Jason Pence first got involved with paid blogging in the summer of 2007. A fresh graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in Corporate Communications, he was having trouble finding work with one of the large, high-paying public relations firms that he had aspired to join since enrolling in college. As the days turned into weeks and the job interviews became more and more sparse, he realized that his hobbyist offroad cycling blog was actually starting to make “real” money. Still determined to get a job with a national public relations firm, he set up another blog in the hopes that he could hold out on his blogs’ earnings will taking the time to secure his dream job.
But as the months dragged on, the only people knocking at Jason’s door were other blog owners — who wanted him to write the kind of content for their sites that was drawing readers to his blogs in the thousands per day. Today, Jason is one of the most highly sought-after paid bloggers on the internet, drawing as much as $100 per blog post on a variety of subjects. We recently chatted with Jason about his approach to paid blogging and his outlook on the future of the field.
Did it take you a while to realize that you could actually support yourself off of paid blogging? Or was that a conclusion that you were reluctant to come to?
It’s funny, I wouldn’t say that I was reluctant to come to that conclusion, but I guess I was reluctant to realize that paid blogging even existed. When I started my first cycling blog, I didn’t know anything about the kind of gears that are churning in the background of the internet that drive traffic to different sites and earn other people revenue. I thought a blog was nothing more than a bunch of boring text about what someone ate for breakfast or whatever. And so when people were asking me to write posts for them in exchange for, say, $5 or $10, I thought these were like fluke offers that I couldn’t count on as “income.”
It’s also a matter of legitimacy, I think. I was living with my parents for nearly nine months. Some of the people I had graduated with were making six-figure salaries. I didn’t really want to tell people that I was blogging for a living. It just didn’t seem like something I could tell my parents when they asked me how the job hunt was going. But now I have no problem doing it. I think the field is considered a lot more legitimate now, especially when you realize that it, a lot of times, falls under the umbrella of what you’d call internet marketing. At the time I thought it was just writing about cycling.
How do you find new work as a paid blogger? Is it difficult?
Not really. I think it’s actually pretty easy to get consistent work as a paid blogger once you’ve established yourself. But that’s the key, establishing yourself. In fact, once you’ve got one or two dedicated clients, you end up having to turn a lot of work down. But it may take a while to get there, which can probably be discouraging.
Do you mind telling us how much money you make each month in paid blogging?
It depends. My income has continued to rise each month, too, as I get to charge more for my work and am offered larger, longer projects. But I’ll tell you that last month I made around $3000 before taking any taxes out.
Do you have any advice for aspiring paid bloggers?
It’s like anything else — you have to establish a name for yourself and then start building your client base. That my involve writing a bunch of articles for dirt cheap at first just to prove that you can write well and concisely. But once you do that, you’ll have more work than time to do it. This field is growing rapidly.