Friday, June 23, 2006

4 Tips for Using Blogs to Increase Your Freelance and Small Business Income
By Yuwanda Black

Blogging has been around since 1995 and the creative freelance community, perhaps more than any other sector, has used it to create business opportunities for themselves like no other group.

Although no one knows how many blogs exist, according to the search engine Technorati, the leading authority on blogs, there were some 22 million blogs as of this past spring.

I have seen this phenomenon really take off in the last two years. In addition to a resume or a professional profile, freelancers who contact me looking for work will often list their blog as an additional source of information.

Following are four tips for using blogs to increase your chance of securing freelance assignments and/or increasing your business’s bottom line.

1. Cohesive: Unlike personal blogs, a professional blog should contain a cohesive body of work. For example, if you are a financial writer, you might want to include entries commenting on what's happening in your sector.

Posts can be critiques, comments and feedback on popular news topics. This serves two purposes: a) shows that you stay on top of current events in your industry, and b) that you can write intelligibly about it.

Own a retail store: Use your blog to feature fashion trends, what body type they look best on, post photos of celebrities in the latest looks.

2. Update regularly: Many bloggers update daily; some weekly; others less regular. Black advises that professional blogs should be updated on some type of consistent schedule, no less than bi-monthly.

Anything less than this can be too infrequent. Like a store window, you have to update it to keep potential customers coming back.

3. Personality: I advise bloggers to let some of their personality shine through in their posts -- in a professional way, of course. This is perhaps the most important use of a professional blog space. Why?

Because your personality is unique to you. You will not appeal to everybody, but those you do appeal to can easily be turned into life-long, loyal customers once they are bonded to you. How do you get potential customers to bond?

As an example, say you offer commentary on a recent hot topic in your sector; let some of your dry wit, quirky observations and personal experiences shine through. This begins the bonding process. People do business with those they know, like and trust.

A blog space is a perfect place to build all three of these sentiments. Once bonded, it is so much easier to make the sale because a “relationship” has already been established.

And finally,

4. The basics apply: no profanity, nudity, racist or otherwise obscene content. This is never acceptable.

It's amazing what you can tell about a person by having several months of their work in front of you. Certain personality quirks shine through, which can lead to an employer choosing Candidate A over Candidate B.

Is this an effective, or even a professionally accepted, form of canvassing for freelancers and small business owners? I think so.

Freelancers and small business owners are often at the forefront of technology. Freelancers are because they must update their skills more often than in-house employees to stay competitive. Small business owners often are because they usually do everything from the bookkeeping to the marketing, and need to work more efficiently. Technology helps them to accomplish this.

I think that as long as a blog is a professional representation of a person or their business, I see them as an additional selling tool -- a really powerful one.

As more and more of the work sector begins to telecommute and/or freelance, which cuts down on face-to-face time with employers and clients, blogging is another way to give potential employers more than "just a resume."

May be reprinted with inclusion of the following: ©2000-2050, Yuwanda Black. Yuwanda Black is the publisher of InkwellEditorial.com: THE business portal for and about the editorial and creative industries. http://www.inkwelleditorial.com/ offers first-hand freelance success stories, resume tips, editorial e-courses, advice on the business of freelancing, job listings and much more!blog good techniques

1 Comments:

Blogger Greg the Surly said...

Stay off my Blog! Thanks in advance

7:42 AM  

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