How to write blog posts that actually attract new clients

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In the awesome Millo Mastermind Facebook group I’ve seen this question pop up about half a dozen times now.

So I thought I’d answer it once and for all – as well as squash the “myths” people are reading about what you “should” be blogging about (because some things are simply a waste of time!).

Cool? Then let’s dive in.

First: Remember, Blogging is Another Piece of Marketing. And…

… like ALL marketing that you do, you want blogging to accomplish the following:

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  1. Let clients know you understand their problems & desires
  2. Let clients know that you’re capable of solving / satiating them

Blogging is just another form of this. But something really cool about blogging is it lets you strip away fear / discomfort / lack of trust clients face ahead of time.

Why?

Because traditionally, the project workflow looks like this:

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  1. Client pays
  2. You deliver value

But some clients are afraid that you WON’T deliver value after they pay. They’re taking a risk.

Enter: blogging.

Blogging is a chance to deliver value BEFORE anyone pays you a penny.

If you deliver advice that helps them in their lives right NOW – then you’ve just proven that you can deliver value.

So it makes sense that if you do that – they’ll be more likely to pay for it, right? After all, they now trust that you’re capable for the job.

So now that we have that covered, let’s talk about what NOT to blog about…

In a nutshell: Design tutorials

No client is out there wanting to create designs themselves. So they don’t care about “how” the design is made – they just want it done for them right.

Design tutorials are great for other designers.

Not for clients.

“But if other designers trust me – won’t that show I’m an authority figure on design?”

In a roundabout way, yes, or maybe, but it takes a LOT of time to build up that following, and even then, clients might not perceive being a “designer’s designer” as being a designer for them.

It’s a LOT of work for 50/50 chances of a pay off. (50/50 might even be too generous.)

And I want to stress how much work it is. You’re basically building an entire separate business. Blogging to a point where you’ve got a cult following is a lot of work.

Just ask Preston how much work he’s put into Millo 😉

On the other hand… having a few blog posts on your site that clients can stumble across doesn’t take nearly as much time or effort.

So why not cut out the middleman and just establish yourself as an authority in your client’s needs?

Now that we’ve got that covered, here’s what you DO want to blog about:

Think back to client interviews where they told you all about why they need new design, what they’re trying to accomplish, and where they want to go.

Their answers to your questions are your prime starting point for blog content.

For example, if there’s a pattern in your interviews of clients saying…

“I want a brand that really stands out.” 

Seems we should be doing blog posts such as:

“How to create a brand that truly stands out.”

Or if they’re saying:

“We need a website that actually brings us business.”

Then why not blog about:

“10 elements of a website that actually brings you more business.”

Makes sense, right?

And see how I’m even using their words / terminology in the headlines I whipped up there?

Why this works so well:

You’re entering the conversation already going on inside their minds — where their fears, hopes, desires are all floating around — and addressing it all head on.

These topics will vary for everyone based on the clients they serve – so the best thing to do is to accumulate your own data from client interviews…

And if you don’t have any – reach out to some of your top clients and ask them!

So there you have it. Your “quick start” guide to blogging that actually helps you get new clients.

If you like this post – leave a comment below and let me know.

Blogging & content marketing is a whole big can of worms – so if you want to learn more about it, let me know!

I’m here to help 😉

Till next time!

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About David Tendrich

David Tendrich is the co-head of creative agency Unexpected Ways, as well as the co-founder of Reliable PSD: the first-ever PSD to HTML & PSD to Wordpress service run by designers, for designers. He co-runs his companies from Portland, Oregon with his lovely wife and biz partner, Lou Levit.

 

More about David’s business: David is co-founder of Reliable PSD – what happened when a group of designers got fed up with PSD to Code companies… and created their own. Check them out, and see why freelancers & agencies are head over heels for this amazing new service.

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Comments

  1. Omg this makes sense. Thanks for this!

  2. Excellent idea.

    As designers we are trying to showcase our skills and it’s hard to understand our clients really don’t care about what’s going on backstage. They want sites that work and bring them clients.

    I have noticed it’s easier to attract clients if you do provide problem solutions and not just write tutorials and specialized stuff only you and fellow designers understand. At the end of the day I’m not trying to get designers as my clients.

  3. Good simple advice, thank you!

  4. Great article! I love the tips about taking the clients questions and purposing them into blog post. Thank you- Ali

    • It’s amazing how well it works. Sometimes I speak on marketing and stuff and when I do I usually ask a question like:

      “What is the most powerful way to know EXACTLY what words you need to write on your website to attract more customers?”

      And the answer is you ask 😉

  5. I’m gearing up to relaunch my portfolio website, and the timing of this post could not be more perfect. Thanks for the insight!

  6. Spot on David! Love the “don’t tell them HOW you’re going to do it, but WHAT they will be getting” approach. Works for any B2B blog, not just the ones for design.

    • Hey David! (Great name btw)

      I want to clarify on that a bit cause I think you “get” it but have to make sure:

      I definitely suggest talking a lot of “HOW” on your blog, just now “how to design.”

      Stuff like “how to get more clients,” etc. is great though. Any problems your clients are dealing with – give them a “how to” tutorial to help them solve that (related to design / marketing) and you’re the freakin’ messiah in their eyes if you can deliver them results.

      Hope that makes sense 🙂 🤘

      Thanks a ton for taking the time to comment 🙂

  7. What great timing! This is something I personally have been wondering about. What can I blog about that my clients will value? I find myself occasionally writing posts that appeal to other freelancers because it’s much easier to get in that mindset, but I need to consider things my past clients have asked me or needed help with. Your process of taking the clients wants/needs and turning it into a helpful article should really help me. Thanks 🙂

  8. David Powers says:

    You never know when you might decide to leave freelance and want someone to hire you; or, you might want to partner with another design firm. You also might need help from others in your industry, or you might require pool of potential freelancers that you can tap if you have no more capacity.

    In such cases, it would be of great advantage to have a reputable blog on your craft. It might even get you hired instantly, or create new clients as people in your industry come to you for help with problems.

    Thus, there is a good rationale for splitting your blogging between articles aimed towards you ideal clients, and articles that establish your expertise. If you back your primary marketing aimed at potential clients, with content that establishes your industry expertise, the latter will consistently function as a form of social proof with your potential clients, it’s not any kind of “50/50” gamble.

    With that said, content establishing expertise is not a substitute for marketing to your ideal clients and creating content aimed at them. But as a secondary activity it’s smart.

    • Hey David,

      (Please excuse the typos lol… can’t seem to type today and don’t have a ton of time to spell check…)

      I can see why you might say that – but at the same time I totally disagree. I’d never blog about something because one day I possibly might want to quit one thing and do something else instead.

      I think that’s a really dangerous way of thinking. When I decide to take somethign on – I go all in on it. If I was thinking about quitting already – and writing blog posts in case I decided to quit – I’d really question if it was right for me.

      That’s just me anyway.

      Also – think about this… Who will a firm want to hire? Someone who knows how to use photoshop really well? Or someone who can deliver amazing results (and use photoshop really well)?

      I still think blogigng about client problems is most benefiical to you because anyone who would hire you is in the same boat as your clients with the same problems – that’s why they’re hiring a designer 😉

      I’m not swaying DON’T blog about all of that stuff – I’m just saying don’t do it in the website that’s designed to bring you more cleints.

      If you’re concnerned about needing a pool of freelancers – create a separate blog for that.

      if you’re concerned about showing off your software chops – create a tutorital blog for that.

      you can still do all taht stuff, it’s just a matter of where, when, and why you do it.

      that’s my take anyway 😉

      thanks a ton for taking the time to share your thoughts. i really appreaciet it.

      • I’ve been freelancing since 2007, most of my clients came through referrals. The first question a client asks is: “Can you do this for me?” rather than: “How can you do this for me?”

        If I feel to agree with you both (which I do) then my conclusion is: it would be smart to write a blog-post that shows your expertise in a way that also attracts your client by answering some common client’s issue.

        I also believe that the blog-post should aim in educating the clients regarding your process by keeping it simple and less techy.

  9. Blogging is such a huge part of a freelancer’s marketing that it’s often seen as intimidating. The truth is that if you listen to your potential clients and sometimes other freelancers, you can get great content ideas that will drive client to you vs. hunting them down yourself. Great article!

    • Yes. Well said. I also think if someone writes on a topic – and you think you could do a better job writing on it – go for it! 🤘Dont hold back because you’re concerned you’re copying or anything. If you present a unique spin / angle on something others have already written about – that’s newsworthy.

  10. User-centered blogging! I love it! And love Millo. Thank you. 🙂

  11. Hi David,

    Thanks for this information. I’m still in the midst of putting together my website after redesigning it, and trying to focus more on clients and less on myself. This is excellent advice and I’ll keep that in mind for my blog. Cheers!

    Alexina

  12. Thanks. I get a new insight from your post. next, I should stop blogging about tutorial I think.

  13. Stephanie Poleson says:

    A to-the-point, and very helpful article! Thank you.

  14. Yeah! Right!

  15. Great article!

  16. Great article, thanks! I met with a colleague yesterday who was basically telling me the same thing, ‘Your blog needs to either entertain of educate a potential customer’. He recommended writing lists, ‘The 10 biggest website mistakes, The 5 best websites’ etc etc…

    Thanks!!

    • Yes! Entertaining is great too. If you can entertain WHILE educating, you’re gold.

      At Reliable, most Fridays we send something out with the goal of making our audience laugh, and nothing else.

      Thanks for your comment 😀 🤘

  17. Thank you!

    Why is it that a solution seems so obvious after being pointed out! 🙂

  18. Many people have forgotten the simple blogging tip. Most business blogs attract the wrong type of audience and this is the reason why their blogs fail to convert because they write for wrong audience. Just like you said design blogs that want to win clients through blogging should not write for fellow designers but for their clients – help solve their problems. It helps create know, like and trust factor. Once again nice job, this simple technique you communicated through this post can either make or break a blog. Well done

  19. Boom!! Valuable post. Starting my blog right away.

  20. I have a question. Can I use my portfolio website for blogging?

  21. Hi David,

    I write a regular blog for a Pasadena design firm that pretty much just lives on our website and gets emailed out to our list. That’s fine as far as it goes but I’m wondering if it wouldn’t be a good idea to get them on other aggregator type websites (or sites like this one!) with a link back to us. Almost like a sponsored content sort of thing, except my articles are genuine articles, not ads per se.

    I just have no idea where to even start with that, and I wonder if you have any tips along those lines.

    Thanks in advance!

    Oh, and I enjoyed this article – definitely will inform my efforts moving forward. 🙂

  22. Yea, i think that’s great article, simple advice and very helpful