to offer me a second blogging opportunity with a law firm in another state. Both firms pay me several hundred dollars a month for regular content updates on their blogs, and I’ve gotten inquiries from a few more firms, too.
As it turns out, there is a huge market for this type of work since it’s an inexpensive way for companies to optimize their websites and bring in new business.
Though I don’t have a law degree, I’ve discovered that the key to this type of writing (and to many other types of writing, too) is a basic understanding of keywords and an ability to write clearly. Having those skills, and being flexible enough to apply them to new topics, has opened up a steady, unexpected writing opportunity. It’s flexible enough that I still have time to pitch magazines and websites, but provides a steady income in between assignments.
Susan Johnston is a full time blogger and writer. Her work has appeared in several publications, including The Boston Globe, DailyCandy, MediaBistro, SELF magazine, and Yahoo! HotJobs. Read more on her website at http://www.susan-johnston.com.