This is a guest post by Irene Enriquez of GirlyGeek.Ph
When you’re planning to take your blogging to the next level and become a full-fledged freelance writer, the most common advice you hear is to set up a writing portfolio. While this is sound advice, it isn’t the only way to start your freelance journey.
If you’ve been blogging for years using your personal blog, you can actually use it to leverage your freelance writing career. You just need to make a few tweaks in order to make it more attractive to your dream clients.
Choose Your Niche and Stick with It
Choosing a niche isn’t only helpful to give your blog focus, but it can also help you build your specialty. If your current blog tackles different topics like personal finance, travel, lifestyle, and your pet adventures, you might want to consider focusing on one topic that you can write about for the long haul.
Here’s a good way to choose your ideal topic: Find the intersection between what you love, what you’re good at, and what makes money. Finding topics that makes money is a bit tricky. There is no way you can know for sure which topic translates to money in your bank account. However, you can check out the websites of successful freelance bloggers. What are the topics they blog about? Do they target B2Bs, startups, or SMEs?
I’ve been blogging for over four years. I used to blog about different topics: health and fitness, beauty, gadgets, personal development. But two years ago, I decided to focus on writing about technology. Most tech blogs are heavy with gadget reviews. I set myself apart by focusing on how technology can help people live a happier and more productive life. This decision worked quite well for me–my traffic has quadrupled because of it! I also got offers from advertising networks, and I was able to establish myself as an expert in the tech space. (Being a girl who blogs about technology also has its benefits. )
Write Passionately and Truthfully
Jeff Goins is a highly successful blogger with a few books under his belt. In his blog, GoinsWriter.com, he always talks about the importance of writing about your passion. In his post, Three Critical Steps to Writing Success, he writes, “If you’re trying to figure out your calling as a communicator, what your purpose in writing is or what your subject you should, you need to write what you know.”
There is magic when you write about something that rings true to your beliefs. And readers will pick up on that. Your future clients will, too!
The truth is ideal clients are always on the lookout for writers who understand their industry. Clients are attracted to writers who believe what they believe. In Simon Sinek’s TED Talk, he explains how great brands like Apple inspire action from their customers. People buy Apple products not only because of the value it provides but mainly because people believe what Apple stands for.
To consistently deliver the same message or belief in your personal blog, list your philosophies or the causes that you support. When writing a new post, check the list and see if the post is consistent with your beliefs.
Show You’re an Expert
Writing passionately about the topics you care about can establish you as an expert in your field. However, you don’t have to stop at writing blog posts. Use every aspect your site to showcase all of your skills. You must walk the talk and set a good example to your clients. If managing social media is one of your services, make sure to include Twitter and Facebook links on your blog, keep your social media accounts updated with helpful content, and engage with your readers.
Another way to show you’re an expert is to write a blog post that challenges a recent trend in your niche. For example, if you blog about makeup, you could go beyond the usual how-to tips. Is there a recent trend in social media that challenges people’s perception of beauty? Write a unique and meaningful post relating makeup and your beliefs in beauty.
Publishing a post with a fresh and profound perspective on a controversial issue is not only a traffic magnet, but it could put you on your dream client’s radar.
Be Friends with Brands
If a founder of a startup reaches out and asks you to review their app or their product, reply with enthusiasm. Try their product. Write an honest review about it. In your review, give suggestions on how the app or their service can be further improved. Once your review is live on your blog, make sure to send a link to the founder. She will be over the moon knowing that you took the time to write about their product or service. You even made helpful suggestions!
These brands, startups, and PR companies who reach out to you could be future clients.
Actually, that’s exactly how I scored my first dream client.
A startup company reached out to me to try and review their app. Since I love discovering new apps, I was more than happy to do so. I tried the app, wrote a review about it, and suggested ways to improve it. The post was a quite a hit! I was able to send users their way. After six months, the startup’s VP hired me as their Communications Specialist.
Other tips on getting the attention of brands you want to work with:
- When you write a post that puts a brand in a positive light, share it on Facebook and tag the brand’s Facebook page. You can do the same in Twitter and Instagram. In addition, use the brand’s hashtags.
- As you transition to freelancing full time, let PR companies, startups, or business owners that you’ve collaborated with in the past know that you are now a freelancer. Send them an email. Ask how they are doing. And let them know that you’re looking for writing projects.
Keep in Touch and Build Genuine Relationships
You may not get a reply right away when sending an email, but don’t let this discourage you. Keep in touch with the brands and businesses that you want to work with. Share and ReTweet their posts. Send the founder or the VP a personal birthday greeting. These tiny things accumulate over time and could lead to future collaborations and projects.
This strategy might not score you clients right away, but it is a great way to attract clients that you truly want to work with. These potential clients already know your writing style and your specialty. Plus, it can help weed out those clients that you’re not compatible with.
Share your take
Do you think that using your personal blog is a good strategy to get clients? Or do you believe that it’s better to create a separate writing portfolio?
Irene Enriquez is as a freelance writer and editor who loves to write about technology, social media, and mobile gadgets. She’s still happily working with Veems, a social photo-sharing app, as a Communications Specialist. Visit her tech blog GirlyGeek.Ph to see how she uses her personal blog to market her freelance writing services.