You know you need to blog. Everyone is doing it and all the advice out there tells you it’s a great way to grow your online business.
It can be. If you’re doing it right.
You are probably blogging already, whether consistently or every now and then. But your business isn’t growing as much as you like. So you figure it’s another problem like your social media marketing, your prices, or your copy.
It could be, but it also might be that you’re making one of the most common mistakes I see freelancers make.
Blogging for your colleagues not your potential clients.
What do I mean by that?
Well, you are blogging about things that interest you or your online friends, not to help solve problems your potential clients might have.
Blogs, after all, started as online diaries. Where we talk about ourselves, our lives and what we like/dislike in the world. You probably follow a lot of blogs like this still today.
A lot of creative freelancers follow lifestyle blogs of other creatives they look up to. These bloggers are not always talking about business.
They share recipes, design inspiration, fashion inspiration, how-to’s on designing, link round-ups, etc.
So you think, “If I want to have a popular blog, I need to do the same.”
But you’re not running a blog as a business. You don’t need a popular blog. You’re running a business that has a blog. You need a popular business.
The difference is important.
Sure, it’s always great to connect with your audience by showing them some behind-the-scenes of who you are, what you like, what you’re inspired by.
You can get away with that a lot more once you have a thriving business that continues to grow based on referrals.
But when you’re just starting out, or still struggling to bring in consistent income….you need to focus your blog on your potential clients.
You can’t forget what your PAYING audience wants from you: help solving their problems.
Show them you can solve their problems for free on your blog and they are much more likely to believe you can solve their bigger problems when they pay you.
Not only is this great for people coming to your site and interested in your services but not ready to buy, but also to build up the potential traffic you will get from Google once those specific topics your ideal clients are searching for show up in search results.
Start by understanding who your audience is and who you want them to be. Tall order I know. You don’t have to get it perfect, but it’s where you need to start.
- What problems do they have that you have the solutions for?
- What questions do they ask in groups or on social media?
- What questions do they ask you before, during and after working with you?
That’s what you need to blog about.
Not what your life is like as a freelancer, the vacation you took last month, your favorite fall fashion trends or other pretty things that your blogger friends will love and comment on.
Unless of course your ideal clients are your blogger friends, then have at it….but try to always bring it back to solving a problem for them.
You can always have a personal blog where you share your vacation photos and fashion mood boards, but keep your business blog focused on business as much as possible.
That is how you grow your expert status in the eyes of your website visitors. That is how you show them that yes, you know how to help them and you are the right person for the job.
Imagine this scenario:
I need some copy written for my website. I find two freelancer’s websites:
Freelancer #1 has a blog full of posts like this:
- Why you need to spend more time choosing your tagline than writing the entire rest of your website.
- How to stand out from the crowd with a Welcome email that surprises and delights your new subscribers.
- How much is too much personality in your website copy?
Freelancer #2 has a blog full of posts like this:
- A day in the life as a freelancer
- Link roundup: What I’ve read this week
- How to get noticed on Twitter
All other things equal, if I’m looking at these two freelancers because I have a problem (need some copy written) and I’m looking for a solution, which one do you think I’d choose?
Sure, I might enjoy reading #2’s posts, and they might be extremely helpful in other areas of my life. But #1 seems like more of an expert on the problem I need solved right now.
If you have steady clients, referral business and other effective marketing channels, this isn’t as important to you. And like I said, a little behind-the-scenes and personal stuff now and then doesn’t do any harm and can be beneficial.
But if that’s not the case, and you want to grow your business with your blog, it might be time to get more strategic: by solving or addressing the problems your potential clients have and showing them you have the answers.
Take a look at the last 10-20 blog posts you’ve written. How many of those solve a problem for your client? How many of them show your expertise in the service you are selling?
On the right track? Great.
If not, take some time this week to brainstorm a list of blog topics that solve problems or show your expertise related to what you are selling.
Let me know in the comments: Have you made this freelance blogging mistake?