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Do Freelancers Have to Blog To Get Clients?

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Would you like to have a freelance blog that attracts clients? It's a freelancer's dream -- you dash off short blog posts now and then, prospects read them, get impressed, and ring you right up.

Unfortunately, that often doesn't happen. Instead, freelancers get into blogging because they feel they have to, and often end up frustrated.

In reviewing hundreds of freelance blogs over the years, I've found they tend to come in three typical flavors:

  1. A blog about your freelance work that you hate writing and rarely update.
  2. Several different blogs on various topics you started, but then quickly abandoned.
  3. No blog at all because you "can't decide what to write about."

All of these types of freelancer blogs pose a big problem. If you're investing precious marketing time in writing and styling up your blog it needs to get you clients.

When Your Blog Fails as a Marketing Tool

Here's the thing: A blog on a topic you're not enjoying often comes off stiff. Readers can feel your lack of interest in your topic.

With no blog, your freelancer website may not rank well in search engines, so fewer prospects find you.

These blogs look like ghost towns -- they get no comments or social shares. If there is a place to subscribe by email (a vital element many bloggers miss), no one is signing up.

If you've given up and stopped posting on your freelance blog, your dusty, abandoned blog may be worse than no blog at all. It sends the message, "I tried blogging, but I don't get it."

With no blog, your freelancer website may not rank well in search engines, so fewer prospects find you.

If you know the basics of good blog-post writing, and you've got a clean design, but your blog still isn't working as a marketing tool for your freelance business, it's time to look deeper.

Maybe your blog went wrong right at the start -- when you chose a topic.

Busting a Common Freelance Blogging Myth

There's a popular myth in freelance marketing that your blog simply has to be written for your clients. A graphic designer's blog has to be about how good graphic design helps businesses meet their sales goals, for instance.

But it's just not true.

Here are the critical elements of a freelance blog that result in client leads:

  • The blog is frequently updated.
  • Post headlines are strong and the posts deliver useful information.
  • The blog has engagement -- prospects can see comments, your responses to those comments, and social sharing going on.
  • It's easy to tell you are for hire on the blog, usually via a 'hire me' tab.
  • The blog is a good showcase for the kind of freelancing you do -- it has a good design if you're a designer, etc.

You may notice the glaring omission from this list: That the blog's topic be aimed at your target clients.

It may seem weird, but your blog doesn't have to be written directly at your clients.

Think of your blog as simply another portfolio sample of your work. If it shows your skills, it still works, even if the particular topic isn't of interest to your clients.

3 Workable Types of Freelance Blog Topics

Here are the basic options in terms of choosing a topic for your freelance blog:

1. Related topic. Many freelancers have had success blogging on a tangential but related topic to the work they do. For instance, my own blog offers writing and marketing tips for an audience of freelance writers. It's not tips for business marketing managers or publication editors -- my freelance clients -- but it's about what I do: writing. I'm able to showcase my writing and headline skills there, too.

As long as it’s not porn, politics, or anything else polarizing or unpleasant, it will be a strong sample for you if it shows off what you can do.

I've gotten a ton of clients who've seen my blog, and even had one say that knowing I was helping other writers impressed her and made her want to hire me. The gig was to write her government agency's annual report. Go figure.

2. Completely unrelated topic. I'm told tattoos are a great niche that gets loads of traffic...but whatever your personal interests are, consider writing on the topic you love.

As long as it's not porn, politics, or anything else polarizing or unpleasant, it will be a strong sample for you if it shows off what you can do. And when you write about what you love, you tend to stick with it and strive to improve it. That blog will be more likely to attract an audience and will end up serving as a stronger marketing tool than your lukewarm blog about your photography business.

3. Written for clients. If you have a passion for helping your clients and would love giving prospects a few free tips in turn for getting marketing leads, angle your blog to appeal directly to your prospects.

You can demonstrate your expertise as you teach them a little about how to do it themselves. You probably know a lot about your freelance business, so posts should be easy to write. Then you're the first freelancer to pop into their minds when prospects realize they'd like to hire a pro instead.

Create a free report for subscribers that helps your prospects, and you should find it easy to build an email marketing list. This ability to capture prospect emails, rather than waiting for prospects to email you, is an advantage you won't get with the other two types of freelancer blogs.

A Different Freelance Blogging Strategy

If keeping up your own blog seems overwhelming, consider another strategy: Guest post on the popular blogs your clients read.

You could do this occasionally, and get a link back to your freelancer website in your tagline. That would allow you to blog and drive clients your way without the pressure to post regularly.

Guest posts on bigger blogs also catch more eyeballs than does a post on your solopreneur freelancer's small blog. The fact that you've scored a post on a big blog also wows clients and gives you a better chance of getting client leads.

After considering all the angles, you may still conclude blogging isn't for you. If you aren't excited about doing it -- and aren't angling for paid-blogging gigs -- then I recommend you pass. There are plenty of other ways to market your freelance business.

What's the topic of your blog, freelancers? Leave us a comment and tell us why you chose your blog subject.