This is part two of a three-part #nomorejobboards series about how to get well-paying clients by avoiding traditional methods. Last week I shared seven alternatives to freelance job boards. And this week I’m focusing on how to get clients by leveraging your blog.
Since I started freelancing on the side of my day job over five years ago (wow, where has the time gone?!), I’ve done everything a bit unconventionally. I didn’t start out using freelance job boards, and I didn’t focus much on cold pitching either (although I do more of that now).
So you’re probably wondering, how the heck did I launch a freelance business if I didn’t apply for jobs or spend countless hours cold pitching? Here are five unconventional, and proven, ways I find freelance work with my blog.
1. Find freelance work with a blog
There are multiple ways you can leverage your blog to find freelance work. One of those most obvious is to showcase your writing, editing or social media skills through consistent publishing of blog posts and social content.
In the beginning stages of being a freelancer I was a social media and marketing assistant, and was able to land my first VA client because I used my own social media content as an example of my work. The same can be done with a blog if you’re a writer or editor, by publishing amazing and actionable content on a consistent basis.
Potential clients will be able to view your social networks and website as a living, breathing portfolio of work and use it as a way to gauge the work you’ll do for them. So don’t underestimate the power of having a blog and publishing content regularly.
You don’t have to write blog posts five days a week, or send tweets 20 times a day. I only blog once-a-week and send out 3-5 tweets per day and have been doing so for several years. Just create a blogging and social schedule that’s reasonable for you and stick to it.
2. Attract clients with a Services page
The second way I find freelance work with my blog is by attracting clients with a Services page. A Services page is simply a “Hire Me” or “Work With Me” page that explains the different services and packages you offer, what clients can expect if they hire you as well as any testimonials and other information you want to include.
I actually have an entire workshop, in the Client Connection membership, dedicated to how you can use a “Hire Me” page to attract clients to you and get more leads directly into your inbox every week.
When done properly, you can optimize your Services page to rank naturally for a specific search time and help potential clients find you through search results. Using this technique I rarely have to seek out clients any more since they usually find me via my Services page or LinkedIn profile on a weekly basis.
[Click here to read my personal case study for setting up your own Services page to attract more clients than you can handle.]
3. Get noticed in the media
Having a blog is great but it won’t do you any good if no one ever visits your site. In order to be noticed and gain more traffic you need to get your name out there, and one of the most effective ways to do that is by getting mentioned in the media.
There are two main ways I do this:
- Guest post like a boss – In 2012 I made it my mission to get published on 12 other websites as a guest blogger (12 in 2012, get it?!). If there’s a well-known blog or website that you’d like to write for, chances are they accept guest post submissions (and may even pay for them). In exchange for being featured on their site, with a link in your byline, you’ll be able to gain valuable experience working with editors and blog owners, as well as reach a whole new audience of potential clients.
- Be interviewed by journalists – With the help of a free tool called Help A Reporter Out (HARO) you can connect with hundreds of journalists and editors who are looking for sources to interview and feature as experts. You’ll receive three emails a day with queries related to different topics. Just choose one that fits your expertise and industry and start replying to inquiries. You’ll soon see your advice featured in some of the best magazines and sites (this is how I’ve was interviewed for Redbook and INC magazine).
Additionally, in the past when I pitched a blog owner about a guest post, they loved it so much that I became a regular paid contributor for their website. So you have the chance to not only get mentioned on different sites, but turn those submission into long-term paying gigs.
4. Turn media mentions into clients
Once you start seeing leads come in through your Services page and other media mentions, how exactly do you turn them into paying clients? Firstly, add any new mentions and interviews into your freelance portfolio (whether you use a Pinterest, LinkedIn or Contently portfolio). Then, you absolutely must keep these portfolio pages updated.
As you become published and mentioned in more well-known sites, cycle out your lesser-known mentions for the better ones. You don’t want to lose out on client contracts because your portfolio is out-of-date or includes too many mentions. Choose the best ones, along with any awards you’ve won, and leave out the rest.
Here’s an example of my media mentions:
Finally, when displaying the work on your website or reaching out to clients via cold pitches (more on that in part three), send them links to your newly updated portfolio with these media mentions.
I’ve worked with editors who were about to delete my email but then saw that I was a featured in Glamour and Redbook magazine and decided to work with me. I was even able to land a paid speaking gig, where they flew me out to San Francisco, all expenses paid, just because I was a Huffington Post blogger.
Media mentions and other online press can give you instant credibility and a solid reputation, which you can use to your advantage to find more freelance work.
[Click here to read more about how to use media mentions and online press to find freelance work.]
5. Set up a sponsorship page
I like to think of working with brands directly, as a brand ambassador, as one income stream that’s part of my overall diversification strategy. While it may not land you recurring or long-term freelance work, it can boost your income and allow you to fill your portfolio with even more experience and credibility.
A brand ambassador is someone who represents a service or product in a non-biased way to a customer or client. This can be in the form of a product review, beta testing, giveaways, free samples and other promotions.
As a blogger you can use your subscribers, readership and social media stats to convince brands to work with you. Start by creating a Sponsorship page on your website that details all of your stats, packages, prices and testimonials from other brands. Don’t forget to include a contact form to make it easy for brands to reach out! Check out my own Sponsorship page as an example.
In the past couple of years I’ve worked with MileIQ to review their app for freelancers, TaxAct on their #BeatTheDeadline blog tour and Office Depot on their #GearLove campaign — just to name a few. These are all products and services I use regularly so I was able to get paid for something I was already doing.
[Click here to read my personal case study of how I earned $7,200 as a brand ambassador.]
Blogging for business
A blog can be used for so many more things than just pushing out content or getting readers to subscribe to your newsletter. You can showcase your skills through content marketing and social media, get featured in the media and connect with well-known brands to work on large campaigns.
Don’t underestimate the power of your personal brand and blog. There’s definitely a place in this economy that allows you to leverage your blog like a business, and there’s no better way to use it than to find more freelance work.
And don’t forget, click the link to catch up on the entire #nomorejobboards series.
Do you use your blog as a way to drive more client-based business? Share your tips in the comments!