You’ve made the decision: you’re going to go into freelance work and launch a small business. You’ve gotten over the hump of figuring out the work you’ll do and you’re ready to focus on the next hierarchy of needs. Zeroing in on your personal brand is the next step.
Personal branding is the conscious exertion of influence over the public’s perception of an individual or business, so as to present an air of authority in their industry and separate them from the competition. Put simply, it’s putting your value into words. Developing a good personal brand statement is a big part of distilling that value.
In freelancing, the competition is steep. There are countless other people who can provide a similar service; set yourself apart from them with a clearly defined image. Branding can also serve to better attract target markets: if your image is clearly developed with a population in mind, they’ll be attracted to the content you’re generating uniquely for them.
Building Your Personal Brand
When building your personal brand, you’ll want to answer these questions:
- What is your niche? Zero in on exactly what your work entails. The more specific you can be, the better. When describing your work, be sure to frame it using action words — you’re in control!
- Define your target audience. Again, specificity is important. Your business could cater to women, but if you’re able to narrow it down to women in the LA area, you’re going to be much more effective in your brand strategy.
- What makes your service unique? What sort of behaviors set you apart from your competition? Take stock of yourself and what you do well.
- What sort of impact can clients expect to see if they invest in your services? Will they increase sales? Create more visually appealing content? Emphasize the value you can bring to the customer.
Build Trust In Your Brand
As you cultivate a brand, it might be tempting to tell a white lie or paint the brand to be more attention-grabbing. However, if you build a brand based in dishonesty, you’ll come across as inauthentic to clients. We live the information age; if you’re not 100% able to support your arguments, you’ll quickly be found out. Clients will have a contrary experience to the promise you’ve put in place, and it will reflect in your reviews. Take honest stock of what you do well and what you’d like to deliver on, then work towards it.
Once established, you’ll want to supply content that builds upon the brand. Consistency will play a large part in building customer trust. By producing content that they’re reliably interested in, you’ll increase engagement and prompt customer action. You can also do a bit of research to zero in on what the customer’s perceived value of your brand is. Use tools like Google Analytics to track which postings are getting the most attention from your following. If some content is having a higher resonance than others, work on replicating it going forward.
Promote Your Brand
You have a strong personal brand and you’re supporting it with authentic, consistent content. How do you spread the word? Social media! Everything about social media is the building of a public persona. You can post relevant infographics, illustrate yourself as a thought leader, share relevant articles, and align yourself with curated connections. Social media’s a great opportunity for connecting with potential clients, but it also serves in building a brand-driven network. Who else falls into your brand space? Perhaps they have a similar target market, and they offer a service that doesn’t directly compete with yours? By publicly aligning yourself with these companies, you’re further driving the message of your brand’s niche and values. These connections can be further emboldened through joint-giveaways, shared webinars, or by doing some guest blogging.
Honing in on a strong personal brand is a powerful method for growing your business. A brand is an opportunity to build an emotional connection to a business and illustrate your values to the customer. It will also help dictate what your content strategy and promotional work should look like going forward. All public facing efforts should tie back into the brand's image; if it doesn’t, it won’t serve you.