It’s competitive out there, that’s for sure.
A study from Upwork and Freelancers Union found that (and in true Unemployable fashion) 51% of all freelancers say no amount of money would get them to take a traditional job.
That’s quite incredible when you think about it.
However, due to the increase in the number of people opting for the self-employed life, freelancers have to find even more unique ways to stand out from their peers.
What’s more, it can be challenging to find the time to market your business or find new clients on top of what’s already on your plate.
So where do you start?
Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can leverage content marketing to attract new clients.
1. Revive your blog or start one
It should come at no surprise that this one tops our list of content marketing tactics. And for a good reason.
Blogs are an excellent way to attract clients—if they’re packed with high-quality content that is.
With a blog, you can do many things like:
- Demonstrate your expertise on a subject.
- Keep your writing skills sharp and explore your writing voice.
- Boost your SEO ranking.
- Collect and share expert opinions on a variety of subject matter.
There’s no denying that a blog can be an excellent revenue-driver for your business.
The tricky part is staying consistent with it.
But how do you do that?
Plan your content ahead of time
Set aside time each week, each month, or whatever works best for your schedule and create a content calendar for your blog.
This calendar should include all the topics you want to write about each month. That way, you aren’t scrambling to piece a post together.
Pro Tip: Be realistic about how many posts you want to create each month. If you try to do too much at once, it may end up getting pushed aside when more critical client work needs your attention.
Now, when thinking of what to write about, it’s essential to consider topics you know will perform well. That’s right—we’re talking about topic and keyword research.
For those of you who shrug your shoulders anytime you hear the letters “S-E-O” in a sentence together, this simply means that you want to select topics that you know people are interested in based on keyword research and search intent.
When researching topics, keep these questions in mind:
- Who is this article meant for?
- What is the purpose of this post? What is the main takeaway or action?
- Does it provide a solution to a reader problem?
- What question(s) is it answering?
- How long does this post need to be to convey the message?
Also, it’s a good idea to create a healthy mix of evergreen content in addition to more timely posts. Building up a substantial collection of evergreen content ensures you always have something to share that is high-quality and useful.
Write detailed outlines for each post
As you begin to dedicate time to creating blog content, you’ll quickly learn about the power of a complete outline. The more context your outline provides—we’re talking links, keywords to use, phrases, and more— the easier it’ll be when it comes time to sit down and start writing your post. If you’re someone who likes to work in batches, consider cranking out a few outlines at once to save time.
Spending a significant amount of time to work on your blog may feel strange, but it’ll save you time in the long-run.
Develop a distribution schedule
So you’ve spent all this time creating great content, now it’s time to share it with your network in a way that yields the best results.
Think about where your potential clients and peers are most active. Twitter? LinkedIn? Medium?
Wherever they are, that’s where you should be posting your content.
If you’ve worked ahead, scheduling your content to automatically post (both on your blog and to your chosen channels) means one less thing for you to fit into your day.
Building this into your blog process will ensure it actually gets done and that your hard work is seen by those who you want to see it.
2. Start guest writing for well-known industry publications
What better way to build your authority online than with a byline on an industry blog?
You may be thinking, “Why would I spend time creating content for someone that isn’t my client?!”
There are tons of benefits to guest writing for another blog, including:
- Authority building, as we mentioned above.
- Exposure to a huge audience you otherwise would not have access to.
- Backlinks to your website or portfolio.
- Writing samples (if that’s something of interest to you).
However, it’s not as easy as emailing an editor and asking them to post your article (sidebar: many people do that, and here’s the thing, it does NOT work).
There’s an art to pitching stories and ideas to editors, and it takes practice and resilience.
Let’s take a closer look.
Identify the publication you want to write for and study it
Editors receive a lot of emails.
Like, 38,000 emails per year in some cases.
Therefore it’s imperative that your pitches are not only relevant to the subject matter of the publication, but that they are knock-your-socks-off awesome.
How do you know what an editor is looking for in a pitch?
Browse the articles in the section of the publication you want to write for. Look for trends in topics as well as gaps you might be able to help fill. Based on those findings, come up with a few topic ideas you feel confident pitching.
Also, don’t forget to follow the pitching or contributor instructions! Each publication varies, but a surefire way to get your pitch moved to the Trash folder is if you don't follow those rules.
Foster genuine relationships with editors
You don’t have to become BFFs with the editor you want to work with, but if you demonstrate your interest in the content they work hard to produce (and that you’re not just interested in securing a byline), that can go a long way.
Comment engaging, thoughtful responses on their most recent post or on things they share. Strike up a conversation with them and ask questions. Or share their content with your insights attached.
Although this step isn’t necessary to get published, it may help when you go to pitch your ideas to that editor if they are already familiar with your name.
3. Create value-packed long-form content
Similar to writing engaging blog content, creating value-packed content like ebooks or whitepapers is another tried and true content marketing approach.
This type of content is, you guessed it, longer than a typical blog post. Therefore, these pieces are usually more detailed, too. Because of that, they can be a bit more challenging to write for some.
However, if there’s a topic you’re knowledgable about, this could be a great way to pack even more value into your content marketing strategy.
But how do you approach this?
Select a topic based on data
As you would with blog content, make sure you pick a topic that is more or less a guaranteed success based on:
- Keyword research
- Historical data
- Search intent
- Topic interest by your target audience
- Use and value
Choose a topic that you can explore in-depth, and that will prove to be useful to your audience.
Research your topic extensively
Like any piece of content you produce, it should be heavily researched and backed by legitimate sources.
Make sure you verify all your sources, conduct interviews, and gather feedback if needed. The more data you can provide to support your arguments, the stronger your content will be.
Be intentional with formatting
Reading a plain ol’ black and white PDF sounds, well, boring.
Add some pizzazz to your content using images and other design elements. Consider hiring a designer, if you’re not savvy in this area, to create a template for you to add your text to.
Never underestimate the power of design and copy that fit perfectly together.
4. Launch a podcast or appear on one
Now, hear us out.
We know podcasting is no small undertaking. Just ask our fearless leader, Brian.
If this is something you’ve been thinking about or have wanted to try but wasn’t sure how to begin, this may be the perfect opportunity to start.
Why a podcast?
Podcasts, like other forms of content, are an excellent way to share your knowledge, build connections with those with similar interests, and grow your brand.
This is a content tactic that requires a great deal of planning, as you can imagine. There are a ton of great podcasting resources out there that can provide expert guidance on how to roll out your idea.
On the flip side, if you’re interested in podcasts but don’t want to create one yourself, look into being a guest on a podcast instead.
There are tons of podcasts out there these days that cover a variety of topics. But the question is, which one should you pitch? What makes the most sense for your business?
Follow a similar approach as we detailed above for pitching publications. That should help you create a bit of traction with the podcasts you want to guest on.
Start somewhere and run with it
When it comes to marketing your business, it can feel like you have to do it all to see any results.
The truth is, you don’t have to do employ every single tactic to make content marketing work for you.
Start with one thing and do it well.
Focusing on one thing, instead of spreading yourself too thin, will surely yield the results you are looking for.
Have you listened to the latest episode of the Unemployable podcast? Give it a listen and let us know what you think.