When I tell people what I do for a living, I'm met with blank stares. An Online bingo writer? Huh?
“What's a bingo writer?” they ask, looking more puzzled than a bingo caller who's just pulled out a number 91 ball.
It takes a fair bit of explaining, because it's a surprisingly niche job, in a little-known backwater of the freelance writing industry.
If you're interested in all things bingo, or you fancy making extra income as a budding bingo journalist, then read on, and I'll tell you precisely how I got my job, what it involves, and how you can become a bingo writer too.
I got my fortunate break after an unfortunate set of circumstances. I spent 10 years in the radio industry, writing fun and probably rather annoying radio adverts - you know the ones – hear them just once, and you're singing them for days.
And then the credit crunch came. I lost my happy little job, and found myself on the dole – writing opportunities were few and far between. Then I heard a friend of my brother's was looking for a 'writer' – I had no idea what subject I would be covering, nor what industry it would be in.
And that's when I got my first introduction to online bingo and the world of affiliate marketing. Bingo price comparison sites, such as this one, are known as affiliate marketing sites. Although you cannot play bingo at sites such as this, you can read news and reviews, and somebody has to write these articles. And that person....is me, along with a legion of other professional bingo bloggers.
Three years ago, I was out of work and down on my luck – now I'm earning more than I've ever earned in my life, and the job has some extraordinary perks as well. It's actually fairly easy to get into as well – if you're a fluent writer, you love the game, and you know where to look, with a bit of hard work you could end up doing the same job as me.
I get paid between £6 and £25 for my articles, and I write enough so I can make a full time living. But even writing one or two a day could be a significant boost to your income. If you're looking for a part-time job, then bingo blogging could be perfect.
I love being my own boss. I choose what to wear, I have no annoying colleagues, and I communicate with all my clients via email – my phone never ever rings. Bliss. I can work late at night or early in the morning – there's nobody keeping tabs on me. Providing I meet my deadlines, I can work whenever I want. And this particular boss likes to knock off early on a Friday afternoon and go to the pub. Best boss in the world, FACT.
When I first became a bingo blogger, I didn't know my two fat ladies from my elbow, but now I spend every day immersed in the game, checking out the best sites, rating the software and trying my best to make that big win.
To me, this has been the biggest bingo bonus of all. As long as I've got a computer, and a decent Internet connection, I can live anywhere I want. If you've got itchy feet, then freelance blogging is the perfect career, because you don't need an office. I've lived in America, Canada, and Spain, but after three years on the road, it's about time I returned home to the grey skies of Manchester.
Bingo is becoming increasingly popular – every week, thousands of new people discover how great it is. And more bingo sites mean more bingo price comparison sites, which means there's plenty of work for the opportunistic blogger.
Freelance writers are self-employed, so you've got to sort out your own tax. Thankfully, I've got a great accountant who helped me whittle that bill down as low as possible.
If I get poorly, it's very difficult to take the day off, and to find cover for articles. Thankfully after three years, this has only happened once, but if you're prone to illness, then it's perhaps not the best career move.
Although bingo blogging pays well, there are only so many articles you can write in a day, and therefore, your earnings are capped at how fast you can type.
Plenty of bingo content is, to put it mildly, a load of bingo balls. Crappy articles written by cheap writers are the scourge of the industry. If you see a badly-written review or news article, why not try to re-write it and do a better job? Most affiliate sites have a contact form – send them your new improved version, and ask if they have any writer vacancies. A surprisingly large proportion say yes, and that's how you get the key to the door, and start building your client list.