Get a free year on Tuts+ this month when you purchase a Siteground hosting plan from $3.95/mo
Marketing is integral to the success of any freelancer, and the difference between mediocre freelancers and professional ones is often how smart they are at marketing.
As a freelancer, you also need to realize that marketing isn't all about working hard, it is about working smart. The main thing you want is to get paid, and your marketing should only be a means to this; you wouldn't want to spend your time and effort marketing yourself only to have little time for your projects.
Writing is one of the simplest ways to market yourself. Some of its major advantages are:
- Literally anybody can do it.
- People don't have to see your face, so you have nothing to be afraid of.
- It doesn't take as much time and resources as other forms of marketing; you only need to know how to type and how to edit, and you're good to go.
One thing about writing, though, is that its advantages are its disadvantages, and the fact that it can be done by anyone means you should be smart with your approach. This article will be sharing 7 smart ways you can use your writing to grow your freelance business; some of these tactics will only take a few hours, but they can contribute immensely to your freelance business.
1. Partner with Newsletter Owners to Plug Your Content
The key to achieving success as a writer requires your writing to be compelling, and real businesses know this. Your content needs be strong, with well-crafted headlines that encourage readers to check it out.
If you're confident in your writing skills, you can look for top bloggers and influencers in your niche that have a newsletter. Submit a guest post to them to build a relationship. Help give them a feel for your content. If they like it, tell them you're willing to provide a number of free articles to them in exchange for plugging you in their newsletter.
I've actually done this with two people already (with lists of over 100k subscribers). The first one invited me to contribute a guest post to his blog, and it sent me over 400 visitors. Since the traffic was impressive, and I noticed the blogger hasn't been updating his blog regularly lately, I sent another one. I asked the blogger if he would be willing to send an email to his list about me in exchange for writing five free blog posts for him.
The other marketer I contacted also told me his audience is enjoying my guest posts and that he's looking for a way to have me contribute more regularly. I made a deal to contribute free content to his blog for free in exchange for blasting me to his list. This actually has two benefits, I get a byline below my posts on his blog as with regular guest posts, but he also sends an email to his subscribers about me. I learned this tip from Ben Settle.
There are a lot of top bloggers who find it difficult to update their blog regularly as problems arise. Pay attention to these lulls in active posting. Those with a big list and an active readership need content to keep their blogs active during difficult periods. Get in touch with them and offer an exchange to help out. It's a great way to build a relationship with them and tap into their large network of readers.
You should make sure your offer is highly beneficial to them, which will create future opportunities for you.
2. Write Guest Posts for Backlinks, Instead of Traffic
I know this sounds counter intuitive, but you need backlinks before traffic. The reality is that backlinks lead to traffic, at least in the SEO world we live in today.
If you're able to get a quality guest post published on a large, popular blog today, the highest number of visitors you'll likely get is around 500 to 1,000. Want more? It takes literally weeks or months to get published on these blogs.
What if I told you I was able to get an average of 1,900 visitors per guest post I wrote on relatively smaller blogs; guest posts that took me less than an hour to write, and less than a week to get published? Actually, I did, and I even documented the experiment on my blog.
The idea behind the guest posts was to generate backlinks and improve my SEO; most people write guest posts for traffic, I write mine for links.
I looked for 31 blogs in various niches, I wrote quality SEO-optimized guest posts and submitted them to these blogs, with quality anchor-text links back to my blog; I submitted all 31 posts on the same day. The result was an increase in SEO traffic of over 100 visitors a day in just 10 days, and an approximate 60,000 additional visitors 6 months later; that's over 300 additional visitors a day for only 31 guest posts, owing to the fact that SEO traffic increases the older your links get.
The good news is you don't need to write that much, it all depends on your goal. Guest blogging is still very effective and this is a strategy you can use. Optimize your blog, your articles, and your hire-me/portfolio pages for relevant keywords, contribute quality content to smaller authoritative blogs in your niche, and link back to your blog with the desired keywords.
Doing this will result in a lot more traffic for you in the long run; the traffic might not be instant, but the return on investment will be exponential in just a few months.
3. Get Published in Industry Blogs
By "industry blogs", I'm referring to the blogs of the top companies in your niche that allow input from their users.
There are numerous services you currently use today that are produced by big, fortune-500 companies. Most of these companies need to prove to potential customers that their service works, and no amount of marketing/copywriting will help them prove this better than a case study from a user who actually gets their product.
Make sure you're an active user of their product, and that you're getting results beyond the normal. Get in touch with them about your results, and tell you'd be happy to share a case study on their blog. You'll gain some brand exposure and link juice by doing this, and you will also be allowed a short bio to introduce yourself.
The good news about this is that company blogs like these are being read by more corporate bodies than individuals, and you will be likely to get new clients to use your services from the exposure you will gain.
The result is they win and you win!
4. Leverage Blogging to Move Your Business Forward
The number one mistake I see most bloggers make is not having a blog, and this is not just any other mistake. It is probably costing some people tens of thousands of dollars annually.
Every single client I have right now (except one) came through my blog, and the fact that I currently have seven clients at the moment proves shows important this is. Besides, they aren't clients that pay peanuts, but are willing to spend top dollars for my services to grow their business.
Having a blog designed to generate clients gives you an advantage, because you're the expert. Your clients didn't discover you on a freelance bidding site with dozens of others, they came to you themselves to inquire about your services. This gives you an edge, and you can control how much you charge. Also, with the right blog and the right kind of system you don't have to worry about the market price, you can get paid several times more.
The thing with using blogging to generate freelance business is that putting up a hire me page just won't cut it; I've tried that and the result is limited, despite the fact that my blog gets thousands of visitors weekly.
There are two ways to generate clients quickly via your blog:
Publish Case Studies: What service are you offering to them, and what kind of results are you getting? People love to read case studies because it shows the results of others, and results are what drive business. By publishing a case study of how your service is benefiting yourself or one of your other clients, you will be able to position yourself instantly as an expert, and you will also give people a reason to trust you.
Case study posts have always been the top source of clients to my blog and I'm still amazed at how effective they are months after publishing them.
Publish Great Tutorials: The main purpose of a tutorial is to show people how to do something, but some people still won't be able to do it. It's not that these people don't know how to, but that they don't want to or they don't have the time. Publishing a tutorial demonstrates your expertise in a subject and lets them see how effective you are at tackling the subject. This instantly positions you as an expert. It gives them a reason to trust and hire you.
One of my most successful tutorial posts, that keeps bringing in traffic and clients a year after it was published is The Ultimate Guide to Guest Blogging.
5. Start a Newsletter
Newsletters create a bond with your audience and position you as an expert. Newsletters keep you very close to your readers; sending an email to the same person over and over again on different aspects of a particular subject shows that you know your stuff, it creates a bond with your subscribers..
The frequency of email actually matters and depends on what you want. Sending an email every day can be effective if you do it right, but I go with sending an email every third day.
Emails are also fairly easy to write. A short, quality email can be written in under 20 minutes. Read it, edit it, and come up with a strong title; you're showing your readers your expertise and a good reason to use your services.
6. Publish Your Own Report
In this case, it doesn't matter whether you sell it or give it away for free; the main idea is to get something out there.
Online, there is a level of expertise publishing your own content helps you achieve; regular blog content has a level of expertise attached to it, this increases with a free report, and then increases further with a paid report.
Your report doesn't have to be read by a bazillion people; just having a quality report will makes you look like an expert, and perception is reality in freelancing. You also don't have to spend days writing it. A report can be as short as ten pages, which might take you a few hours of work to write, edit, and package.
Make sure the report is properly branded and includes a way to contact you in case your services are needed. Also work on getting it into as many hands as possible, because it is literally useless if no one reads it.
7. Contribute to Online Communities and Answer Sites
In most cases, your potential clients are people with a problem that need a solution to. Sometimes, they just want a quick answer before going for something basic, and other times your expertise and providing a solution might compel them to learn more about your services.
There are dozens of online community and answer sites that can help you grow your business as a freelancer, with the most notable one at the moment being Quora. Individuals and businesses from various niches use these sites, and if you can prove that you know your stuff by repeatedly answering questions and sharing tips with the community, you won't be far away from closing sales.
A great way to get the best out of these sites is by including a link/reference back to your services page below each answer; doing this will make it easy for people to get in touch with you if they need your services.