Lots of freelancers want to promote their services by starting a blog that their prospective clients might read. But soon, most of them sputter out.
It's not easy keeping up a freelancer blog. You need a lot of ideas for posts! Meanwhile, you're trying to get your work done for your current client.
It's tempting to write a thinly disguised (or baldly overt) plea that you be hired.
That doesn't go over well in the world of blogging and social media, though. It's likely to backfire and drive away your prospects instead of getting you gigs.
Blogging is not a hard-sell environment. Readers expect to get useful information in posts, not pitches to hire you.
So what can you write about? Quick tip: Provide useful or interesting information your prospects can use, and your readers will keep coming back -- and some may end up becoming your clients.
Here are 40 specific ideas for quick-and-easy blog topics that will attract quality prospects and then keep them interested:
- The guru list. Who are the influencers in your industry, that your clients might want to learn about? Do a list of 20 or so that you admire, and you'll provide a ready reference and be seen as smart and authoritative yourself. You'll also be able to spread that post in social media by tweeting it to all those mega-successful gurus, who may share it with their much-larger audiences.
- Customer case study/success story. Have you had a client project that went well? With that client's permission, feature them on the blog. That client will love the plug and probably help you spread the post in social media. It will also help prospects see the benefits of hiring you.
- Tackle a controversy. Is there an emerging issue or contentious question in your industry? Take a side and explain your point of view on it.
- Best of the web. If you're reading popular blogs in your sector, create a weekly or monthly mash-up of the best links on your topic. Your readers will thank you for saving them the time of wading through to find the best stuff...and of course each blog mentioned may help promote your post in social media.
- Disagree with a thought leader. Are the gurus spouting nonsense? Call one out and link to their popular post to get more traffic and help your search rankings.
- A day in the life. How do you get your client work done? People love to peek behind the curtain, so show them how you manage your time.
- Tips and tricks. Quick how-to instructions on how the best or little-known ways to use a tool or service are always popular.
- Secrets and lies. Do you feel major vendors in your industry aren't being straight with customers? Rip the lid off it, as marketing consultant Danny Iny recently did with his bad Paypal experience during a sales campaign.
- Explain the news. Run a Google Alert on keywords to stay on top of new developments that might change your industry. Build your authority and show your expertise by explaining how it will affect your prospects.
- Solve the pain. What are the biggest problems your clients face? Write a post with tips on how to solve one of those problems.
- Answer the questions. Are there common questions prospects ask you? Create a FAQs post like this one to show your responsiveness and knowledge.
- Ask a question. Would you like to learn more about your prospects' needs? Ask a probing question in a post -- you'll be surprised what you can find out that might help you get gigs.
- Sneak peek. Do you have some changes coming in your business? Let blog readers be the first to hear what's coming. People love to be on the inside track.
- Keyword research. Use Google Analytics or similar tools to see what search terms bring prospects to your site. Then write posts that use those keywords in the headline.
- Book review. If an interesting book has come out in your niche, offer a writeup.
- Tools & products reviews. It's a boggling world of apps and plug-ins out there -- prospects will appreciate some guidance.
- Compare and contrast. For even more buzz, compare two new tools or apps head-to-head and offer your opinion on which one is better. If you've recently shopped some solutions before choosing one for your own business, this can be an easy post.
- Celebrity interview. You'd be surprised how many influential people you could rope into a quick, 15-minute interview you could easily turn into a Q&A-style post.
- Video. Do that interview on Skype, record it with Ecamm's Call Recorder, mp3 Skype Recorder or similar tools, and turn the video into a blog post to offer some visual variety.
- Podcast. It's even easier to get interesting people to show up for a short audio call you can turn into a quick post.
- Use the familiar. Work the name of a TV show, current movie release, celebrity, or other pop-culture touchstone into the headline of your post and you'll draw more readers.
- Make a prediction. Where do you think the future of your craft is headed? People love to know what's coming next.
- Share customer feedback. If you have fresh testimonials, turn them into a post. (If not, ask your clients for some feedback!)
- Partner profiles. Are you a freelance designer who partners with a copywriter? Give them a link and put your partner in the spotlight. Your partner will love it, and you'll seem more savvy and connected.
- Conference writeup. Go to any professional conferences? That's a great opportunity to share industry news or recap valuable trainings you attended.
- Basics series. Create a series of 101-level posts on how to do something fundamental such as take a better photo. Prospects will appreciate the tips, and later you can turn the series into a free ebook for subscribers.
- Have a debate. Invite someone you disagree with to come on your blog for a point-counterpoint style debate.
- Hold a contest. Give away something valuable -- perhaps a small free project or a consult -- and watch the word spread. Make tweets or Facebook likes a factor in picking the winner for more social-media action.
- Take a poll. Get serious about gathering prospect info and put a poll together on SurveyMonkey. A second post can reveal the results -- and everyone loves survey data.
- Tell your story. How did you become the freelancer you are today? What do you enjoy about the work you do? Cast yourself as a superhero and tell your origins story.
- Share a career highlight. What project did you most enjoy working on in your freelance career? Look back and share.
- Point of difference. Do you have a unique philosophy or approach to your work or your client relationships? Let readers know.
- Riff on competitors. Read popular bloggers who do your type of freelance work, and respond to a recent post with your own point of view. Great way to build your freelancer network -- be sure to give the other freelancer a link.
- Resource list. Put together a guide to the best free tools, organizations, or websites for your prospects, and you'll have an 'evergreen' post that keeps bringing you prospects for many months to come.
- Show your charitable side. Do you have a cause you support? Report on how you give back to your community.
- Provide the missing piece. Is there an important question in your industry that no one is daring to ask? Be the one to bring it to light.
- Read/watch widely for fresh ideas. If everyone is recycling news from the same big industry blogs, look elsewhere. Watch TED talks, read community newspapers, scan association newsletters, or check weekly business journals to pick up on interesting business topics no one is blogging about.
- Mine your comments. Have you had an interesting comment exchange on a previous post, or maybe a question you wanted to answer in more detail? Turn that topic into a new post.
- Customer service stories. Have you dealt with a crisis that cropped up in the middle of a project? Tell the story of how you solved it and made that customer happy.
- Revisits and retrospectives. If you launched a new initiative or program a year ago, come back and do an anniversary post to update readers on how it worked out. Do a roundup of your 10 most popular posts of the year, or your personal favorite posts that didn't get a lot of readers the first time around.
It’s a boggling world of apps and plug-ins out there — prospects will appreciate some guidance.
Put together a guide to the best free tools, organizations, or websites for your prospects, and you’ll have an ‘evergreen’ post that keeps bringing you prospects for many months to come.
What do you write about on your freelancer blog? Leave a comment and tell us your approach.