16 Mar Blogging for your business
After Beth Graddon-Hodgson wrote her last guest post I realized there wasn’t much out there in terms of advice for companies wanting to use blogging as a marketing tool outside of SEO. How do ou REALLY use a blog to inject your brand voice into the growing global conversation? I’m very pleased to tell you that Beth has agreed to write a weekly post for the Wax blog on topics concerning just that…how does a business use a blog to their best advantage? I can’t wait to learn more.
You might wonder about Beth’s experience blogging for business…I asked her to tell us a bit about herself. You can also follow Beth on Twitter
How did you get started as a professional writer/blogger?
Writing had always been a big part of my life, and in 2008 I had the opportunity to make it my complete focus. The stars aligned in a number of personal and professional ways, and I decided it was the right time to start pursuing a real writing career. Initially, I picked up a few gigs as a freelance writer that gave me the foundation I needed to build on. Once my workload became too heavy for me alone, I realized that I could also build a successful business specializing in freelance writing and editing for online publications, blogs, and websites. Later still as the business continued to grow, I decided to incorporate consulting services for businesses looking to enhance their web presence overall. Now I don’t do it alone; I have a great writing team located around the world!
What is your background before that?
I flirted for a long time with writing, but it wasn’t until I founded WriteSourcing that I was in a committed relationship with my craft.
Writing has always played a major role in my educational and professional history. I have a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ottawa where I also worked on the campus’ publication as a reporter and editor; my first exposure writing for an accredited publication. While working at other jobs early in my career, I had the opportunity to expand my writing; volunteering to draft company manuals, technical publications, white papers, marketing materials, newsletters, resumes and whatever else came my way. During this period, I also began to pick up a few assignments here and there; writing the occasional article or editing the occasional resume or job description for individuals and corporations. I knew I wanted to write, but wasn’t quite prepared for the entrepreneurial lifestyle at that stage so I focused upon moonlighting instead. I also continued my education with post-graduate college courses in writing, editing and publishing. I do have a long writing history, and everything I did really helped prepare me to become a business owner as well!
What are the attributes you think are most important in a pro blogger?
There are elements of blogging that can be learned over time; but there are others that people have or they don’t. To start, professional bloggers need to know how to write, and often that’s a skill that’s accompanied by passion. There are people who claim they’d like to blog full-time, but the prospect of having to write all day everyday just isn’t attractive. If the passion isn’t there; the writing will never be believable nor will it bring a positive end result. Attention to detail, particularly when it comes to grammar, is also essential. Most professional bloggers self-post to their clients’ websites without their work ever crossing another set of eyes. A sense of self-motivation and strong organizational skills will also help to keep pro bloggers on track. Most will work outside of a structured work environment and it’s easy to become distracted by the luxuries of home. But, at the end of the day, if you love what you do, it shouldn’t feel like work anyways.
I also can’t stress enough the importance of interpersonal skills. Pro bloggers will cross paths with people from all walks of life and all sorts of personality types. Some clients require more interaction than others to get any project done, and that’s where patience, understanding, and exercising the rules of customer service must come in!
Tell us about WriteSourcing?
Since I have a well-rounded background in writing and editing, WriteSourcing offers an extensive variety of writing and editing services. Of course, the main focus is on blogging, and other types of web content writing. I decided that in offering these services, WriteSourcing wouldn’t specialize based on industry, so we have a wide client-base with businesses in various markets. We do have many clients in health care, as this is one market that has decided to tap into blogging on a large scale. We also work with a number of web development groups and PR and marketing firms that have us complete the writing and blogging for their ongoing client projects. With knowledge, creativity and access to the right resources it’s possible to blog in every market, and we have! We have experience in covering blogs on real estate, business resources, online retailers, tech companies, fashion, environmentalism, pets and much more. In addition to blogging, we do also provide other writing, editing, consulting and social networking services to these markets to meet our clients’ needs.
WriteSourcing really has an international client-base and writers to match. Many clients have remained with me from the beginning, and they’re located in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, the UK and the US. My business may rely upon technology to thrive; but it’s gotten so good that jet setting around the world to exchange a handshake and a business card with my clients is a rare novelty!
What’s the best thing about doing what you do?
I couldn’t be more passionate about what I do. I get to write every day, and it just doesn’t feel like work! I’ve also always been one to strive for constant forward momentum and need to have challenges in front of me. Being an entrepreneur allows me to constantly look forward and work towards new goals no matter the difficulty. Networking within the writer’s community and with other people and businesses has also allowed me to meet some great people. There’s also nothing better than seeing the impact that your services can have to help another business grow, so the rewards are extensive. The short commute and flexible dress code don’t hurt either!
What’s your best advice for someone who wants to become a professional writer or blogger?
As with anything, you’ve got to get your foot in the door. I already had a fairly extensive portfolio before I began freelance writing as a career, but not everyone does. In the early days, it’s important to get out there and make as many connections as possible and take advantage of writing opportunities. Bloggers can’t expect people to approach them before they have a name that’s known and a history of satisfied clients that can testify for them. Believe it or not, I’ve found that Craig’s List is one of the best resources to look for freelance writing jobs. It’s important to be flexible early on with regards to pricing; but bloggers have to look at it as an investment in their future as they build their portfolios. Social networking on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others are a great way to start making some connections who could become future clients. Bloggers must, must, must get up a website where they provide an outline of the services they will provide, links to online publications or a portfolio, and testimonials about their writing. It helps to establish credibility; no writer can expect to position themselves as an expert in improving an online presence without enhancing their own. Of course, this website should also have a blog! To summarize, it’s all about experience and proven ability to write.