A simple way to get highly paid freelance writing jobs is to go where the clients are – job boards, Upwork, or wherever they hang out online. It works.
But imagine a world where freelance writing clients come to you to ask you to work for them. No more cold pitching. No more waking in the middle of the night wondering where your next writing project is coming from. (Just me then?)
Creating a blogging strategy can help you do that. Trouble is, most freelance writers online blog without the strategy — and then wonder why it’s not working.
Here’s your strategy. There are five actions to take at the end of this post once you've understood the strategy.
Find your freelance writing niche
The first thing you need to do is identify your target client. That’s a ‘blogging strategy’ way of saying: decide who you’re going to write for.
This is key. It will determine what you blog about and where you promote said blog.
If you don’t know who your ideal client is, and therefore what to write about, read this article:
Don’t worry about eliminating other types of clients at this stage. If you just want to blog about online marketing for small businesses in your local area, don’t be afraid to do just that.
Make your mark and become an expert — you’re more likely to get the writing work you want that way.
Blog consistently (not the same as often)
There are different opinions about how often you should blog. (There are different opinions about everything.)
Some say to post every day of the week, while others recommend once a month. What it boils down to is what you’re comfortable with versus what will make an impact.
Consistency is more important than anything else, so it’s best to commit to a certain routine — whatever that is — rather than posting whenever you feel like it.
Raise your (expert) profile with guest blogging
You know and I know that there’s no point in having a resourceful, wonderfully written blog if nobody’s reading it.
Here are 10 ways to market yourself as an online writer, but for now let’s focus on guest blogging as a way to get your blog (and your writing services) in front of potential clients.
Guest blogging is basically free advertising. In fact, it works better than advertising because people don’t respond to blatant adverts shouting out from the screen for clicks.
Writing a post on somebody else’s blog (with a ready-made audience) can attract potential new writing clients to your blog. It can also increase your status as an expert in your chosen niche.
Both these short- and long-term benefits make guest blogging such a worthwhile strategy for attracting freelance writing clients.
How to guest blog successfully
First of all, you need to pitch to blogs that you know your target clients are reading.
You probably already follow certain blogs online in the niches you’re interested in. Whether it’s small business news in your area, tech, travel, education — or whatever.
You probably find the posts you read engaging and useful, perhaps you even leave comments saying so from time to time.
All you have to do is send the owner of those blogs an email telling them exactly the above.
Tell them that you’ve avidly followed their work for a while, especially enjoyed the points raised in a particular post and that you have an idea that you know their readers will find interesting.
How do you know that? Because you are a reader.
Pitch them an idea for a unique blog post you’d like to write for their site, including why you feel it would appeal so much to their audience.
You need to pitch for guest posts in the same way as if you were pitching for paid writing work. Why? Because although you’re writing content for somebody else’s blog without being paid, the blog owner is the one doing you the favour — they’re giving you access to their audience, which they’ve spent time growing and nurturing.
These are your potential writing clients.
If you get the green light on a guest post idea, spend as much time researching and writing it as you would for a paying client. Then stick around on the day it’s published to respond to any comments the blog’s readers may have.
Get your links back
The aim of guest blogging is to share your knowledge or viewpoint with a new readership in a way that will help and/or inspire them. It will also direct a lot of relevant, high-quality traffic to your writer’s website/own blog because you’ll be able to include a link back to your own site from the post.
As an added bonus, links from reputable websites mean search engines will start to trust your site and rank it higher in their search results — a nice cherry on the top of your guest blogging cake.
Make Google fall in love with you
Having a great blog delivers your ‘writer for hire’ message in a casual yet professional and proactive way. If you write engaging, useful blog posts on a regular basis, you’ll find clients are more likely to follow you, get in touch, and (best of all) hire you.
Do you know who else will love you if you start a blog of substance? Google. If you post quality content on a regular basis the search engines will virtually serve up writing clients to you on a plate.
Here's how to make your writing super search engine friendly:
Blog to be useful, inspiring, and entertaining to the clients you want to write for. Blog to help those people and organisations. Blog to learn and grow. Soon enough the clients will come.
(Don’t ask me how the universe works. It just does.)
A cautionary note on blogging to get freelance writing clients
If done strategically, blogging is a great way to make a name for yourself as a writer. You get to practice your craft, develop ideas, and explore your niche — plus you’ll attract potential clients to you and your writing services.
However, let’s be real: blogging is a big fat time commitment, and you need to consider whether writing a blog suits you, your lifestyle, and your future writing career.
Don’t have time to create and write your own blog?
Could you benefit more from focusing entirely on pitching for guest posts on larger blogs on a regular basis? That way you can concentrate on linking back to your high-quality writer’s website to raise your profile and get your name out there instead.
The secret to blogging your way to more writing clients is to consider what works for you and testing it out.
Then adapt, iterate, and do more of what works. That’s how most successful strategies begin.
5 actions to take to start your blogging strategy now:
- Write down what sort of writing clients you’d like to attract.
Don’t just list ‘local business clients’ — get specific and write down what type of clients. What job title does the person who will read your blog posts have? Do they work in a large corporation or are they a one-woman-band? What information are they looking for online? Create a profile for your ideal reader/client.
- Draft a simple blog schedule based on what you know you can stick to.
Just jot down ideas, for now, e.g. ‘post one blog post per week on my own site/Medium, or ‘pitch for a guest post on popular blogs in my niche twice a month.’
- Make a list of all the blogs in your niche that you could submit guest posts to.
Think about blogs you already read regularly, comment on and share.
- List all the topics and sub-topics that have the potential to attract your profiled reader.
Write as many blog post titles you can think of, based on the topics and sub-topics you just listed. It makes life much easier if you have a list of blog post titles to refer to whenever you feel the creative juices running dry.
- Finally, learn how to write a blog post that kills it every time:
That should keep you busy with writing clients for a while.
Kirsty Boden-Stuart is a freelance writer who loves travel writing. She started this website years ago. She still drops in now and then to share tips and techniques for writers who want to earn a living from their craft.