This guest post is by Amy Harrison of Harrisonamy.com.
Earlier this year, through emails with ProBlogger about upcoming guest post ideas, I thought about an article about how blogging fed my business model.
This was the first time I’d really considered how my articles linked to the revenue I’d earned in the past three years.
I’m not a particularly prolific blogger, and I haven’t written anything outlandish, controversial—or even had a viral post. But business is very healthy, I’ve been booked solid all year and will be for the next few months, and revenue is growing year on year.
It was only when I sat down to write this post that I saw how 95% of my business is generated through blogging by:
- clients hiring a service
- businesses wanting coaching or training
- customers buying products.
Whether you also have a combination of the above, or focus solely on client work or selling products, over the next three days I’m going to show you how blogging has helped me generate revenue for each of those models.
Hopefully this will give you ideas of what’s possible, and help you tailor your current blogging strategy to better suit your desired business model—whether it’s one of these, or one of the others covered in the recent Blog Business Model series here at ProBlogger.
Today, we’ll look at the first business model in the list: blogging to support sales of a service.
From readers to clients
If, like me, you’re a copywriter or other type of freelance writer, your blog naturally lends itself to promoting your skills. If people can see and scrutinise your writing online, they’ll find it easier to consider hiring you than someone whose work they haven’t seen.
But a blog also supports other freelance occupations when you’re working for hire. It showcases your expertise and personality, making it easier for someone to imagine working with you. If you’re in a service-based business this is very important. You probably know that people buy from those they know, like, and trust, and your blog is a way of building this confidence into potential clients.
If you’re a carpenter and your blog is filled with how-to articles, and the occasional video of you explaining a process, it is the equivalent of one long demonstration of what you are capable of and what you’re like to work with.
As a result, if someone studies your blog and likes what they see, by the time they do approach you to enquire about your services, beneath the surface, they’re already on the path of being “sold” on working with you.
Proving your expertise increases your value (and prices)
Generally speaking, if you approach a company or client looking for work, the balance of power lies in their hands. You’re asking them for something. (If you’ve ever cold called to get clients, you know what I’m talking about).
However, building a solid reputation online through your blog increases your value and lets you charge more because potential clients value your work more.
If you want proof of this, simply look at the difference between the rates of a copywriter, web designer, or developer who has a well-known blog, and those of of copywriters, designers, and developers on sites like elance. Huge difference.
You see, if someone gets to know you through your blog and wants to hire you, it’s not just to do your thing, it’s do your thing your way.
That sets you apart from the crowd, and the more unique you are, the less likely people are to treat you as a commodity that can be beaten down on price.
Specific blogging tactic to attract clients: guest posting
The strongest strategy I’ve found for attracting clients who want to hire me as a copywriter is guest posting and the relationships I’ve built through guest posting.
This doesn’t mean having to guest post everywhere. I can trace back about $20,000 worth of client work ($12,500 from one client for a month’s worth of work) to a handful of guest posts I’ve written on less than four different websites.
Pick the biggest, brightest blogs and make sure they are in your audience’s niche, not just yours. If you make banjos, don’t write on the best banjo-making site (where other banjo-makers hang out), write for the best banjo-playing site (where the players—your customers—hang out).
A few tips that I’ve found to work well include:
- Pick blogs that have integrity and are well respected among the audience of your ideal clients.
- Go big! Don’t be intimidated thinking you have to start small—write great content and aim for the best sites!
- Study the site. Study popular posts, comments, and posting guidelines.
- Work hard to write an article that will give the audience value.
- Be polite but persistent if you don’t hear anything. Submit your article and follow up in a week, then a week after that. Try social media, email, and online contact forms to get in touch (but no more than one or two different types of contact methods a week).
- Prep your own website. Don’t write guest posts before you have any decent content or a newsletter on your own site!
- Follow up. If you have a successful guest post that increases your traffic and enquiries, start planning more, or even pitch a series of two or three articles so the audience can really get to know you.
What about you? How have you used your blog to attract clients for your service offering? Have you noticed a difference in how potential clients deal with you if they come to you after reading your blog? Let me know in the comments! And stay tuned: tomorrow we’ll talk about blogging to support your coaching or training business.
Amy Harrison is a copywriter and content marketer for Personality Entrepreneurs wanting to connect and sell authentically to their audience. You can now download her free report on how to write sales copy when personality is part of your business at Harrisonamy.com.