When a prospective client is looking for the professional services you provide, they may not be ready to talk to you yet. Instead, they may browse your website to find out more about you.
While the other sections of your website can show that person who you are and what you do, your blog shows them just how much you know.
Reading your blog gives clients a non-threatening way to interview you at a distance. If they like what they see, it will give them the confidence to contact you directly and take the next step.
Here are 10 blogging tips for attracting new clients for your professional service business:
- Plan first. A blogging plan is the best way to build confidence in your ability as a blogger, and in blogging’s effectiveness to grow your business. Outline why you’re blogging, your goals, and how you will achieve them. Detail when and how you will write, polish, publish and promote your posts, and define your blog’s key categories.
- Commit to a set of core topics. Hone in on 5-7 themes that intersect between your areas of expertise and the interests and concerns of your readers and prospective customers. Do not publish anything that doesn’t fit precisely into one of those categories. (You can add categories later, but think carefully first.) Blog categories focus your efforts and make it easier for both you and the reader to return week after week, knowing exactly what you’re doing there.
- Tap into a team. If a topic is outside your immediate scope, but important to your audience, you can still include that category. Simply create a list of people you can invite to write a guest post or be interviewed. Consider partnering with other professionals to share your resources. Decide who can best help you plan, produce and promote your blog posts.
- Ask and listen. You don’t have to guess about the topics your target audience is interested in, you can ask them! From a formal questionnaire to a casual question in passing, find out what’s on their minds in relation to your business. You can also listen in the background by searching for key phrases on social media platforms and reading comments and questions about your topics.
- Be a beginner. You’re an expert. That’s why people hire you. Yet it took years for you to build up your knowledge base and the collection of experiences you draw on every day to help your clients. Be sure your writing is accessible to someone who is brand new to your topic and your industry. Don’t use jargon or acronyms, or if you do, include a clear explanation that any novice can understand. Constantly put yourself in the shoes of a beginner and review what you’ve written from that perspective.
- Make your blog posts easy to read. Treat your readers like clients and give them a good experience of being with you. This can mirror the positive way you’ll treat them when you work together. Include plenty of white space on the page, by keeping paragraphs short, using sub-headings and/or lists. Include a compelling title and an eye-catching photo that help your reader connect to the topic on an emotional level.
- Proofread and pause. Walk away from your writing for a few minutes (at least) or a few days (ideally). You’ll be amazed at how many improvements you’ll find by giving yourself this space. Read your post out loud to catch errors your brain will skim over when you’re reading onscreen.
- Promote and repurpose your posts. As much as you’d like to think people are visiting your blog every morning to see what’s new, that’s highly unlikely. If you want them to see a new post, you must let them know it’s there. Use email newsletters (manual or RSS, social media updates, your email signature, and individual messages to people who would benefit the most. Schedule additional social media messages for the future. You never know when someone new will come along who needs to hear the exact message you just wrote. When you write posts on related topics (which you will, since you’re following my suggestion in #2), link back to this post to keep it alive.
- Monitor your responses and results. Janet Barclay of Organized Assistant® says there are three ways blogging gets business results: authority (i.e., recognition as an expert in your field), numbers (email subscribers, website traffic, social media followers, etc.) and dollars and cents (new clients, product sales). Be clear about the results you’re looking for, so you can track what’s working well and keep doing it.
- Keep blogging. Blogging only works if you do it consistently. While blog posts can and will draw new readers and results for years, when you stop blogging or blog only sporadically, it can raise questions about your professionalism and dependability. No one is perfect, myself included, so if you DO fall off the wagon, just jump back on as soon as you can.
If your business offers a professional service, blogging can tell prospective clients a lot about you. They will see how much you know, how generous you are with that knowledge, and how skilled you are at using your knowledge to help people just like them.
Use these 10 guidelines to make the most of this powerful marketing opportunity that is accessible 24/7 from your website, not to mention from any device connected to the internet.