If you have been generating a decent amount of business as a freelance blogger, you’ll need to muster up enough motivation and creativity to create your own blog. Ghost writing, or writing under another company’s brand can provide a good start for your writing career, though creating your own blog elevates your game to another level.
Setting up Your Online Presence
Some of the advantages to claiming your own piece of “digital real estate” on the web for your own includes:
- It provides you the opportunity to increase your credibility and authority
- Your blog becomes your digital identity online. It says “I am a freelance writer. This is what I have learned about my craft, and how I can provide value to your business.”
- It shows an enthusiasm for writing, not just as a “hired gun” writer, but as a passionate content marketing professional. It says you take your craft seriously, you aren’t a hobbyist.
- Your blog provides great opportunities for social media engagement. Instead of creating content for your clients’ audiences and followers, you are generating your own following
Creating your own blog could seem like a costly endeavour, however there are many platforms which you can use for free, or at least inexpensively. Some platforms offer opportunities for alternate revenue streams, such as affiliate marketing or e-commerce product sales. Some of the blogging platforms which are suited to freelancers include:
- LinkedIn Pulse
Of course, there’s no law or restriction on the number of platforms which you blog on, but concentrating on just one or two will pay off in the long run. Spreading your writing too thin across different sites can also make you seem disorganized, not to mention your message can get diluted to visitors on one platform or another.
You Don’t Have to Be a Web Designer
If creating a website to feature your blog posts seems like a very time consuming, technical task, you have options which can simplify the task.
Using Medium for blogs doesn’t require any web design skills, actually it is revered for the simplicity of its ease of use. With WordPress, likely the most popular blogging platform for freelancers, there are many templates which you can purchase cheaply, or source for free. Affordable WordPress hosting is widely available. The WordPress training and support community is vast and collaborative.
Another way to get your freelance writer website running is to partner with a web designer. It can be a great way to generate new business opportunities for both parties, and you can get expert opinions on styling and discoverability.
You can start with a simple “Hello World” blog website, though if you want to build credibility and convert browsers to contracted writing gigs, you need to invest more time and money on your website. Your skillset will grow, as will your marketability.
Here are some quick tips:
Don’t Hide Your Blog Under a Rock
Once you have created your blog site, treat it as you would a favourite garden. Plant new content in it regularly, take care of it with regular feeding of vibrant images, social media shares (which are like digital sunlight) and encourage reader feedback. If your audience responds to your blogs, take the opportunity to open a dialog with them. Just be careful not to engage in any conversations which might be a troll trying to bait you into an embarrassing argument.
Seize Your Domain Name
Whether you are writing under a company name or your own name, make the investment in a .com, .author or .book Top Level Domain. Domains are all about credibility, and yourname.blogspot.com or yourname.wordpress.com doesn’t inspire very much confidence. Even if you are using an open source blogging platform, assigning your branded domain adds a level of professionalism you can’t easily put a price tag on.
Showcase Your Portfolio
If you have created some great articles for clients, don’t duplicate them on your site, unless you add a “NoIndex” attribution. Consider adding a navigation link on your website to a portfolio page on a platform like Contently, or Clippings.me. These portfolio sites often double as marketplaces or digital marketing agencies, and can lead to contracted business opportunities.
Though you want to have a portfolio with many of your articles, make sure you do regular maintenance to guarantee:
- You are linking to articles which are still published
- The content you are showcasing is edited for spelling, grammar and format
- Your articles are relevant to your target audience
- There is a good mix of topics and/or subject matter, to ensure you don’t come across as a one-trick pony
It goes without saying, you want to ensure your content for paying clients is thoroughly edited for quality and suitability to your audience. Atomic Writer is a great tool to make sure the content you publish for clients will represent you well as a writer. Just make sure you aren’t just using it on your client projects, you have to use it on your own blog too!
Have you learned any best practices for creating, evaluating and sharing content from your own blog? Tell us about it in the comments section! The freelance writing community is highly collaborative, and the writer you help today could provide you with great guidance tomorrow!
About The Author:
Mark Burdon is a technology professional based in Barrie, Ontario. He has worked in sales and marketing for companies including IBM, Open Text and most recently The Portal Connector for Microsoft Dynamics CRM .Mark has provided B2B content marketing services to companies including Intuit, HireVue, and gShift . He is a freelance writer with Cloudworker Solutions. Follow him on Twitter: @mark_burdon