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.

Comments

9 Responses to “How to Brand Yourself as A Freelancer”
  1. Cliff says:

    Constructively participating in the community is very important as well! Reading other people’s blogs and articles and commenting on them, providing constructive criticism to other blogs, portfolios, websites, etc all help your exposure and your image as a designer.

  2. Devvfeed.com says:

    Interesting and very good advice! Personal branding is very important, especially in the freelancing arena!

  3. Bonnie Vasko says:

    Joe, your advice is simple but true. I would also add – consistency is key! Your podcast would not have grown if you didn’t publish it regularly. If you are not a technical person, buddy up with one to walk you through this stuff for the first time – or first couple times. Perhaps you have a service you can barter with a tech person. And when it comes to your brand – hire a professional. I am an experienced web developer but hired a professional to design my logo. Just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should.

  4. Alex Askew says:

    Never underestimate the power of social media for promoting yourself as a freelancer. Takes time to get recognized but will pay off in the end.

    Alex

  5. leaflette says:

    i do think working without effort will be useless.
    Nothing can compare with the Consistency, so be consistence in what ever you did, even in social bookmmarking

  6. Chana says:

    Nice wrap-up Joe. It’s a big competition out there and I’m pretty sure many freelancers are already implementing these very actively. But then again, once you successfully branded yourself and eventually attracted a potential client, it all boils down to consistency in service, deadline and professionalism. Over here in my country (Bangkok, Thailand), freelancers adopted a bad name over the years due to lack of responsibilities and professionalism. Most are young, newly graduates who wants to work “independently”. No work-life experience, no customer relation experience, etc. They just leave the job unfinished if they feel like it. Sad … but true.

  7. Robert Slippey says:

    Thanks for these tips. I noticed this post is a little old, but it’s still floating around the net and it seems to hold true to this day. I wanted to comment because when I read your tip on making things private on facebook I went stright over to facebook and looked around at the privacy settings. I’ve looked at it in the past but wasn’t extensivly looking and I was shocked at what I found was still readable. I think even if you may be looking for a regular 9-5 job you might want to double check and see what facebook is sharing about you.

    Rob

  8. Kevin Payne says:

    I like the advice on writing articles for popular websites. Some others that are powerful include eHow,Wikipedia, & Triond.

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