Finding Clients as a Freelancer

Creating New Content

Paul Boag

Paul Boag

Finding Clients as a Freelancer

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The "Creating New Content" Lesson is part of the full, Finding Clients as a Freelancer course featured in this preview video. Here's what you'd learn in this lesson:

Paul shares advice about how to generate new ideas for content. The process is often invoked by experiences during everyday work like coding problems, newly discovered development tools, or collections of resources.


Transcript from the "Creating New Content" Lesson

>> So one of the concerns that I hear from people whenever I talk, how do you do it Paul, how do you keep coming up with content? You're always coming up with new things to talk about, how do you manage it? I can never think about what to write.

I totally get that, and the reason that you're struggling is because you're sitting down and going, what shall I write about today, right? And you know what happens if anybody puts you on the spot, and say something, you blank, you can't think of anything. So you need to avoid that.

So really, ultimately, it's about just building up an ongoing list of topics. And a lot of that is just about you're surrounded by ideas all the time. You just need to pay attention and write it down so that when you sit down to write an email, you've already got ideas there.

So, pay attention to the conversations you're having with clients. They'll ask you questions. That's an email, right? You'll get stuck on a project and frustrated on a project. That's an email. Keep an eye out for subjects being discussed on the influencer sites, the sites that your audience are hanging out at.

Those are all potential emails. Every question that's asked on a forum, every search that's done on Google related to a particular subject, every mention on social media. Those are all email topics. Think about the work you're doing at that particular time. That's all content, right? I've been working at the moment on doing usability testing.

That's a subject. And I had a particularly bad experience recently where I did usability testing, and we were benchmarking my version against the existing version and my version performed worse than the existing version, right? I actually wrote an email saying how to deal with [LAUGH] when your usability test fails.

That's a good subject. And people wrote to me afterwards going, I'm so glad it's not just me. [LAUGH] Or I really appreciated your honesty there. It's great. Write about services you offer, not directly, but write around those services. Don't say this is a list of the services I offer, but write about topics relating to those services.

Pretty obvious really. And write about the value of what you want to offer. So if you want more work, I don't know, doing usability testing, then you write about the value of usability testing. It's not rocket science. Also pay attention to what annoys you. This is really good, cuz it will annoy other people as well.

So for example, I really get annoyed by cookie notifications. They are something that really grinds my gears, logins as well, that's another pet subject of mine which really irritates me. So I'm always writing about these things cuz they annoying me. And then keep an eye out for good examples, right?

You live in a world full of examples, you're interacting with it every day. So me as a user experience person, every app I use, every website I visit, they're all potential good examples that I can refer to. If you work in performance, then you're gonna see good and bad examples of well performing or poorly performing sites.

So that's all material you can draw upon. And if all else fails, research what people are Googling. If you type in user experience or performance and see what comes up afterwards, then it's great. Well, actually if you hit return, so you type in performance hit return, get the results up, actually it's a block of questions related to that topic, right, in the Google results.

Those are all emails you can send out. And then if you're struggling with topics then on any particular topic there are so many different ways you can approach that topic. You can write reviews of different products. You can ask questions. You can do how tos. You can share industry news.

You can talk about controversial subjects. You can create checklists and cheat sheets. You can create case studies and so on, and so on, and so on, and so on. You really don't need to run out of ideas. The trick is not starting from a blank sheet, not sitting down to write an email without existing ideas.

And so the way that I resolve this is by starting to keep a list of possible ideas. Now I use Notion. Where in Notion I have basically ideas split out as to whether they're a course or an email or a webinar or a social media update or whatever else.

And then I jot down the title of the subject I wanna cover and maybe a few bullet points on it and just leave it at that until it comes time to next write. And every time you have an idea, you just drop it into the list along with a few bullet points to help you get started when it comes time to write it.

And so once in a while I will also sit down and just brainstorm a load of ideas to keep the list topped up. But I don't do that at the moment I'm gonna sit down and write because that's when your mind goes blank. So are there any questions around coming up with ideas or writing emails or any struggles that you have around that kind of thing?

Is it something you've ever tried doing?
>> Outside of selling like to not talk about that, is there anything else you would say to avoid?
>> Not really ,I think a lot of people are afraid of expressing their opinions because someone will tell them they're wrong, which I totally understand and totally get.

And if that is you, I would say you don't need to be afraid of that because people will tell you you're wrong even if you say nothing, right? I've received emails before saying, why haven't you spoken out on so and so an issue on. Okay, I hadn't even said anything and I'm in trouble.

So some degrees you can't win that. But if you are worried, if you're one of those people that, I don't wanna put my head above the parapet because people might criticize me. Then my advice is stick to talking about your personal experience because nobody can say that that was wrong.

That was what happened to you in your situation. Or focus on quoting other people, so and so says, or I noticed this, so those kinds of things. But no, I think, really, you shouldn't be afraid to express your opinion. One of the things I'm about to come onto is finding your own voice as you write.

And I think that it's okay to recognize not everybody's gonna agree or like what you say, and that's all right. Also you don't need everybody to like you just need enough people to keep you in business, right? But yeah, that is tricky one. Yeah, have got a question from chatroom?

>> Have you tried different processes like drafting in batches?
>> Yes, I have. And that might work for you, it didn't work for me. The reason it didn't work for me is because, I've said it once, I will say it again, I have the attention span of a small child.

So siting and batching a whole load of emails never really worked for me. I'm very much a person that gets enthusiastic in the moment about something, right? Something has particularly hit me, and so I wanna write an email about it there and then, okay? So actually, although I've got these backlog of ideas, I only use those if I really get stuck.

Most of the time, something's popped into my head and I wanna write about it straight away. So doing a whole load I would find a bit tedious. But there's no reason why not, and in actual fact that's probably a good way of doing it, have a whole load lined up ready to release.

I always try and be one ahead of myself in case I get ill or something like that, and so I've always got something to go out. But no, I don't batch that much.

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