EDITOR’S INTRODUCTION: Today, guest author Dr Kristina Nelson tells us of her experiences writing for Blasting News, a site that pays writers a revenue share on the articles they produce – or that’s the theory.
Blasting News had previously come to my attention because I’d seen them advertise for writers on ProBlogger Jobs. However, a little due diligence led me to this post on Carol Tice’s fantastic Make a Living Writing blog, and the large number of comments below it. These included mentions of people not being paid, and even talk of FTC complaints.
This alone was enough to put me off Blasting News as a place to apply to, so it was interesting to happen across somebody with their own tale to tell. There are some positive elements to this story, but some reasons for alarm too. So we shall leave you to make your own mind up about this freelance opportunity.
I should emphasize that all the views expressed in this piece are the writer’s own, and do not necessarily represent the views of HomeWorkingClub.com.
Initial Experiences with Blasting News
My experience with Blasting News is certainly an interesting one, as it started out strong, and then the end result of my work there was a complete turnaround from how things began.
One thing I can suggest to writers deciding to work there is to be very careful with how they approach things. Blasting News has earned itself something of a negative reputation amongst the writers that work for the digital publication. My involvement is certainly one of the many warning stories you may discover about them on the Internet.
When Blasting News hired me, I had applied, and they sought me out, promising the position of a Senior Writer based on my experience and knowledge in the industry. I was given their “Writer’s Guide,” and allowed into the system, spending some time learning their standards and expectations.
Initially, I was not sure what to write about, so I wrote a couple of general articles, but noticed they probably weren’t very eye-catching. Since Blasting News pays based on the number of reads you are able to attract per article in thirty days, I realized what I was writing was not interesting enough to grab the attention of many people. So, I had to up the ante a bit with my compositions.
For new writers trying to get some publications out there to get hired by other companies, I can certainly see how Blasting News would be a helpful start. Since they also connect to a writer’s various social media accounts, it’s a helpful way to develop a readership on social media, as long as the new writer is able to write catchy material.
While I was still in the process of developing my readership at this time, but already did have a decent amount of readers, the concept seemed somewhat useful. However, I already had several publications out on the market, so I realized that my first few articles, which were not widely read, were not going to pay me well. Unlike some other digital publications that allow you to develop a stream of income as long as your article stays published (some call it a lifetime revenue income, but it really only lasts as long as the website and publication lasts) based on readership, the writers at Blasting News, in comparison, only have a short thirty days. This length of time puts the writers at a disadvantage unless they are able to make their articles “pop” out to the general public immediately.
Experimenting with News Writing
Wanting to still experiment with Blasting News, even though I found the short thirty days of payment a relative disadvantage compared to other websites in the digital publishing world, I decided to attack something that was extremely popular at the time I was writing: the 2016 presidential election. I noticed some writers already doing this and using some bias and satire in their writing. Blasting News has a section titled “Opinion” and allows writers a little more freedom with their speech when publishing there.
I did find Blasting News to be fairly open with how and what they published, and this I did like. While the articles writers compose do go through an editor to make sure their standards are met, and sometimes the articles were edited more than I liked, I still felt I was able to get my gist of opinion across. When I decided to start publishing satire articles about the election on Blasting News, they did allow me plenty of room to do what I wanted to do with my writing.
As I came up with my political satire articles, I developed it into a column idea that I started promoting through social media. I decided to write about both candidates, poking fun at each one, which made my approach to writing on the “Opinion” pages of Blasting News far different than what many of the other writers were doing – which was usually backing just one candidate and making fun of the other.
I also decided to give my column an overall goal – that of inspiring people to vote in an election that many people did not feel they wanted to vote in at all – even if they simply wrote in their candidate of choice. The lesson I chose to teach my readers was that they did not hate the act of voting, and if they didn’t vote, their candidate choices could only get worse in the future. Instead, what they hated was the candidates—and they should vote so they don’t lose this much-cherished right.
The controversy I generated and the tag line I eventually came up with – “Making people laugh about the 2016 election so they don’t have to cry” – was a hit. I was able to attract many readers doing light advertising on my social media, and many, many people were active commenting on my Facebook and Twitter. Some of my followers even included famous CNN correspondents like Soledad O’Brien.
All of the reads I attracted pushed me to the top slot in the United States for a time, and I also won the Golden Pen award for August. I was excited about all of this, but one strange thing started to happen with the digital publication – even with all the readership and noise I generated, I was not getting paid.
When I started doing research on Twitter, Facebook, and Linked In, and connecting with other Blasting News writers, many of them had similar stories – especially the writers like me that had been the most popular and generated the most reads. Most of them told me Blasting News was no longer responding to their emails about payment, and eventually, this happened to me, too.
While I was able to use Blasting News to generate a decent readership and I did enjoy the writing, there is a huge cautionary lesson here for writers deciding to go the route of working for Blasting News, and that’s about payment. Had I been the only person with a story like this, I might feel differently, but because I discovered so many popular writers out there with similar stories about Blasting News, it is a place to be wary of.
If you have any related stories to tell about Blasting News, please let us know in the comments. Similarly, if anyone from Blasting News would like to come back to us with their take on the various reports of non-payment, please contact me.