4 Reasons It Pays to Write for Free

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Why would you write a guest post for free when you could spend that time writing an article that someone would pay you for?

Isn’t that a waste of time?


No, no, no, no, no! Writing guest posts can be an excellent way to build your brand and your business.

Unpaid Writing Gigs

I owe my success thus far in part to getting an unpaid writing opportunity for the Huffington Post. I applied to their unpaid job listing and they gave me a chance to write a trial article. They liked it and I was accepted into their blogging platform.

Now I can post as often as I want. I shoot for once per month, as the exposure is great, but I don’t want to over commit myself. I want to make sure that every piece that I submit to them is excellent.

At one point I had four different outlets that I would write for on a regular basis for unpaid. I lessened these opportunities over time, as I built up my client base. It’s now down to two – HuffPo and Thank the Now.

Continuing to write for HuffPo is a no-brainer, the exposure and credibility I get from being a contributor is awesome! I continue to write for TTN, because it’s enjoyable more than anything.

Guest Posting on Other People’s Sites

I’ve also guest posted on many other blogger’s websites in the last six months. You may have seen me on Leaving Work Behind, The BecomerMaking Sense of Cents or most recently on Sprout Wealth. Guest posting can be really fun and I plan to continue doing it at least once per month, if not more!

Even though there’s not always an immediate payoff (though there are paid guest posting opportunities out there), there are many other benefits to guest posting or writing for free. Whether it’s a one-off opportunity or a regular thing, here are four reasons why you should start writing guest posts today!

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1. Reach a New Audience

This is probably the most easily identified reason that people choose to guest post. When you write a post for someone else’s site, you broaden your reach and typically get the opportunity to interact with readers that haven’t seen your work before.

Take the time to make your contribution extra special. Writing an excellent posts gives you the chance to woo new readers and hopefully compel them to click on over to your blog. Ideally they’ll like what you have to say so much that they’ll become regular readers of your blog too!

2. Connect with People of Influence

Writing content for someone else’s blog is a great way to strengthen your relationship with that person. This post is a fun example of how I was able to write a guest post about connecting with people of influence.

Ideally you should shoot for writing for sites that have a larger reach than you do currently. In the beginning I wrote for some sites that were bigger than me, but I also wrote for a few that were just getting started too. The reason that I did this was to both deepen a relationship and also to practice and “hone my craft.” The more you write (in theory), the better you get!

By getting published on a popular blog/website in your niche, you also boost your cedibiility. It increases your odds of getting a guest posting slot on someone else’s prominent blog. It also can make you look impressive to potential clients!

3. Test the Waters of Other Niches

Guest posting is a great way to build your portfolio. If you’re short on samples, start networking with people you know that have blogs (ideally in your niche or the niche you’re trying to break into). Or if you’ve been a follower of someone’s blog for a long time, reach out to see if you can guest post for them. The worst they can say is no!

You can also write about things that you might not currently have samples in. Maybe you want to break into DIY or Travel writing. If you don’t currently have samples in that area, consider securing a guest posting opportunity to get your first sample. That way the next time you apply for a DIY or travel writing gig, you have a sample specific to what you’re applying to write about. Win, win!

4. Get New Clients

I actually got a new client from writing a guest post a couple of weeks back. I’m always excited when someone new reaches out and says they found my blog from a piece I wrote elsewhere. Imagine my surprise when this person asked if I had capacity to take on a new client and inquired about my rates.

I was thrilled to say the least. We emailed back and forth, he paid a deposit and I got started on the copy writing project. We’ve since done another project together and are in talks of starting one more. You never know where your next client is going to come from!

In Conclusion

Writing for free can pay off over time – in more ways than one! Although you can source paid guest posting opportunities, unpaid ones have their perks as well. From building your portfolio to building relationships and introducing your content to new readers and potential clients, the list of benefits is large!

Beware not to spend too much time writing for free. If you’re just getting started, it’s one of the best ways to build samples, connect with other bloggers in your niche and hone your craft. You never know where the opportunity might lead!

Are you in the habit of guest posting consistently? Why or why not?

P.S. Ironically I have a guest post on The Becomer today called 5 Tips for Writing a Successful Guest Post. You should check it out!

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17 thoughts on “4 Reasons It Pays to Write for Free”

  1. I love guest posting! It helps develop my niches and helps to reach a new audience. Guest posting for big sites is always a great thing for your credibility as a freelance writer, but don’t forget the little guys! I always try to make room for guest posting on lesser well known sites.

    Great tips!


  2. I generally believe that it’s okay to write for free….when it benefits you more than the money would. I have definitely done it from time to time. The problem comes when big name media companies decide they don’t need to pay anyone because they can pay in “exposure.” That’s really annoying. Exposure doesn’t pay the bills! =)

  3. Wow. Gina, what a piece. I’ve basically spent the last 2 hours or so reading your material. I came through Tom Ewer’s message I got in my inbox about an article you posted on his website. I loved the article and then followed on to your website. Now… I’m loving this. Bookmarked already. Thanks for the great resource here. My orientation on guest blogging for free has at least shifted significantly.

    • Hi Nicholas! Thank you for stopping by (and for reading so much of my content)! I really appreciate you taking the time and letting me know what you’ve found to be valuable.

  4. What an awesome post Gina!

    I just found your excellent blog, while leaving a comment on
    Elna Cain’s excellent blog!

    I saw your awesome headline, and the marketing detective side of
    me compelled me t stop by and check things out, and I’m so
    glad I did!

    The proven (long term) marketing concept and equally important mindset
    you’re sharing, is and can potentially become an incredible long term door
    opener, if your audience can truly grasp what you’re sharing!

    It sort of morphs into the whole “total lifetime value of a customer” perspective.

    After all, regularly guest posting on site with such massive exposure and ever growing reach as the HuffPo is freaking huge!LOL!

    It’s sort of like being a struggling, unknown up and coming comic, that’s regularly gets featured on or or two of the major late night TV shows!

    How long would it take for that type of major continuous mass exposure, to possibly lead to some major commercial endorsements, and or major TV & movie roles etc!

    You are obviously a very skilled and brilliant writer, but I say you are equally an
    equally as skilled and incredibly brilliant marketer as well!LOL!

    And whether you’re interested in pursuing that potential income stream or not,
    just yet!

    Sooner or later, I say you’d be extremely wise to add marketing/consulting to the mix to your arsenal as well! Because you are definitely a natural!LOL!

    If you’ll please excuse me now, I’ve got to go treasure hunt more of your
    awesome post!This was a great, “what’s in it for me?” type of customer
    centered main power headline BTW!LOL!

    • Hey Mark – thanks for stopping by and reading. I’m glad you found value in the posts you’ve read so far. Marketing consultant is now a part of my bio and we’re working towards taking on our first agency client. Exciting times – thanks for your support!

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