Should You Be Freelancing on Tumblr? (What You Need to Know)

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Quick, what’s your first impression of Tumblr?

If you’re thinking of a site that serves as an online diary for thousands of teens, you’re only partially right. Many of Tumblr’s users are teenagers. However, I was surprised to learn that the average age for a Tumblr user is 34.6 years old (according to Garrett Button’s article, Age, Gender and Social Media Strategy: Audience Analytics for B2B, published on the ArgyleSocial blog). That’s about 15 years older than I expected–certainly at 34 years old most users are past the teen diary phase.

While Tumblr is popular with teens, like other social media platforms before it, it is moving into the mainstream. In fact, according to this recent post from Julie Bort on Business Insider, Tumblr Is Being Used In A Supreme Court Case For The First Time. You read that correctly. The U.S. Supreme court will be referring to a Tumblr blog in a case.

So, as a freelancer, what should you know about Tumblr?

In this post, I’ll explain what Tumblr is and share five Tumblr blogs that might be helpful to freelancers.

What Is Tumblr?

Tumblr is a popular social media/blogging site that allows its users to create and share blog posts. Many Tumblr blogs rely heavily on quotes and images (I thought of a cross between Twitter and Pinterest when I first saw a Tumblr blog). Some Tumblr blogs incorporate animation and video. Many Tumblr blogs simply serve to aggregate popular posts on a topic. However, there are also blogs that look a lot like this one–you might not even realize you’re reading a Tumblr blog.

According to Tumblr’s own statistics, there are over 130 million Tumblr blogs. The site was started in 2007 by David Karp. Currently, Yahoo!, Inc. owns Tumblr.

Along with the aforementioned teen blogs, there are some big brand name blogs on Tumblr. That’s right. Corporations are coming to Tumblr. You should also be warned that there are quite a few Tumblr blogs with Adult content.

Tumblr content is easily shared between users through the reblog feature. Tumblr is also quick and easy to set up. Users can choose from a variety of available themes.

Marketing Your Freelance Business on Tumblr

So, as a freelancer, should you create a Tumblr blog for your freelancing business?

The answer is…it depends. If you are selling services to a younger demographic, the answer is probably “yes.” And while corporate America is starting to notice Tumblr, their presence there is mainly to sell products to millenials. So, for some freelancers, the answer might be “maybe.

Freelance writer Lauren R. Tharp maintains both a Tumblr blog and a freelance blog on her own domain. She feels having both blogs has definitely helped her freelancing business. Lauren explains:

According to my Google Analytics for littlezotz.com (my biz website), Tumblr is my 3rd highest traffic source. I even got one client who found me through my Tumblr.

Here are five things you need to know if you plan to use Tumblr:

  1. Setting up a Tumblr blog is easy and free of charge. There are plenty of free Tumblr themes that you can access through Tumblr’s Theme Garden.
  2. Tumblr blogs can drive additional traffic to a more traditional blog hosted on your own domain.
  3. Tumblr blogs don’t support comments without Disqus. This can make it hard to develop a community around your Tumblr blog.
  4. As with any social platform, follow others and reblog (share) high quality content.
  5. Tags are extremely important on Tumblr–it’s how many readers will find your content.

You can read more about marketing with a Tumblr blog on Jake Rocheleau’s post, The Benefits of Using a Tumblr Corporate Blog.

5 Tumblr Blogs Freelancers Can Check Out

There are some interesting blogs on Tumblr that freelancers may be interested in. Here are five of them (in no particular order):

  1. Get Social RVA. While this blog isn’t geared directly to freelancers, this social media consulting company aggregates articles on social media topics (with commentary) that will be of interest to most freelancers. (Note: The blog seems to have been taken off Tumblr since this story was written.)
  2. Meg Robichaud. The Tumblr blog of designer Meg Robichaid. Don’t miss her post on Everything I wish someone had told me (about freelancing).
  3. Who pays writers?. I first discovered this helpful Tumblr blog through Susan Johnston of The Urban Muse. Basically, the blog is a community effort where various writers share which publications pay and how much.
  4. Who Pays Photographers?. This blog is very much like the one above–except it is for freelance photographers. Discover which publications pay photographers and how much they pay.
  5. Artist Advice. If you’re an illustrator, cartoonist, or other type of artist, you’ll want to use this nicely done blog as a learning resource. The blog is full of questions, answers, and tutorials for artists.

Your Turn

Do you have a Tumblr freelance blog? How is it working for you?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

Comments

  1. says

    Hi Laura. While looking at infographics I noiced a while back that “Visual Loop” choose to share their content on tumblr, like Pinterest it seems it’s great for visual content. This post is a reminder for me to set up a Tumblr blog. With blogging platforms like WordPress, Weebly and Blogger it seems we are spoilt for choice :)

  2. says

    Hi Laura, really interesting that the demographics are so much older than one would think. I maintain a Tumblr page for my personal work – showcasing design and some music. It has really helped drive traffic to my company’s site.

  3. says

    Thanks for the mention, Laura! :)

    If anyone’s curious, my Tumblr address is http://littlezotz.tumblr.com/

    I enjoy Tumblr because, unlike my business website/blog or other social media outlets, I have a bit more freedom to share “random” things that I like–and show another side to my personality–that doesn’t necessarily fit with my “professional brand.” It’s my FUN blog. ;)

    I share posts about freelancing and writing, but I also talk about my young adult fiction, TV shows I’m currently watching, and artists I enjoy.

    It’s a fun place to be.

  4. Bianca F says

    Excellent post! It’s interesting to see how Tumblr can be a really good source of traffic. I think it definitely allows more freedom in what you post and repost (so not being restrained by professionalism), which in a way makes you and your other sites/blogs more accessible.

  5. says

    I have never tried it and personally it doesn’t appeal to me. I would rather own my blog and portfolio site, than use any of these free and limiting alternatives. I can drive my traffic easier and also do link building, while also having full control over my projects.

  6. says

    Lauren Tharp–Thanks so much for your help with this post. :) Best wishes for your freelancing.

    Bianca F, I’m glad you liked the post.

    Dojo–You make some good points. Not every freelancer will want to use this social site, but it is a trend worth watching.

  7. says

    Even after implementing the 3 Amigos (FB, Tw, LI) of social media onto my website, I still feel like I’m missing out on more Social Media opportunities. So it’s good to have the specifics of Tumblr spelled out. Thank you!

    The fact that Millenials rule Tumblr is good to know and I will use that to my advantage in signing up. The five blogs that you recommend for freelancers will keep me busy for the next hour.

    From my point of view, it can rarely (if ever) hurt to incorporate another social media tool into your mix. Haven’t we all seen the sites with 20 little boxes of social media, half of which you don’t even know?

    The bottom line is that if you find one more client a year with that social media tool then it was worth it.

    In general, I think that adding most any social media to your marketing mix can be beneficial. Like you said, it’s free and easy. So why not?

  8. says

    Stephen Kemper–I’m glad you found the post helpful. “Millenials rule Tumblr…” I think that’s probably a good way to put it. I hope you check back a few months after setting up your Tumblr site and let us know how it helped your freelancing.

  9. says

    This was a really interesting post. Never thought of Tumblr this way. As a matter of fact I knew almost nothing besides the fact it exists. Thank you!

  10. says

    This seems like a really niche marketing opportunity that would work for certain services and fail horribly for others. Tumblr has a HUGE artistic community so it would be a great place to meet other people in the art/design industry, which is always useful for getting new clients. I know a couple of artists who have been found by design firms based on their Tumblr posts going viral and falling in front of the right professionals.

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