Raise your hand if you like fishing.
Me? Not so much. Maybe it was because my husband took me fishing too often when we were dating, but it’s just not my thing.
Is it ironic then that when I started my freelance blogging career, I wanted to take on the role of the fisherman?
Here’s the thing. You can either be a fish in a sea of other fishes (read: freelance bloggers) and seek out the same clients everyone else is, or you can be be the bait and attract the myriad of fish in another pond. Those other fish? They’re your clients.
When I started freelance blogging seriously, I knew one thing for sure: I didn’t want to spend all my time pitching to clients. I wanted them to come to me. And now they do.
Here’s how I reel in blogging clients and how you can, too.
1. Set up a website
You can go through the motions of putting your bait out there, but without a website, it’s difficult to set the hook and get the contract. Sure, a client might sniff you out if they read your guest post on another site, but your website is what’s going to help them make the final hiring decision.
Your website gives potential clients the opportunity to learn more about you and your services. You should also feature a portfolio, where they can view other samples of your work, and an about page that highlights your accomplishments. If you choose, you can also publish your rates, which can help you attract your ideal client.
Finally, make sure that it’s easy for clients to contact you. Include a contact tab on your website with at least your email listed. You can also add your phone number, social media accounts, Skype ID, and a contact form if you wish.
2. Use SEO techniques
Now that you have your website set up, you can start using search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to attract clients to it. These tactics will help you rank higher on search engines so that when clients type in terms like “freelance blogger” or “freelance writer for hire,” they can find you.
I personally rank best for the term “freelance writer for hire.” On average, I sit around the 5th position on the page. Other terms I rank for include “blogger for hire,” “bloggers for hire,” “writer for hire,” and “hire a blogger.”
Over half of my website traffic comes from search engines. How did I manage this? It’s actually a lot easier than it seems! Here’s what I’ve done and what you can do, too.
- Run on a self-hosted WordPress site. Not only is WordPress easy to use, but it’s also one of the better platforms for SEO. With it, you can use tools like Yoast SEO plugin (which I personally use) to help ensure your pages and posts are optimized for search engines. Plus, self-hosted sites are quicker, and WordPress offers many mobile-friendly themes. These are both aspects search engines like.
- Maintain a blog on your website. I only update my blog every other Friday, but it helps keep my site fresh, which search engines like. I blog about content marketing, social media, blogging, freelancing, and related topics, so I naturally incorporate keywords related to my industry.
- Build backlinks. Search engines like to see when other sites link back to yours, particularly if those sites are reputable themselves. It shows that you’re also a trustworthy source. Through forum comments, guest blogging, sites like Pinterest, and networking with other bloggers who link back to your content, you can build a fair number of links across the web that point back to your site.
For more information on SEO, check out this post on “How Do I Boost My Freelance Website’s SEO?”
3. Guest blog
I’ve mentioned guest blogging a couple of times now, and that’s because it has so many excellent benefits.
- As I mentioned, it can help with SEO if you get a link back to your site.
- You can also use it as a portfolio piece to expand your credentials.
- You can get paid to guest post, so it can help grow your income and career. (Have you checked out Sophie’s list of Better Paid Blogging Gigs yet? That will give you an idea of where you can start with paid guest posts.)
- It can entice potential clients to contact you about writing for them.
That last point is where “being the bait” comes into play. If you write a guest post on a reputable site, there’s a chance that someone who is looking for a writer will see it, follow the link to your site, and hire you. Plus, you get all the other perks I mentioned. Here are my best tips for making guest blogging work to your advantage:
- Write about topics that you want people to hire you for. If you want a client to hire you to write about health, it’s unlikely that they’re hanging around finance blogs. Submit posts to sites that your ideal client is likely to read.
- Mention your services in your bio. It’s not always clear that a guest blogger offers their services to the public. Make sure potential clients know they can hire you by using phrases like “blogger for hire” or “offers blogging services.” Here’s a perfect example that says, “Liked this content? Hire me!”
- Include a link to your website. Remember the website we talked about in step 1? Now it’s time to use it to your advantage. Your guest post has the client interested, but now the link to your website will get them to contact you.
4. Engage in relevant communities
Engaging in freelancing communities (like Be a Freelance Blogger) or groups focused on the industries you write for can do wonders for your career and can attract new clients. Here are some examples of how communities helped me land new clients and may help you.
- One of my first clients came to me through a referral from another writer. I was following her blog and had talked to her several times in a forum setting. She knew that I was looking for clients, so she sent one of her old clients my way.
- A client approached me after seeing a comment I’d left on someone else’s blog. She told me she noticed it was well articulated and followed it “down the rabbit hole” to my website, where she contacted me. We agreed to a $500 per month contract.
- I am a regular contributor to Be a Freelance Blogger. I earned a spot on the team by actively engaging in their community. Not only did that give me a chance to see that Sophie was looking for regular contributors, but because she knew me, I had a better chance of becoming part of the team.
Although it can take some time to see results, I highly recommend using these marketing methods as part of your long-term strategy. Start using them at the birth of your blogging career while you’re still actively reaching out for your first clients, and it shouldn’t be too long before you’re landing enough clients from these tactics that you don’t need to search for them on your own anymore. They’ll come to you, leaving you more time for the tasks you truly love, like writing.
Are you still struggling to reel in those clients? Let us know what obstacles are currently holding you back.