Whether you’ve been in the freelance blogging game for years or you’re still a bit of a newb, you’ll get that there’s much to be done. Becoming a successful freelance blogger doesn’t magically happen without some seriously hard work.
There is going to be persistent blood, sweat and tears. Well hopefully the blood part will be metaphorical! Yikes! We can do this without murder I promise you 😉
So in the interests of keeping the other two to a minimum, that would be the tears and sweat, I’m going to give you some little golden nuggets of wisdom that many of our blogging veterans have learnt along the way.
Part of the fun in learning is passing this stuff on to help other freelance bloggers. We all need a bit of a leg-up at times. So here are six sure-fire ways to keep the blogging beast moving and still have time for a life!
It can be tricky to understand exactly what the client wants at times. There’s a difference between reading and understanding. However, you don’t need Derren Brown style mind tricks to find out what they’re after. If you’re unsure, for god’s sake ask!
It’s no good spending hours on scribing a good pitch/query/draft for the client to say it’s all wrong, wrong, wrong. Don’t be scared. I know it can be a little intimidating to go back and ask questions but we all interpret things in different ways. Getting clarification will save you much precious time.
I would suggest emailing them first as they’re usually super busy people and sending an email gives them time to respond when they can. If time is of the essence then pick up the phone and give them a quick call or Skype them. A call or Skype is often the fastest way to get to the bottom of your confusion.
It’s also wise to pay close attention to the blog guidelines if there are any. This will demonstrate that you’re a consummate professional and as an added bonus will save you time for working on other blogs because you won’t be wasting time re-writing to conform to the guidelines. They’re happy, you’re happy! Marvellous.
2. Plan in Advance
Seems like a no-brainer but those without one think that advance planning is for wimps. *Slap these folks. And then slap them again, just in case their dense heads didn’t feel the first one!
Give yourself time AND THEN SOME when it comes to planning out your blog pieces. Trust me, I’m one of those annoying people that always pays things on time, never misses an appointment, blah blah blah… My trick is always advance planning!
It will save you so much drama and lets your clients know that you’re taking your work seriously when you send in your drafts on time. Reliability = more jobs!
Get a planner. This could be a wall planner. Wall planners are great if you put them up above your desk because they will always be in your eye-line. A diary is great too because you can carry it around with you for when you get an email about a potential post when you’re on the move.
There are also a number of free online productivity tools that will help you stay organised. Some awesome ones are Trello, Teamweek or Wrike. You can also use these tools for other freelance blogging tasks like reminders to send out invoices, follow up on unanswered pitches, do your taxes etc…
3. Education, Education, Education
The more you’ve done your homework on your designated topic, the easier the words will come. Not only that, your posts will be stuffed with useful information and not just waffle.
Research using websites, YouTube, podcasts, books, magazines, TV shows, calling people who are serious nerds on the subject – information is everywhere!
It is also wise to do a quick check to make sure that you’re not repeating a topic that your client has recently published. You’re going to be pretty miffed if you’ve spent hours researching and crafting your post only to discover that it’s just been done!
Organise your research. Have a system in place for getting to things quickly. Save things as you’re going along for other posts.
Part of the beauty of research is finding inspiration as you go. Make notes. Make a lot of notes.
You’ve done your research and hopefully taken down good comprehensive scribbles for your post (see point 3). Gold star for you intelligent peeps. You’re overwhelmed by where to begin with this monster pile of information though. Here’s how to handle it like a pro.
Read though your notes and highlight the bits that will be the most relevant and the most interesting points for your post.
Joint these down as bullet points. This is the skeleton of your post.
All you need to do from there is use the rest of your notes to flesh out the points. As if by magic you will have gone from a big stack of research to an efficiently-written and well-crafted first draft. Ta-dah!
By the way, this is exactly how I have written this post 😉
5. Keep Note of Sources as You Go
Showing your clients your sources will let them know that you’re legit. That they can trust you. That you care and that you’re taking your career as a freelance blogger seriously.
Keeping track of them efficiently will save you a feck load of time later because you won’t be sat there like a lemon trying to remember where the hell you got all your fabulous info from. “Ermm, where did I read that now?” Honestly, you haven’t got time for that shit.
I know it can be annoying to try and remember to do all these little organisational tips but trust me you will see a return on your investment in the long-run. They will become second nature to you and you will no longer have to remember.
Also keeping a note of sources may again help you with future blog posts when you’re trying to come up with ideas and you’re scratching your head trying to think of where you found that great source of info before.
6. Last Minute Edits
You know the score. You hand in your lovely shiny final draft…early. You sit back thinking you’re in the clear, life is delightful.
Then a few hours before the actual deadline, your client asks for some last-minute edits on your post.
DO NOT PANIC. Stop running around the house like a demented chicken. Take some deep breaths and use your common sense here.
READ what they want. Brain clarity is key in this situation. I’ve done the demented chicken act before and all you’re doing is eating away at the time you have left to get the work done.
Take a little bit of time to mull it over with a cup of tea and put your phone on silent.
Try to remove immediate distractions like the TV or the kids. *Lock them in a cupboard. Or maybe bribe them with some money to clear off.
Then get to work, staying focused on what the objective is. Re-read your edits to make sure that you’ve made the all necessary changes.
We’re trying to avoid playing email tennis with your client because you haven’t done everything they’ve asked.
Send it in by the deadline. Right, NOW you can relax……. hopefully!
All jokes aside guys, you have a shit tonne of things to do when you’re a freelance blogger and you can waste sooo much time messing around doing things the long way and the wrong way. Nobody wants that for you.
This is your business and your income and your future. These tips are tried and tested by many a ball-busting freelance blogger and will help you get to your awesome, well-paid, happy blogging paradise a bit more efficiently.
Now, stop wasting time and go get it!
*Sorry about all the violence and child abuse. Don’t really slap people. And don’t lock your kids up. As tempting as it might be! Seriously, don’t.