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 already get enough work from other sources
- 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 particularly 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 impact your input had on the client and their business.
They’re 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
By niche, I mean that you should write about things that are important to your clients and the particular industry they work in.
So example posts could be:
- 20 things you need to decide before your next conference.
- Six new changes to Facebook that will change the way you post.
- How upcoming (whatever) regulations will affect your (insert industry) business.
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 may publish a post on items people can claim as business expenses and how they can submit their own tax return.
People reading her blog can see she knows her stuff but they will usually just hire her to do the job for them instead of implementing her advice because finance bores them to tears.
They want to see that she knows how stuff but they don’t want to do the task themselves.
If you post an interview with a client about what they use you for and how you’ve helped their business, you’re immediately showing similar business owners that people just like them have used you and are happy with your work.
A checklist of things that pertain to your areas of expertise and things your client might want to outsource is another way to showcase your knowledge. If you offer web development, for example, a title could be “10 things you need to check before publishing your website”.
Again, the client is unlikely to just take your list and implement it themselves because they’re too busy to do the tasks they’re considering hiring you for.
Example blog post titles
Here are just a few ideas to get you thinking. Be creative and make sure to adapt each title to fit your specific niche(s), clients, services and location etc.
Otherwise, all the VAs who read this will have the same blog posts on their site!
- How to tell if you’re ready to hire a Virtual Assistant.
- Why should you outsource to a Virtual Assistant?
- What kinds of tasks should you give to your Virtual Assistant?
- What kinds of tasks do Virtual Assistants help with?
- 20 admin (or social media or lifestyle etc) tasks I can take off your hands.
- How to get the best from your Virtual Assistant.
- How a Virtual Assistant can help you grow your business.
- How to give up control and delegate more.
- How to streamline your home office in just one afternoon.
- How outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant will save you time and money.
- How outsourcing your to-do list will save your sanity.
- Five reasons why you should hire a Virtual Assistant immediately.
- Are you using the right type of social media for your business?
- What you should and shouldn’t schedule on social media.
- If you have a glove compartment full of expense receipts then you SO need to read this!
- Eight benefits of hiring a Virtual Assistant. (Change number to suit)
- A day in the life of a busy Virtual Assistant. (Great way to showcase your skillset)
- How I saved a client 8 hours a month by xxx (then whatever you did).
- How VAs navigate timezones when working with international clients.
- How to collaborate remotely with your Virtual Assistant.
- How to spend less time doing your admin and more time with your family.
- If you don’t have a client onboarding system, you’re leaving money on the table.
- Are your existing clients helping you bring in new ones? (then explain how they may be losing out on wasted marketing opportunities by not asking clients or customers for product/service feedback or photos or testimonials etc.)
- How to avoid burnout when managing your business.
- Virtual Assistant or a part-time employee – which one is right for you?
- Why your business needs a newsletter (or whatever it is you’re offering) immediately.
- You’re not still chasing outstanding invoices yourself, are you?
- How I can make you look the shizzle on (insert social media platform).
You get the gist.
You write a compelling yet self-explanatory subject line (because, SEO) aimed at your ideal client which reflects the services you offer and the value you bring.
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 (massive) 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: what’s 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 summarizing what’s written below.