Some blog as a hobby, or a way to express their thoughts and feelings in a safe place. For some however it does become a source of income, so it is important to have a solid brand and business concept for approaching companies or when being contacted directly.
My blog is what I enjoy doing in my spare time, but I have been lucky enough to have been paid to write articles or given other thank you’s. For my day job I work in marketing for a brand and am often approached by bloggers. So many of these requests are lacklustre or unprofessional, so I thought I would put together some things to consider which will help showcase your abilities and services and build creditability and a persuasive business portfolio.
Introduce potential clients to your brand; let them get to know you, begin with your name and your company name and outline of your business including your history and purpose. Mention what you can offer and how you can meet the company’s needs. It is also important to point out your most important accomplishments. These are usually written as a third person. You do need to keep this short, concise and to the point – no one wants to read an essay.
“Mary Example is the founder of This Blog, an online forum specialising in fashion and lifestyle. Based in Cardiff, but has written for brands in the United Kingdom, Europe and the US. Established in 2014, Mary has become a must visit influencer. She has written for Something Magazine and Must Read Online, and last year was nominated Individual Content Creator of the Year award. Mary holds a degree in Creative Writing and Journalism, and has 10 years’ experience of working in Sales and Marketing. Visit her and read her blog at thisblog.com.”
2. Mission Statement
Describe what your brand does in a clear and concise manner. These need to be short, sharp and straight to the point. This is also a great exercise to do if you have lost your way while blogging, or over time your focus has changed. It will help you keep on track without getting bogged down with the details.
Focus on your motivation for blogging, and why do you do it? Who is your blog for, what kinds of things do you write about, and why? What do you want to become? Is there a blogger you aspire to be like, or are you looking to make a serious income. Lastly, how you will do this?
“The mission for This Blog is to encourage and reinvent how my readers get fashion and lifestyle knowledge and inspire them by sharing ideas, experiences and real-life stories.”
Feature any educational or professional certification your brand or you have earned. These prove that you possess the expertise, essential skills and qualifications that can emphasise your expertise. It is also ok to include previous jobs that have some transferable experience.
4. Services and Products
Describe what you can offer the business and tell them what your customers love to read. How can you help them meet their needs? You want this to be descriptive, show off your creativity and writing skills. Showcase your services including your niche, and benefits. Show the type, quality and style of your work.
Show off your brand imagery and colour, and include links to these – a gallery on your website or your Instagram page. Do these match the company you are wanting to work with? Pictures bring your products to life and are a visual representation of your business.
It is also essential to highlight the benefits – ideally your stats. Tell the brand who visits you, how often and the interactions you get. Do you have a customer profile? This is great to include, the brand can see if it matches their target market. Save them the time of doing the research on you!
5. Testimonials, Examples and Affiliations
Show off samples and insights of your work, and the services you have provided other companies. If you can get written recommendations or testimonials, these are fantastic to use too as it shows them the value of your business. It is ok to boast about your accomplishments, showcase your achievements as these will support your professional reputation.
In addition to industry accreditations, add documentation – links and photos of awards you have received, community projects including any charity or business boards you sit on. Membership in professional groups can give your brand credibility or any groups you are connected to, plus initiatives you have undertaken. Print or online recognition is also a must include.
6. Contact Information
This is the most important aspect, and is so often excluded. Tell them how they can get in contact; your address (especially if they need to send you a pack or products), website, telephone, email, social media profiles. I would also recommend producing an email signature. This will give you more credibility and you will be seen in a more professional light. If you have a logo, this can also be incorporated into the signature.
Where to post your business portfolio
There are various ways to do this; an email, a one page representation, a PowerPoint (or similar), an online presentation or a website portfolio. It is ok to use a variety of these, or just the one. Find what works best for you. Make it easy for companies find you, and the services you provide.
Make sure what you produce is easy to update, as inevitably there will be changes that need to be made. If you are getting these printed, go for low print runs so there will be less waste if changes are needed.
I have an Professional Portfolio one page section on my website.
I would love to hear your thoughts, hints, tips and suggestions. Feel free to post these in the comments.
The Marketing Series
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How to become a social influencer in ten steps
How to successfully promote your business on social media
Five simple ways of overcoming shyness before a meeting, networking or an event