Every freelancer has some uniqueness to their talent and qualities that other freelancers in their arena can’t match. But how are clients to know who you are and what sets you apart? Personal branding, that’s how.
Building a personal brand is critical for anyone in freelancing. It’s a key part of being noticed, remembered, and hired when you’re trying to build a business. Where do you start on that journey to develop your personal brand?
Of course, the first step is always to define that brand and determine specific color schemes, writing voices, and visual elements. Once that’s done, move on with these top strategies.
1. Build Your Site First
Much of your personal branding will take place online, simply because that’s an efficient medium for reaching many people at one time. When potential clients first hear about you, though, they’ll Google you and there needs to be something for them to find.
Create a personal website that will become your “digital home.” It’s where you’ll direct everyone to any digital marketing you produce to establish an online presence. When those potential clients arrive on your website, it needs to give them a strong sense of your personal brand. The writing voice, color scheme, fonts, visual elements, every aspect of the site should portray the same personality and brand.
2. Max Out Your Online Profiles
No one’s online presence should be limited to one website. Take advantage of directories as well as social media sites that let you create your business profile. On top of social media, this includes Yelp, Google My Business, and local directories in addition to industry-specific directories.
Include as much data as those sites will allow. Include a professional headshot, descriptions of your services, links to your site and social media profiles, contact information, and anything else the profile allows.
3. Keep Up a Robust Blog
Blogging on your site is a terrific way to boost your online presence while developing that all-important brand. Publish a blog post every week or so about topics relating to your niche. They could include tips from your expertise, insights into the industry, or other helpful information. Consistency is key, so make blogging a recurring weekly item on your to-do list.
Those blogs are especially effective if they’re good enough for others to share. Define your target audience and specifically write topics that appeal to them. Don’t forget to write in a style that’s consistent with your brand.
4. Maintain a Consistent Social Media Presence
Social media is a terrific way for anyone to establish a stronger web presence and personal brand. Create content that’s engaging, post on a regular basis, and post on multiple platforms from Instagram to LinkedIn. As with blogs, aim to appeal to your targeted audience and build a community but for brand development, ensure that the written, visual, and video content aligns with your brand.
5. Make Guest (Blog) Appearances
With branding for freelancers, the goal isn’t just making sure everyone knows your brand. They must associate that brand with your niche too, seeing you as an expert in the field. Guest blogging is an efficient way to create that association.
Approach sites related to your specialties or target audiences and offer to write guest posts. Some sites already have processes for this in place. When they publish those guest posts with your name in the byline, you get visibility across that site’s audience. For that reason, the more high quality and well-known the site is, the more beneficial your guest post will be.
Keep in mind that sites don’t pay for guest posts. In fact, some even ask for a fee from the writer. Regardless, though, it’s viewed as more of a mutually beneficial arrangement: they get free content, you get more visibility.
6. Make Your Voice Heard
Visual art and written content can do well as you start building your personal brand. They’re nothing compared to video, though.
In videos, viewers see your face and hear your voice. It gives them a more well-rounded, concrete understanding of who you are so your brand becomes more relatable to them.
Start publishing videos on social media as well as YouTube. There’s no need to have ultra-high-quality production; modern iPhones have surprisingly great cameras. There are plenty of video content ideas to go around, but you could do anything from demonstration videos to simple “behind the scenes” video tours.
7. Put Network Connections to Good Use
Another terrific way of spreading a personal brand is with appearances on other media sources like popular podcasts, YouTube channels, or social media profiles. Much like guest posts, these appearances establish you as an expert, a member of the thought leadership in your niche. It’s even better if you can get appearances with other thought leaders in that niche.
Chances are that someone in your existing network has a podcast, YouTube channel, or other production. Reach out and ask if they’d be interested in an interview or appearance on their channel. It’s free publicity that further develops your brand.
8. Get Involved in Your Community
Effective branding happens both online and offline, so don’t get overly absorbed in digital media. Sometimes it’s best to get out and shake some hands.
Look for opportunities in your area like local festivals or marketplaces that allow local businesses to set up booths. Make the booth’s visuals and vibe distinctly on-brand. Don’t push a hard sell: you’re there to gain visibility and get better acquainted with the community. Still have something to give visitors so they’ll remember you, like cards that outline your services or small branded products.
Maintaining Continuous Branding
Branding isn’t something to complete and cross off the to-do list. It requires ongoing efforts because when you start slacking, potential clients forget about you. Long term success takes ongoing work, but the payoff is worth it: a thriving business doing what you love every day