April 6, 2020

Freelance writing vs. blogging

When a lot of people try to compare freelance writing vs. blogging, they come at it from an “either, or” perspective. You’re either a blogger who’s making money from your own site. Or you’re a freelance writer who’s paid to create the content for said blogger.

But I’m someone who’s worn both the freelance writer and blogger hats for over a year and a half now. I’ve been able to build a solid six-figure freelance writing business. But, yet, you’re currently reading an article on my own personal blog — a blog which I invest time and money into each and every month.

Why pursue both at the same time? For me, it’s because I recognize that freelance writing and blogging each have a unique set of pros and cons. And, in many ways, I feel that my freelance writing business is actually beneficial to my blogging pursuits…and vice versa.

Freelance Writing vs. Blogging: The Pros and Cons of Each

Below, we take a close look at freelance writing vs. blogging. I’ll openly and honestly discuss the pros and cons of each. And I’ll explain how doing both simultaneously can benefit you in several ways.

Freelance Writing Pros and Cons

Here are several of the main advantages and disadvantages to freelance writing that you need to be aware of.

Pros

  • Immediate income: You don’t have to worry about building an audience. The people you’re writing for already have the audience. You can start making money off your writing abilities right now.
  • Guaranteed return on time: With freelance writing, you can know for sure that your time and effort will translate into income. You write the article and you get paid. Period. Somebody else gets to worry about how to monetize it, market it, build backlinks to it, and update it over time.
  • Income diversification: I do believe it’s helpful as a freelance writer to become known as an “expert” in certain topics. But the truth is you can write about anything you want.  And you can diversify your income by writing for several different clients who each have different focuses and audiences.

Cons

  • Trading time for money: There’s nothing passive about making money with freelance writing. You spend a few hours writing an article and you get paid for your labor.  If you don’t write, you don’t get paid. It’s as simple as that.
  • Topics can be uninspiring or difficult: In my experience as a full-time freelance writer, 90% of my article topics are assigned. While I sometimes get assigned topics that I’m passionate about, other times the topics are incredibly boring. I’ve been assigned all kinds of “I want to gouge my eyes out now!” topics, like “X Places to Find a Notary Public Near You” or “How to Become a Pharmacist.”
  • Income ceiling: While you can make an amazing living with freelance writing, there are limits.  You can only write so many articles per month. And while you can raise your rates as your credibility grows, publications can only pay so much per article. You’ll eventually hit an income ceiling.

Blogging Pros and Cons

Now that we’ve seen the pros and cons of freelance writing, let’s take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of blogging.

Pros

  • Potential for passive income: You could technically write an article once and earn income on it for 10 years or more. Talk about an amazing return on your time!
  • Outsource work: Once your blog is generating a steady income, you can begin to outsource some of the content creation, as well as other tasks like editing, social media scheduling, and backlink outreach. With freelance writing, you’re helping to build up somebody’s else’s asset. But, with blogging, you can pay others to invest in yours.
  • No income ceiling: Let’s say you’re making $2,000 per month with 100 published articles. You could be making $4,000 per month a year from now by doubling your article-count to 200. With blogging, each and every article you write is like another income “block” being added to your business. With freelance writing, however, you’re giving those blocks away to someone else to help build their business a little higher.

Cons

  • No income guarantee: While you could earn income on an article for 10+ years, it’s also possible that article will never make any money at all. In fact, you could spend hundreds of hours on your blog and never make any kind of significant monthly income, much less any profit.
  • Writing will only be one of your many tasks: With freelance writing, you can focus solely on getting paid  to write great content (hopefully, handsomely). But blogging is so much more than that. You also have to think about your site hosting and theme, your social media presence, your backlink profile, site security and backup, finding and joining affiliate programs…and the list goes on and on.  There’s a lot to keep track of when you’re running your own site. And it can become exhausting and overwhelming.
  • Lack of Diversification: In order to be successful as a blogger with SEO, you typically going to need to “niche down.” But isolating your blog content to only a few topics also comes with risk. For example, one of my writing clients only talks about student loans on his site. That’s great for ranking on Google today. But his income will also be decimated if the government ever passes nationwide student loan forgiveness laws.

How Blogging Can Help Your Freelance Writing Business

Here’s what really cool. Trying to choose between freelance writing vs. blogging may not be something you even need to worry about right now. No matter which way of making money you think is best in the long run, doing a little of both for awhile could be a smart move.

Let’s first consider how blogging can help your freelance writing business. In my case, I started my blog about 3 months before I reached out to my first freelance writing clients. I didn’t have any paid writing clips that I could link to in my outreach emails. So, instead, I included links to a few articles from my own blog.

And guess what? It worked! A few of the editors told me that they could tell that I had writing talent from reading some of the content on my site. So my blog articles helped me land writing clients in the short-term. But in the long-term, those same articles could generate revenue for me on their own.

This is why I highly recommend that aspiring freelance writers launch and publish articles on their own site instead of resorting to only searching for guest post opportunities.

But there’s another reason why I think creating articles on your own blog is better than guest posts. Many of the bloggers that you’ll reach out to as a freelance writer will want you to create the articles right inside their WordPress editor.  And, trust me, that don’t have the time or interest in teaching you how to do that.

But knowing that you have your own blog can put them at ease. And it may help you land the gig over someone else who’s only created content in Google Docs.

How Freelance Writing Can Help Your Blogging Business

While I firmly believe that blogging can help your freelance writing business, I believe that the opposite is completely true as well. The first reason that freelance writing can help your blogging business is that it gives you exposure.

Having your name pop up all over the web as a writer for authoritative sites help you build your own credibility. In many ways, freelance writing for the blogger is like getting paid to guest post! The only difference is that you usually won’t get a backlink. However, I can tell you that nearly every one of my clients has been gracious enough to give me a backlink or two from time to time…while still paying me for my work!

Freelance writing can also help your blogging business because you get the chance to see how top blogs are run. I’ve learned so much about keyword research and how to write SEO-friendly content from my writing clients. It’s like getting paid for free behind-the-scenes training on how to build a blog from people who’ve been highly successful at it.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to freelance writing vs. blogging, which is best? I say, why not both!

Over the long-term, I do believe that its potential for unlimited passive income makes a full-time career in blogging the ultimate goal. But if you’re still in the building phase of your blog, freelance writing could help you make money today while giving you the exposure and education that you need to become a successful blogger tomorrow.


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About the author 

Clint Proctor

Hi, I'm Clint! I love writing about everything personal finance. In addition to this site, my work has been featured on several major publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Credit Karma, and U.S. News and World Report. My hope is that you'll be able to find plenty of helpful information and inspiration on this site to help you reach your financial goals. Thanks for visiting!

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  1. I really enjoyed reading about this! As a new blogger who’s very much considering dipping my toes into the freelance writing world, your perspective has been invaluable. Definitely has given me inspiration to sign up to your newsletter to get my free eBook!

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