What comes to mind when you think of a blogger? Big sunglasses, floppy hat, wardrobe straight outta Topshop’s AW2020 collection and a perfect selfie pout? An eyelinered indie kid spilling their darkest secrets and favourite emo song lyrics onto livejournal? There’s a few stereotypes of what a blogger is, but none of them really hold true for us here at Dinghy. For some people blogging is a hobby, but if you’re running your own business, a blog can be a crucial tool in your freelancer marketing strategy. A professional blog is a smart, low-cost way to promote yourself and your services. Here are our top reasons why we think all freelancers should consider starting a blog (or taking the time to regularly update the one they already have).
It gives people a reason to visit your website regularly
It doesn’t matter how professional, slick and elegant your website looks, if your clients and potential clients only visit it once, it’s not really doing its job properly. What you want is a regular audience coming back for more, and plenty of brand new content to attract people who’ve never dropped by before. A blog is one of the easiest ways to achieve this. Ideally, you’d update your blog at least weekly, but if you can commit to writing even one piece a month you will soon see an increase in both regular and new traffic to your website. You don’t have to spend ages writing; little and often is best. A blog should be at least 300 words, but 500-1000 words is great. A few images or illustrations can really help bring the content to life too.
It will increase your SEO rankings
The secrets behind SEO rankings are closely guarded and ever-changing, but a few principles hold true. Search engines love:
- Repeated use of keywords: if you’re a photographer, and your blog is full of references to photographs, shoots, weddings, portraits and the names of the areas you work in, the association builds between your site and these key search terms, and you’ll move up the results.
- Links: you can use your blog posts to link to other sections of your website “if you want to see more, click here to visit my portfolio”, “visit my contact page to book a session”. This helps build traffic throughout your site. Even more valuable, however, is when people start linking to your blogs from other websites. A link to your site from another is read by search engines as a positive endorsement, so the more links you can get coming in, the higher up search results you can climb. Writing a blog that helps people, or contains content that people want to share will push you higher. You can also share each blog on social media as you publish it.
- Good quality, original writing: search engines are looking for “valuable content”, websites that answer people’s questions and offer something new or interesting. As well as its algorithms, Google also uses a team of human raters to judge quality, and having content written at expert level is key to their judgement. You’re an expert in your field, so show this off in your blog.
- “Fresh” content and lots of it: to be highly ranked in search engines, websites should have a good amount of content and be regularly updated and revised. A blog helps you get into the habit of adding new material to your website, not just letting it sit and stagnate.
It can increase lead generations
It’s one thing to have someone visit your website, but what you really need is for them to get in touch with you or give their contact details so that you have a lead on a potential new client. Having new content regularly increases the chance that your business reaches new audiences, who might then get in touch if they’re impressed with what they see. If people subscribe to receive updates from your blog, you know you have a potential customer to hand. Easily shareable on social media, blogs can spread the message about your work, encouraging new customers to get in touch. And the personal nature of a blog, where you talk directly to your reader, can humanise and personalise your services, making people feel like they have a connection to you, which again makes it more likely that they will approach you when they need a job doing in your area.
You can use it to demonstrate your expertise
A blog is the perfect place to showcase your professional achievements and accomplishments. You can shout out about finishing a recent project, or share the learning from a recent training you’ve attended. One of the fastest-growing trends in marketing is sharing content that educates and advises your readers, positioning yourself as an expert in your field. These types of blog are shareable and can also attract the attention of industry websites, magazines or other bloggers, who may want to republish the content, giving you a bigger platform for your expertise and promoting your services in the process.
You can promote your products and services
Perhaps you’re now offering a new service, or a special discount deal: your blog is the perfect place to promote it. If you’re shy about appearing too pushy, a blog can simply be a place to discuss the work that you’ve already completed – and let your talents speak for themselves. Write about the experience of shooting a wedding in a venue with tricky lighting. Describe how you worked with a client to revamp their website and increased their e-commerce sales. Discuss how you refined an app in response to customer feedback.
But there’s one final thing to do before you go and write that blog: make sure you have business insurance in place to cover you, especially with the new customers that are going to be getting in touch from now on! Dinghy insurance is specifically tailored for freelancers like you so click here to find out more.