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blogging for free

I blogged for free and it sucked. But that was my fault.

Written by Anne McAuley Lopez on . Posted in Blogging for Business Owners

Over the last year I’ve received requests to write for other blogs or to mention other brands in my blog posts. None of them had ever been the right fit until recently.

I was asked to write a post about staying inspired when your freelance business is slow. It seemed like a good fit for my project site The Solopreneur Blog. They agreed.

blogging for freeI wrote the post.

I seamlessly weaved mentions of their brand into the post.  

I included their infographic as they had requested.

I blogged for free and it sucked. 

But that was my fault. 

I forgot to ask, “What’s in it for me?”

I never negotiated payment.

I didn’t ask for a certain number of social media mentions.

I asked for nothing and I received pretty close to that.

Since the post was published, I’ve received one mention on Twitter. That’s it.

I tweeted a link to the post out more times than the brand I wrote the post for and that sucks.

I had faith they would do what lesser brands have done for me which is to promote the post but I never explicitly asked for that.

Thanks to my experience I am now a better negotiator.

And I won’t blog for free anymore.

I emailed them this morning to let them know I am writing this post. Without a response, I will remove the post from The Solopreneur Blog. I am waiting to see how or if they respond to my email. 

Are you receiving requests to write articles but you’re not a writer? Contact us and we can help!

Your Business Needs a Blog

Why Your Business Needs a Blog

Written by Anne McAuley Lopez on . Posted in Blogging for Business Owners, Start Blogging

If you have a blog on your website and aren’t adding content on a consistent schedule, you’re missing a piece of your marketing plan and an opportunity to speak to your target client and your business needs a blog. A blog is the most affordable way to establish yourself as an expert and distinguish yourself from the competition.  Not to mention that Google loves new, relevant content; it helps the site get ranked higher in searches.

When was the last time you added content to your website?

Many businesses have websites designed only to leave it hanging on the internet. We don’t have time or don’t know what to write for the blog. It’s overwhelming and with all of the other hats we wear as business owners, blogging often falls to the bottom of the list. And we never reach the end of the list.

What kind of content should be on a blog?

When I think of blogging, I think about adding written posts but in an age of insta-technology, many people don’t want to read a long written article.

The goal is to connect YOU to your target audience.

Videos, podcasts, infographics, news about your business, community events (if you’re targeting a particular geographic area), links to guest blog posts or media clips all make for effective content for your business blog.

Often we share other people’s content and while that’s a good idea, there is great opportunity to share your own products. Make a video about how to wear the scarves you sell. Write about tips for decorating and include your products in the post. Make your target clients want to buy your products.

Don’t stop when you hit publish.

Share blog posts on social media and in e-newsletters. Share the link to the post more than once and across social media sites using a different message each time. Not only will you drive traffic to your website, you will be establishing yourself as an expert in your field.

It’s time to start blogging for business.

If you’re not sure how to get started or continue blogging, join the SEO Blogging for Badasses Facebook group.

How to Use Your Blog for Business

How to Use Your Blog for Business

Written by Anne McAuley Lopez on . Posted in Blogging for Business Owners, Content Marketing

How do you use your blog for business?

If you’re like a lot of business owners, you’re not using it at all. Stop whatever you’re doing and start thinking about creating content right now.

  • 55% of websites with blogs get more visitors
  • Blogs are rated the 5th most trusted online resource.
  • 61% of consumers have made a purchase based on a blog post.

How to Use Your Blog for BusinessBlogging needs to be part of every business marketing plan because of the value it brings to your business. It’s a commitment that can pay off by establishing you as the expert, creating a voice for your brand, and getting your business found online ahead of the competition.

How to Use Your Blog for Business

Blogging is a commitment that begins when you:

  • Identify your blogging target market
  • Create a Content List or Editorial Calendar
  • Schedule time to blog (and actually do it)

Blogging and Social Media

If you’re just sharing other people’s content on social media, you’re just wasting time.

To create value for your community, you must have your own content.

How will your community get to know you and your business?

How will you establish yourself as an expert?

You won’t or it will be a longer road to meet your marketing goals.

Don’t have enough time? Outsource blogging and social media management.

Get Your Business Found Online

Google loves when we’re adding new content to our website.

With just one blog post per week, you’re adding 52 engaging and relevant pages of new content to your business website each year.

Generate keywords for your blog posts and website content using a WordPress plug-in called Yoast to get your business found online ahead of the competition.

Use for Customer Acquisition

Businesses with blogs on their websites are more likely to generate leads on their website because they are establishing a relationship with their community.

Customers are likely to view you (and not the competition) as a source of reliable news and information about your business or industry. They will buy from you before someone else.

Affordable PR

Don’t save the news for press releases!

Use your blog for business news and information related to your industry and community.

Have you added employees to the team?

Did you move to new office space?

Are you rolling out a new product or service?

Share the news on your blog and social media. It’s affordable PR and good for business.

Branding

A business blog provides an inexpensive platform to create a voice for your brand to reach your target market. Tell readers how your business can help them. Whether you’re a young entrepreneur or an established attorney, tell a story and create a voice for your business.

If you don’t have the time to blog, hire a professional blogger to create a voice for your brand. Call me, Anne McAuley Lopez, at 480-206-6452.

blogging target market

Why You Need to Identify Your Blogging Target Market

Written by Anne McAuley Lopez on . Posted in Blogging for Business Owners, Start Blogging

Back in 2009, I began blogging for fun. While I didn’t realize it at the time, I had a clear target market for my blog — updating friends and family about my life in Arizona.

As the blog developed into a business blog, it became a hodge podge of personal, business, blogging, and social media posts. I just didn’t want the trouble of running more than one blog and it became a problem.

Colleagues began asking me what my blogging target market was and I had three all crammed into one blog.

Once I realized I had three target markets, I knew I needed a change. I couldn’t continue to dump everything in one place. It was too confusing. It was time for a change including a website re-design and refocus for the business:

  • Blogging Portfolio and Business Services → This became the updated McAuley Freelance Writing website and blog you’re on right now.
  • Entrepreneurs, Solopreneurs, and Freelancers → This became The Solopreneur Blog in partnership with my blogging and social media colleague Robbi Hess.
  • Personal → That’s the as-yet-to-be-launched McAuley Musings blog.

You need to identify your blogging target market to focus content creation.

It’s challenging to develop a content strategy when you’re not sure who you want to reach. That goes for blogging, podcasting, videos, infographics, and social media.

It’s overwhelming when EVERYONE is your target market.

By identifying your blogging target market, you can eliminate ideas and focus on what matters to your audience.

Let’s take real estate as an example.

Anyone who wants to buy or sell a house is as non-specific as a skincare representative saying anyone with skin is their target.

  • Do you want to build a commercial or residential real estate business?
  • What city or neighborhood is your focus?
  • What kind of client do you want?

If you’ve selected investors as your focus, you may write blog posts about how the recent mortgage rates impact buying or selling investment properties or how school districts impact the value of your home and type of renters. You would shy away from posts that talk about packing and moving tips, for example, that would speak to a different target audience. Each of your posts would be relatable to your target market of real estate investors.

Whether you’re in real estate or another industry, it’s important to identify your blogging target market so that you can focus your efforts. Remember, EVERYONE isn’t a target market.

Need help identifying your target market and creating a content strategy? Call 480-206-6452. 

Blog Editorial Calendar

Why You Need a Blog Editorial Calendar

Written by Anne McAuley Lopez on . Posted in Blogging for Business Owners, Start Blogging

It is becoming more and more clear that my clients and I need to have a plan bigger than “I will blog about your business for you.” We need an editorial calendar of topics and sources from which I can work. That way they know what I am writing. I know it’s approved by them. And it saves time for both of us.

Why You Need a Blog Editorial Calendar 

  1. Mapping your blog. Whether you have a ghostblogger likeme writing for you or you’re writing your own posts, an editorial calendar provides a roadmap of topics on which you’re writing.
creating content

Tips for Creating Content People Want to Read

Written by Anne McAuley Lopez on . Posted in Blogging for Business Owners

Just because Google wants you to add content to your website, doesn’t mean you should hit publish after every phrase you write. People want better content. They want content that helps them in a meaningful way or makes them feel something intense or creates a better life for them or their family.

When we’re writing for the sake of writing, no one cares.

  • Lots of content is a recycled and less effective version of what’s already available.
  • The content is being created for the sake of SEO and nothing else.
  • You aren’t solving a problem for your readers.

When we’re writing for the sake of telling a story, solving a problem, or sharing how our business helps people, we are creating content that matters. We’re creating content people want to read and that sets us apart from the loads of crap that is available. [Tweet “Lots of content is a recycled and less effective version of what’s already available. #NoOneCares”]

Who is your target audience?

A key to writing content that people want to read is to identify your target audience.

As I began my journey as a freelance writer, I went out to the community and began networking with other women in business. We went around the room saying our name, the name of our business, and described a good lead. The idea was that we could refer clients to each other as we were networking in various circles.

HINT: Everyone is NOT your target audience.

The woman who represented a large cosmetics company stood up, gave her name and business, and said, “A good lead for me this week is anyone with skin.”

Even as a newbie to networking I knew this was bad. It was too broad.

A better response would have been, “Women ages 35 to 55 who are seeking solutions to aging.”

Take time to figure out your target audience, not just for blogging purposes but for an overall marketing strategy. You can’t market to people you don’t know.

It’s okay if the target audience changes over time as it most likely will.

What pain point(s) does your business solve for clients?

Now that you know your target audience, you can create better content. Answer questions your clients are asking you. Tell your audience how you help them solve a problem.

Not enough time to blog? Great. Hire me. I am a professional blogger.

Know you need content on your website but aren’t sure what to write? Call me. I can help.

You might need to step outside your business to see the problem that you solve.

When my accountant asked me what problem he solved, I said he took the weight of tax preparation and planning off my shoulders. I guess that makes him a weight loss coach!

What problem does your business solve for your clients? Answer that in each blog post or piece of content that you create. You will soon become a valuable asset to your clients and they will refer you as a trusted source.

It isn’t enough to just be creating content. We have to be sharing it.

Often I meet with a prospective client who wonders what we will do with blog posts once we create them. It’s a great question that I love to answer! In fact, I am working on a book on the exact subject. The short answer is that we never want to let a blog post just sit on a website. It needs to be shared.

In my blog post You’ve Written a Blog Post Now What, I address the importance of sharing content on social media and in a newsletter. While these are both effective ways to share content, I’d add that sharing content goes beyond sharing on your own social media accounts.

Join groups where your target market is spending time and engage other members of the group. Ask and answer questions. Make yourself a valued member of the group. When appropriate, share content from your blog, a link to your website services, and links to your social media accounts. The best groups I’ve found have been on Facebook and LinkedIn.

As you’re developing content ideas, I encourage you to stop writing crap and start creating content people care about and that is different than other content we’re seeing.

If you’re overwhelmed at the prospect of blogging for business, I’d love to chat with you about creating content that speaks to your target audience. Call me at 480-206-6452.

Let’s Talk!

480.206.6452

info@mcauleyfreelancewriting.com