Recently I got a job at a marketing company blogging for their clients. On a typical day I might write a blog for a photographer, a lawyer, and an asbestos removal company. Now, I’m not an expert in any of these subjects, but I also can’t spend all day researching—I have too many blogs to write. I also don’t have a marketing background. Because I knew there was probably a lot I could learn about providing great blogs for our clients, I did a quick Google search of “How to blog for other people,” “How to write other people’s blogs,” and finally, “How to freelance blog.”
All I could come up with were articles on how to blog well for yourself and how to get freelance blogging jobs. I couldn’t find any on how to freelance blog well. Maybe the articles I wanted were hidden several pages in. (In which case their writers need to hire our marketing company!) At any rate, I couldn’t find them, and since I’ve gotten positive reviews from our clients during these first few weeks, I thought I would share my methods in hopes of at least starting a conversation. So here are a few things I do and a few things I don’t do.
Match The Tone of Their Website
It only takes a few seconds to read your client’s home page and about page to find out if they are businesslike, funny, or friendly. A blog can be a little more informal than an all-business home page, but do consider your clients’ style when you write for them.
Find Out What Services They Offer
Don’t write a blog about nature photography if your client only does weddings and family portraits. This research also only takes a few seconds.
Relate Your Blog to A Holiday or Local Event
I quickly realized that if I wasn’t careful, all my blogs for the heating and air conditioning company would start to sound the same. If I can use my first paragraph saying something interesting about an upcoming event or holiday and then tie that into heating and air conditioning, it gives me direction and variety. It also keeps the creative writer in me happy!
Find Out What People Are Asking
While I was researching bankruptcy, I typed “Can bankruptcy” into the Google search, and Google suggested “Can bankruptcy help you avoid foreclosure.” Then I knew what people were asking about bankruptcy, and I wrote about it. (That happened to be what I was writing about anyway, but it gave me the idea to type part of a question and see what comes up in the future.)
Quickly Research Their Industry
When I had to write about the Affordable Care Act for an insurance company, I knew I’d never have time to research enough to give my reader a lot of advice. What I did have time for was to pick out one fact about the ACA that I hadn’t known (and surmised others might not have known either) and write the bulk of the blog about that. I figured out some additional common questions my client’s customers might have, listed them, and said that my client could easily answer those questions if the customer contacted them with their individualized situation. When I wrote about photography, I started with a cool fact I found on Wikipedia (don’t judge) about the first known photograph. And did you know that asbestos has been mined for over 4,000 years? These little facts keep all your blogs for one customer from sounding the same.
Figure Out Whether or Not Your Client Wants to Communicate With You
Most clients don’t seem to want to think about their blog. That’s why they hired you. My initial impulse was to call and interview them to get the most informative, engaging blog EVER. First of all, that would take an unreasonable amount of time. So far only two clients have wanted to talk to me, and though I’m happy to talk with them, my interviews didn’t help as much as I thought they would anyway. I recommend just writing something. If they want to make their own edits or contact you about changing how you write for them, they will.
Learn About SEO
My job is all about Search Engine Optimization. I’m lucky in that I’m not the one who has to decide which key phrases to use. I get my SEO assignment from the SEO expert in the office, and then I do my best to make my blog sound like it’s not all about the keywords. And it’s truly not, but when you try to fit the phrase “Wedding photographer in Westville, Cowtown, and California” into the title once and into the body of the blog three times, it can sound clunky. Your job is to write an interesting blog and slip your keywords in without their screaming “KEYWORD! KEYWORD!” If you were hired by a client directly, you might have to discuss keywords with them and come up with the most desirable phrases. Like I said, I’m lucky that I don’t have to do that part, but if your client wants your blogs to be optimized for Google rankings, there are many online articles about writing SEO.
Don’t Make Too Many Promises
Don’t promise the client’s customers anything that is not explicitly offered on their website.
Except for the client’s website, I don’t quote anyone. At all.
Don’t Insult Competitors
Don’t even mention them.
These “don’t” problems are things the client should proofread for, but they might not catch them. Save them by not making too many promises, quoting, or mentioning competitors in the first place.
This is what I’ve learned so far. I have a method, I write a blog about every hour and a half, and the clients seem happy. Do you have any other tips for writing other people’s blogs? I’d love to hear them!
In addition to writing blogs at WSI Smart Marketing, M.L. Millard is the author of three Young Adult novellas. “Anaheim Tales” is available on Amazon, and the other two are coming soon!