You might be a professional blogger, but what happens if someone asks you to do something else?
I am often asked if I provide other online-type services in addition to my writing. Many clients are interested in social media promotion, wider content distribution, and other services. I find that (for me at least) sticking to the content creation side of things works best. It always turns into a disaster when I do something else.
In the past, I’ve tried to place guest posts for others, and even done a little social media promotion. Both things turned out to be more trouble than they are worth. It’s just a huge pain because there’s a lot of administrative-type stuff that goes into that. If it works for you, go for it. If not, learn to say no. (Besides, the landscape of the guest post is likely changing.)
Value-Add vs. Providing Other Services
As a professional blogger, sometimes I do like to create a little added value. I might look for internal links to include in a post, or link to another blog or authority web site for additional information. I also try to tweet most things that I write, and submit some of them to appropriate social bookmarking site (ok, my virtual assistant submits to social bookmarking sites on my behalf). These are little things I can do to add value without expanding my service offerings and going too far down the rabbit hole.
In fact, I try to make it very clear when I hire on to do content creation work that promotion of the piece isn’t guaranteed. And I definitely make sure that it is understood that I’m not placing your guest post for you. Instead, if you want a guest post for another site, you’ll need to contact the site owner and arrange it.
It’s sometimes hard to draw the line between adding value and providing additional services. I’ve had people ask me to slip links to their site from other sites that I write for, offering me to pay — but I’m not into “double dipping.” Others ask if I’ll heavily promote the content that I write for their site. I say I’m happy to tweet it and put it on Facebook, but I’m not going to do more than that; they’ll have to hire a social media expert to do that.
Still others want SEO consulting advice. I’m very clear that I’m not an SEO expert. I’ll write a post based on a keyword that you give me, but I’m not doing the research to find the right keywords, and I’m certainly not going to engage in other work that an SEO expert would do.
It’s hard to say no to these requests sometimes. After all, you want to show that you’re valuable. But when does it stop? At what point are you doing so much value-add stuff that you start wondering if you should be charging for these services? When you start to wonder if you should be charging for something, you probably should be.
Be Clear About What Services You Offer
I’ve pretty much narrowed my service offerings down to one thing: Providing content. In recent months, I have branched out a little bit. I worked on a project to introduce bloggers to an affiliate network and I did agree to teach a class on freelancing for a blogging course, although I’m a long way yet from developing my own course.
For the most part, though, I try to stick to content creation. I provide content, maybe I’ll add in a couple useful links, and I’ll try to tweet it out. But none of it is guaranteed beyond just providing the content. I’m a professional blogger and freelance writer. It’s important for me to be clear about that, and it’s important for my clients to understand it.
I’ve backed away from over-promising, and it’s made my life a lot easier as a professional blogger, since many people now know that’s what I do. And if you want me to do something else, chances are that I’ll refer you to someone who does that sort of thing.