I get asked to write blog posts for a lot of clients, particularly service providers who want to attract new clients of their own. Over the years, I’ve noticed a few things that can make a world of difference in how well a blog can promote a service — secrets that aren’t immediately obvious but that are pretty easy to implement once you think about them.
- Blogs make readers feel like they know you: When we read blogs, we’re reading about someone very real to us, even if we’ve never met that person and never will. Make yourself as real as possible to your readers and they’ll feel much more comfortable hiring you, despite the fact that you might really just be another stranger on the internet.
- You have tons of ready made content, in the form of case studies: A blog promoting a service is one of the easiest to write because you know exactly what you’ve done for individual clients in the past and how they’ve benefited. So write up a case study of every past client you can and get it up on your blog. And, by the way, prospective clients love case studies.
- As a service provider, you have to be an expert: It’s your blog and you’re the expert, so write like it. Don’t hedge your bets with ‘I think’ or ‘I expect.’ It’s tempting to run a blog as a newbie exploring a topic, but that doesn’t help you make sales. Focus on the expertise you already have.
- You can’t compete on search engine traffic, and that’s okay: It’s particularly hard to rank for keywords like ‘freelancer’ or ‘consultant,’ because there are so many service providers with websites already. But you can be very competitive for prominence within a niche — you can get plenty of traffic from other sites promoting you, especially if you write posts that everyone wants to link to. That can be a benefit, letting you specialize within that niche.
- You have to write in advance for your blog: Every service provider I know has hills and valleys, in terms of their work loads. When you’ve got plenty of client work, you don’t want to take any time away from it to write for your blog. You shouldn’t force it, considering that your client work needs to be top-notch. But you should make the effort to stockpile posts during the slow times in your business.
- The threshold is low, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to wow readers. There are some incredibly bad blogs out there, ran by freelancers and other service providers. It’s like there’s a checklist somewhere telling people that they have to have a blog, so they throw some site together that has lots of broken pieces, typos and the like. That can make you think that as long as you avoid being that bad, you’re doing good. But you really need to wow your readers, not just beat the particularly bad blogs.
- Don’t track subscribers on your blog, if your goal is to get clients. First of all, it’s the wrong metric to determine success for your blog — you want to track conversions to tell how you’re actually doing. Second, odds are good that you’re dealing with an audience who won’t subscribe that often. Instead, they’ll find you through a link or a search, read a whole bunch of posts in one day and either contact you immediately or bookmark you as someone to work with at a later date.
There are differences between every type of blog. If you’re using your blog to promote your services, you need to know those differences and act on them.