How to Avoid Wasting Your Blog Client’s Money

There are people out there that have been readers for a long time – they’re like old friends by now, and I’m always glad to see them. One of those old friends is Rebecca Laffar-Smith, who tossed me a guest post that I think carries a pretty cool message worth thinking about. Enjoy!

We’ve all heard the hype that every business must have a blog. And many online copywriters are thrilled to land a new blogging gig – so thrilled they rarely pause to wonder if writing for their client’s blog is really the best investment of that person’s marketing budget.

Have you ever considered how your time could more effectively benefit your client by not writing for their blog?

Why Would Your Client Pay You to Write Free Information?

Your clients have heard what you have – that every business should have a blog. They’ve heard that blogs generate free advertising. Blogs are effective tools for viral communication. Blogs are loved by search engines for fresh content. Blogs keep customers coming back again and again. Blogs build brand and trust. Much of this is true.

But a blog is free information. And free information is readily available these days.

What’s more, your clients are rarely in the information industry. They’re not in the business of giving free information to their customers. Free information doesn’t make money. Free information doesn’t pay the lease on their brick-and-mortar store. Free information doesn’t feed their employees or put dimes and dollars into their 401k plans. Free information doesn’t pay for health insurance or holidays.

There are other, more effective, time-efficient, cost-reduced ways of achieving everything a blog can provide. And, for most businesses, it does NOT make sense to have a blog.

Good News for Content Writers

Don’t worry. You don’t have to give up on blogging. In fact, you can make even more money as a content writer if you choose NOT to write blog content. Tell your clients:

  • You can offer them greater value for money by not writing for their blog.
  • They can save money and increase their return on investment by eliminating their blog.
  • They can increase their exposure by having you write for OTHER people’s blogs.

By offering guest post services to your clients, they’ll enjoy benefits such as:

  • Their name on the lips of their competition
  • Content that will be syndicated across MANY blogs
  • More page views direct to their sales copy, higher conversions and targeted visitors

There’s more you can offer your clients instead of blogging services. You can write an information product they can sell or give away free that leads to residual income and exponentially increasing their site visitors. You can bring them traffic by leaving well-written comments on the blogs of their competitors. You can spruce up the conversion rate of their existing site content and sales copy.

Your clients can have all this with no ongoing commitment to pay or perform, no continued maintenance, no time or money-sinking additional self-promotion techniques, no risk to their business brand, and for the same (or less) money than they currently pay to maintain their blog.

Sometimes, the most effective way to be the best freelance writer for your client is to tell that person why you shouldn’t be hired for a specific job. If you know that your client would be better served in other ways, say so. Offering honest insights that save your clients time and money makes you memorable – and both you and your client make more money doing less work.

Have you ever suggested alternative ways you can benefit your client’s bottom line? Have you considered if your own blog is cost effective? What other ways can we increase the return on investment our clients make by NOT blogging?

With over ten years experience writing web copy, Rebecca Laffar-Smith now focuses on maximizing the effective online presence of small business with web technology and design solutions. Rebecca hosts a community of writers with the Writer’s Round-About Collaborative Blogging Project and encourages writers to do less for more by creating efficient routines and eliminating unnecessary procedures.

Post by Agent X

Agent X is the name many mysterious and intriguing people take on when they guest post at our site. Their mission is to slip in like a thief in the night, leave you with entertaining, valuable and useful content, and slip away again - without getting caught.

Join the Discussion. Click Here to Leave a Comment.

  1. I’m not a writer, but I’m sitting here with my jaw hanging open. What a great idea.

    I’ve told clients/friends/business owners that they don’t necessarily need a blog. They need to work out why they want a blog, what it could do for their business, and see if it fits with their marketing plan. I’ve even suggested using a freelance writer to write posts for them.

    Never would I have thought to suggest hiring a freelance writer for guest posts. I will definately be remembering that one for the next time I have this conversation. Thanks Rebecca!
    .-= Melinda | SuperWAHM´s last blog ..Why a Business Plan Will Save Your A$$ =-.

  2. Being a devout SEO kinda woman, I completely disagree with the premise of this post, but do love the suggestions offered. I view blogging as another way to direct free targeted traffic to one’s business, you see.

    This part “You can bring them traffic by leaving well-written comments on the blogs of their competitors” is an excellent idea indeed….far too few business folk take advantage of it.
    .-= Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach´s last blog ..A MUST READ for profitable website designers WITH PRIDE! =-.

  3. …for most businesses, it does NOT make sense to have a blog.

    Rebecca,

    I know, it’s bait, and you hooked me. I totally disagree with that sentence.

    For most businesses it does not make sense to pay for blogging, fine. For most businesses I’d argue they should see if the owner or someone on staff has it in them to keep up with a blog. It can’t be beat for SEO and for establishing authority locally and around the globe. Almost from day 1, my blog has raised my status on a local level, and of course it’s been amazing for widening my horizons as well.

    For most businesses, writing a few thoughts they might normally share around the water cooler a few times a week makes perfect sense.

    However… the rest of the post is dead-on. Wow, yes, if they’re going to pay for content pay for someone to do the stuff that sounds scarier and pays off in more tangible ways like e-books and guesting! I know writers like Men With Pens do that, but the way you presented it here, how could any client resist that upsell? Neat way of looking at it.

    Regards,

    Kelly
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Speedy Pizza by Joe =-.

  4. @ Kelly: *chuckles* You think it’s link bait but it is the way I feel. I work with a lot of small businesses. They have minimal staff and aren’t “tech” focused. Having a website at all is a huge jump for them but they’re not interested in blogging and a blog is a commitment.

    It can do your business credibility harm to have a blog that doesn’t get updated or that gets updated with the kinds of posts that potential customers/clients would rather not read. You’d be amazed how many of those businesses toss together sub-par blogs and think that having a blog (even if it’s not actually in use) is a must for business online. Then, because the blog isn’t working they think that hiring a writer to maintain the blog will do the trick, but it takes a great deal of effort to make a blog “work” for business and without the passion to make it work what it really becomes is a time and money sink.

    @ Barbara: Having a well maintained and well written blog is a FANTASTIC way to attract traffic, particularly search engine generated traffic, but getting good rankings on search engines is difficult. The best way to influence search engines is by having lots of incoming links. Many business spend so much time writing for their own blogs they’re not out there writing for others. They’re in the “field of dreams”, standing around thinking “if I build it, they will come”. It’s just not that easy. If you build it, you may spend several months, even years, before you develop a readership unless you’re stepping out of your own land into the rest of the realm.

    Now, if you’re stepping out into the realm and have a basic well-optimized website but NO blog, your site can still soak up that SEO goodness and link love, it’ll still rise in ranks as THE business to go to because everyone else is talking about it. It gets that, without having to commit to regular, ongoing blogging.

    @ Melinda: It sounds like many of your friends are the people I work with; the ones who think because they have a website they’re supposed to have a blog but they don’t really want to be bloggers. They’re busy enough with their REAL business. They’re already giving themselves to serving their customers for the original purpose of their business. Outsourcing the work of maintaining a blog can be a good idea, but it is always worth considering if there are better ways to produce the same (or better) results.

  5. This is a very innovative way to think about serving clients. I like it – this is an excellent way to stand out. You’re right, blogs aren’t right for every business. Thanks for sharing.
    .-= Kiesha @ WeBlogBetter´s last blog ..Blog better by interviewing a better blogger =-.

  6. I think nearly all businesses will benefit from having at least a brochure site that they can refer customers to, and that can bring Internet searchers to them.

    However, while an auto supply store could blog, it may not be the highest ROI for the time spent.
    .-= John Soares´s last blog ..5 Reasons Why You Should Subscribe to Angela Hoy’s WritersWeekly Ezine =-.

  7. That’s a great idea, Rebecca! I feel like a stupid head for not thinking of it myself. :) I provide blog content for my clients, but I never thought of offering guest blogging services. I think it is important to build blog content because of its SEO benefits and because it helps to position you as an authority, but I do think that its effectiveness is limited. Blogs aren’t right for every industry. For example, if you offer waste removal services, your blog may do little more than improve your site’s SEO. I highly doubt people subscribe to blogs about topics like waste removal. But then the question is, where could a waste removal company submit guest posts? In industries for which blogging is not a good fit, finding worthwhile blogs to submit guest posts to could also be tricky.

  8. @ Kathleen: *grins* I LOVE a challenge. Ok, so a client just rocked up in my inbox. He does “waste removal services”, has a basic website “This is us, what we do, where we are, how to reach us.” But a blog really wouldn’t benefit his site because no one wants to read about the day to day humdrum of waste removal. So, where are we going to target our writing to find people who need his services?

    Well, the wonderful thing about waste removal is that everyone needs it at some point. It’s also the sort of thing people need regularly. I can imagine guest posts appearing on humor blogs, “What’s that smell, and other waste removal mysteries.”, blogs about pets, “paper not plastic, environmentally friendly ways to pick up after your pet”, house renovation blogs, “how do you dispose of that?” (could be a whole series, brick, wood, fencing, tile, sand, etc.), gardening blogs, “green waste, not just for the tip”, “your garden trash is landfill treasure”, “how to harness the power of septic tanks for your garden”. As you can see, the ideas are limitless. Because a waste removal company is generally local-focused you might want to look out specifically for locally-focused blogs, write in the places your potential customers may be reading. But any topic can be spun in many different ways. And none of them have anything to do with the day to day of waste removal.

    @ John: I definitely agree that most, if not all, businesses benefit from having an online presence. A website that gives potential customers a way to reach you is very valuable. Most businesses will never generate the kind of readership for their blog that makes the investment in time and money return fair dividends.

    @ Kiesha: :-) Thanks, Kiesha. The most important message I really wanted to give was how great for our own business it can be to think of how we can best serve our clients. Being innovative and understanding of THEIR business needs, and being willing to tell them how they could better spend their money can create the kind of client/service provider bond that develops trust and loyalty long into the future.

  9. You know, Rebecca, I’ve never thought of it this way. You’ve opened my eyes! I love fresh perspectives. And yours makes so much sense. :-)
    .-= Michele´s last blog ..A Day Out, New Shoes, New Products to Review, Home Bars + Contest Alerts! =-.

  10. Rebecca,

    Before I read your second paragraph in your comment on waste removal I came over to say “Hey, there’s lots of things that could be in a blog on waste removal!” Then I read the whole comment, where you mention lots of subjects—Of course those would be great guest posts, e-Books, whatever, but what I don’t get is why you think those exact subjects couldn’t make a good blog?

    All I work with is small businesses, many of whom are local to me. Believe me, their tech-fear is massively clear. I hear you on that. I do a lot of on-site work as well as the web services I offer for locals and non-locals, and that’s a good thing because many of my local clients don’t have and *sigh* probably won’t have websites. But for those that have made the jump I do advise they consider a blog strongly, and rather than pose it as a huge commitment I pose it as an extension of conversations that I guarantee they already have.

    Talk like you’d talk to a customer or an employee, for no more than five minutes, and you have a blog post.

    If you’ve got someone on staff with grammar beyond the fifth grade and you ever talk to each other or to your clients, you probably have plenty of material and the skills for a blog. Tips you offer a customer as you’re bagging their plumbing supplies, short stories that you tell over bag lunch, questions or problems that come up over and over again. Boom.

    Three ways of looking at it, three posts in a week. Everybody shares at least one tip, laughs or cries over one unusual story worth repeating, and hears at least one question or problem from a customer in a week. The day-to-day boredom of waste removal, hardware stores, or dog-grooming services don’t have to hold a small biz person back from blogging.

    I do adore your idea of writers creating more value for their customers by writing higher-ROI projects for them, but I don’t think that means that your clients shouldn’t consider whether they have it in them to personally write two or three paragraphs a couple of times a week. As you say—the ideas are limitless!

    Until later,

    Kelly
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Speedy Pizza by Joe =-.

  11. Kelly said: “If you’ve got someone on staff with grammar beyond the fifth grade and you ever talk to each other or to your clients, you probably have plenty of material and the skills for a blog.”

    I don’t think I’d say that to a client, though. That would be offensive, lol.

    Rebecca and Kelly, you both make excellent points. The ideas truly are limitless. And there really is no reason those ideas can’t be applied to a client’s own blog. And how can you really determine whether or not a blog is right for a client? I suppose you’d have to try it out before you’d really know. But either way, offering a guest posting service is a great idea.

  12. James, if you read this, I was just wondering what happened to the Twitter ID thing. People’s Twitter handles used to show up on the comments, but now they don’t.

  13. @Kathleen – I read everything :)

    And… I don’t know. But now that I know they’re not showing up, I’m definitely going to go find out – thanks very much for the heads up on that!

  14. In today’s world, you’re not the authority because you say so. You’re the authority because the network says so. Guest posting plays to your point.
    .-= J.D. Meier´s last blog ..Information Overload is Not the Problem – It’s Filter Failure =-.

  15. Hi Rebecca,

    I agree with your approach to clients that is giving the best advice for their situation.

    A blog may not be the best tool for every business especially if they have to pay a writer to create content.

    Posting comments on other blogs is always a good idea. Posting comments on the blogs of competition may be a bit too much though unless they are complimentary.

    Vance
    .-= Vance Sova´s last blog ..MAKE MONEY BLOGGING, A New Daniel Scocco’s Ebook Review =-.

  16. @ Vance: Oh, I definitely mean complimentary, insightful, and beneficial comments. It does no business good to drag down their competition. If you want to build up the goodwill of your potential customers you can’t come across as petty or vindictive. You have to be honest and informative. If you add value to your competitors with your comments, the people that visit their site will see the value you provide. People don’t follow the path of trolls. It important to act with integrity at all times.

    @ J.D.: That’s exactly right. You can be an authority on your own blog but if you’re not generating traffic then you’re just another nobody out there in cyberspace. If you’re giving your insights on blogs that already have traffic then your authority becomes big news much more quickly.

    @ Kelly and Kathleen: I think the biggest part of this is that businesses are hiring a writer because “they don’t want to blog”. It’s also important to remember that it takes more than a fifth grade reading level to be able to write content that readers enjoy reading (or search engines find tasty). Yes, they could write full sentences but can they make those sentences interesting, can they maintain a point, can they tell a story?

    If someone wants to blog then by all means, have a blog. They can even hire a writer to write things outside of their blog to create additional exposure for their site/blog. Of course, if they enjoy blogging they’ll probably enjoy doing those things themselves. But, just because they run a business and have a website doesn’t mean they HAVE to blog to get the benefits.
    .-= Rebecca Laffar-Smith´s last blog ..The Growing Up of Writing =-.

  17. Hi Rebecca,

    You have an unorthodox view about blog writing, but it really makes a lot of sense. There are just a lot of junks out there and in the world wide web, quality of postings will always be the KING. I believe that for this reason, a lot of clients out there are simply wanting unique contents to push their websites on the organic listing ( search engines ). Thanks for this great tip. I’ll definitely share it. Cheers!
    .-= Issa´s last blog ..Bridging the Gap =-.

  18. Blogging is important for search engine optimisation but while SEO will drive traffic to the website, of course content is king. Posting on other blogs is a good link building strategy but it shouldn’t replace company blogs altogether I don’t think. Blogging can take time so if a staff member isn’t available to write good copy, there is no reason why it should be outsourced.

  19. @ Issa: Thanks Issa. While having fresh content on your site increases you chances of ranking for your keywords having content that can’t get into the top listings isn’t efficient. One of the best ways to increase the position and relevance of your search rankings is to make sure OTHER websites are talking about your site. That is why writing content that links back to your own site from sites that are more popular than your own can actually do amazing things for the popularity and rankings of your own site.

    @ John: If your company has someone eager to write content for a blog then there is no harm in having one. The harm comes from thinking that the very act of writing posts for your company blog will drive traffic. The truth is, to get real results you have to take your content out to where the people are, not wait around for them to find you.

    It’s the difference between printing out fancy fliers and leaving them on your desk for potential customers to pick up vs. having someone out there handing them to people. Your flier tells people why they need your service/product and sends them to your website which tells them how to get it. If you’re not out there handing out fliers than the only customers you get are the ones who already know they need you, not the ones who don’t know they do.
    .-= Rebecca Laffar-Smith´s last blog ..Sensory Description Connects With Readers =-.

  20. Stop wasting money and build savings by taking control. Money slips through our fingers like water because we don’t grab hold of it and make it a tool. If we don’t learn how to use it and make it grow, there are plenty of people out there who would love us to part with it for their benefit.
    .-= Help Desk Customer Satisfaction´s last blog ..Remote IT Support Services – The Key To Growing Your Business! =-.

  21. You are right about alot of garbage out there, the popular Blogs are the niche/specialist types that have an authority writing them. Doesnt mean the grammar is the best but the info usually is.

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