If you’ve ever thought about launching your own blog and decided against it, you may want to reconsider. Simply put, the benefits of blogging are immense for freelancers.
First, blogging lets you develop thought leadership in your field, increasing your perceived value in the minds of potential clients — and that means they just may be willing to pay you more. And second, blogging is a highly effective marketing tool. Creating this type of content allows you to boost your visibility, and gives you the chance to show off your brand and personality.
Here are four blogging tips that’ll help you non-writers out there start a successful blog that works for you.
1. Choose a Platform and Name
There are two primary ways to host a blog: On your website (i.e., WordPress or Squarespace), or via a third-party platform like Tumblr (i.e., Clients From Hell) or Medium (i.e., The Business of Media).
Next, come up with a name and/or tagline for your blog — something that clearly articulates your purpose and the topics you want to discuss. For example, Paul Jarvis calls his writings the “Sunday Dispatches” (in the form of a weekly email), while Stephanie Gilbert uses the tagline “Social Media Advice for the Modern Entrepreneur.”
Since so many people use the term “blog” within their blog’s name, a branded name and tagline will put you in a better position to stand out to potential clients.
2. Identify Your Focus
Once you’ve determined a platform and name for your blog, the next step is to develop your focus: who you’re writing for (your audience), and why they should care about your blog.
While you may want to attract small businesses as clients, small businesses themselves are not an audience. Your audience is a group of people, so it’s important to understand which person in a small business would hire you. The verdict? The small business owner is most often the person who makes the hiring decisions, so you should see these entrepreneurs as your target audience.
Now that you know your target audience, ask yourself why these people should care about your blog. In the case of small business owners, they almost exclusively care about a few core values: How can I make more money, how can I save more money and how can I minimize risk? In this scenario, your blog posts should clearly indicate how your services will help them achieve one or more of these goals.
As you can see in the screenshot below, I very clearly articulate my value propositions in the title of this piece:
3. Create a Distribution Strategy
Launching and writing a blog is only half the battle. The other half (perhaps the more important half) is how you get people in your target audience to both see and read your blog — AKA, distribution.
Distribution can take many forms on the internet, but two of the most effective forms to date are email marketing and LinkedIn. To grow your LinkedIn connections and email list, consider a “lead magnet,” like that of Andréa Jones.
4. Add Some Personality
While your blog posts should certainly emphasize your experience, professionalism and expertise, showcasing your personality is just as important. Above everything else, it lets you separate yourself from other people in your space. After all, there are many freelancers who have similar (or more) experience and expertise, so connecting with your audience on a personal level creates a tremendous competitive advantage.
Todd Brison does an excellent job of integrating personal anecdotes and aspects of his life into his blog, which gives his readers a more encompassing view of who he is as a person, not just as a professional.
5. Define What Success Looks Like to You
Of course, you always want to pay attention to page views, average time spent on your website, unique viewers, email opens and social media engagement, but the bottom line is always this: Are your efforts and investments (both time and money) paying off?
For freelancers, this means two main things: Are you consistently attracting more clients, and are you increasing your perceived value in their minds so you can charge more for your time and services? By following the blogging tips I’ve outlined above, you’ll be well on your way to accomplishing both of these goals.