You've slogged through the challenges and gotten up your freelance blog. You've written a blog post, chosen a catchy image, and hit 'publish.' Congratulations!
Often, nothing happens after that. No clients call. No comments come.
Then you feel you wasted your time and that blogging isn't a good way to get freelance clients.
But that's not the case...it's just that you forgot something.
The Other Half of Blogging
Here's the problem -- you've only done half the work when you post.
It's like you're a building contractor, and you've purchased a hammer.
You don't expect that hammer to jump up and start hitting nails all by itself, do you? No -- you know you've got to pick it up and use it.
Once you've written a blog post, you've created a powerful marketing tool for your freelance services.
Now, you've got to use that tool to attract the clients you want. It's not easy, because hard-selling your blog just annoys people. You need to use a little finesse, or you'll end up hitting your thumb rather than pounding in the nails you want and building a successful blog.
In the beginning especially, your own little freelance blog doesn't have a lot of traffic.
So how can you get your blog noticed and help it find a bigger audience? Here are 10 ways:
1. Introduce Yourself Around
Your first job as a new blogger is to find the big blogs in your niche. Start following those thought leaders on Twitter.
It really is about who you know in blogging. So start making high-powered friends.
Comment on their posts. Get your name known to them. You're going to want to become a familiar name to them.
Why? As Jon Morrow taught me, popular bloggers aren't made -- they're appointed, by the current crop of popular bloggers. It really is about who you know in blogging. So start making high-powered friends.
If you see top bloggers writing about being overloaded, offer to help. Participate in their surveys. Be their case study if you've had success from their tip.
In short, find ways to make friends.
2. Write Something Controversial
Do you disagree with others in your field on a hot-button issue? Post about it. Then, promote your post in social media. Others who disagree may well want to respond -- and of course they'll have to link to your post to explain why they're so heated up.
Those inbound links will give your search rankings a boost and make it easier for prospects to find you.
3. Write Socializable Posts
Instead of writing about whatever strikes your fancy in your blogging niche, think about topics you could write that would mention many influential bloggers and link to their sites.
A "top 10 gurus I admire in (my freelance niche)" post is usually an easy one to write for most freelancers -- and gives you ten popular people who might help you grab attention from new prospects.
If they're flattered to be mentioned, they may share your post with their much larger audience and bring you many more readers.
Another approach is to simply pick a topic you know would be perfect for a big blogger's audience. Then, target a tweet to that thought leader as in, "@ProBlogger, your readers might enjoy: (LINK)".
When done right, your server may crash...that's what happened to me when I targeted ProBlogger Darren Rowse with the post you see at right. So be ready for a possible stampede.
Getting a social share from a big gun can bring a ton of new people to your blog, and some of them may be impressed and reach out about hiring you.
Another no-fail strategy is to write about best ways people in your niche use a particular type of social media. When you write a post like "A Pro Designers 5 Best Tips for Facebook Pages," you can guess how easily that's going to go viral if you promote it on Facebook.
4. Guest Post
If you think getting retweeted by a big blogger can get some prospects in the door, wait until you see what happens when you guest post on popular blogs.
Many big blogs are open to guest posts, and open to newcomers. Some are getting more selective about who they take, which is where getting to be a familiar face before you pitch comes in handy.
If you can’t crack any of the big-name blogs, try targeting blogs with smaller followings but a similar topic.
This is a proven method to becoming an impressive prospect. I know quite a few freelance writers who get all their clients off their appearances on big blogs.
If you can't crack any of the big-name blogs, try targeting blogs with smaller followings but a similar topic. That will get you some new viewers, and build your reputation as a good guest poster to help you get onto bigger blogs.
In choosing your places to guest post, try to figure out the blogs your prospects read. They may not be the biggest or most obvious ones, but the key is to be where your ideal client hangs out. Ask existing clients who they read and admire for a starting point.
5. Create Custom Landing Pages
Once you're appearing on popular blogs, the trick is to get those new readers to decide to hang around and stay in touch with you. That gives you more time to impress them that you're amazing and make them want to hire you.
To do that, don't just link them to your home page. Take the time to orient and welcome those new viewers with a link to custom page on your site that acknowledges where they came from and spotlights your best content for that particular reader.
For instance, here's a custom landing page for readers of Write to Done I created for guests posts I do over there.
6. Get Interviewed
The only thing better than guest posting on a popular blog is being the subject of a post on another blog. All of a sudden, you're a star, someone interesting enough to be profiled.
Expect even more traffic to your blog from these, and for people to be even more interested to work with you.
Aside from print Q&A type blog posts, consider taking the time to offer a Skype video call or other quick presentation. More and more bloggers are looking to add visual elements to their blogs and readers love them, so a visual interview may be even more impactful in grabbing prospects.
7. Meet Live Humans
Talking with people one on one gives you a chance to really talk up your freelance services — and your blog.
I know, you're trying to promote your blog here on the Interwebs, but you'd be amazed how you can grow your audience by attending in-person networking events for freelancers in your niche. Those freelancers can be a great source of referral clients, too.
Talking with people one on one gives you a chance to really talk up your freelance services -- and your blog. Have business cards ready with your blog URL on it so people can head over to subscribe.
8. Be a Co-Author
One way bloggers are looking to build their audiences is by creating quick ebooks that include tips and advice from many successful people in a niche. A great example is Danny Iny's Engagement From Scratch, which includes tips from bestselling author Guy Kawasaki and many other top names.
Offer to participate in these, and be sure to respond positively to any request you get for inclusion. I'm in several of these compilation ebooks now, and they are a marketing gift that keeps on giving.
As long as that ebook bounces around online, your links will keep bringing you new prospects who'll be impressed you were considered a thought leader and included in the ebook.
9. Hold a Link Party
If you can't get big bloggers to come to you, throw a party and invite them.
With a link party, you invite other bloggers to leave an image and headline link to their best recent post on your topic. It's a great way to build relationships with other bloggers in your niche, big and small.
Here's the first link party I threw, which brought more than 140 bloggers. The fun -- the link contributors then all usually promote your post in social media, giving you far more exposure than you might get otherwise.
10. Give a Talk
Nothing says "I'm an expert" like giving a speech about the best ways to do some aspect of your craft. Whether it's an in-person talk or an online Webinar, you are positioned as an accomplished pro just by nature of the fact that you've been asked to speak.
Make sure it's recorded so you can turn it into a blog post, too.
How do you promote your freelance blog? Leave a comment and tell us your approach.