Any good freelancer has a blog – it really is true, but what sets aside the shower awesome blogs from the mundane? How can you use your blog to attract potential clients?
Freelancing isn’t just a “new trend” it’s an established career path that many of us are proud to boast as our own. In the United States alone about 34% of the workforce is participating in freelance work. That’s a LOT of people. While this is a reassuring statistic for most aspiring freelancers (since it tells you that it IS possible to turn this into a career) it also worries some of us.
“How will I set myself apart from everyone else?”
“How will I get contracts and clients when so many other people are vying for the spot?”
“How will I make ends meet on a month to month or week to week basis?”
There are a few key ways to set yourself apart from the competition. For example, you can create a kickass portfolio by working for free and you can find your writing niche and learn as much as possible about it. You already know that having a blog is a great client-attracting practice. In this article, though, we will focus on how you can set your freelancing blog apart from the blogs your competition is creating – by creating and maintaining a supercharged blog.
1 – Attract Clients with a Niche-Focused Blog
Research has repeatedly shown that selecting a niche writing market is important. I’ve discussed it before and I’m certain you’ve read it before on countless other blogs. So how does this matter when it comes to your freelancing blog?
Since your blog is the first thing potential clients will probably find you can use your niche content for two major advantages:
- Your potential clients see that you are proficient and knowledgeable in your niche topic.
- Potential clients are more likely to find your blog.
Given the option who would you hire to do your plumbing: the plumber who has no experience to speak of or the plumber who has a long list of customer endorsements? Since the ghostly nature of much of our work makes it difficult to share our past work experience with our potential clients we have to demonstrate our knowledge in other ways.
If you market yourself as an e-book writer, write content about building e-books, the e-book writing process, and other e-book related information to show your clients you know what you’re talking about. If you market yourself as a beauty blogger, write a bit about blogging in general, but also create your sort-of beauty blog. Try not to make it something that competes with your potential clients’ blogs, though. In the case of beauty blogging, if most of your clients are in the hair care world maybe you can focus your blog on skin care just to show off your ability to write for their intended audience.
Not sure what niche market you fall into or still trying to find one? I came across a very in-depth post on sparkplugging.com that outlines 67 different writing niches for freelancers – check it out.
2 – Learn SEO Best Practices
It’s one thing to create niche-focused content to show off your skills and knowledge, but how will that content matter if your potential clients never find it in the first place? The best way to make sure your clients find you in the heaps and heaps of other competing blogs and freelancers out there is to use SEO best practices to make yourself more visible on search engines. My favorite crash course in SEO is completely free and offered by Moz, check it out.
3 – Show Confidence by Branding Your Blog
If you take your freelancing seriously you already know that freelancing is a business – it is your business. Most businesses have brands and use those brands to stand out in the marketplace, make themselves visible, to differentiate themselves, and to help people remember who they are. Your brand should be no different.
The four most important elements of your brand are: color scheme, logo, font, and voice.
As you can easily see, I’ve chosen a pinky color and a teal color as my major brand colors. They are all throughout my site – on my post graphics, on my e-book, on my website theme, on my logo, etc. Along with the accent colors (white and grey) my brand colors also appear on my social media pages, my Pinterest pins, and (as often as possible) in my Instagram photos (though I admit I have to do better at that).
Creating a quality logo is really important. You want it to portray who you are, what you do, and make you easy to find. You want it to incorporate your brand colors because you will be stamping it on all of your social media accounts, your blog posts, your website – everywhere you can.
You can pay someone to make a logo for you, you can spend hours learning how to logo creators, or you can get a great logo without all of that hassle, I suggest making your way over to Creative Market. I seriously wish that I’d have heard about them when I went to the trouble of creating my brand – my logo took FOREVER to make myself. The logos on Creative Market take a lot of that trouble out – in essence, they are like logo templates.
Depending on how you intend to use your logo, you may consider creating multiple forms of the same logo. Including a few of the same elements (same words, fonts, colors, and graphics) in different shapes of logos can make them easy to use as headers, in banners, as stamps – in circular shapes, square shapes, and rectangular shapes.
Your website, blog, and any promotional materials should use the same font as often as possible. I don’t use purchased fonts on this particular website (I do on others) and that has made it difficult to add my fonts to certain graphics because not all of my programs use the same basic font set.
When you actually purchase a font you can download it directly to your computer and, in some cases, even your cell phone. You can then upload that font to your website (even WordPress websites with dedicated themes), your mailing list host website, graphics creator sites like Canva, and much more. You can even use them in programs like Word for branding your written documents. Again, I will point you toward Creative Market, because they have a great selection of fonts and give you great instructions on how to use them.
For your actual branding in your logo and headers, I suggest using a fancy script-style font to inspire your potential clients to think of the written word when they think of your freelancing abilities.
Hopefully, you know your voice by now. You ARE a writer after all. “But I alter my voice depending on the client I’m working for!” Well, duh. I get that. I do it too. My formal writing style is very different from the informal style you see in this blog. So, why do I use a very particular writing voice on this blog? It shows my personality and my absolute BEST writing style. It may not be my most professional or grammatically correct writing style, but it is the one I am most comfortable with. AND, if it floats a client’s boat, I can be certain I’ll give that client my best possible work. To show your potential clients that you have personality, use your own unique voice and writing style on your blog for all to see.
4 – Make Your Blog Visually Friendly
Choose a layout that makes sense to the aesthetic part of your (and everyone else’s) brain. Don’t just jam it full of information and links and pictures and all those elements you know you need. Instead, think it out beforehand. This goes for your overall website but can also be used for your blog in a very specific way.
To make the blog portion of your website visually friendly, do the following:
- Have only pictures and previews on your main blog landing page with links to full posts.
- Include a clear title in the featured image for each blog post so they are easier to understand when seen on your main landing page.
- Create small paragraphs because they are easier on the eyes.
- USE HEADERS AND SUBHEADERS for easy navigation.
- Bold important phrases so people can skim your article.
- Use bullet points like these ones here to summarize quick info.
- Include inline links to relevant content related to the topic at hand.
- Include image-based and banner links to other topics that may interest your reader (like the mailing list link I have included below this part of this blog post).
5 – Link Some Posts to Your Portfolio and “Hire Me” Page
I mean, really, you’re trying to get a client to hire you, so it’s only obvious that you should direct him or her to your actual portfolio and to see your training/education and what else you have done. You not only keep the client interested longer, you prove that you aren’t afraid to openly display non-confidential work.
Link to your “Hire Me” page in a call to action way by stating something like the following:
- Want to know more about my services? Check out what I have to offer.
- Need help with your beauty blog? I have a range of services you may find useful for taking a bite out of your workload.
Don’t just say “hire me.” Or at least not often. I do it sometimes, just to see how well it will work. For the most part, I’ve found that presenting my “hire me” page as a source of non-obligatory information as opposed to a demand of hiring is most beneficial.
What ways have you tried to supercharge your freelancing blog? How well have they worked? Have other useful information for other readers on this topic? SHARE IT BELOW!