Let’s get one thing straight: acquiring clients is a pain in the ass.
There are lots of ways to find customers online. However, most of these ways require you to bend your back to their will to make a sale.
Aside from going out of your way to promote your business, you need to continually follow up on leads you’ve been courting for months. Even then, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to convert them, which means you spent all that time for nothing.
While it’s true that it’s part of being an entrepreneur or business owner, you need to find better ways to attract clients and convert better. Instead of working harder, you need to work smarter.
One of the smarter ways to get your target audience to take notice of your business is by developing a content marketing framework that fits your business, starting with blogging. Fortunately for you, I’m about to share my personal framework to you!Learn how this #contentmarketing framework will help you leverage the power of content and generate more clients for your business. Click To Tweet
Do you even blog, bro?
Even if you’re not a writer, a blog is a platform where you can share your expertise with your audience. This reason is why people who blog often receive more leads for their businesses. By compellingly presenting your ideas, you can create better employment opportunities for yourself.
Also, blogging is an ongoing process. You need to develop an editorial calendar so you can publish content on a regular basis. The regularity of posts published on your blog will help guide more potential clients down your sales funnel. In fact, almost half of buyers review three to five blog posts before engaging with you or your sales rep about your business.
More importantly, the kind of blog content you publish will determine your conversion rate. You can’t whip out a blog post from thin air and expect people to become highly engaged clients. You need to deliberately create well-researched, well-written content that resonates with what your clients are looking for.
In fact, the challenge of creating compelling blog content persists among marketers. It involves finding the right topic for your post and the actual writing of the piece.
Therefore, before you even create a blog, you need to learn what comprises a useful blog post that makes potential clients want to buy from you. Also, this inbound approach to marketing allows you to generate leads without having to reach out to clients. By automatically accumulating leads, you have more time to pursue more pressing issues about your business.
In this post, I will discuss with you the exact content marketing framework that I follow when developing a blogging strategy with the goal of generating leads for my freelancing business.
BEFORE YOU START – I have prepared a complementary checklist to help you develop your content marketing strategy using the points discussed below. The checklist aims to make it easier for you to build your plan so you can fast-track your way to more clients!
1. Picking your niche
Short answer: your specialty is your niche. Your vast knowledge about your niche will help make it easier for you to generate content ideas for your blog.
However, you can still narrow down your niche to your specific specialty. Doing so may seem like you’re limiting your options in the job market. However, by developing a highly targeted niche, you attract the right clients for your services.
As a writer, I don’t accept just any writing jobs. Since I’m mostly interested in digital marketing (SEO, content marketing, social media, etc.), I want to attract clients looking for content on these topics.
The blog section on my site perfectly reflects my interest in the digital marketing field.
Choosing a niche for your blog also lets you focus on a particular topic, which shows to prospective clients that you are invested in the field. At the same time, constantly writing about the same topic also gives you more insight into it. Both will, in turn, will help you create better articles moving forward.
Also, choosing a niche that you are passionate about will go a long way. Some people pick a niche based on its profitability, which is not a bad measure to use. However, they may burn out when writing blog posts for a niche they have 0% interest in.
While choosing a niche based on potential revenue may help you financially, you need to consider the long run. Is the niche something you see yourself writing about on your blog and working with clients for years to come? Forecasting the niche you want to write about may determine your long-term success with blogging as a freelancer.
TAKEAWAY:If you don't have a business yet, choose a profitable niche that you're passionate about so you can create content without losing your motivation. Click To Tweet
2. Writing blog posts the right way
As mentioned, you don’t have to be a professional writer if you want to blog for your freelance business. The important thing you need to do, however, is to communicate your ideas across to your readers. Since you have a good understanding of what your leads want from a blog post, the obstacle now is addressing these points in a manner that will attract them to your services.
To make it easier for you, I will break down each section that you need to focus on to ensure the creation of a compelling blog post.
Compel audience to your blog titles
Your headline means the world to your readers. This reason is why people decide whether to read your article on not.
If your headline is terrible, then people won’t click on the post and read the whole thing. On the other hand, people will be forced to open the post because of your thought-provoking and exciting headline.
That said, crafting this kind of headline is tough. It’s not enough to simply describe what your post is about. You need to play with words and use specific words that will elicit a reaction from your readers.
To help you write headlines that you want your potential clients to read, then use CoSchedule Headline Analyzer.
The tool helps you create strong titles for your blog posts. It analyzes your headline based on four factors – common, uncommon, emotional, and power words. Once you’ve entered your title, it aggregates your score based on how well you made use of the words from the different factors. The higher the score, the more potent your headline is.
As helpful as Headline Analyzer is, it is merely a guide that lets you craft your headlines in the best way possible. You don’t have to follow its advice if you feel that your headline is strong enough to be used.
Create content with help from Grammarly and Hemingway
The actual writing of the post is the most laborious and crucial among all.
You not only worry about how you present your ideas but you also need to check your post for grammatical errors. The effectiveness of your blog content rests on these two foundations. By getting them right, you can expect readers to respect your writing skills and your knowledge about your niche.
To get better at writing, you need to keep writing content as regularly as possible. It will allow you to develop your savvy for the topic, as well as practice how you communicate your thoughts to your readers.
Grammarly is a free Chrome extension that lets you check your grammar as you write. However, it is a limited tool that only checks a fraction of the potential mistakes you’ve committed on your post.
Grammarly Premium is your best friend when it comes to editing and reviewing your post. It checks 250 grammar errors which are good enough to catch the most common writing errors. It identifies the errors and provides suggestions on how to correct them, so you don’t have to find the solutions yourself.
If you’re interested in learning more about Grammarly Premium, here’s a review post I wrote on my blog.
Hemingway App may not be as comprehensive as Grammarly Premium for editing your post. However, it’s not intended to be an editing tool. The goal of Hemingway App is to make your writing simple and straight to the point, just like Ernest Hemingway’s prose. It detects adverbs and passive voices so you can remove them or rewrite the sentence to make the sentences stronger. The tool also detects complex sentences that you need to untangle to make them easier for users to read.
As great as these tools are, be aware that they merely complement your editing process. There are errors that only you and your readers can pick up. Therefore, it is still vital to manually edit the post to ensure your content’s quality.
Use visuals (create compelling images using Pixabay and Stencil)
Some clients want more detail to chew on with the ideas in your blog post. And there are those that words can’t express. To communicate these thoughts, you need to showcase visual content in your posts. Not only do they help flesh out the details of your ideas but they also make your posts easier to read and understand.
Ideally, using free stock photos from sites like Pixabay or Pexels should be enough to help send your message to your readers. But some ideas require you to create custom images for. This issue potentially poses a problem for non-designers who feel they aren’t creative enough to pull off spectacular visual content.
Lucky for you, some tools let you create images without any design experience. Canva is one of those tools that let you drag and drop elements onto the design canvas so you can make beautiful images in minutes. You can edit images available at Canva, but some come at a price ($1 per image). However, you can upload images from Pixabay to edit so you don’t have to pay for them.
You can also choose from infographic templates available in the design-builder. Choosing the one allows you to have a pre-made design, so you don’t have start from scratch. You can edit the text, replace the images, and add more elements to make the infographic your own.
Design the appropriate call to action for your post
Your goal when writing a blog post is to turn readers into clients. Therefore, you need to focus on creating calls to action that compel them to make an inquiry about your services, if not directly order from you.
Your calls to action are made up of different elements. First, you need to determine what you want to achieve with your post. Below are potential calls to action that you can create from your post to convert them into clients:
- – Do you want them to download a content upgrade? While the process of downloading content from you for free is non-transaction, it is a valuable step in your content marketing that is directly related to your sales funnel.
- – Do you want them to send you an email for your freelance services?
- – Do you want them to click on a button, so they go to another page on your site?
Aside from the intended goal of your CTA, you will need to create can’t-miss buttons or sign-up forms to make sure that readers will follow through. For example, if you want them to send you an email, then you should include a contact form below the post. If your contact form is located on another page, you create a button that links to that page. The important thing to remember with your CTAs is that they need to grab the attention of readers. By doing so, they will take notice of your CTA and get them to perform your desired action.
Loving this post so far? Then you’ll love the checklist I made for you that distills the most important points discussed in this article. Use the checklist when developing your content marketing plan for your clients.
3. Write long, high-value blog posts
The debate regarding blogging frequency rages on. On the one hand, some people believe that publishing short blog posts daily is a good way to attract blog visitors. On the other, some bloggers prefer publishing less content. When they do, however, the posts are long, detailed, and chock full of information.
To be fair, there is no right or wrong answer to this question. There are cases when publishing fewer words every day or more words intermittently work better.
If you’re just getting started with your blog, however, it is in your best interest to develop evergreen or long-form content to get your blog off to a great start. Similar to evergreen trees that retain their leaves all year, this type of posts will always remain relevant to your target audience even as time passes by.
An example of evergreen content is a post at mindbodygreen titled “How To Lose Weight Without Really Trying.” The article lists down tips and advice to help you control your diet.
By writing content that provides steps on how to solve common problems in your niche, you can become the go-to source of information for your audience. If people like your post as much as the post above, they will share it on social media, increasing your chances of getting found by potential clients.
Due to the undeniable value that evergreen content possesses, search engines can’t help but rank this content type on top of search results.
From an SEO perspective, more words mean greater chances for your post to rank on top of organic search results for your target keyword. Search spiders consider multiple factors when ranking a page of search engine result pages (SERPs). While word count isn’t a direct SEO factor, having more words in your content is a result of sharing more information to readers. According to a study conducted by Brian Dean, the average number of words of pages that rank on top is 1,890 words.
By landing on top of Google search with your content, you can generate more blog traffic and increase awareness to your freelance services. If they are impressed with the tips and advice you offer, there’s a good chance they will seek your professional help regarding their problems!
TAKEAWAY:Make your #content matter by developing evergreen content that comprehensively answers a question and is written for beginners. Click To Tweet
4. Research for target keywords
To get more juice from your SEO efforts, you need to learn how to conduct proper keyword research. By choosing the right keyword for every blog post you write, you can further increase your chances of ranking high in search results. Aside from providing value to readers with your content, you can optimize your post using the chosen keyword.
There are two things to keep in mind when researching for keywords. First, you need to find keywords with high monthly search volumes. If the keyword is often searched on Google, then you also potentially increase your traffic if your post ranks for it.
You can get an idea of a keyword’s search volume by logging into your Google Keyword Planner account. The tool not only shows you the estimated search volume of a keyword but also keyword suggestions related to your initial search.
Once you’ve created an account and logged in to it, type the keyword on the box and hit “Get ideas.”
On the next page, you will see different keywords and their respective search volume. If your initial keyword has a low search volume, then look for a better alternative from the suggestions.
Another factor you need to consider when researching for a keyword is the competition. There is no way for you to determine a keyword’s competitiveness using Google Keyword Planner. The Competition column you see in the screenshot above pertains to PPC.
Ideally, you want to choose a keyword with a relatively low competition. You must capitalize on keywords that blogs haven’t optimized for yet. Doing so gives you the opportunity to rank as the first result for that keyword and get clicks to your post.
You can get an idea of the competition for your keyword manually. Go to Google and search for your keyword. From here, check the first ten results and analyze them one by one. Ask yourself these questions:
- How many words does each result have?
- How many social shares?
- How fast do the pages load?
- Are the posts well-written and engaging?
If you feel confident that you can make a better post than the ones featured on top, then, by all means, do so! If not, then you need to choose another keyword.
Manually researching for a keyword’s competitiveness is time-consuming and cumbersome. To make the job easier for you. Sign up for a free SEMrush account and use its Keyword Overview feature.
Click on Related Keyword Report once you’ve typed in your topic to see the Keyword Difficulty (KD) of the first ten results. The higher the KD, the more difficult it will be for you to rank for that keyword. To get better results, type a long tail keyword based on your initial research.
SEMrush is a paid tool but provides you limited access to some of its data. You have limited credits that you can use to make queries, but you need to use this tool wisely, so you don’t use up your free credits instantly.
IS IT GETTING TO MUCH FOR YOU? Developing a content marketing strategy can get technical as seen above. However, it’s okay if you find the process the process overbearing. All you need to do hire GoSMRK for all your content marketing needs! We will take content marketing off your hands so you can focus on growing your business.
5. Promote your content to the right places
Sharing your content is something that a marketer would typically do. However, in this day and age, you need to learn how to promote yourself online if you want to reach out to as many potential clients as possible.
By effectively distributing your content, you make it easier for your target audience to find your content. From here, they can help promote your post on their own, thus creating a trickle-down effect as it reaches to more people. As this happens, there’s a likelihood that it’ll eventually reach to your leads as well. Your post should be strong enough to compel them to reach out to you for your services.
To help get you started, I wrote a post about sites where you can promote your posts. It includes the obvious (social media groups and communities) and not-so-obvious ones that are equally as effective (Viral Content Bee, Scoop.it, etc.).
Answer and ye shall be found on Quora
I mentioned Quora on the list but didn’t delve deeper into them as promotional channels. However, it is one of the best sources of referral traffic if you correctly distribute your content there.
Through Quora, you can use your post to answer your questions. You can rewrite the answer and attribute your post as your source by linking to it at the bottom. Doing so lets you drive more traffic to your blog. If your answer is compelling enough, they will click on the link to read your post. Neil Patel did exactly this consistently and got almost 10,000 visits from Quora in a month!
Most importantly, providing a detailed answer to a Quora question allows you to build authority in your niche. You are not answering a question from just one person, but probably tens and hundreds of people who are wondering the same thing. Giving a clear answer using your blog post as reference material will help build yourself up as a knowledgeable source of information in your field. If you keep answering as many questions as possible, you can turn Quora into a sustainable source of traffic and leads!
Generating traffic gold on Reddit
I also mentioned Reddit on the list. However, as big of an online channel as Reddit is, your chances of promoting your content there is a crapshoot at best.
Similar to Quora, your goal is to provide unique value to the community and not simply plug a link to your post. The mistake that most people have is simply posting the link on the appropriate subreddit and expecting people to flock your post. If you do this, users will most likely downvote your post into oblivion.
Woody Harrelson (or his PR guy) did an AMA (Ask Me Anything) years ago that was critically panned by everyone. AMA is a platform for people to engage with users and offer unique insights about a topic. However, since the PR guy assumed the identity of Mr. Harrelson, he was unable to answer the questions properly and demanded to stick to the movie he is promoting (Rampart).
Therefore, to make the most out of promoting your post on Reddit, you need to prove your worth as a member of the subreddit. Instead of just visiting the sub to promote your post, you need to engage with the entries of others by upvoting or commenting on them as well as replying to other users. By qualifying yourself as a legitimate member, it will be easier for you to share your valuable posts on Reddit.
If you want a more strategic approach to promoting your content and business on Reddit, read this excellent post on Vyper.io.
TAKEAWAY:Learn the online channels where your target audience can be found and promote your content there to increase traffic and engagement. Click To Tweet
#ICYMI: I have prepared a complementary checklist to help you develop your content marketing strategy using the points discussed above. The checklist aims to make it easier for you to build your plan so you can fast-track your way to more clients with the help of content!
Writing a blog post is a rewarding experience. You can flesh out ideas and establish your knowledge in your niche. As a result, you can leverage your blog posts to attract the right client and land your dream jobs!
In my experience, consciously publishing posts with the goal of attracting clients has revamped my sales funnel. Instead of going out of my way to apply for jobs that I’m not even sure I’ll land, the blog posts do the work for me. Writing killer posts (like this one) allows me to position myself as a freelance writer who knows his stuff.
Of course, that perception from my audience must reflect in my writing as well. I focus on providing value and helping readers with any problem they have regarding a topic related to my expertise. Doing so makes it easier for you to get the attention of your audience and slowly convert them into clients.
This content marketing framework not only covers the writing process but also how to increase your online reach through content promotions. By following the tips above, you will be able to unlock your power of blogging and bring your freelancing career to new heights.