To Blog for Free, or Not for Free: That is the Question

When I returned from the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration there was an email sitting in my inbox requesting rights to publish an article I wrote for free about five years ago for an online publication. The article will be published in an education anthology and I will be paid to release those rights. I wrote the article for free because I had a passion for the subject matter and I loved writing, as I still do. Would I still write for free today? Well, it depends.

Writing and blogging for free is a hot topic these days. Many mom bloggers give away their time and effort by blogging for other sites without pay. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but if you are doing so, make sure you have your eyes set on writing for pay, too. That’s what I did.

Before blogs blew up and I could publish on my own platform I wrote for magazines, books, and huge media sites and was paid for my writing. At the same time, I wrote for smaller sites without pay because I wanted to continue honing my skills and gaining the experience I needed to become the writer I wanted to be. Writing for free is great, but not all the time, ladies.

There is a widely accepted notion in the mom blog community that you have to start somewhere and writing for free is an exceptional way of getting your foot in the door, wherever that door may be. But, before you toss your words out there without pay, make sure to weigh your options and don’t be afraid to turn down opportunities that don’t suit you.

For example, if a big brand is asking you to write content for their site, you should be compensated for that unless the exposure you receive from that partnership far exceeds any amount you would receive. In fact, brands shouldn’t be asking mom bloggers to write for free for them anyway, but that’s another post for another day.

If you are in between writing gigs, blogging for free for another site or blog is a great way to keep your mind sharp and ideas flowing. There’s no doubt about that. Here’s what I ultimately recommend, however. Take your writing, publish it yourself on your own blog or site, and promote the heck out of it. If it’s good information, people will read it and continue coming back for more, and you will build your own audience of readers.

There are benefits to writing for free and there are definite advantages to writing for pay because “free” doesn’t put food on the table or shoes on your children’s feet. Make sure to diversify your writing efforts. Use some of your time to write for promotional purposes (usually for free), but also set your sights on writing for pay because well-written words are worth far more than nothing.

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