Blog Writing Strategy:
(This piece was published by Blogmutt on November 3, 2015. Scott is the CEO of that enterprise.)
Editor's note: We've seen some amazing success stories lately with BlogMutt customers, but none more dramatic than the customer who was invited to speak at an industry conference because of a post he got from a BlogMutt writer. Part of the magic of that post was how credible it was for that BlogMutt customer. I asked the writer of that post, Pam Sornson, to write a post about how she makes clients happy. It's a great primer on freelance writing and a glimpse for current and prospective BlogMutt clients to see the way we like to operate. — Scott
(Here's my piece....):
As a freelance writer, I know that my primary goal with each blog piece is to improve my client’s business and make them happy. To do that, I need to ensure that the piece attracts the attention of potential customers, provides detailed information about the high value of the client's products and services, and presents credible authority as to why my client is legitimately the industry leader in their market niche. To accomplish these goals, I use SEO-appropriate language, tie in client-specific details, and connect the client's products to highly credible, real-world news and industry analysis. I use news articles from the top research and investigative sources to support my discussion about the high quality of my client's business.
I write for different clients and see the world through many lenses. I have a range of subjects about which I like to write and have found clients who seek me out for my unique voice and vision on those topics. Other clients are very specific about exactly how they want their outsourced blog pieces to sound and appear. Still others appreciate the unique spin on their proprietary property that I, as an independent and imaginative writer, can provide. Creating a blog or article that accurately reflects the world through my client’s eyes is critical to their approval of my work.
What I’ve learned as a writer is that, almost all the time, the research I do before is the biggest factor in my success. Yes, research takes time, but it also makes the end piece a much more polished and professional essay. The research makes writing each piece much easier for me, too, because I don’t have to invent things as I go along. Into each piece, I embed credible sources that provide more comprehensive detail for readers who wish to learn more about my client's perspective.
Here’s how I work through each piece I accept:
Become An Expert About Your Client:
If my client had the time/focus/ability to craft their own blog posts each week, they wouldn’t be hiring an outside writer to do it for them. They are paying BlogMutt (and, therefore, me) to share with their potential market the proprietary perspective, voice and tone that they have created for their business. Therefore, to accomplish my client's goals, I gather as much information as possible about the client’s perspective, goods, services, industry, and audience, from whatever sources are available. The less I know about the client, the more research I do.
7 Freelance Writing Tips for Better Posts and Happier Clients
Tip #1 - Understand the Client's Marketing Strategies:
Many times, the client’s blog is only one aspect of their larger marketing strategy:
The marketing strategy is intended to convey the high value of the company to as many potential customers as possible, across a wide range of channels. The strategy can be aimed at a particular age group, gender, or ethnicity. It might focus on gaining new customers as opposed to simply retaining existing customers. Whatever the strategy is, my blog post should feel and read like it is organic to it. I review each website page for insight and education regarding the client's unique corporate presence.
As a strategic tool, the blog post is often expected to both:
- act as the client's authoritative voice within the client's industry, and
- declare how the client's goods/services are clearly superior to the competition.
The best way to accomplish both is to craft blog content that provides high-quality information about the client's products and services and informs the public about how those products outperform their competition. To do that, I also research the industry and the competition.
Tip #2 – Understand The Client’s Industry:
With very few exceptions, there are no businesses these days that have no competition. Businesses spring up to respond to consumers' needs, and there are often as many competing options as there are consumers shopping. Understanding the key elements of the industry in which the client exists tells me how my client’s products are distinct and unique to the industry. Industry data is highly relevant information for my blog post.
Tip #3 – To Understand the Client’s Audience, Find the SEO Vocabulary:
If my client is aiming specifically at the Boomer generation, I’m not going to use words that are common among Millennials. At the same time, one product can appeal to a wide range of ages and social backgrounds, depending on how it is pitched. A post composed of a variety of select words, as those are used by a variety of potential market members, can reach a wider population than one using language aimed at only one generation of consumers. I intentionally choose words and phrases that are SEO-inspired (see below). For me, matching the tone and language of the piece to the intended target audience is a significant step towards a successful post.
Tip #4 - High-Quality Content Matters:
Once I've identified my client’s key goals and aspirations, sniffed out the elements of the marketing strategy (as those are revealed through the existing marketing materials), and identified the target audiences that my client wishes to reach, I’m ready to craft the piece. The trick here is to tie data from all those elements into a single compelling, informative, engaging and entertaining piece that will be shared across all segments of the target markets and beyond. To do that, I always benefit from additional research that backs up my point of view. Fortunately, the Internet provides an unlimited resource of highly credible, relevant articles that can ground my (and my client's) credibility on this particular subject.
Tip #5 – Seek Credible Research that Speaks to The Client’s Goals:
As a simple example, let's make up a client: Mutty Nutty Peanut Butter Inc.
Mutty Nutty Peanut Butter Inc.'s PR department declares its peanut butter the best in the country because it provides excellent health benefits. The marketing technique of declaring anything to be “excellent” is often met with skepticism by today’s cynical and knowledgeable consuming public. However, if a highly credible independent source states that eating peanut butter does indeed have significant health benefits, then incorporating that information into the blog would back up my client's assertions about their product.
Not all sources are the same, however. If you clicked on the peanut butter link, you'd see that it takes you to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). There are literally hundreds of peanut butter sellers that refer to the health benefits of peanut butter. However, as a credible and highly respected source on health issues, the NIH is at the top of the list. Now, through my skillful research and writing, my client, Mutty Nutty Peanut Butter, has connected its product to the healthy diet system recommended by the NIH.
Tip #6 - SEO Matters:
Using the correct language in my piece will also play a part in its potential success. These days, “search engine optimization” ("SEO" - the process of using internet activity to place a website at the top of the first results page for queries on that topic) is accomplished by connecting relevant, accurate information to viewers' inquiries. The target market suggests which words/phrases are relevant. Single words are no longer sufficient, however, as Google’s algorithms have been reset to capture researched keyword phrases, indexing compilations, and meta tags. These days, each piece on every website – blog post or otherwise – should be composed of carefully selected phrases and words that are likely to be used by viewers to find the products for which they are searching. “User intent” is the new driver for SEO success, and my blog pieces carry verbal signals that attract Google’s engines to those signals.
Tip #7 - Practice Makes it Easier:
I do have topics that I like to write about, and I’ve found clients within those industries that like my work. My research on one piece makes me a better writer on all subsequent pieces, and makes each subsequent piece easier to write, too. Clients have thanked me for accurately and effectively capturing their passion for their business in clever, well-researched posts. They say that the research I incorporate into their blog posts has elevated their status within their industry, and that, in my opinion, is the highest measurement of my success as a blog writer.