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How to get paid to be an online advice columnist

Updated February 21, 2017

The Atlantic columnist Jeffrey Goldberg has heard it all (see link). Topics once considered too risqué to publish come his way daily. Does his job seem sublime? Of course it does. And he gets paid for doing it! Fortunately, there are many opportunities to join his club. Muster your best advice-giving skills and practice looking unflappable in the face of the most intimate personal details and a career as a paid online advice columnist may be in your future.

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  1. Ask yourself if you felt comfortable dishing out the truth without worrying about losing friendships. Reflect back on family disputes. Were you the one called upon to settle arguments and serve as mediator? Use the answers you provided to determine if you’re on track to get paid for your online advice.

  2. Take classes to develop a distinct writing style and master the art of creating succinct paragraphs. Self-edit your writing so every word counts and be merciless about striking unnecessary phrases. Find a voice that’s conversational, compassionate, honest and straightforward.

  3. Train yourself to catch personal judgments that don’t belong in an advice column. Read online advice columns and find out how much their authors make. Offer to write an advice column for your college website, club newsletter or local publications in return for a small salary to break into the field.

  4. Establish a blog when you're ready to fly solo. Come up with a few typical scenarios and put each into the form of a letter For example, "I found my boyfriend cheating with my best friend" or "I think I might have contracted an STD." Provide answers so readers get a first-hand look at how you deal with difficult issues and encourage them to send their problems your way.

  5. Promote your blog by loading it with keywords that will drive search engines to your site. Employ multiple social networking tools to help drive traffic. Hire a code writer or web pro to optimise your blog so links pop up when keywords appear. Encourage your fan base to click on those links. Soon, search engines will start paying you to drive business their way as you build a name and a reputation.

  6. Expand your moneymaking potential and enhance your credibility by writing an advice book and self-publish it using Print on Demand technology. Promote the book on your blog. Make personal appearances to build name recognition and before you know it, others will be asking for your advice on how they can make a career as a paid online advice columnist.

  7. Tip

    Make yourself the online advice columnist everyone turns to by using some of the money you earn to take psychology classes. This will give your recommendations credibility.

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Things You'll Need

  • Internet blog

About the Author

Based in Chicago, Gail Cohen has been a professional writer for more than 30 years. She has authored and co-authored 14 books and penned hundreds of articles in consumer and trade publications, including the Illinois-based "Daily Herald" newspaper. Her newest book, "The Christmas Quilt," was published in December 2011.

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