We already know that marketing is necessary if you want to attract clients. Clients don’t come by themselves knocking on your door. One of the ways I learned to get exposure for my services is through content marketing. Content marketing is producing valuable content so you can get in front of other people and potential clients or customers. This also allows you to build trust, because you can show that you know what you are doing.
Some time ago I asked a friend of mine, who works as an iOS freelance developer too, how he was getting his clients. His first answer was a bit discouraging: “They just happen to come to me, I don’t know how”. That is not, unfortunately, a replicable strategy.
The truth, though, is that they didn’t just happen to come by themselves. He is actually involved a lot in the community. He speaks at different conferences, does talks for Cocoaheads and other events, has a blog and a podcast and released an open source framework. What he is doing is exactly content marketing. Clients are not falling from the sky out, there is a reason why he gets them, and the reason is his constant exposure to different audiences is what allows him to increase his “luck surface area”, as Jason Roberts calls it.
There are many ways in which content marketing can be done: through a blog, a podcast, writing white papers or cheat sheets and many other ways. This episode of the Business of Freelancing Podcast presents the different ways you can market your content to get more clients. All these are low barrier offerings that can bring a possible client attention to you. That is the doorstep in your sales cycle.
One of the things I’m working on to get my business going, is producing products. As Amy Hoy explains, you should do a tiny product first and that product can be an ebook. Your audience should come from what you are, because you have to exploit any advantage you have. So, since I’m an iOS developer, I should serve iOS developers first, because I know their need and I know where they gather so I can reach them.
So I decided to write a book about iOS development. It turns out that writing a book was what made it possible for Obie Fernandez to actually start a consultancy on Ruby. So, even if the book is targeted to someone which is not a potential client when consulting, this helps you to reach out to a wider audience from which you could get referrals for more work. This is content marketing at work again.
So I set up a landing page for the book to start collecting email addresses of interested people and I added a blog to my personal website in which I can post guides and tutorials on iOS development, where I published the first part of an Objective-C guide for developers I’m writing. I posted the landing page and the blog post on Twitter, LinkedIn groups, Hacker News and Reddit and I collected, at the moment, 66 email addresses. It’s not money yet and not everybody will buy the book, but it’s a good start considering I’m starting from no audience at all.