(Important note: While you read this, give the phrase “providing value” the most childishly sarcastic tone you can muster.)
If you’re looking for ways to earn more as a freelance blogger, the phrase “providing value” is one that you may hear a lot. I don’t know about you, but it’s one that I tend to skim over a lot too.
It’s not that I don’t want to learn ways to provide more value to my freelance writing clients. I do. It’s just, well, the term doesn’t really mean anything on its own, does it?
The irony is, I’ve learned that I’m already providing plenty of this value people speak of, and it’s causing me to earn more. It’s just that I call it something else.
“Provide value” simply means:
Give more to somebody than you ask from them in return.
Permission to delve deeper into what that looks like?
Great. Here goes:
An accidental income boost
As a freelance writer online, I’ve been “providing value” according to the above definition for years.
Not in any altruistic way, you understand. I didn’t decide to adopt this method out of any sense of charitable duty to mankind.
While I like to think my charitable duty is alive and well, and I’m inclined to go the extra mile for people, I only stumbled across this give-more-than-you-take strategy by accident.
And I quickly realised one thing about applying this to my freelance writing career:
It was making me richer.
As I saw my earnings increase, I naturally continued to use this method as my default approach to my work.
Well, wouldn’t you?
How to use it for your blogging business
First, know how much to charge for your freelance writing services. Read Here’s How Much to Charge Your Freelance Writing Clients if you haven’t worked this out yet, or download The Be a Freelance Blogger Rate Guide for blogging-specific rates. Know your rate and never dip below it, or you’ll get into all sorts of trouble when applying this principle.
Next, always give more in usefulness and value to your client than you ask from them in monetary terms.
If your rate is particularly high, that’s some pretty high value you’ve got to deliver… Hang on! No, don’t drop your rate. Simply add more value instead.
This is what this looks like in the real world:
Say you bag yourself a new freelance writing client. They’re a small company with not much of an online presence and they need your help.
You immediately go about writing your first blog post for them. You work hard on researching and perfecting the post, and are proud of it. You realise when you’re finished that your own social media network would benefit from something like this.
You send your first blog post to your new client and tell them just that. You convince them of the benefits of spreading the message of the post across your social media networks. You explain that while you’d normally charge extra for this sort of thing, you’ll do this for free just this one time so that they can see the results for themselves.
The post is a hit and along with the shout out to your social media network, readers and potential customers are flowing your client’s way. Your new client now thinks you’re some sort of Dumbledore of the online world and asks if you’d be interested in looking after their social media accounts on top of your regular blogging gig.
The benefits of this increased exposure for your new client’s company are obvious, but it also benefits the people within your social media networks too. (It’s important to note that this example wouldn’t work if this was not the case.)
How you earn more money
This example illustrates that what we’re looking at is a simple case of cause and effect. Everybody’s situations, talents, ideas and resources are different so you need to ask yourself what sort of extra value you can legitimately offer.
In this example, you may have charged, say, $60 for that one blog post for your new client, but in terms of how many potential customers you sent their way, you gave them much more than this in terms of value.
So perhaps that new client doesn’t need anybody to manage their social media – maybe they just hired somebody to take care of it. Perhaps it’s something as simple as being so pleased with your work that they keep you on as their regular writer.
Maybe the client offers you absolutely nothing extra in return at all. But the next time they have a big project they need help with, or know anybody else who needs a skilled freelance writer slash online marketing wizard, who do you suppose they’ll think of first?
Giving more value than you could ever charge for — no matter how high your rates — almost guarantees more work and more money. Why? Because that’s the way the universe works. You get out what you put in.
Plus, it just feels kinda nice.
Think you’ve got nothing of value to add?
Here are a few examples of ways you can add value, and in the process create opportunities for higher earnings:
- Always deliver your work on time (or earlier than deadline) and complete it to an impeccably high standard.
Put the whole of your heart and the height of your energy into every piece of work. This is such a ridiculously simple yet effective concept to apply to your freelance blogging business. It leads to happy clients who think about you first and without hesitation when more work comes up (or they’re recommending a freelance writer to others).
- Offer to distribute your clients’ press releases online.
This gives your clients’ brand more exposure, but in an affordable way that saves them time. It gives you more writing work (the press releases have to be written before they can be distributed) and potentially an extra service to charge for.
- Offer to manage clients’ social media accounts.
Be certain your clients see the benefits of this and why you’re the right person for the job. (See the main example above.)
Some cautions and observations
I’m going to go ahead and state the obvious here: it’s probably unwise to approach your work, or any area of your life, with the aim of giving only to receive. That is not the purpose of this post.
The message of this post is quite the opposite — give more than you expect to receive, and then go about your business as usual. Opportunities to earn more will arise as a result of this approach. Your job then is simply to recognise these opportunities when they present themselves.
Giving more in value than you ask for in cold, hard cash will only ever lead to good things. It creates happy clients and can help you earn more as a freelance blogger.
And what if it doesn’t? At least the world will be a slightly happier place to work and play.