Guest post by Steff Metal who blogs at Grymm and Epic, a business blog of a different stripe.
We all know a blog can be an excellent tool for introducing clients to our writing, but many freelance writers don’t use their blogs in an effective way. Is your blog attracting new clients, or just new readers?
It’s Not About You
We all love reading personal stories, particularly if they’re heartwarming or hilarious. But we don’t normally read them thinking, “Steff cracks me up with stories about her husband’s mission to sculpt a model train layout through the centre of the kitchen. She’s just the lass to write my sales page!”
Likewise, clients aren’t all that interested in YOUR business – that is, the business of writing. Unless they’re writers, of course. But if you can show potential clients how your writing can improve their business, you’re onto a winner.
What DO clients want to read about?
The first step to writing a blog to attract clients is to figure out who your ideal clients ARE, and what problems they want solving. The more you know about them, the more highly targeted your blog will become. So it’s time for a little client research.Think about the clients that you already have, or the clients you’d like to have. What industry do they work in? What kinds of writing jobs do they usually need? What can they do themselves, and what do they outsource? What questions to they always ask? What are their demographics – age, sex, location, etc. Who are THEIR target customers?
Find trade magazines or blogs in your industry and use the articles inside as a jumping-off point. What do the readers most want to learn about? This is where blog comments become particularly useful – look at which articles people found the most helpful, and which generate more questions. You could even poll current clients: ask them about the topics they’re most interested in reading about, or the areas of their business they know need work.
- Keep a notebook or file full of notes about your clients and their problems. You can use all this info when creating blog posts. Here are some ideas:
- How could your clients save time? Create a list of industry-specific productivity tips.
- How your clients could use a blog / newsletter / social media to improve their business. Be sure to add a plug for your writing services.
- Could you interview businesses in your niche?
- Can you write a how-to article about a particular piece of technology or a software program most of your clients use?
- Do you write for non-profits? If so, they might be interested in reading about fundraising ideas or ways to manage donors.
- Do you write for parenting publications and companies? If so, maybe they’d like to know about marketing ideas that appeal to mums.
Becoming an Expert
Being considered an expert in your niche is never a bad thing. When I’m looking to hire a freelancer for a project, I want to hire someone who’s highly regarded, understands my specific problems and can help me fix them. This is just what a potential client is looking for when they stumble across your blog. Who are they more likely to hire? The freelance writer blogging about their industry, or the freelance writer blogging about her cats?
The more client-centric articles you write, the more visible you become in your niche. You start getting linked up on industry sites, talked about in forums, and move up the searches in Google. This means more eyes on your blog and more client work. All this happens naturally once you begin thinking of your blog as an extension of your writing business.
And this doesn’t mean you can’t write about your cats or your mad railway-modeling husband sometimes. The most important thing is to keep your client in mind when you’re blogging. Always ask yourself “what would they like to read about? What problems can I solve?”
What do you blog about? Do you regularly attract clients via your blog?
Steff Metal is a creative copywriter, blogger, and heavy metal rebel living in New Zealand with her cantankerous drummer husband and their medieval sword collection. She offers practical and hilarious advice to help creative folk succeed on her Grymm & Epic Copywriting blog. Her FREE ebook, “Unleash the Beast: Releasing Your Inner Creative Monster” is available, provided you’re not afraid of tentacles.