4 Ways to Harness the Power of Blogging to Accelerate Your Success
“Successful copywriting is not about selling.
It’s about establishing relationships.”
– Michael Masterson
The Internet has changed how easy it is to build relationships with customers and prospects. A good example of this is blogging. A well-written blog places you – the writer – into direct, almost immediate, contact with your prospect.
Sherman Hu – creator of Wordpress Tutorials and well-known blogging coach of thousands of business bloggers – agrees …
“Blogging and other social media is all about social relationships.
“You now have the capabilities in marketing to really get a pulse on who your prospective customer is.
“You have the built-in magic to put a face to the customer. To know their names. To know their age ranges. To know their likes and dislikes. To know what they’re conversing about.
“It used to be a one-way conversation. Now you can get feedback from people who you’re trying to market to in the first place.”
From your standpoint as a copywriter, blogs provide at least four ways for you to build your copywriting success.
Here they are …
Accelerate your success really knowing your prospect.
First off, blogs and other social media allow you to have this personal relationship. You can use blogs – your own and your copywriting clients’ – to really understand your prospect in a way you could never accomplish before.
Getting to know your prospect this deeply improves your copywriting whether you write for the web or not. Ask your client if he has a blog. If so, read it. Read any comments blog readers have posted. They will give you incredible insight into what your prospects are thinking … what’s worrying them, what their hopes and fears are.
You might even ask your client if he could include a blog about the problems that product seeks to answer. But not about the product. Imagine how valuable it will be reading exactly how your prospect feels about those problems.
Accelerate your success writing 10 … 15 … or 25 tiny ads a day.
The next way you can profit from blogs is by writing small ads that clients put on their blog sites. These ads of 10 to 25 words are quick and easy to write. You can write several dozen in one day and still have time left over for other writing … or for other parts of your life.
We already talked about them in our July 2008 issue on pay-per-click (PPC) ads. Rather than spending more time now, I recommend you look at those article when you’re finished here.
Accelerate your success getting paid to pick up the client’s slack.
Many businesses have heard about blogging’s relationship-building power. So they decide to tap into it and assign someone in the office to start blogging.
After a couple of months, they find out that it takes time and effort to keep a blog fresh and active. Time people in the company don’t have … and effort they can’t spare.
Companies in this predicament face two choices. They can let their blog die from lack of updating. Or they can turn to a freelancer. That freelancer might as well be you.
From my own personal experience, writing a blog is easy. A typical blog is 3 to 7 paragraphs long. You write it in either your client’s or your own personal voice.
While you need to stick to the basic secrets of powerful copywriting, you do not have to worry about selling anything. Because you’re not selling. You’re conversing. So you can easily get a complete blog finished and ready to post in a couple of hours.
Depending on your client, you can earn upwards of $50 to $500 for 3 to 7 paragraphs. How long would it take you to write just that many short paragraphs?
And this gig is steady. You don’t need to be tech-savvy to write a blog. The software you use makes it almost foolproof. You log-in, give your password, and type in your entry for the week. (Or copy it in from your word processor, which is what I do.)
Push the “Publish” button … and that’s it. Two hours and you’re ready to write a blog for another client. It really couldn’t be easier.
Accelerate your success blogging for your own self-promotion.
The final way you can profit from blogging is probably the most exciting. It’s writing your own blog. Why would you want to do this?
Blogs not only allow you to get to know your prospect, they have become a powerful way for potential clients to find you.
I’m not going into a lot of detail about search engine optimization (SEO – which was covered in July’s articles as well). Blogs are “crawled” by search engines almost immediately after you’ve posted new content. On the other hand, it takes search engines two, three, or more weeks to crawl regular websites.
And since you’re updating the information on your blog regularly, your blog site will be listed higher in search engine listings.
Starting your own blog has another advantage. When you want to freelance your services, you’ll want a portfolio to show your clients. Here’s how Sherman puts it …
“If you’re going to write for other people, they need to know that you can write. You need to showcase your own work. Someone who is a copywriter but not technically savvy has to get a blog up and running and start blogging. What you write will be your portfolio.”
You have several options for starting your blog. If you have your own domain name (like mybusinessname.com) and website already, check with your web host about hosting your blog.
If you don’t have your own website, then two free resources can help you out. Here’s Sherman again …
“Go to Wordpress.com or Blogger.com. You can get an account for free and get a site up and running in 10 or 15 minutes. And you can write, and write, and write, and showcase your portfolio. That way your prospective client can see your writing style … and choose to engage your services that way.”
Three Rules for a Successful Blog
You don’t just want to “write a blog.” You want to write one people – especially prospective clients – will want to read. Sherman Hu describes three crucial rules for writing a successful blog.
Write in your personal voice.
SHERMAN: “A blog is not a corporate website. Keep the ‘corporate speak’ out of that conversation. That lack of personality. That coldness. When skilled copywriters write, they write with a personal voice anyway.
“Anybody starting out needs to understand that it’s like a virtual cocktail party. How you get dressed up and act at the party is not too much different than how you’ll act at this online virtual cocktail party. You want to be polite and respectful. You want to engage in conversation. You want to be a great listener. You want to inquire about them.
“And then they’ll think you’re a fabulous listener and want to know more about you and your product. They’ll recognize you as someone they like, trust, and respect. And then they’ll be interested in your offerings. That’s where sales happen. That’s where happy customers happen.”
Write to engage your readers.
SHERMAN: “You’re not writing a one-way conversation. You want to seek engagement from your audience. So it is as literal as after you write your blog, you ask for their feedback, for their comments.
“There’s more than one benefit from asking for their feedback. You’re engaging them. They’re talking about things they want to talk about. But it also adds additional content on the blog that’s going to be targeted to the topic, adding important keywords to that page for you for search engines for free.”
Have strong, interesting content.
SHERMAN: “Write good stuff. If you write good stuff, it will attract good people naturally.”
How to Find Perfect Clients
The best way to become a freelance blogger is to start blogging yourself. Once you do, you’ll see how easy it is. You’ll develop your blogger’s voice. And you have taken the first step for attracting clients.
But don’t stop there. It’s impossible to count how many business blogs there are. But a Hewlett-Packard study estimates that 15% of small to medium businesses are attempting to use blogs. While this may not sound like a huge number, it translates into millions of company blogs throughout the U.S. and the world.
And many of these blogs are poorly written and maintained. Find businesses – and non-profits if you’re excited about writing fundraising copy – that have websites but no blogs. Or whose blogs are old.
Do a little research first. Call or search their website to see who is in charge of marketing. Get a name if possible. Then contact that person by phone or through email.
Explain that you’re a copywriter who is breaking into blogging and want to give them a special deal. Offer to write their blogs for a reasonable amount. You can’t expect the $300 to $500 a larger company can offer. But starting out, you could ask $25 per blog. Keep your blogs to the 3- to 5-paragraph range, and you’re earning a fair income for an hour’s work while you’re gaining experience and building your portfolio.
Once you feel you have enough experience and a solid portfolio, you’re ready to spread your wings. There are two ways to approach your search. And you should do both.
First, look at the market niche that excites you most. Let’s say it’s alternative health or fundraising. Search the Internet for clients you’d love to write for. Check out their websites to see if they have blogs.
If their blogs are active, interesting, and well-maintained, they probably do not need a freelance blogger now. But keep checking back. Things change.
But if you find a company you’d like to write a blog for that doesn’t have an active blog, research the contact information. Contact the marketing department by email. Explain what you’re looking for and provide links to your current active blogs. More about this in a moment.
The second way to discover clients who have blogs is to go to sites that have blog directories like blogsearch.google.com, blogs.com, or WordPress.com. (Search the phrase “blog directories” on Yahoo or Google.)
Many of the blogs listed will be active blogs that don’t need a freelancer. But you’ll also run into blogs that are slowing down, that will need your help in getting up and running strong again. These are the ones to research and contact.
Once you’ve gained the initial blogging experience Sherman recommends you can easily be contacting 20 or more potential clients every day. After all, with links to your current blogs, you have the portfolio you need.
Write your self-promo email carefully. (The email should be no more than a half page long if you were to type it in a word processor.) Make sure you have proofread and spell-checked the email thoroughly. Make sure, also, that you put a blank space between every paragraph so your email is easy to read.
Once you have the email the way you want it, add blog portfolio links to it. Personalize the email for each potential client with the marketing director’s name. If you were unable to find the name, use “Dear Marketing Director:”
Once it’s ready, click “Send.” And then send out another prospecting email. And another. And soon you’ll have clients asking you to write their blogs for them.
I’m going to end today with a last comment from Sherman, probably the most important one of all:
“Do it with passion. Do it with authenticity. Do it for real. Add value first. And if you do it wisely, it will open the floodgates of business … and new audiences … and joy.
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