I was recently contacted by a client who wanted to work with me to develop SEO content for their website. Having worked with a variety of businesses across various industries, I quickly realized that they were seeking someone who could help them to become more ‘human’ in their marketing approach.
In order to better understand what type of content they were seeking, I reached out to the client and asked them to tell me a bit more about their business.
They responded by sending me a detailed LinkedIn profile. Upon reviewing their profile, I discovered that they were an established business, with decades of experience, specializing in contract negotiations and legal mediation. As someone who frequently works with businesses to provide them with SEO content, I knew that this was someone who I had to meet. I added them to my LinkedIn network and started engaging with them on LinkedIn to see if we could discover some common ground.
I discovered that we had worked together during the drafting phase of a major contract a few years earlier. Our personalities meshed well and we continued to correspond by email and phone throughout the negotiation process. Our combined experience and expertise were clearly valued by the client, leading to the work that we’ve been able to accomplish together. With the help of LinkedIn, I was able to efficiently research their firm, understand their needs, and recommend a content strategy that would help to position them as a thought leader in their industry.
Understand What Type Of Content They’re Looking For
Although the client didn’t mention it in their LinkedIn profile, I was able to discern that they were seeking the expertise of a copywriter. Having worked with a variety of businesses, from startups to large corporations, I know that not all companies are created equal. Some companies have specific guidelines or requirements that the writers must follow, while others simply want someone to convey their brand identity and messaging across all content creation projects.
It’s essential that you determine the purpose of the content that you’re creating before you start drafting. Do you need someone to write content for your website or do you just want to create editorial pieces for newspapers and magazines? The answer to this question will guide your content creation strategy and, as a result, will impact the type of person you should be looking to work with.
Identify The Online Media That Can Best Serve Their Marketing Efforts
Even if you’re the kind of person who enjoys writing and has an in-house writing team, you may still need to pursue outside the house copywriting services if your company isn’t structured enough to effectively utilize internal resources.
When working with a new client, I always suggest that they use digital marketing tools like HubSpot to map out their strategy and track the progress of their campaigns. Answering the question of ‘why HubSpot?’ is beyond the scope of this article (for those interested, you can read my in-house blog post, Why HubSpot? An Entrepreneur’s Perspective), but using a marketing automation tool will greatly reduce the amount of work that you have to do to track the progress of your SEO, PPC, and content marketing efforts.
Establish A Roster Of Potential Clients
Once you’ve established the purpose of the content and determined the target audience, you can begin to build a portfolio of potential clients. There are several free tools online that you can use to build a list of industry contacts that you can call upon when seeking potential freelancing work. Some of the more well-known ones are:
- Xing (formerly Elance-o-Matic)
- Oberlo (formerly called OneOberlin)
- Groupe SOSMT (formerly Transparent B2B)
- Blueleaf (formerly Ezoic)
- Darling (formerly Upwork)
These tools allow you to connect with other industry professionals, discover their needs, and create a comprehensive list of potential clients. You can also find freelance writing jobs on these sites, so long as you follow the simple steps to getting started. Remember: be specific and make sure that you’re answering questions that prospective clients may have. Tailor your answers to the needs of each individual audience. Doing this will help you connect with industry insiders who are willing to pay for your services, rather than those who are just seeking to find someone to do general work for them. This will also make them value your services more highly.
Find Similar Clients And Create Clique Groups
If you’ve determined that you want to create editorial content for various publications, you might want to consider creating clique groups within LinkedIn, with a few of your chosen publication’s names as the group’s title.
This way, when you network on LinkedIn, you will see that the platform has grouped your contacts into these pre-made cliques, based on their interests and connections. You can then, with one touch, choose to engage with your group. Alternatively, you can also choose to engage with the whole network.
Creating and participating in clique groups will greatly enhance your experience on LinkedIn. Now, whenever you network on the platform, you will see that your contacts are grouped according to your chosen topics and industry. This makes it easier for you to find the right person, based on your interests and the topics you want to discuss. At the very least, participating in clique groups will make your LinkedIn experience much more streamlined and effective.
Take Advantage Of LinkedIn’s Trusted Advisor Status
Not only can you create and participate in clique groups, but you can also take advantage of LinkedIn’s ‘Trusted Advisor’ status. If you’ve ever heard of a ‘trusted adviser’, it’s likely that you’ve used them in the past to acquire business advice or to offer it. Being a Trusted Advisor on LinkedIn will add a bit more credibility to your profile and, as a result, may even attract more high-quality leads.
There are several ways that you can utilize Trusted Advisor to your advantage. You can answer questions, provide guidance, and give advice to others, all while demonstrating your expertise in your chosen field. Doing this builds confidence, not only in your knowledge, but in your integrity. Being a Trusted Advisor on LinkedIn shows that you’re willing to be an authoritative voice within your industry. It also shows that you’re willing to put your expertise to the test, rather than simply spouting off popular opinions or marketing platitudes.
Follow And Develop The Social Media Channels That Appeal To Your Audience
You’ve determined that you want to create SEO content for a website, rather than pursue traditional print publication. Since SEO content is primarily consumed by people within the digital sphere, you can use social media to find your audience.
You can take advantage of LinkedIn’s platform, Twitter, and YouTube to connect with and engage with prospective customers and followers, and ultimately, establish yourself as an authoritative voice in your industry.
On the subject of SEO content, I would suggest that you pick one or two of the above platforms, and focus on using them effectively to tell stories, to entertain, or to inform. If you want to build a successful freelance writer career, learn how to use the above-mentioned platforms effectively and build a following.