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August 2019
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How to do your online marketing as a freelancer – part 2

Stijn SchutyserStijn Schutyser

We already established online marketing is a must for freelancers in part 1 of this miniseries, where we discussed marketing yourself through social media and your own website. Now it’s time to look at the role of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), blogging and email newsletters in marketing yourself online as a freelancer.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

A considerable amount of effort when building your website should go to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO means the content on your website is optimized for prospects looking for your services or products through a search engine like Google. In other words: use words and phrases in your online content that people use to search for products and services like yours. Search engines know those keywords in excruciating statistical detail. So can you, using analytic tools such as the Keyword Tool in Google Adwords. Ask your peers how they’d look up someone like you. Better yet is to ask customers what they were looking for when they found you.

The more you use your prospects’ language, the more relevant search engines deem you on those topics, and the higher you show in search listings. It’s like being at eye-level on a store shelf, in an optimized position to be noticed. Of course, it’s not really that simple. Search engines also notice your content’s relevance to the keywords searchers use, links to your content found elsewhere on the internet, and other factors.

These many different variables also mean that there’s lots of room for optimization of your content. Here’s a couple of easy ways you can optimize your content: update your content regularly, refine your keywords and create new relevant content, make friends online by linking to others and having them link back to you, and most importantly: be an active, informative presence.

Of course, just finding a product at eye level on the store shelf is no guarantee for anyone buying it. That explains why a slick SEO strategy is no substitute for having a product or service people really want. True relevance to your customers, coupled with knowing how to express that relevance in ways search engines understand, is smart SEO. Because SEO is so complicated, once you’re involved in a real marketing campaign, you might want to hire someone who can do all the stuff that needs doing to help you show up higher in a search. It’s kind of like hiring an accountant: sometimes it pays to hire an expert. Our marketing team is happy to help!

Blogging

By now, blogging is well-known as a great SEO and marketing tool. There are a couple of reasons as to why they’re so great:

A good blog is a significant time investment. Committed bloggers post every day. Be prepared to do weekly posts or several per month minimum. Consistency is key, and this is something we ourselves have learned as well. Since we’ve started consistently uploading a new blog post every week, our reading audience more than tripled.

Okay, so blogging is a great marketing tool, but what are you actually supposed to write about? That’s entirely up to you, as long as you think it would strike up a great conversation amongst your peers in real life as well. Here are a couple of examples:

Blogging is also a good way to interact with people. At the end of a blog post, ask your readers what they thought of it, what their opinion on the matter is, whether they have any additional tips, and so on. After a while a reader might even start guest blogging for you!

Before launching your blog, it’s a good idea to stockpile several weeks’ worth of posts and to build in links between them. Doing so invites readers to check out content they otherwise might not have.

You should also vary the type of content on your blog. Once in a while, include a video, a podcast, a downloadable article, … This keeps things fresh.

Email newsletters

Email newsletters are a digital goldmine: an instant, low-cost, direct line to tons of people. While websites and blogs wait to be visited, an email newsletter goes visiting, ideally bearing enticing links to your website or blog. If you don’t have a website or blog (yet), it’s still a super-fast, supercheap way to remind people about your products and services and launch new ones. Here are a couple of tips for email newsletters:

Note: people trusting you with their email address does not mean they’ve opted in for mailings, so be careful! Only email the people in your contacts list that actually want to get your emails, for 2 reasons:

Wrap-upWrap-up

SEO is a key part of your online marketing. Optimize your content for SEO with the right keywords and use your prospect’s language. Blogging is great way to do this while increasing traffic and engagement.

If blogging isn’t your thing, you really should try email newsletters. They’re cheap, easy and effective. Just be careful you’re only emailing the people that want to get your messages.

Alternatively, you can mix and match and see what works best for you or what you’re willing to spend in terms of time and money. Aren’t you sure or do you have some questions? Reach out to us and we’ll be happy to listen and help.

When you market yourself online, you never really know where the results will come from. But that’s business. You plan, strategize, analyze and prepare for opportunity. But in the end, like any interaction between people, you have to let go of strategy and go in there and be real, in order to get something real in return. Fortunately, being real is something that freelancers, bold individualists, know how to do.

Stijn is a copywriter and content marketer for ACA IT-Solutions and manages the blog website. He's interested in writing persuasive content, web content and graphic design and likes to challenge himself with new insights.