Is blogging overrated? Maybe. But do it right, and it can still pack a marketing punch.
“Do you want to hear some feedback you might not like?”
A few weeks ago, I got this Facebook message from an alleged marketing guru I had connected with. We’d “met” in the virtual world on someone else’s social media post, and his connections and comments seemed solid enough. He sent me a friend request. I figured, “Why not?”
We talked for a few minutes by phone. He didn’t seem too “salesy” or pushy. “No pressure,” he assured me, seeming to understand the capital constraints of a new business. I wouldn’t have to spend any money, he said, but would I join his Facebook group? I did.
Then, after this very minimal interaction, he sent me that message offering (I assume) constructive criticism. I ignored it. Then I left his Facebook group.
Now, I consider myself a growth-minded person. I own my identity as a life-long learner. Especially as a new business owner, I love getting helpful suggestions, tips, and constructive criticism from people with more experience than I.
But I have to trust the person giving it first. And to trust them, I need 1-3 things:
- Evidence that they know what they’re talking about.
- To see who they are to an extent—their character and approach to their business/practice.
- To believe they care about my success. MINE. As an individual, not just another client.
He hadn’t taken the time to build any of that with me, and he lost a potential client.
Trust and Blogging
Wait! I thought this post was about blogging . . . ?
Yep. It is. But it is also about trust.
In today’s world, freelancers and startups abound. Consumers and potential clients have almost innumerable options. For every service that interests them, for every decision they make to invest in their comfort or well-being, they must choose whom to give their limited funds from among an overwhelming array of businesses and service providers.
More than ever, they’re going to turn to someone they trust. And trust is something that you, as a service provider, must earn.
Blogging can help you earn that trust.
(If you’re more of a podcast or a video person, stick with me! A lot of this still applies.)
Blog to Earn Prospective Clients’ Trust
You’ve heard that you should blog on a regular basis to keep your website “fresh.” That’s true. But for the service provider, blogging should do much more than that. It should help build trust with potential clients in the three ways I mentioned above. Let’s break it down.
Blog to Position Yourself as an Expert
When I look for a service provider, I need to believe that YOU can help me.
We’ve all seen the “gurus”—marketing, dating, weight loss, fitness, and so forth—who want to share their “proven method.” They all want to tell you the “one little secret” that other experts in the field won’t.
So you click on the link and scan paragraph after paragraph of . . . nothing. They talk on and on about the people they’ve helped. They mention all the things people try without success before trying their method. But they never discuss what THEY know, or at least not in any depth.
A service provider’s blog should demonstrate the depth of her experience and knowledge. Tell stories. Talk about your own journey of learning what you know. And if you’ve developed your own niche in an industry, even better—you can gain creds among your colleagues who see that you might be the perfect referral for that client who needs something different than what they have to offer.
Blog To Show Your Prospective Clients Who You Are
We all want to work with people we like, who we “click with.”
A blog is a great place to let prospective clients see your personality, character, and professionalism—before they ever meet you. Tell funny stories on yourself, even ones that helped you learn something. Show that you care about your clients and their success, but also that you care about people from whom you get nothing.
You don’t want to brag, of course. But write from your heart, and your voice will come through. (How can this happen if you pay someone else to write for you? Check out my process to see what an effective freelance writer does.)
Blog to Show You Care about Your Clients as Individuals
The last point overlaps with this one quite a bit. But to add to it, you can give away value on your blog. What do I mean?
Clear, low-effort steps that readers can implement right away give value. Are you a therapist writing about boundaries? Tell people to find a safe partner to practice scenarios where they need to say, “No.” Are you a weight-loss coach? Give away some easy recipes and simple workout routines. A realtor? Write up a checklist people can use to get their homes market-ready.
Some readers may never hire you, true. But some will—because they can see you’re there to serve. And the ones who don’t? They’ll still see your dedication, and they just might send their friends your way.
Make Blogging the Heart of Your Business/Practice
Blogging (or vlogging or podcasting) can show a world of potential clients that you care and that you can help them. And in a marketplace inundated with competition, that will help you stand out.
And here’s the cool thing; the content you prepare for one format—say, a vlog—can also morph into blog or podcast material.
Why should you bother with any of it? To show your business is your passion. To show that you care about what you do. And to show that you are there to serve.
Want tips on how to write a successful blog? Check out How to Write Skimmable Content with Great SEO.