The following is a guest post by Filipina freelance writer Jovell Alingod. As a writer, Jovell assumed that it was important for her to have her own blog. She saw that many other freelancers had blogs, and she thought that having a blog would be a great way for her to practice writing, SEO, and social media strategies.
Still, she had her doubts. Pay attention here because while her findings are very important, her process is even more so. She didn’t just ponder things internally - she looked for evidence.
And she’s sharing it with you here today:
“Do I Really Need to Blog?”
This question has bothered me since I found out I can get paid for writing blog posts. That was 3 years ago. Since then, I’ve started more than 5 blogs - but I’ve also unpublished all of them.
You see I thought that to get high-paying blogging gigs, I have to have my own blog to show:
- My blog writing skills (especially since English is not my first language)
- I understand blogging as a whole
- I can write engaging posts
- My online marketing skills (which is also one of my services)
- I understand how SEO works
But in blogging, if you don’t have time for marketing, even if you write great content, your blog will be a ghost town, silent. And the posts, dusty.
That’s what I don’t have enough of - time. Like most Pinay freelancers, I’m a one-woman show and client projects and family come first. So marketing my blogs got the backseat.
Yet it was a roller coaster I rode for several times. Because at the back of my mind, I thought, “As a freelance writer and marketer I needed to blog!” Even if I know time will come again that I may need to close it because it has become a bad entry in my portfolio.
Recently, I was in malaise. I just unpublished another blog and the question popped again in my mind. But this time I need a concise answer.
Since I’ve gone through Celine’s course, I also wanted to be tactical about my approach. So here’s what I did:
- I went through Lesson 1 again of the Pinoy500 course where Celine teaches about “The 3 Limiting Misconceptions” (and how to crush them).
- I searched for posts discussing this topic via Google and a writer’s forum of which I’m part of.
- I also voiced my concern to Celine and 2 other writing mentors. Their advice was great and eye-opening.
But stubborn me was still torn.
To better weigh things, I reviewed 17 professional websites by freelance writers from all over the world, 2 of which are Pinoys.
And here’s the information I got:
- All 17 writers use pitching, cold calling, and applying to good job boards to get blog writing and marketing gigs. They have no complaints about it. They all say they got good paying clients from these direct approach strategies.
- 4 of them use guest posting as seen on the social proof they show on their sites.
- Only 5 have successful blogs. By successful, I mean social shares of at least 5 per social network per post, more than 2 comments per post, and Google PR 2 and above.
- 4 out of the 5 who have successful blogs offer marketing services upfront
- 3 offer a free download and their writer sites also have a Google Page Rank of 2 or above.
- The other 11 have un-updated blogs with no engagement of any kind.
- But again all 17 show writing clips.
This was my personal conclusion after this review:
- The direct approach strategies are still the best methods to get good paying clients.
- Having a writer website and providing at least 1 form of freebie for potential clients helps.
- Guest posting also helps build a writer’s portfolio, credibility, and online visibility.
- Having a personal blog doesn’t even seem to fit in the picture, even if you’re selling marketing services.
Celine and the other writing mentors advised me the same thing – you can always show your marketing skills by providing a case study, an ebook or evergreen articles you wrote with tips on this topic, or offer the service behind the scenes.
Creating blogs still helped me improve my writing skills and test marketing strategies. But as a solo professional, it’s vital to know where it’s best to focus our time and energy, especially if the goal is to get good-paying clients. In the end, my personal blogs just ate up my time and sometimes, my self-esteem as a writer.
My takeaway for you: being successful at freelancing is not only about working hard, it’s also about doing what has been proven to work.
Jovell Alingod is a freelance writer who writes to help both entrepreneurs and freelancers. Get more from her via her website and Google+.