When creative agencies market themselves to clients, they have the power of a brand to stand behind: a well-designed logo, a thoughtful positioning statement and the positive associations that those elements bring. If you're afreelancer, you can harness those same powerful tools to effectively promote your services to new customers.
As a creative freelancer in any discipline — whether you're a designer, web guru or copywriter — your personal brand is your most important marketing asset. If you outfit yourself with a brand identity (whether it's a graphic logo or a typographical treatment of your name) and a personal statement that defines your skills and point of view, you will create a great first impression in the minds of prospective clients.
Here are six steps to growing your personal brand as a freelancer.
1. Start with your brand position
Crafting a successful personal brand begins with research and writing. This upfront work is important because it lays the foundation for every other decision about your brand. First, look around at the freelance landscape you're competing in. What do other creatives in your area or your discipline offer? How do they talk about themselves and their work?
Then, look at your own experience and skills. What do clients experience when working with you? What's your unique approach to your work? How do you leverage your skills and experience? How do you want clients, prospects and collaborators to perceive you? Zero in on the skills, services and style that make you stand out. That's your brand position.
2. Create a narrative
At its core, a brand is a story that represents an individual or company — their vision, beliefs, promises. When you're creating your personal brand as a freelancer, you are the subject of that story. Turn your brand position into a paragraph. Write genuinely and expressively, and avoid generic language that could apply to any other freelancer. Crafting your brand story is challenging, and, if writing isn't one of your core skills, it may be wise to enlist a copywriter for help.
3. Find the right visual expression
Once you have the position and the narrative, translate words to images. Should you create a representational logo? A typographic expression of your brand or your name? It's up to you. But be sure your visual representation reflects your story and the strategy behind it.
4. Carry it through
Your personal brand as a freelancer should be comprehensive and consistent, from your business card to your website, from the arrangement of your portfolio to the design of your business documents, including proposals and invoices.
5. Take it online
When choosing a moniker to represent your personal brand, whether it's your name or a representative word or phrase, use it consistently across marketing channels. Make it your URL. Use your brand name in social media outlets (for example, share advice and insight related to your professional role on Twitter or LinkedIn using your brand handle).
6. Talk the talk
Your brand represents you, so it should fit as comfortably as a pair of old jeans. If your logo and verbiage are formal and businesslike, then you should speak and interact with others in the same manner. Someone who knows you should look at your brand and think, "Ah, that makes sense." The face you put forward when meeting clients and prospects — your interpersonal skills — should reflect your brand.
When you're a freelancer, you and your brand are one — and it's critical to take the time to get it right.