Building a strong portfolio, networking with other writers, and reaching potential clients are the usual tasks that freelance writers continually focus on. Accomplishing these used to mean hours of unpaid work, especially for budding writers.

Fortunately, it’s now possible to earn money early on in your writing career, or when you’re in-between clients, through guest blogging.

If you need to simultaneously show off your writing skills, earn money, and reach a wider audience, here are five steps to get started on getting paid for guest posts.

1. Search for blogs that pay for guest posts.

You can start with Sophie Lizard’s The Ultimate List of Blogs that Pay and look through the different blogs which pay $50 and up for quality guest posts. Niches included in this juicy list range from blogging, writing and web development to personal finance and programming.

You can also do your own research via Google (e.g. “[type niche here] websites that pay for guest posts” or something similar) to discover other websites in the niches or topics you like or are an expert on.

2. Target the blogs according to your knowledge, passion, or experience.

Guest blogging requires hard work and patience. Not only do you need to look for sites that pay, you also need to get the feel and tone of the sites so you can have an idea on how to write for their readers.

That said, no matter how many paying websites you find, you need to focus on the ones with topics that you are passionate or knowledgeable about in order to pull off a successful guest post. Spend time reading the blog, write meaningful comments on blog posts that interest you, sign up for the newsletter, and follow them on social media.

3. Conquer the writers’ guidelines.

Each website that accepts and pays for guest posts has its own set of guidelines for interested writers. Most are pretty simple and direct, but you’d be surprised at how many people fail to get published because they didn’t follow instructions.

So read and conquer the guidelines, particularly instructions on whether or not to send a pitch first or the whole article, word count, formatting, backlinks, and author bios. Keep a link to the guidelines accessible or copy the all entire thing on a Word document so you can refer to it easily.

4. Send a pitch that gets a response.

While there are sites that require you to send your full-length guest posts for their consideration, many ask for pitches first.

Your article pitch (or query) is both an introduction and audition so getting it right is crucial. Basically, the main ingredients for a successful guest post pitch are (1) a great and detailed article idea, (2) the correct name of the web owner or editor, (3) the correct name of the website, and (4) sincerity and politeness.

Bear these four in mind and apply it using Dana Sitar’s detailed guest post pitch formula which helped me land most of my guest posts.

5. Onto the next blog.

It’s tempting to just sit and wait for the editor’s response to your pitch. But editors are busy creatures and it sometimes takes two weeks or more to get a reply to your pitch or query.

So go on and pitch the next blog, and the next one after that.

Make it easier on yourself by keeping a list of guest post ideas while you roam the interwebs. Better yet, organize your “paid” guest blogging campaign by using Trello or a similar app to help you keep track of potential websites for guest blogging and the progress of the your pitches.

Making money through guest blogging is possible but not exactly easy. It is a paid gig after all. You need to work hard to hone your writing skills, follow instructions, be patient and consistent, and most importantly, create high quality content that editors want to publish. You can also consider inserting links – this is similar to guest blogging but you only insert a link in your existing post instead of adding a new post. You can check out this link for more details.

Glori Surban is a freelance blogger helping busy small business owners and bloggers create quality content for their blogs and websites. You can learn more about her at