This article is part of my challenge to builder a new blog from scratch and turn it into a blog generating 4 figures in 3 – 6 months. Learn more about the challenge here.
Guest blogging is a core part of my marketing strategy. I’ve been using it for years now.
I only just realized that I haven’t really written an article on how I leverage guest blogging to get clients, so I’m writing that article now.
First, read this story:
A little over a month ago, I started a public challenge on this blog to build a brand new blog from scratch, implement principles I’ve learned in the past 2 years and turn it into a blog that generates a four figure freelance income in 3 – 6 months’ time.
I’m a firm believer in the importance of letting clients come to you, and that was the idea behind the challenge. Aside from being able to test proven principles I’ve used with WritersinCharge over the years, I decided to take things to another level and do some more experimenting.
For example, I tried pitching a few potential clients using the identity I created for the new blog.
I also worked on marketing the blog by landing guest posts on big blogs.
The results was amazing.
In less than two months of starting the challenge, I’ve gotten two clients directly from the challenge blog.
From my effort of pitching clients directly without relying on the challenge blog as a platform, I was able to get one person to reply.
Surprisingly, the first client I got from the challenge blog agreed to pay my rate of $100 an article with a focus on what my writing can do for his business.
The second client from the challenge blog was also willing to pay $50 – $100 for an article. I didn’t negotiate the amount, since he suggested this pricing and I found it workable.
This is from a brand new blog – barely two months old.
The guy I pitched directly, however, after being presented with my rate of $150 for an article did not reply. I sent a reminder a few days later to find out why, only to discover that he found $150 for an article “ridiculous” and would pay no more than $30 for an article.
My next email trying to negotiate resulted in him asking me not to email him again.
While I still plan to experiment with pitching clients directly and finding ways to get gigs in the future (so I can make better case studies on this blog) this made me come to a very important realization that has helped me over the years:
If you can get a client to come to you, you’ve literally closed the deal.
I saw this clearly in action with the challenge blog when the two clients who came to me directly were willing to pay my rates, while the client I pitched outright devalued what I can offer.
Getting Clients to Come to You
Of course, the purpose of the challenge was to demonstrate the power of getting clients to come to you. I’m also glad I experimented with pitching clients without relying on my blog, and I think the result I got from trying both approach put things in perspective.
Obviously, getting clients to come to you makes it easy to close the deal; you no longer have to do the marketing. They are already convinced that you can help, you just have to let them know exactly how you can help and what they should expect.
With that said, guest blogging is one of the best ways to attract clients to your freelance writing services.
You Don’t Just Write Guest Posts and Expect Clients to Come
Unfortunately, while guest blogging is powerful for getting clients, you don’t just go on a massive guest blogging spree and expect clients to come.
It doesn’t work that way.
When I first started this blog, I had to write 270+ guest posts in an eight month period to get my first client.
With the new challenge blog, however, I was able to get 2 clients after just two of my guest posts were published – and my blog wasn’t even 2 months old!
This made me realize that it’s not just about the numbers but how you approach things, and my experience over the last two years played a major role here.
This article will show you how I use guest blogging to attract clients.
The Two Ways You can Get Clients by Guest Blogging
There are currently only two ways I know of that you can get clients by guest blogging.
- The direct approach
- The indirect approach
The direct approach is based on writing guest posts on major blogs, mentioning your services and expecting clients to come.
The indirect approach is based on deriving benefits and getting clients from your guest post in an indirect way.
In other words, a particular guest post you write might not even result in a single client but it has the potential to get you a lot of clients in the long run.
Both approaches can be very powerful and I’ll be sharing how you can leverage each one below (as well as which one I prefer and have benefited the most from).
How to Get Clients from Guest Blogging using the Direct Approach
Here’s how the direct approach works:
Step 1. You look for a popular blog relevant to your niche, or a blog not that relevant but that “bridges” the topic of the blog that will be hosting your guest post and the topic of your blog.
Step 2. You come up with killer content that makes your expertise shine.
Step 3. You pitch your services in your author bio. Relevancy is very important here.
Step 4. You wait for clients to come in or you keep repeating the process until you get clients.
Depending on which blog you target and a lot of other factors, not every guest post will result in clients for you. That’s why it’s important to target the best blogs and put some effort into your guest posts. Most importantly, you should make sure to pitch your services at the right time.
Here’s how to go through each step and get maximum result.
Step #1: Finding the Right Blogs
Your guest post is only as effective as the blog it is published on. It’s not always about your content.
Even if you have the best post in the world, it will fail on the wrong blog.
When it comes to finding the right blogs to guest post on for the purpose of getting clients directly, make sure that the blog is big enough to deliver results and relevant to your purpose.
Relevancy isn’t always what it seems, though. I said above that it has to be “relevant to your purpose”.
For example, if you want to market your freelance writing services or portfolio to get clients, do you start writing guest posts for writing- and freelance writing-related blogs?
From experience, I can tell you that no matter how big those blogs are you’ll probably get no result. Why? Because the audience of your target blog are writers who don’t need another person to write for them and even if they do, they’ll probably hire the owner of the blog you guested on since they’ve grown to like and trust her style.
On the other hand, if you’re business writer, you’ll get more results by writing killer content for a business website and letting people know you’re available for hire.
Same thing goes if you’re a real estate writer, or a health writer or any other kind of writer.
In other words, the term “relevant blogs” does not signify blogs that talk about the kind of writing you do. It signifies blogs that contain your target client.
With the above said, it’s also important that the blog you submit your guest post to is big enough to be able to attract clients.
Going for a blog established a month ago will probably yield no result. Going for a blog established 5 years ago and with tens of thousands of readers will most probably yield results.
Of course, this is relative but I believe you get my point.
With that said, I believe you shouldn’t target a blog without significant traffic or without at least 5,000 subscribers if you want clients directly from your guest posts.
Other factors will influence your results but the above should be a baseline.
Step #2: Coming Up with Killer Content
While choosing the right blog for your guest post is important, the content you publish on this blog also matters a lot.
The content you publish as your guest post will determine whether you get results or not.
If you publish a mega article filled with data, research and case studies that went really viral on a business site; a lot of similar business sites will be willing to hire you to write business articles for them if they see in your bio that you’re available for hire. Same thing goes for every other niche.
You have to show in your content that you have great knowledge of the field you’re writing about and that you can research and backup your points. This is very important.
In other words, you should abandon the idea of writing a 30-minute guest post even if you’re a fast writer. You should be thinking along the lines of a 2 hours+ guest post that includes research and visual elements to better relay your points.
You’ll also get better results if the post is based on your personal experience and if the topic is something a lot of people have an interest in.
If you have great interest and experience in weight loss and building muscles and you publish an article about it on a major weight loss blog, other weight loss blogs and magazines won’t have problems hiring you to cover similar topics on their outlets. You have the experience and you know what you’re talking about.
Step #3: Writing Your Bio and Pitching Your Services
This is a very important step.
No matter how great your guest post is, nobody will automatically expect you to be a freelance writer – especially in niches where people don’t realize the value of freelance writers yet.
You have to write your bio to reflect what you know and how you can help interested parties grow their business with your content.
To see an example of such a bio in action, one that actually resulted in a client, here’s the one I used for one of my guest posts to promote the challenge blog:
Did you notice how the above author bio reflects my experience while at the same time showing that I can be hired.
Step #4: Rinse and Repeat
While using the direct approach for guest blogging can be very effective, there’s no guarantee that every guest post you write will result in clients.
Several factors will come into place, but you should work towards publishing a significant number of guest posts on big blogs (at least 10 guest posts) and getting a significant number of people to check out your hire me page (at least 500 people) before you conclude that this approach doesn’t work.
In my experience, you’ll get multiple clients with that much effort but the relevancy of the blogs you target and your guest post also matter a lot.
How to Get Clients Using the Indirect Approach
This indirect approach is my favorite, not only because I think it’s more effective than the direct approach but also because I have a kind of obsession for traffic; even if it doesn’t result in revenue. I like seeing those new visitors checking out my website. That’s a subject for another post, though.
Anyways, here’s how the indirect approach works:
Step 1. Write a quality hire me page focused on benefiting from search engine traffic or other forms of marketing.
Step 2. Look for quality and relevant blogs to which you can submit your guest posts.
Step 3. Write a quality guest post and, instead of pitching your services, focus on building exposure or gaining backlinks to your hire me page.
Step 4. Keep repeating the above steps until you get results.
This seems very similar to the direct approach but it’s different.
Here’s why I think it is different and it works better:
- Your guest posts do not have to be groundbreaking, so it takes less effort and time to get your post published.
- Since you don’t want clients directly, you don’t have to be too selective about the blogs you submit your guest posts to. This gives you flexibility.
- If you focus on increasing your search engine traffic you can benefit from increased traffic and clients even after you stopped guest blogging. With WritersinCharge, for example, a post I wrote and stopped marketing around a year ago has resulted in five-figures in freelance writing income for me this year alone.
- Closing deals become easier since you instantly become more credible by association. Here’s how it works; when people new to online marketing come and see your website as #1 in Google, it means you know what you’re doing since Google “endorses” you. This makes it pretty easy to close deals. In the same vein, being able to say you’ve guest written on Problogger or on Forbes or on one gigantic website makes it easy to close deals that didn’t even come directly from that outlet.
- It can be autopilot; even though I haven’t really done any marketing to promote my hire me page or content that lead to clients on this blog for over a year now, I still get client requests every now and then. In other words, I still get clients from work I did last year
There are a lot of other benefits, but that’s not the point of this article. Here’s how you can implement the indirect approach of getting clients from guest blogging for maximum effect:
Step #1: Create a Good Hire Me Page
Unlike with the direct approach I explained earlier in this article, you aren’t selling yourself in your guest posts, since most of the people who will discover you will be total strangers to you.
By creating a good hire me page that is both optimized to rank better in the search engines and that does a good job of convincing people to hire you, you increase your chances of getting hired.
Step #2: Finding the Right Blogs to write Guest Posts for
Also, unlike the direct approach, you don’t have to focus on a strict set of blogs to get results.
You can still benefit from the indirect approach if you target blogs in any niche as long as you can make the content of your guest post relevant to both your blog and the blog you’re writing your guest post for. And as long as you can get a quality link back to your blog.
Also, you don’t have to be specific about writing for big blogs; if you’re writing to improve search rankings for your services page, then any blog with good authority in Google will work.
If you’re writing to benefit from the authority of the blog you’re writing for with the purpose of submitting a pitch elsewhere (or utilizing another form of marketing), then focusing on huge, authoritative blogs will make a lot of difference.
Step #3: Writing Your Guest Post
The next step is writing your guest post.
Make sure your guest post is relevant and qualitative. Unlike the direct approach, you don’t have to worry about selling your services, though.
You can write opinion pieces, articles with tips and tricks or any kind of article without giving preference for a kind of article that will result in direct clients.
Once you’ve written your guest post, you can then focus on getting a link back to your website with the purpose of increasing your search engine rankings; this link should vary in every guest post and should basically contain variations of keywords you want your “hire me” page to rank for.
Here’s a resource to help you learn SEO:
Step #4: Repeating the Process
While this approach has its joy in its long-term value and future potential, you have to invest a lot of effort and wait to get results.
Don’t stop at just one guest post. You should expect to write anything from 20 – 50 guest posts before you can rest and start getting significant results.
Yes, it takes work, but the result for you is: getting consistent client requests for the next year without doing anything, except writing those initial 50 guest posts – published a year ago.
There You Have it!
At more than 3,000 words, you have the exact blueprint I’ve used and refined over the past two years – which I still use to land freelance writing clients thanks to guest blogging.
You can say that the value contained in this post is worth six figures, but here you have it for free. I have just ONE request:
Take action today and make a commitment to implement one or both approaches explained in this article. Do it for a few months and come back to share your results with me.
Also let me know if you need personalized help along the way. It’s worked repeatedly for me so I know it works!
PS. If you’re following the blogging challenge, you read about read earlier in this article, I’ve landed 2 clients already. That’s good news and I have a feeling that this challenge can end in 3 or 4 months without having to wait for 6 months. I’ll be posting a detailed update with exact emails, figures and what led to the results I got on the 17th of this month. Visit this blog and keep refreshing your browser every other hour on that day to get the details. You won’t want to miss it.
PPS. If you don’t mind, I’d appreciate it if you can take a minute to nominate WritersinCharge as a top writing blog here. Only nominate WritersinCharge if you find this blog valuable. Your vote will mean a lot to me and will encourage me to put in more effort to deliver the best to this community. Here’s the link again!