Now that you’ve made the decision to become a professional freelancer, you’re going to need to get your name out to prospective clients so that they’ll know you’re open for business and start hiring you.
There are many ways to do this, but here are five simple ways you can increase awareness about you and your services.
Improve Your Website
Your website is your online resume and often an important demonstration of your skills. If you’re a web designer with a boring (or dated) website, it’s unlikely anyone will hire you based on what they see. If you’re a writer, grammatical and spelling errors on your website will lose you clients. If you’re an SEO consultant, but they can’t find you through Google – well, you get the point.
Regardless of your area of expertise, you need to have a website. This will help prospective clients find you, whether they’re just googling experts in your field or doing background research before they hire you. There are many free ways to do this, but if you don’t invest in your business, why should your clients?
Leverage Local Media
Many local media outlets – radio, television, and print – like to feature the efforts of local businesses. Provide them with a well-crafted press release to share who you are, what you’re doing, and why you’re the best option in town. Writing a press release isn’t rocket science, but it does take a bit of finesse to ensure it’s not seen as a purely marketing effort. Local media is looking for a story, not to run an ad for you for free. Provide them with something interesting and you might benefit from the free exposure. They may also want to contact you to weigh in on a story they’re doing on your area of expertise.
Even if your local media doesn’t pick up your story, you can submit it to one of the many free press release sites available on the internet. While it’s unlikely to expect these articles to become an actual news story, these free sites do provide useful linking to your website (you do have a website, right?) and will help increase your presence in search engine results.
Expand Your Social Media Presence
In the early days of your freelance career, you’re going to have much more time than money. Use your time effectively, and create profiles on all of the available social media spaces – if you’re going to be active on them. If you create a profile and never come back to that site, it’s not going to give you any benefit, so choose a platform where you expect to participate.
Social media is a great way to share value with your contacts, but it’s a good rule of thumb to listen at least twice as much as you talk. Pay attention to what’s going on within this channel. Retweet and share information you think is useful, but don’t be a spammer. If the only thing you’re talking about is you, just like in real life, you will find that that only people listening are just as spammy as you. And spambots aren’t going to hire you.
Be an Active Participant
There are conversations about your industry going on all the time. Find these conversations, and provide value to them. Find out where the experts in your field are spending their time online, and go there and listen. If you can provide a useful opinion, feel free to share it, but be careful. In many online forums, self-promotion can result in very unwanted feedback, or even worse, get you completely ignored. Forever. Whether in online forums or social media, if you become known as the expert, people will do business with you. (One quick hint, calling yourself an expert is a sure-fire way to ensure that nobody else does.)
Update Your Online Portfolio
If you can’t get a website up yet, you’ve still got options. Here on DoNanza, you can build a Branded Freelancer page, a space to share content from your portfolio, link to your social media accounts, link directly to your own website (if you’ve got one) and give you analytics to see who is visiting your profile. This web presence can be shared with your prospects, so they can get an idea about the quality of work you can provide. Share your DoNanza Branded Freelancer page with a wider audience to help you get bigger – and better paying – projects more often.
These are just a few of the tips you can use to start promoting your brand. We’d love to know what works for you. What are you doing to tell the world you’re available to help them?