How to Brand Yourself as A Freelancer
Guest writer Joe Balestrino is a Search Marketing Expert who has been helping business both large and small market their businesses online for over 7 years. Check out his blog Blog on internet marketing.
If you’re a freelancer, you know there’s a lot of competition out there. Regardless of what field you’re in, it’s imperative that you separate yourself from the crowd. Let’s face it, a Fortune 500 company isn’t going to hire just anybody. Something about you needs to grab their attention.
Let’s put aside how you typically win business for a moment. If you met someone in the street and didn’t have a business card or a pen, would they be able to find you based on your name? If you Google yourself, what would you find?
More and more employers turn to the Internet to see what they can find on potential new hires. It usually starts out with Google and then moves over to Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. Why do hiring managers and HR personnel go to the net? It’s the easiest and fastest way to find information that normally won’t make a resume, which is a document that the person applying has full control over.
So how can you better brand yourself as a freelancer? Here’s what I recommend:
- Create a website. If possible, yours should be yourname.com. In many cases the domain will rank high in the search engines. Here you can showcase your resume, portfolio, case studies, testimonials and achievements.
- Build a blog. Preferably on your site. Write about your ideas, your experiences and your line of work. I’ll explain later how this content can be utilized for business purposes.
- Join social networks. Linkedin should be the first one you join. Place your resume on it and keep it current. Anyone you’ve done or do business with should be added to your profile. You can then expand your network. Sometimes it’s who you know that gets you more work or a job. Plus, people tend to look in their network to find a freelancer. You can also ask for recommendations for work you’ve done in the past.
- Build other profiles such as Twitter and Facebook and keep it professional. A common problem many people have is leaving these profiles public when they really shouldn’t. If you post pictures of a night out drinking on Facebook and your profile is public, anyone can see them.
- Try to use your real name or an understood variation for all social networking accounts. Using your real name in your profiles will help them to show up in the search engines, boosting your visibility. Most accounts can be linked to one another, furthering any one account’s reach.
- Socially bookmark the content you create on your blog. You can automatically have anything published on your blog sent to your Twitter and Facebook pages, especially if you use WordPress. You can also bookmark your content to other networks like Stumbleupon and Digg for added exposure.
- Write articles about your area of expertise. You can submit your article to free article sites like ezinearticles. Use your real name so these articles rank for your name as well on the search engines. Try adding 1 unique article per site over a few sites each and every month. The more sites you hit with unique content, the more listings you’ll have under your name.
- Get involved publicly in your area of expertise. Request some guest posts or interviews from other bloggers in your field. You’re likely to get a reciprocating opportunity, furthering your exposure to their audience. Even if you don’t, most blogger will link to any off-blog o off-site endeavors they’re involved in, thereby still introducing their traffic to you.
- Try doing a podcast or video segments, which are usually free to post and cost little in the way of equipment to create. Share your knowledge by giving tips and advice.
Doing all of these things will help ensure that when someone searches for your name, they will find an array of information. More importantly, if you’re in marketing, it will help show that you’re good at what you do. As an added bonus, everything you do can be added to your resume and portfolio, making your credentials stand out from the rest of the field. It may seem like a lot of work, but if you do a little at a time and keep at it, your reputation will grow. When I started my podcast I had less then 100 listeners the first month. By then end of year two, I was receiving 10 – 12K in downloads each month.