Writers and their blogs are a bit like good house contractors and their own houses...often times we write so much for other people that our own blogs suffer.
Though it is tempting to save your own blog efforts to “when you have free time”, I’m going to try to convince you to treat your own blog like the ultimate stage it is for your own work. (full disclosure: I am my own audience today. My personal blog is sadly neglected.)
Here, then, are several reasons any freelance writer worth their salt should keep a (rockin’) professional blog:
Writers Need to Write
Although as a professional writer you probably write a lot, by keeping a professional blog you will do the one thing that all writers worth their salt recommend: you’ll practice your craft. Sure, writing for your clients is practice, and there’s something to be said for being too busy with paid clients to look after your own blog. But just like how the flight attendants recommend, your own oxygen goes first. Your professional blog shows that you know how to take care of yourself and that sends a powerful message to both your potential clients and to yourself.
This came up recently when discussing the merits of a new hire. Her well kept-up blog spoke very highly of her professionalism and self-value.
Professional Blog = Professional Rates
When you look after yourself and your blog, you show that you value yourself and your worth as a writer. This translates into how much you charge.
A professional blog shows that you are in the market, that you know what you are doing, and that you value your work. This can’t be understated.
In fact, you probably notice it yourself. When you come across a colleague’s blog and it’s up to date with interesting articles and great graphics, you notice. You notice and you think that person is probably charging more than you, is probably busier (even though in some ways that is counter-intuitive) and probably just all-around better than you.
You know you do this. It’s human nature.
Show Off! Professional Blogs Show Off Your Talents
Another great reason to keep your own blog professional and up-to-date is that you are the master of your own universe with your blog. It is here that you can really take risks, write your best stuff, and show your range.
It’s similar to what can happen to some character actors. After years of being cast in a certain role, they become known for that type of acting. Writers, too, when word spreads that they are talented in certain areas, may only get hired in a narrow range of subjects or styles.
By keeping your professional blog current, you have the chance to show your range. Sure, you’ll have links to your best client work, and sure, there is something to be said for building a reputation for being the best at a certain niche style of writing. But your blog is a great place to show that you also have a talent for, say, academic writing, or fiction, or scientific journalism.
Done well, this can be a great way to a vertical career trajectory.
Blogging as the Ultimate Virtual Cocktail Party
Uber-Power-Blogger Jeff Bullas notes in a couple places in his article “10 Secret Benefits to Blogging” that blogging is an excellent way to gain visibility and network. If you’re good at what you do, your blog will become a place of engagement, a place where you are host to a serious networking cocktail party of people who enjoy your work and want to get to know you better.
If you play this right, you can introduce people you think should know each other, and be the gracious host you were meant to be. In past renditions of my own blog, I have seen this happen and it has been beautiful. In fact, one of the most rewarding things that has ever happened for me on social media has been introducing people to each other and watching those relationships take off. And, of course, you’ll meet wonderful people, which will benefit your career and your future writing opportunities. Yes, editors read blogs.
Professional Blogs = Great Marketing
Finally, keeping a professional blog is a great way to practice marketing. You can definitely learn about on-page SEO and social sharing through marketing your own blog, and use these techniques to practice marketing your own work.
By tracking your successes and tweaking what you do to improve your own results, you will not only see better results for your own work, but you will be able to pass this on to future clients.
In a similar way, you can subtly teach yourself how to best market to your own audience to get more sales. You can create your own sales funnel on your own blog, with unique and strong CTAs (calls to action) that reel in future clients. That, too, has the benefit of your being able to sell your selling power as a skill to future clients. Pretty cool, hey?
We’re all busy, and finding time to keep our own blogs up-to-date and professional looking is something that can be a stretch for any writer. But look through your calendar and see if you can carve out the necessary couple hours you need to keep a professional blog for your freelance writing career. You won’t regret it if you can find the time. Good Luck!
About the Author:
Wendy Kelly is a content strategist living and skiing in a small mountain town in British Columbia who enjoys storytelling and strategy. Imagine that. You can follow her at @WendyKKelly.