Members of my VA Handbookers Facebook group often ask whether it’s worth writing a blog. On one hand, they hear that it’s good for search engine optimisation (SEO), but they also don’t want to write one if they don’t really need it – plus they’re not really too sure what to write about even if they do decide to start one.
My answer to the question of whether you should have a blog or not is…
I’m sorry if that isn’t too helpful and I wish I could give you a yes or no answer, but it really does depend on a few different things:
You should write a blog if:
- You want to ensure your site is optimised for search engines (Google loves blogs)
- You want to show off your knowledge and skill set to potential clients
- You want to provide real-life examples of how you help people
- You want to help establish yourself as an authority
- You use social media and want to share your own posts to drive inbound traffic
- You’d like to set up, write or edit blog posts for your clients
You shouldn’t write a blog if:
- You don’t have time to update it
- You hate writing
- You’re already getting loads of work
- You have nothing to say and you don’t know who you’re writing for
- Your grammar and spelling isn’t very good
- You’re not really that interested in writing one
What to write about
If you do decide to write a blog then you’re looking to put yourself into the mindset of your ideal client. Whether that is a particular type of person (an Engineer, a Social Media Consultant or a Writer for example) or simply a time-poor small business owner, you need to write stuff that THEY would find interesting.
There always has to be a reason and a point to what you’re writing and that reason is to be hired.
Case studies are a great way to show exactly what you do to help people. With a case study, you can outline who the client was, what they were struggling with (this often explains why they hired you instead of doing it themselves), the exact steps you took to solve the problem, and what results your input had on the client and their business.
They are a fantastic way for a potential client to see that you’ve worked with people just like them. They can see how you went about solving a problem (the processes you applied), the tools you know how to use and what kind of results they can expect if they hire you.
Case studies are also perfect to link to when sending out a prospect email to a similar type of person. The prospect will recognise industry-specific terminology, they will see that you know what their business entails and what challenges they face, and they will also see that you know how to help with those challenges.
You can view some of my own case studies on my Munro PA website blog by clicking here.
Tip – you do not have to actually name the client, you could just say it was an international Author or a small firm of Architects for example.
Tips about your niche
Here you would write about things that matter to your clients. So example posts could be: “How to organise your office in a single afternoon”, “6 new changes to Twitter that will change the way you post”, or “What the new ISO regulations mean for Engineers” etc.
When you write about things that matter to your client, you’re showing that you stay up to date with industry news, you know and care about the things that affect them and that you possess industry knowledge that may benefit them.
A tutorial that solves a problem unique to your niche or potential client is a great way to demonstrate your skills.
Consider the types of questions that clients often ask you (or that people you knew from when you worked in that industry used to ask you) or techie problems they can’t get their head around, then show them how to solve that problem or do that thing.
Don’t worry that you’ll be putting yourself out of a job because prospective clients are unlikely to have the time, interest or inclination to implement your solution themselves.
For example – my friend who is a freelance Accountant will blog about items people can claim as expenses and how they can submit their own tax return. People reading her blog can see she knows her stuff but they then just hire her to do it all for them instead of implementing her advice because finance bores them to tears.
They want to see that she knows how to do this stuff but they don’t want to do it themselves.
If you post an interview with a client (either via a questionnaire or a Skype video) about what they use you for and how you’ve helped their business, you’re immediately showing similar business owners that people like them have used you and been happy with your work.
A checklist of things that pertain to your areas of expertise and things your client might need doing is another good way to showcase your knowledge. These could include: “20 things you need to do before you launch your next conference” or “10 steps you need to take before publishing your website” etc.
Again, the client is unlikely to just take your list and use it themselves because they’re already too busy to do all the things they’re considering hiring a VA for.
How to write a blog post
Now I’m not actually going to outline how to write and structure a blog post in detail here because it’s really a whole separate post and there are entire websites solely focused on how to write one!
My basic advice when writing a blog post though is to:
- Keep it condensed and to the point
- Don’t overthink it
- Use bullet points and sub-headings so it’s easy to read
- Write as you would speak
- Make sure there’s a point: whats this post about, who’s it for and why are you writing it?
- End with a call to action (CTA)
- Don’t agonise over it. Blurt it all out then edit and polish it
- Walk away and come back to it as many times as you need to
- Promote it. You can even use a plugin to schedule it out to social media
When I write a post I always decide what it is I’m going to tell you and then I tell you only that.
I brain dump everything on to the page, then I repeatedly edit and cull until it’s very concise, then I sort out the structure, grammar and syntax later.
I also always write the introductory paragraph last because, as with the personal profile section of a CV, it’s much easier to do it that way as you’re simply summarising what’s written below.
Takeaways and action points
* I’ve created a list of 30 example blog post titles that you can download HERE if you have decided to start writing a blog.
* It’s vital that you write about the kinds of things your particular audience might be wondering about or would find useful – otherwise it’s a blog post for nobody and you’re wasting your time.
* I have a Pinterest board full of fantastically useful hand-curated content on blogging here.