If you’re a freelancer of any kind trying to make your living by getting clients over the web, you probably have a blog. If you’re struggling to get a steady stream of clients who pay well, your website — and how your blog fits into it — may need to be examined. What I do is partly freelancing and many of my blog consulting clients are freelancers who have benefited from this information (tailored to their exact needs, of course).
1. The Purpose of Your Blog
The reason you have a blog is attract clients. That’s all. However, a lot of nuance and subtlety goes into achieving that. Being a leader among your peers, who are also your (hopefully friendly) competition, is one aspect of this. Writing posts which only attract others in your field, however, does not “speak” to the needs of your client. Making the customer the hero does.
2. Home Page Design
The home page of your site should unmistakably present your offer (what you do) in terms your prospects want to hear. Make it clear you are for hire and what for. The blog is secondary to this. That means that if it’s on the home page at all, it should at least be farther down the page or be headlines (and possibly excerpts too) which link to their posts. My own site is a great example of this. It’s not the only way, nor is it the best way for all people, but damn it sure works well for me. If you want another great example, check out my friend Chris Johnson’s Flat Rate Biz Sites. Or Men With Pens. Both do this differently than each other. Each approach works.
3. How They Hire You
How to get started working with you should be unmistakably obvious. I’m talking big-fat-giant-click-here obvious. Nobody should ever wonder, “How do I hire this person?” This is related to the previous two points, but I can’t tell you how many freelancer blogs I’ve seen that don’t even have a link that says “Hire Me” or “Work with Me.” Put another way: a generic catch-all “contact” page on your site is not good enough.
4. Why They Hire You
If a prospect finds your site via search or is referred by a link (blog posts get spread around via social media, which generates traffic), hopefully they’re visiting because they’re in the market for your services. Your post headlines will accomplish much in this area (or hinder you, if you’re doing it wrong). The question in their minds is: why should I hire YOU?
As a freelancer, you’ve got several ways to answer that silent query:
- Free, helpful, valuable download
- Other kinds of endorsements which show “social proof” like “seen on ______”
- To repeat my first point: post content that speaks to them, not other freelancers in your field
5. Promotional Ecosystem
Think of your blog like a hub. You want to create sign posts which point back to it so prospects can hire you. This is where growing your social network helps. Through social media and other forms of networking (live events, good ol’ phone calls, etc.) you develop a “promotional ecosystem” designed to funnel traffic back to your blog so prospects can hire you.
As a form of “enlightened self interest” or “givers gain” (however you want to phrase it), curating helpful content for your prospects makes you a thought-leader in your field and drives traffic back to your site. By providing excellent content which is not your own creation, your helpfulness engenders trust and grows your audience. Then when you do promote your own content into the mix. you get traffic & links, which leads to more & better clients. The big channels for your promotional ecosystem are:
Over to You
What do you want to know about freelance blog marketing? Your questions and suggestions will help me create better blog posts, training programs and products for you. Do you have any tips of your own to share with other freelancers who blog? Love to see them in the comments!