by Robyn Roste
Should freelancers have a blog? Is there any value in blogging these days? These are the questions. We’ve all heard we should blog, but there isn’t a lot of talk about why we should or what we should blog about.
Since revamping my blog a year ago I’ve had a lot of discussions with other freelancers about the merits of blogging. Here are a few reasons people say you shouldn’t bother with a blog.
1. Blogging isn’t well regarded
True, it’s not. The term “blogger” doesn’t inspire thoughts of professionalism and prestige. And if all you do is blog then it doesn’t mean much. But what if a blog was a piece of your well-crafted strategy? Just a thought.
2. Nobody reads blogs anymore
No, they don’t. At least not like they used to. Sure, some sites have a tribe of loyal readers who can’t wait for the next post, but the landscape of blogging has changed and getting eyeballs on the page takes a different skillset. You have to provide value, cover topics people want to learn about, and present articles in a binge-worthy way.
3. Blogging is a waste of time
It can be, yup. It’s easy to focus on all the wrong things—like site design, SEO, and being clever—and go down the blogging vortex never to be seen again. Learning what to spend time on and why will keep you on the blogging straight and narrow.
4. Why work for free when you have paying clients?
Great point! Your blog doesn’t pay the bills and you could be spending that time working on paying gigs. And if you have no strategy, write when you have time or when inspiration strikes, or treat your blog like an online diary, you’re doing it wrong.
Before I relaunched my blog I spent about six months building a strategy. I studied the market, put my freelance goals in writing, and worked out how blogging would benefit me long term. Since then I’ve seen nothing but good come from my efforts.
Here are four reasons why I think freelancers should consider having a blog.
1. Blogging attracts clients
Having a professional website is important, but if it’s a static site it’s difficult to attract new viewers since search engines give weight to sites with updated content. By posting consistent content you’re increasing your chances of showing up in results. By posting targeted content you’re increasing your chances of attracting potential clients to your website.
2. Blogging builds your brand
As any freelancer knows, trust goes a long way. And building trust means being viewed as an expert in your area. If potential clients aren’t coming to you as referrals or you haven’t met them in person, how will they get to know you? Reading helpful articles about your topic can persuade a reader that you know what you’re talking about and you can help them.
3. Blogging helps you network
When your blog is tied to your professional website it helps you build a community. Well written articles invite discussion. Creating content about the work you do lets people know what you’re looking for. And regular updates keep you top of mind so when a potential client needs your services, you’re the obvious choice.
4. Blogging gets you an audience
Maybe you don’t care about having fans or followers but if you ever want to sell a product or publish a book, you will need an online following to gain any traction. A great blog will attract people who resonate with your topic and voice. Also, you’re building an asset you control and own, which will benefit you for years.
One of the biggest changes I made was I stopped treating my blog like a blog and instead as a resource. I write blogs to market my services, expand my platform, create a content library, build my influence and expertise, increase my brand, network with others in my niche, keep my site fresh, and get on my ideal client’s radar. Blogging also gives me a lot of material to share on social media.
No doubt maintaining a blog is an investment, but I believe if you build the right strategy your work will pay off. What do you think—are you ready to give blogging a try?
Robyn Roste is passionate about helping freelance writers market themselves online. She has created a free tip sheet with five easy ways freelancers can optimize their social media profiles.