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Do you want to know what the secret to making more money as a freelance writer is?
It’s simple: becoming an expert.
Gaining expert freelance writer status can open up doors that might otherwise stay closed.
Take me, for instance. I’m considered an expert personal finance writer.
That’s allowed me to work with some top-shelf banking and financial brands. And it’s why I’m able to make a five-figure income every single month as a freelancer.
(And to learn more about how I do it, check out this interview I did with Diane at Teamwork Dream!)
Even though I don’t have a journalism degree.
So yeah, being an expert has its perks. And if you’re a new or beginning freelancer, then becoming an expert is definitely a goal you should work towards.
What Does It Mean to Be an Expert Freelance Writer?
A few things actually.
First, being an expert means you’re super-knowledgeable about your chosen niche. If you’re scratching your head wondering what a niche is, let me explain.
For freelance writers, a niche can mean two things:
- The type of writing you do
- What you write about
My niche, for example, is content and blog writing for finance websites and brands. Here’s the kind of thing I might write on any given day:
Now, looking at those headlines none of those stories seem to have anything to do with the other. The topics are kind of all over the place.
But what ties them together is that they’re all in the finance niche. And as an expert freelance writer, I can easily write about lots of different topics that fit under my main niche umbrella.
How to Choose a Freelance Writing Niche
If you don’t have a niche yet then it’s time to think about choosing one.
And it’s actually not that hard to do. You just have to figure out:
- Which topics or areas you’re most knowledgeable about
- What topics you’d most like to write about
I chose finance as my niche because once upon a time, I was in a huge debt hole. My budget was busted and I was struggling super hard to save money.
So I started reading personal finance blogs any time I had a spare moment.
When I decided to start a side hustle as a freelance writer, I naturally gravitated towards writing about budgeting, saving and all things finance.
So, think about what you know the most about and what you’re really interested in.
You might be into parenting, holistic living, frugal tips, minimalism, pet care — there are so many possibilities for niches you could choose.
And if you’re still stuck, check out the Freelance Writer’s Toolkit if you haven’t yet. Inside is the Nail Your Niche Workbook, which walks you through how to pick a freelance writing niche.
What Else Is Involved With Becoming an Expert Freelance Writer?
Besides having a niche, the other part of becoming an expert is having proof of your expertise.
And by proof, I mean having:
- A solid body of published writing samples
- An established social media presence with profiles that reflect your expert status
- A reputation for knowing your sh*t
So, how do you get all of those things as a new freelance writer?
Easy. You start a blog.
Why Starting a Blog Is the Fastest (and Best) Way to Become an Expert In Your Niche
Okay, so truth time: I didn’t start a blog when I first started side hustling as a freelance writer. And I still didn’t have a blog when I decided to turn my hustle into an online business.
Looking back, I definitely wish I had.
Because even though I’m considered an expert freelance writer in my niche now, it took me several years to get here.
I definitely think starting a blog could have helped and here’s why:
- Starting a blog is one of the easiest ways to build your portfolio as a brand-new freelance writer. Every post you publish is another clip you can add to your library of samples to show to prospective clients.
- When you blog about a specific topic consistently, you learn more about it. The more you learn, the closer you get to expert freelance writer territory.
- Blogging can help you become a better writer. Learning how to properly format a blog post, for example, is a highly useful skill that many freelancers take for granted. But it’s something your clients will appreciate (and pay you big money for).
- It’s a way to establish your brand as an expert. When you promote your blog on social or in Facebook groups, sharing what you know about your niche, you build up your reputation and credibility.
A lot of experienced freelancers will tell you that you should set up a writer website instead of starting a blog when you’re new but I totally disagree.
If you just have a static writer website, it really has to be able to sell who you are what you do. That means having a lot of clips or social proof from past clients.
Now, if you’re new and you’re still trying to get freelance writing jobs, you probably don’t have those things yet.
But starting a blog can help you get them.
How to Use Your Blog to Become an Expert Freelance Writer
Starting a blog to boost your freelance writing career means investing your time (and a little bit of money). So to make it worthwhile, you need to have a strategy.
If I were starting a blog as a new freelancer now, here’s exactly what I would do to turn myself into an expert quickly:
Choose a Niche and Decide Which Topics to Write About
So, if you don’t have your niche yet, scroll back up to read my secret formula for choosing one. Or, grab the Nail Your Niche Workbook in the Freelance Writer’s Toolkit.
But if you do have a niche, work on breaking that down into different categories. Then, break those categories down into subtopics you can cover in your blog posts.
So let’s say your niche is parenting. That’s a pretty big niche. But you could break it down into lots of smaller categories, like:
- Natural parenting
- Parenting toddlers
- Parenting styles
- Challenges of being a parent
- Being a new parent
- Experiencing parent burnout
- Time hacks for parents
- Money-saving tips for parents
- Being a step-parent
There are probably a lot more I haven’t thought of but you get the idea.
These are your sub-niches and your knowledge of these topics is what helps make you an expert freelance writer.
Write Long-Form, Valuable Posts
If you’re going to start a blog to up your credibility and become an expert, you can’t just slap up any kind of post and call it a day.
Here’s where it helps to know one of the most basic and most important rules of writing: show, don’t tell.
The posts you create for your blog should help you do that. Every post you write is an opportunity to show off what you know about your topic and why you’re an expert.
So the next time you pitch a brand or respond to an ad on a job board, you don’t have to waste a lot of time explaining who you are or why they should hire you. You can link to your blog posts and let them do the talking for you.
But how do you write blog posts that make you look like an expert freelancer?
You focus on adding value.
And you do that by including specific, actionable tips that your audience can use.
So, let’s say you were planning to write a post on time management hacks for busy parents. You could write a list post with 5 time management hacks but if you want it to be really comprehensive, you might bump that up to 20 or 30.
The more value you can add, the better.
If you’re writing a blog post to answer a question, then answer it so thoroughly that your reader doesn’t have to click away to find answers anywhere else.
The same goes if you’re writing a post to solve a specific problem. Write in a way that gives your readers everything they need to overcome whatever challenges they’re facing.
Now, I don’t want you to get too hung up on word count but generally, longer is better for blog posts.
Longer posts can make Google your friend and drive search engine traffic to your blog. The ideal post length is between 1,600 and 2,000 words, depending on who you ask.
But don’t count every single word as you write. Focus instead on providing value and if you’re thoroughly covering the topic, then the word count will work itself out.
Promote Your Blog In the Right Places
One of the hard lessons I learned as a beginning blogger is that no one will come to your blog if you don’t tell them about it.
And you may not be interested in making money from your blog but if you’re using it to position yourself as an expert freelance writer then you still need to promote it.
So where do you promote your blog?
If you want to drive traffic to your blog, then Pinterest is an obvious choice. But you can also promote your blog on Twitter, through Facebook groups and on LinkedIn.
Now how do you actually promote your blog writing in a way that makes you look like an expert?
Here’s how I do it in Facebook groups.
I scroll through my feed a few times a day to see if anyone’s asking questions about freelancing, side hustles, money, productivity — all my blog topics.
If I spot one, I jump in with an answer. But not a short answer. I essentially write a mini blog post in the comments answering their question.
Then I give them a chance to respond and ask more questions if they want. After a little back and forth like this, I drop my blog link and let them know they can check it out for more tips if they’d like.
It’s a simple strategy but it works.
For example, I’ve had other group members tag me in posts to answer questions or suggesting me as a writer when someone posts a job opportunity.
You can take a similar approach to Twitter. And I definitely recommend promoting your blog on LinkedIn.
A good way to do that is by publishing shorter, niche-relevant posts on LinkedIn and linking them back to your blog. Give your LinkedIn connections a nibble of your writing that’s so good they’ll have to visit your blog to read more.
How to Start Your Expert Freelance Writer Blog
Okay, so are you sold yet on the idea of starting a blog so you can become an expert writer?
I totally hope so because it can really help you take your freelancing business to the next level.
If you’re ready to start a blog, here’s what you need to do:
Pick a Domain Name
Your domain name is your URL and it’s how people will find you online. So pick something that’s memorable, easy to type into a search bar and reflective of who you are as a freelance writer.
A lot of people just use their name and that’s totally okay. Elna Cain, for example, has a huge following as a freelancer and her blog domain is her name.
You could also pick something that ties into your niche.
So, if your niche is natural parenting then your blog domain and the name could be something like ParentingNaturally.com.
Play around with it to find something you like. And check your domain name through a site like GoDaddy.com to make sure it’s available before you commit.
Get Web Hosting
Once you’ve got a domain, you’ll need hosting. Hosting just means where your blog lives online.
There are lots of web hosts you can try but I always recommend Siteground. It’s the host I use for this blog.
Why do I love Siteground so much?
For one thing, it doesn’t take a lot of money to get your new blog up and running.
You can start a WordPress blog for as little as $3.95/month on the StartUp plan. This one is designed for blogs that have less than 10,000 monthly visitors.
As your blog grows, you can upgrade to the GrowBig or GoGeek plans.
And the setup and installation are super simple. I have a step by step tutorial for starting a blog with Siteground but really, Siteground practically does it for you.
It is literally possible to get your site up and live in just a few minutes. And if you have any snags along the way, Siteground’s customer service is the best! They’re available 24/7 by phone or chat in case you have any problems.
Bottom line, Siteground is my go-to pick for hosting. But of course, do some comparison shopping of your own before making your final choice.
Install a Theme and Start Posting
The last piece of the piece for starting a blog is getting a theme.
WordPress.org (which is what you’ll use to write and publish your blog posts) offers lots of free themes. It’s totally up to you if you want to invest in a premium theme.
And if you decide to go with a paid premium theme, here are some great sites to browse for options:
These sites all offer customizable themes so you can tweak them to make them look exactly how you want.
Now you can start adding content!
So what do you want to include?
First, you’ll want to set up an About Me or Hire Me page that describes who you are and why clients should hire you.
This page should spell out the kinds of freelance writing services you offer, your areas of expertise and how to contact you. Specifically, you want to use wording that addresses a need or problem your clients have and how you can fill it.
But if I were positioning this blog to try and attract freelance writing clients, I might say something like:
Do you need help creating content for your blog or website to attract readers and connect with your target audience?
If so, then I can help!
I’m Rebecca and I’m an expert freelance writer specializing in finance, investing and small business. I work with top-shelf banking, insurance and financial brands to create B2B and B2C web content, blog posts and white papers.
I’d then go on to list some of my specialty areas and link to some of my published clips or blog posts. And of course, I’d included a call to action at the end asking them to email me to discuss their writing needs.
But you get the gist. So, decide what you want to include on your About Me or Hire Me page, then make it yours.
And don’t worry about not having a lot of experience yet because your blog is going to help you get there.
So, go back to your list of topics and start brainstorming specific blog post ideas from those topics. Then, set up an editorial calendar so you have a publishing schedule to follow.
And now the last step: get writing!
The sooner you start adding posts to your blog, the sooner you can be on your way to being an expert freelance writer.
What’s Your Best Tip for Becoming an Expert?
Do you have an insider tip on what it takes to become an expert freelance writer?
Head to the comments and tell me about it, then pin and share this post if it helped you. 🙂
And if you haven’t started a blog yet, then head on over to Siteground now!