15 min read
Remember how in Part 1 of this series, we touched upon having a blog as a way to land more clients?
If you’ve already created your blog and want to find out how to use it strategically to land your next client, keep reading.
But if you’re still a bit unsure as to whether this is something you want to get into, then definitely keep on reading. Because your blog is an opportunity to engage your readers and attract your ideal client, you don’t want to miss this final installment of the series.
In the last part of the Awesome Freelancer’s Guide to Landing More Clients, we’re looking into how you can get more clients through your blog, by being intentional and strategic about it, and we go over some of the strategies you can use to accomplish that.
For a lot of creatives, putting together engaging and interesting content looks and feels like a LOT of work. Especially when they’re not in the writing niche.
But having a blog is not just for the writers and those word-weaving geniuses among us.
In fact, you should blog even if you’re not a writer, because when you commit to writing regularly, only good things are going to follow.
And the part where it can do wonders for your business? Totally true.
Your blog allows you to showcase your work in a way that explains how you made something, and how you came up with a design. It can also give your audience a behind-the-scenes sneak peek into one of your photo shoots or a particular aspect of your workflow they may want to know more about.
Sharing something about your process gives readers a glimpse into your world and is what prospective clients can be particularly interested in. It allows them to see what inspires you, what interests you, and most importantly, what you’re passionate about.
Because let’s be honest, who wants to work with someone who isn’t passionate about their work?
After all, everyone can have a polished portfolio, but it’s the how-to images, a short walkthrough of your process, and the backstory of something gorgeous and well-executed that we drool over and tells us more about who you are.
So if you’re ready to make the best out of your blog and start landing those clients, grab your favorite beverage and let’s do this!
Get Clear on What You’ll Be Blogging About
Before you start thinking about how to bring in more traffic to your blog, you need to answer one important question first:
What will your blog be about?
Surely, if you’re freelancing, you already have something you specialize in. But if that’s a little too broad for you and you can’t quite think of specific things you can blog about, try narrowing it down to a more specific niche.
To help you get some ideas, ask yourself the following questions:
— What does your ideal client want to know most?
— What do you have the most experience with?
— Which subjects would be interesting for someone who’d want to hire you?
— What kind of content do you enjoy creating most or would you like to create?
— Are you going to include tutorials, case studies, or walkthroughs?
— Can you come up with ten blog topics related to [your services] on the spot?
Knowing what your blog is going to cover will help you think about all the ways you can lead a client to your services page and get them excited and eager to get in touch with you.
But just as you don’t want to be offering a dozen services and end up being a jack of all trades (and master of internal dissatisfaction with where you’re headed in life — just sayin’), you also don’t want your blog to be scattered and all over the place with ideas and blissful randomness.
Because that won’t end well. And it won’t bring any clients, either.
So, get clear on what you’re going to include in your blog early on and stick to it.
When a prospective client lands on your blog, you want them to instantly know what your focus is based on the content you’ve made available.
You don’t want them to read about that great illustration project you worked on for a children’s book, only to check out your portfolio and services page and find out that you actually design posters for nightclubs and have nothing to do with fairy tales and magical lands of cotton-candy.
I honestly don’t know why you’d ever make that switch but I hope you get the point I’m trying to make here.
Have a Blogging Schedule
You’ve probably heard this a million times before but let’s make it a million and one, shall we?
Consistency is everything.
Just as your client expects you to produce amazing work and be consistent at it, any prospective client will be looking for the same when it comes to your blog.
If your blog appears in your main navigation menu and they head to it, will they see that you update it on a regular basis? Or will your blog resemble that Blogspot you used to update whenever you remembered? You know, posting two posts in a week, followed by a three-month hiatus, and then a couple more posts until the next break?
Ring a bell?
You don’t want your blog to go through those brief periods of activity and then get all dusty and forgotten.
I know you’re probably busy with client work, pitching clients or looking for gigs to improve your financial situation as we speak.
But if you genuinely want your freelance business to grow and you have decided to work on your blog, you’ll need to spend an extra hour or two on your blog each week.
Decide whether you’ll blog once a week (or every other week if your time is limited), and put it on your schedule. Create a monthly plan for your blog posts and decide whether you’ll cover one specific topic each week or if you feel more comfortable with a monthly theme instead.
Sit down at the end of every month and plan out next month’s blog posts. Brainstorm 3-4 topics you can write about and create a quick outline for each. This will help you get all your ideas down in a cohesive and logical order and have your structure laid out before you start writing.
When you already have an outline, it’s a LOT easier to get to the actual writing. No kidding.
All that’s left is to write your content, edit and hit publish. Done!
When you get into the habit of publishing a new post regularly, your blog will slowly transform into a place where your work gets discovered more easily.
It will give clients the opportunity to find you and get in touch with you, and not the other way around. So the more committed and actively engaged you are on your blog, the better.
Go for an Uncluttered Blog Design
There’s nothing more annoying than a cluttered blog: ads, pop-ups, left sidebar, right sidebar, social media sharing plugins that float on top of your posts, UGH!
How can anyone focus on your blog content when there are a zillion things floating and popping, without ever lockin’ (pun intended)?
Yet that is something I see SO often online. And every time it leaves me wondering ... why?
Suffocating your blog visually is not the way you make visitors stick around. Clients included.
The purpose of having a clean, minimal, and uncluttered blog is so people can pay attention, not get distracted by a new pop up every other second.
Sure, you may want to attract new subscribers to your blog and entice them to download this killer opt-in offer you’ve worked so hard to prepare, but not everyone likes to be bombarded with so much information when they land on your blog.
Just as you want your visitors to enjoy browsing through your portfolio and have a pleasant experience with your website, the same goes for your blog.
As an important part of your site, you can’t afford to have a blog that makes visitors bounce. You want them to pay attention, to explore it and to get to know you a little more through your content.
And that’s where having a simple blog design comes in.
Everything from the layout to the formatting of each blog post matters.
So, instead of worrying about how many pop-ups you should place and where focus on keeping your blog’s design clean and tidy.
Use your brand colors to highlight different interest or focus areas of your blog, and keep your formatting consistent. Avoid using anything that doesn’t fit with your brand, and leave enough white space to give enough breathing room for your readers.
Format your text using headings, subheadings and a body font that’s large enough to read comfortably. And, of course, write in an engaging way that makes people want to keep reading.
Which brings us to the next point.
Give Your Blog a Unique Voice
No matter what you think, you need to give yourself some credit. Because you, my Friend, have your own, unique voice.
And it’s something you should celebrate and rely on more often.
It’s also something you should start using on your blog.
Whenever you sit down to write, write in a natural way. Approachable yet professional, confident yet never arrogant, knowledgeable but with lots of room (and desire) to improve.
Leave that jargon on the shelf and write as if you’re writing to a friend.
Your blog is the closest anyone can get to you online without checking out your social media accounts. And it needs your voice to come to life.
A lot of bloggers are afraid to open up a bit and express themselves more freely, especially if they use their blog in connection to their business.
But here’s the thing.
You don’t have to limit yourself and restrain your creativity and desire to share something and put it into your own words. If it fits the brand you’ve created for yourself and it reflects who you are, then say it how you mean it.
You’ll often hear that you should write like you talk. And for some, that may include a certain amount of swearing, for others none at all. In the end what matters most is that you feel comfortable with the language and voice that you use on your blog.
It’s also important to know exactly you’re speaking to and what kind of voice they’ll feel more comfortable having around. What you don’t want is worrying about scaring away your potential clients and attracting the wrong people for your freelance business.
Like with everything else, find your sweet spot, where everything feels perfectly balanced.
And whatever voice you end up keeping, use it without offending people.
Be nice to others.
It feels better and it makes you better, too.
Use Images to Create Interest
Besides great content, another factor that increases the chance of your visitors engaging with your content is your use of images.
Attractive blog graphics using your signature brand colors help attract interest and keep your visitors hooked on your blog longer. By breaking up your content with visuals, you also make it more exciting for people to keep reading, as it offers a place of rest in-between lines of text.
To make the most out of the images you use on your blog, you’ll need to ensure that they’re optimized for the web, as we talked about in Part 1 of this series. You also want to use the appropriate format for images (JPEG) and graphics (PNG) and check that the size of each image is not slowing down your website (and annoying your visitors).
Another reason why images are so important for your blog is that they can be shared on social, making it possible for your ideal clients to find you.
That’s why you want to include images throughout your blog post, so they can easily be pinned, tweeted or shared on any other social media platform. Knowing which image sizes work best for each platform can help you create templates you can reuse and be sure that they’ll look their best online.
Besides using free stock photos for your blog, you can also take your own photos and use those instead of searching for the perfect photo online that will fit with your weekly post. Sometimes it can be difficult to choose, and you may also not be crazy about the fact that everyone can access and use the same photos you can.
If that sounds a little intimidating but you’d like to give it a try nonetheless, consider investing in a course that teaches you how to take gorgeous photos for your blog and social media.
And if you’re just looking to challenge yourself or figure out if a course is what you really need right now, you can participate in a free smartphone photography challenge first before you commit or invest in something bigger and more serious like a course.
When a prospective client or any visitor is attracted to your blog’s visuals, it entices them to check out your content, find out more about you and what you do. It also leaves them with a good impression of your blog, making it more likely to get in touch with you or to check out your services.
Place Opt-In Forms in Noticeable Places on Your Blog
If you don’t have an opt-in form anywhere on your website, you might want to fix that. And the best place to start with is your blog.
Because when someone’s checking out your website, looks through your work but isn’t quite sure if they want to work with you just yet, where would they head to and find out more about you?
Your blog, right?
That’s where they’ll go to see what you’re doing when you’re not working with other clients. It’s also where they can get a better and clearer idea of who you are as a creative professional.
And if they like what they see but need a little more time to decide? They’d probably want to keep an eye on your content for a while until they feel ready to contact you.
But guess what the one place they’re most likely to check out regularly is:
The best way to keep in touch with your clients, both current and prospective, is by giving them the chance to sign up and receive updates from you using opt-in forms.
You can then email them directly and entice them to check out your new blog post or services, which can be so helpful when you’re opening up bookings for the upcoming months or when you suddenly have an available slot to take in a new client.
Your opt-in can be something valuable you’ve created for your ideal client like a checklist or cheat sheet they’d be compelled to get in exchange for their email. You can deliver it to your new subscribers through your email service provider, and then send them regular updates and insightful content they’d be interested to read.
But to get them to sign up, they’ll need to be able to see your opt-in forms. So besides giving them value, you also need to consider where your opt-in forms will go on your blog, placing them in a few strategic places.
You can include one throughout your post where it makes the most sense to your reader, as long as it’s something that clearly relates to your content.
Another place you can add your opt-in form is at the end of your post or if you have an opt-in form you want your readers to see when they first land on your blog, you can either include it above the fold or in your sidebar.
There are plenty of other places you could add an opt-in form, and as long as it makes sense to your visitors, you can try out these different options to see what works best for you.
Wherever you end up placing your opt-ins, make sure you make it easy for your visitors to sign up, so you don’t miss an opportunity to stay in touch with a prospective client. You never know how much you can impress them if you give them the option to stick around for a while and get to know you better.
Experiment With Other Forms of Content
Besides sticking to the usual written blog posts, consider giving your visitors options and experiment with other media.
Try using audio or video for your next post or blog series to determine if that is something you may enjoy doing next time as well.
We all know that video is more easily consumed than text, after all. It’s an engaging visual format we may prefer over a written blog post, for example, especially if we’re running short of time. The same goes for audio — it’s easy to listen to while doing something else that doesn’t require considerable cognitive effort (you know, those moments you switch to autopilot).
Considering people pay less and less attention to written content online, it’s not surprising that a video may seem more appealing than another long blog post (like, every post in this series, for example).
So if you create a video series of tutorials or brief video posts giving tips about a topic you’d otherwise write about, this will attract more interest in what you have to say. It also shows that you’re confident talking about relevant topics in your industry and that you can expand your reach to other media as well.
Audio and, to a much higher extent, video help you make a connection with your visitors and engage with them on a deeper level. They get to hear your voice, listen to you explaining how you approached a particular project, the obstacles and wins you’ve had, and so much more.
Even if you’re not particularly comfortable going on video, a great way to step outside your comfort zone is to start recording yourself reading your blog posts. You can then upload the audio file to Soundcloud or MixCloud, and embed it into your post before you hit publish.
That way, you can both cater to the readers and listeners, helping your audience and clients connect with you on a more personal level than they otherwise would.
Once you approach your blog strategically and you become intentional about it, you’ll quickly notice not only an increase in your traffic but also an increase in the emails you start getting from prospective clients.
Especially if you don’t have a long list of past clients, it’s crucial to position yourself as an expert and show it through the highly valuable and visually engaging content you create.
Besides your stellar portfolio, your blog will speak volumes to your prospects about how well you know your craft. It will show them you understand what they need and that you know how to get them the results they’re after.
Which of these tips are you going to implement right away? Anything you think I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments below!
Feeling stuck and have no ideas for your blog? Check out this free cheat sheet to get those inspiration juices flowing. Just click on the image to grab your copy!
Blog post image: RawPixel
Check out the rest of the Awesome Freelancer's Guide to Landing More Clients Series:
Part 1: How 7 Simple Website Tweaks Can Help You Get More Clients
Part 2: How to Be Strategic on Social Media as a Freelancer
Part 3: How to Build Your Authority as a Freelancer (and Never Be Underbooked Again)
Part 4: Make Your Clients Fall in Love with You: How to Impress by Being Profesh