If you’re reading this, I assume you’re either interested in becoming an online journalist or have recently done so. Chances are you’ve decided to stick with it, which is great! Let’s get to the good stuff then – how do you make money as an online journalist?
Step one: Find your niche
The first step in making money as an online journalist is to find your niche. This step is important because it sets the tone for the rest of your money-making journey. If you can become known for reporting on your niche, then you’re golden – you can charge businesses to read your work and potentially earn a respectable living. However, if your niche is obscure, try looking for a different one.
For example, if you’re an environmental journalist who covers climate change and wildlife trafficking, you’re in luck because both of those topics are incredibly important and people are looking for information on both of them. However, if you’re a fashion editor who covers style and fashion, you’re going to struggle to make a significant amount of money. Your audience doesn’t have the spending power and, quite frankly, doesn’t care that much about fashion.
Step two: Build a team
The second step in making money as an online journalist is to build a team. This is important because, as I mentioned above, your niche isn’t necessarily determined by the type of content you produce, but by the audience you attract. So, if you want to become known for your investigative journalism, you’re going to have to do this by producing compelling content that attracts subscribers.
But to do this you first need to have subscribers. And to get subscribers, you’re going to have to produce content that they find valuable. And to get them to value your content, you need to convince them that you’re an expert in your field. Building a team of experts is crucial to your success as an online journalist. For example, if you’re an investigative journalist, you could team up with a marketing specialist to create a compelling piece of content that attracts, and keeps attracting, subscribers. This could be a detailed analysis of a particular business or brand that generates a lot of interest and leads to valuable insight for your audience. Plus, you’re partnering with a specialist who knows exactly how to target a certain audience.
Step three: Grow a following
The third step in making money as an online journalist is to grow a following. Once you have a following, you can then leverage this to step four. But to get this following, you need to establish yourself as an authoritative voice in your niche and show that you’re committed to quality journalism.
Quality journalism doesn’t just mean that your stories are well-written and interesting – it also means that you report the news responsibly and don’t promote certain products or services over others. Establishing yourself as a reputable journalist is very difficult, but it’s also a necessary step towards becoming financially independent. With a good following, you can then approach brands and businesses with confidence and negotiate better rates for content.
Step four: Monetise your content
The fourth and final step in making money as an online journalist is to monetise your content. Once you have a sizable audience, you can then go about setting up a store or a blog to feature affiliate products. These are products that you’recommend’ (in the form of a hyperlink or affiliate link) to people who visit your site. When someone clicks on that link and makes a purchase, you get a cut (usually between 15% and 50%) of the sale.
If you follow the advice laid out above, you’ll be able to make a decent living as an online journalist. However, this also depends on you taking on a few side gigs along the way. For example, you can become a freelance writer for small businesses or blogs. You can also become a social media strategist or a content marketer to get paid to spread the word about businesses and brands.
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