Are you hardly getting by as a freelance writer by bidding on job boards? How about stepping up your game and getting a few clients of your own?
This guest post by Michael Chibuzor explains 10 strategic ways to position your blog to attract more clients, and I’m in total support of most of the tips explained – in fact, they’ve worked well for me!
“Attracting paying clients is tough!”
You’ve worked your ass off – all in the name of marketing your writing skills. Oh, if only you understood how positioning your blog can cause a meteoric growth in your writing career.
Believe me, every successful freelance writer has paid handsomely to be where he/she is today. I recall how I went through sleepless nights just to complete a $5 – $15 project.
Did I work in ignorance, or is there something I wasn’t doing right?
I didn’t know there were more paying writing offers out there. I was also pursuing clients, rather than attracting them. And this is very important: if your goal is to attract clients, you have to do your marketing differently.
Without much ado, here are 10 strategic ways to position your blog to attract clients easily.
Note: The fact that it’s easy doesn’t make it a simple task. You still have to work extra hard, but once you’re on par, clients will fall in love with you. It’s a guarantee!
1. Define Your Blogging Terms
Now, there are things you ought to do as a blogger. Most freelance writing experts were first bloggers before they started writing professionally. And this is what I recommend for my students – become a blogger first, before selling your writing skills.
The secret is to define your blogging terms. A lot of people still write generic articles just to make up for daily posts. And I must commend those whose objective is to update their blogs on a daily basis. For me, it’s scary. I can’t update my blog every day.
Your blogging terms would guide your every step. It’ll set the mark and culture your writing. Rather than coming up with post ideas or padding your contents just to make up 600+ words count, you streamline and work on improving your personal life. Potential clients would be attracted to you if your blog is specific, detailed and well-planned.
2. Build a Strong Foundation
The foundation of your freelance writing career matters. Since you’re using a blog to market your creativity, you must build a sturdy (firm) business from the outset.
Why would you go out to look for paying clients when your in-house contents are quirky and irrelevant? Make your blog ready to take writing projects. Nothing is as important as having a resourceful blog.
As a content marketer, the first thing I did prior to applying for writing jobs, was to write 20 unique and detailed (2000+ words each) articles for my blog. These 20 articles were targeted to my clients: how entrepreneurs can grow a better business, generate leads and make more money.
Corbett Barr calls it the epic shit. You need to write epic shit to build a strong foundation and be consistent. A blog is expected to attract the right audience..
3. Decide What You Want Now
What exactly do you want from the freelance writing industry?
Are you satisfied with $2 – $20 writing projects or you want to cross the red line? Can I tell you something? There is a force in DECISION. The moment I took a decision to quit bidding at Elance and Odesk, something fabulous and extraordinary began to happen in my blog and general life.
A fresh and passionate intuit dawned on me. Oftentimes, we’re unable to make the right DECISIONS because we’re afraid of staying broke or losing clients. Well, you don’t have to allow negative and inferiority complex (low self-esteem) rule your life. If you allow it, it can ruin your writing career. Have you decided to write only helpful and valuable blog posts?
No, writing every day wouldn’t help. You’ve got to slow down a bit and watch the radar, then get back and craft something that swallows your target audience and causes them to hire you.
4. Cleanup Your Sidebar Right Now
I often see a lot of bushy sidebars. It’s time to clean up the mess and become professional. Yes, you can make extra money from affiliate marketing, but you have to be smart about it.
Do you think having 3 colorful affiliate banners on your Sidebar will generate more clicks, sales and commissions? Think again. A month ago I checked my clickbank account to see how much I earned, and guess what? I earned $21.39 after 4 months of displaying the banner.
I had no other choice than to discard the banners and make my sidebar unique, professional and business-minded. If you’re truly serious with your writing career, then get focused. If you play your cards right, you can earn $1,000 – $10,000/month and live the internet lifestyle you’ve always imagined. Potential clients have asked me to plead with you concerning the busy sidebar.
Yes, you can add one affiliate banner, but make sure it’s relevant and matches your theme. Have a widget for popular posts, recent posts, your personal photo and links to your landing pages. That should be all. The secret to building a profitable blog is to write, write some more and write many more articles consistently.
5. What Do Clients Really Want?
Have you ever seen a 2-year old crying and beating his mother? The mom in turn couldn’t do anything because she doesn’t know what the child wants. Does it mean the baby is stubborn? I don’t think so. The baby wants something and the mom is yet to pinpoint what the need is.
This also applies to blogging and marketing as a whole. Some folks do not know what clients want, so they serve the wrong meal every time. Clients are often disappointed when they want a particular thing but can’t locate the right solution on your blog.
Market research is as important as setting up a blog for your business. If you want to triple your income online and become the go-to person for writing advice, get to know your audience. You’ve been tweeting blindly for months and years. The best time to listen to your followers, fans and audience is now. Spend time with them. Potential clients want to be heard.
Hang out with them. When you send a tweet, wait and see how people react to it. Become eager to reply to comments and appreciate retweets. When they eventually visit your blog, the chances of getting hired are pretty high because you are passionate about others. You’re a good listener.
6. Ignore Guest Posting Noise
Oh, “Guest posting is the mother of all marketing tactics” – Michael Chibuzor
I love to write for others and the post you’re reading is a guest article. I have written over 600 guest posts for myself and clients. It’s the best thing that can happen to your business. But be very careful…
Guest posting can destroy your blogging business. Yes, you can drive traffic, build backlinks, enhance credibility and also make money if you do it right. There is so much noise out there.
Just because you enjoy writing guest posts doesn’t make you an exceptional blogger. Have you considered your audience, blog readers and customers? Guest posting can make you neglect these precious people.
It takes time to grow a better blog and create the positive aura for target audience. Guest posting alone CANNOT engage your audience. You need to be around when they need you. You need to answer their questions, ask for their opinions and give away valuable e-books, membership access, articles, advice and money (even when you earn less than most writers).
Don’t be carried away by the noise out there. Everyone is talking about guest posting. Yes, they’re right; it works but you’ve got a business to run. You need to MIND YOUR BUSINESS.
7. Ditch “I’m Sorry Posts
A blog post is meant to be evergreen, insightful and usable. Don’t you think it’s wrong to beg for forgiveness before writing one?
I actually got this secret from a mentor, Chris Brogan. He stressed that saying I’m sorry when you missed out on a Post Series or Email Newsletter demeans your expertise. When clients come to you and see the “I’m sorry” post, they would instantly assume that you’re the lazy type and run away.
The rule of thumb is to start from where you stopped last time. Clients are looking for the slightest reason to ditch your application. You’ve to make your blog post active, not passive. It should be crowned with confidence and zeal. BTW: Do you know the 10 ways confidence can make you a better writer, click here.
8. Your Blog Is Not For Everyone
Do you need to attract 10,000 responsive visitors before your blog can attract clients? I don’t think so. I got my first client after 3 months of starting my blog. I logged into my Google Analytics account one fateful day and saw 32 visits.
Truth be told, you don’t need everyone to succeed as a freelance writer. Take it or leave it!
Your focus should be redirected on the target audience. Do you complain about web traffic all the time? I know why – you think traffic is all that matters.
But that’s not true. If you can work to bring 10 unique, responsive and savvy entrepreneurs to your blog on a daily basis, you’ll succeed more than a person who receives 1,000 generic visitors who care less about your latest post. If your blog is about small business growth, stay focused at it. And if you teach people how to write for traffic and money, don’t write about real estate – got the point?
9. Turn Your Clients Into Formidable Evangelists
Who doesn’t want satisfied clients?
The best way to skyrocket your writing career is by turning your current clients into formidable Evangelists.
It’s the duty of the Evangelist to bring souls to the Kingdom of God without asking for monetary rewards or incentives. Wow, so this is the best way to initiate word of mouth marketing and build a profitable freelance business? Yes, it is.
Your current clients are goldmines. You have to treat them fine and if possible, over-deliver on what you promised. I’ve been able to turn two of my clients into Evangelists and they’re happy with the new job offer. Lol!
After writing for my client, I would do something spectacular. I don’t stop at writing, I still do things that weren’t in the agreement (no, I wasn’t breaching the contract). Whenever I publish a new article, I would tweet it to my responsive twitter followers and blast a quick email to my list members. Within 30 days, this new post would garner 20 – 30 cute comments and links. And I’ve being using this strategy to grow my clientèle since 2010.
Your current clients are already Evangelist, but you must ordain them. If you’re working on a project, don’t just stop at writing. You could optimize for long-tail keywords for easy search engine ranking, share posts with fans, write a guest post to promote it – do it with courtesy and don’t charge for it.
Your clients would storm the streets, conferences centres, workshops, offices and high trafficked blogs to evangelize (refer and convert new clients) for you – with joy. You’re blessed. Hahaha…
10. Re-purpose Your “Contact Me” Page
What do you have on your “contact me” page?
Isn’t there a way to make it more powerful and attractive to clients? As the final piece of puzzle, I want to show you how to re-purpose the aforementioned page to entice writing clients. Ideally, make your contact page visible. In fact, it should be more visible than the ‘submit guest post’ page.
On that page, start with appreciation. Salute people professionally without sounding so autocratic. Your attitude matters. What a lot of writers fail to realize is that you can’t pretend to be who you’re not. So, you have to earn the prospective client’s trust.
Now, most people would like to contact you via the form, while other people would prefer the direct email. Also include your personal telephone number where you can be reached and don’t forget to include your Facebook fan page and Twitter handle.
Ask clients to fill the form if they want to hire you and you’ll get back within 24 hour. Don’t promise what you can’t do – it’s a dent on your self-image. If someone wants to be a friend, they should follow you on twitter and like you on Facebook. You really do not need many friends. Or do you?
Your Turn To Slap Me
Phew, I thought I would keep you reading for the rest of the day, but I’ve got to go. We’re done with the post, but before you write your comment(s), I would like to know how freelance writing has changed your life.
Are you still struggling to gain traction or are you living the freelance lifestyle already?
Be specific and tell me how you got your first client. You’re a bundle of solutions to your world – See you at the top!
Michael Chibuzor is a confident freelance writer from content marketing. Creatively, he’s served over 50 small and mid-sized businesses with exceptional and results-driven contents. If you want to attract more paying customers and make more money, hire Michael to write for you.