Years pass before freelance writers master how to brand and market themselves more effectively for more clients, particularly for different types of customers requiring specific formats or specialties.
Or so she learned after five years of striking it on her own, Jill Fahlgren, executive coaching and founder of the Possible Life, says. Ditto for Alyssa Burns, owner of Alyssa Burns Communications.
With overlapping lessons learned and ready to share insights with IWOC-ers Tuesday June 12, the duo co-hosted a workshop on “Build Your Brand & Market Yourself to Get More Business” in the Gratz Center of Fourth Presbyterian Church on Michigan and Chestnut streets downtown.
In her business, Fahlgren specializes in “developing and strengthening” corporate teams, fostering “career development” and “positive cultures” within workplace settings.
Meanwhile, Burns focuses on “brand strategy, content writing for print and the Web, issues management, marketing and public relations, media training and key message developments.”
“I went out on my own [and] learned a lot in the past five years,” Burns said. “I learned how to sell myself … You have to talk about why you’re good.” She adds that she performed on many crisis communications assignments.
Fahlgren advises freelancers to be their “authentic” selves, find their “objective” in branding and marketing, be prepared to explain “why they are different” from their peers and ponder how “they would like to introduce themselves” to clients. Writers are encouraged to think about this.
She says she tells her clients to be intentional about how they present themselves as professionals. Many of her customers start their professional relationships with being unsure or unclear as to what separates them from their competitors or the messages they want to deliver about their products or service offerings.
By highlighting their uniqueness, she said, clients sometimes fear they’re taking a risk or limiting themselves. However, doing so in their branding and marketing campaigns can strengthen their positioning and yield better results.
Key to establishing a brand and marketing it is “differentiation,” Fahlgren says. The elements of a brand must encompass a freelancer’s interests or passions, she adds. In so doing, writers must leverage their value proposition and experience. They must consider their targets, vision, goals and point of view or POV.
For instance, Fahlgren says she shares her brand in a 30-second elevator pitch and urges writers to do the same. “Think about one word that can help you,” she said. In her own elevator pitch, she informs potential clients, “My passion is helping people realize their full potential.”
Burns agrees. “What do you want to be known for?” she said. As part of a freelancer’s overall freelancing image, she suggests writers to be mindful of whether their email addresses come across as professional to prospective clients.”
“Our emails are our calling cards,” Burns said. “We need to think about our emails.”
Burns continues that writers must be aware of other aspects of their image before they approach new clients. She cites five top marketing tips she has brainstormed for freelancers to follow when scouting for new business. Listen to the podcast for her tips and the entire presentation!
- Vladimire Herard
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