This post kicks off our Be the Best Freelancer series, a collection of articles from the FreeeUp contractor community that shares tips and advice for fellow freelancers. The articles focus on different areas of expertise, based on each contributor’s knowledge, skills and experience.
This first piece, “Home Run Reasons You Should Be Guest Posting”, is from Julia Valdez, who has been writing to entertain and inform audiences since the second grade, and writing professionally for 16 years.
As a freelancer, you need to build your personal brand just as you would if you were running a business. Guest posting offers you the unique advantages of reach, a voice, and varied real estate on which to showcase your skills. You don’t need a corporate career to hit a home run, and guest posting can take you there.
Starting at 1st Base.
Reach your audience where they are by guest posting on the blogs they frequent.
Part of building your brand to get noticed by potential clients is providing them with valuable information about you. You may have this information safely saved on your laptop or tucked away in your noggin, but it’s not going to help clients see your budding talent or your well-honed skills. You need to make the first move and go to where they are. You need to stop waiting and present that information to them by guest posting on their favorite sites.
You may not have your own blog, and that’s perfectly fine. You can get a great start by guest posting straight on the reputable platforms where your ideal clients spend their time. This could take a bit of research, but know that you can rely on your experience as an expert in your niche to get a good idea of what information they are looking for. It’s a quick hop to search for potential blogs that have this information, and a little skip to contact them for a guest posting opportunity, then just the final jump to create an optimized post.
If you do have your own blog, it can become an easy habit to pass a link around whenever opportunity knocks. This has come to be viewed as a lazy approach to networking, and tends to be frowned upon. It does not really help much, either, to take the shotgun approach here. The wise move is having that blog as a discrete reference or a supplementary source that you can share specific posts from at key points in your relationship building process.
In addition, you can’t stay limited to the confines of your comfort zone if you want to grow. We all have our special skills, and you may even have been lucky enough to find the perfect niche. You need to reach further out, however, if you want to meet your targets where they are. Pulling yourself to the level of your potential clients makes a professional first impression and creates an initial bond of trust that you can build on. When you extend your hand, it shows that you are a prudent, attentive person who takes initiative to see progress – three key aspects of a good worker that any client likes to see. And you will have shown them this right off the bat, before they even get to your name at the bottom of that post.
Once you have sniffed out your best options for guest posting, you will be able to put your best foot forward, right in front of your target audience.
Bring it Like a Boss with guest posts that showcase your best talents and skills.
Your very first guest post should already be a value-packed article. No matter how long the post might be, it must contain good evidence of your knowledge and a sampling of your skills. You must prove that you can provide benefit to readers, so don’t concern yourself too much with sharing your hard-won secrets. Focus instead on showing that you know what you’re talking about and that you can expertly put it into action.
A reputation for quality guest posting will establish you as a useful contributor and help to cement your ties with the blog over the long term. When you are looking to build relationships, the attention that you give is worth its weight in gold. This also applies 100% to the potential clients who will be reading your post.
Quantity is rarely better than quality, and Google will agree with me when I say that this applies to content today more than ever before. The blog and its readers will appreciate you, and the Hummingbird will reward you. Most of the points will of course go to the blog you are guest posting on, but some of that link juice will be flowing your way, however you wish to link out – your blog, social media profile, or online portfolio.
Taking the time to create quality content will pay off over the long term. We understand that you have a bunch of responsibilities, and it is hard to see the benefits of unpaid effort through this cloud of undone things. But powering through for your best output will never go to waste.
Sliding into 3rd…
Use your unique voice as a channel to increased visibility and credibility.
Showcasing your skills extends beyond your grammar and HTML formatting prowess to your unique way of presenting the information. No one else in the entire universe is you, and this is a great advantage. Don’t be afraid of your own voice; rather, use it as another aspect of your personal branding. That particular way in which you present information and relate to your audience can become a key point that readers – your potential clients – will remember and look for.
More than building rapport, using your voice is a mark of authenticity. Readers will instantly recognize that you are comfortable in your own shoes, confident in what you do. And more importantly, you are being yourself – a real person that they can almost touch, and certainly get in touch with to learn more about what you have to offer. Establishing that authentic mark is another solid step across that tightrope of trust that you are cautiously walking to get in deeper with your target audience.
Your voice can even be a conduit for winning more readers for your own blog, which you should seriously consider starting if you don’t already have one. As you continue to share relevant and engaging content across the web, you will build credibility and become a known source for information in your niche.
Making a break for the Home Run!
Become a thought leader in your industry.
Guest posting may not sound like much, but it can be a stepping stone to many greater things. Once you have set the stage and your foot is firmly in the door, you can climb from that stand and go beyond building your freelancing career to becoming a thought leader in your industry.
As a thought leader, you will be able to reach a far wider audience than you might have dreamed possible. Early on, we often worry about the details of getting the words right and making the perfect pitch. Once you have established yourself, you can focus on the bigger picture. The first and immediate benefit of this is of course having clients lined up and the flexibility to take on only the best ones.
More than being in full control of your career, however, is being able to make a real impact in your industry. You can use this position of influence to share what you have learned with those who follow in your footsteps. A thought leader sets the standards, and you can be there to make positive change happen.
Guest posting is a precious chance to share your unique voice as an expert in your field. It allows you to reach a wider audience than you would normally be able to. Guest posting is also a great way to develop your writing style and voice without shelling out for a domain and website build. With that voice, you can also create an online persona that will be there to back you up as your career grows. You never know where humble beginnings with an unpaid piece might take you. Your ultimate goal may not be as lofty as becoming a thought leader in your industry, but you can certainly make an indelible mark in bright colors that no one can miss.
Don’t miss our next post in the series, “10 Secrets to Becoming a Successful SEO Expert“, coming at you on May 24th – “11 Secrets to Becoming a Successful SEO Expert”.
Julia Valdez is a professional teacher, practicing clinical pastor, and long-time lover of the art of words on paper and the stage. She spends most of her time doing freelance content writing and management, community volunteer work with the Philippine Advocates for Resilient Communities, adventuring with the Greenhouse Christian Fellowship, and sharing lots of laughs over little crazy things.