Writing Contest for Bloggers and Reporters: Three $75 Prizes

June 15, 2014

I am constantly in search of top-notch writers who can blog.

You’d think it would be easy to find good freelancers, especially considering we want to PAY them, but the truth is, it can be a difficult task. It’s not difficult to find writers, mind you; it’s difficult to find good writers.

Why do I want to pay bloggers? Because my company manages a handful of blogs, and we need people to write for them. (Speaking of, here’s a list of our writing opportunities. You can also sign up for our Freelance Bloggers Database.)

Writing contest

Specifically, we need solid writers we can turn to when we want to assign a blog post, bloggers who are able to turn around assignments within a week or two.

We call these reported blog posts. What the heck is a reported blog post? This isn’t a term you should already know; it’s one I invented for my Socialexis team. A reported blog post often has a newsy angle and quotes from sources and/or examples, but it’s not written in formal news style. Instead, it has an informal and fun voice throughout the post, as well as a playful introduction that pulls in the reader. It feels like a blog post, but includes reported information.

You can read the full definition of a reported blog post here, and that link also offers some examples. (And if you’re going to participate in the opportunity outlined below, make sure you check it out!)

With my background in journalism, I figured reporters would be a good choice for this type of work. But they often lack creativity and are unable to write in the informal, fun voice we use for most of our blogs. So I tried coming at it from the opposite angle, approaching people who billed themselves as freelance writers and asking them to report on a topic, but non-reporter freelancers tend to turn down posts when they’re not an expert on the topic.

Here’s a secret I learned in journalism school: a good reporter or freelancer can cover anything. You might specialize in certain topics, but if you’re asked to write about something, you can use research and interviews and sources to make it happen.

Anyhow, this leaves us in the current predicament: we’re always looking for bloggers. So today I’m offering a trial opportunity: write a blog post about one of the topics below, and if we choose to run your post, we’ll not only pay you for it — $75/post — we’ll also turn to you in the future when we want to assign paid posts.

More details about this writing contest

Interested? Here’s how this will work. (Click here to tweet about the contest!)

The deadline to submit is July 15. Once that deadline passes, my team and I will read all the submissions and choose a winner for each topic. Those three winners will each be paid $75, and their post will run on the corresponding blog. Best of all, we’ll also look to work with those winners in the future, assigning them paid posts when we have the need.

To be honest, my mission here is not to get these three posts written, although that’s a perk. My mission is to find quality writers. That means if your post sticks out to us as well-done, we might ask you to write for our blogs down the line even if you aren’t chosen as a winner.

Sound good? Here are the topics:

Topic #1 — 9 Awesome Networking Events in San Diego

Blog: Brazen Life, which covers professional development, with a focus on networking. Here are guidelines for writing the post.

What to include: You don’t have to live in San Diego to write this post, so long as you have solid research and interview skills. Include 8-12 recurring networking events that take place in the San Diego area. Feel free to quote people you interview or link to event details you find online. Check out these three posts as examples.

Topic #2 — Fun Jobs: Can You Really Turn a Profit Running a Bed and Breakfast?

Blog: The Penny Hoarder, which is about weird ways to earn and save money. Guidelines for writing the post are here.

What to include: Lots of people dream about running a B&B: enjoying a quiet place in the country, forming friendships with out-of-town visitors and making some money all the while. But what’s the reality of running a bed and breakfast? What should you keep in mind if you’re considering it? What does the job really entail, and how easy is it to turn a profit? Can it really be a full-time job, or is it more of a side income? You’ll want to include real examples, so talk to several people who live the B&B lifestyle to see what they suggest.

Topic #3 — The Biggest Mistakes People Make When Building a Wine Cellar

Blog: IWA Wine, which covers all things wine, with a focus on storage. Here are guidelines for writing the post.

What to include: Obviously you won’t be able to write this off the top of your head if you don’t know much about wine or wine cellars, but what you can do is research the topic and interview experts. This has the added bonus of helping you include real people and examples in the post, which will make it that much better. This blog has a more serious tone than the other blogs we manage — we look for a sophisticated voice — but you can still be creative in how you write the post.

How to Submit

Once your blog post is complete…

1. Cut and paste it into Google Docs (if you didn’t write it there originally).

2. Change the title of your Doc so it’s your name, plus the blog you wrote a post for. Example: Alexis Grant, The Penny Hoarder.

3. Share that Doc with jobs@socialexis.com.

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ll add to this section as questions arise…

Can I submit for more than one topic? Yes! Go for it.

What’s the deadline again? July 15, 2014

How do I go about sharing via Google Docs? Here’s a link that explains it.

Do only the winners get paid? That’s right. By submitting a post, you are taking the risk of not getting paid. We’ll only pay for posts we decide to run, and we’re only planning to run one from each category.

If you have questions, you can reach us at team@socialexis.com. We look forward to reading your submission!

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