Importance of personal branding for freelancers
Having a clear personal brand as a freelancer is vital to set you and your business apart from your competitors. It’s an efficient way for your audience or potential clients to understand exactly what you do and what to expect if they decide to work with you. In this article, we’ll be discussing why personal branding is essential, how to create your personal brand, how to ensure you are authentic and relevant and how to deliver your message to attain clients and grow your business in both the short and long term.
What is personal branding and why is it important?
Your personal brand can be likened to your professional reputation; it’s a way for your audience and potential clients to understand you and the value that you have to offer. Personal branding for freelancers is much more than just your logo; it includes your client communications, visuals, tone of voice, processes, attitude and more. Having a clear and recognisable brand will help you stand out amongst your competitors and be memorable to find your ideal clients.
As a freelancer, you are your brand. If executed well, your personal brand will ensure you build trust and relationships with those in your industry and potential clients, are seen as an expert yet also relatable as people buy why you do things, not what you do.
How to create your personal brand
Creating your personal brand will take time; however, don’t be discouraged; you can continuously hone your brand as you learn more about yourself, your potential clients and what they respond well to. The following are elements necessary to build a strong brand.
The first important step in creating your personal brand is to understand what you want your brand to be; a great way to do this is to write down your brand values; examples include attention to detail, customer-centric, empathy or accessibility.
These will help you craft your unique positioning and help you to maintain your values throughout your internal and external communications. When creating your brand, like all other aspects of your business, it’s wise to consider your ideal clients and how you want them to perceive you, what do you want to be known for.
Unique Value Proposition
Another excellent starting point is determining what makes you unique. Writing out your story will provide you with clues as well as create messaging that you can share with your audience. This process doesn’t have to be complicated; we recommend writing like you are having a conversation; that way, your messaging is more personable and approachable.
Once you are comfortable with your brand direction and understand your audience, you can enlist the help of a graphic designer or strategist to take it to the next level to develop assets and visuals. This could include a logo and brand motif, branding guidelines, brand words, design, fonts and other aesthetic styles. If you can remain consistent with how you show up in front of your clients and potential clients, your brand will become easily recognisable.
As a freelancer, you need to have an online presence that includes a website and social media profiles.
By investing in your own website, you will establish professionalism and credibility. Websites are also the best location to display the services you offer, information about you and your business journey, how you’re different from others in your industry, informative blog posts, your portfolio, media mentions, social proof like case studies, testimonials and awards, and your contact details. Having a website will assist with your SEO to give potential customers outside your network the ability to find you.
Social Media has become a non-negotiable for freelancers, consultants and business owners as customers and clients have come to expect your presence. Choose the platforms where your ideal client is most likely to spend time on and will be in the consuming, enquiring or buying mode. We recommend posting regular informative and engaging content on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. You can share updates on your projects (remaining mindful of confidentiality), share your blog posts, new services or announcements, accomplishments, a behind the scenes look into your business or ask your followers for feedback on what they find valuable.
How to be authentic and relevant
As we mentioned, you are your brand. A great way to develop trust is to show your face on your website, social media and other marketing assets and platforms, as people like to know who they are working with. This will also allow you to inject your personality into your branding. You can convey who you are, what you stand for and how you provide value to others, both online and offline. Drawing on your unique experiences and individuality and sharing these will help you to stand out from others in your industry. We recommend showing both the polished version of you in your branding and a behind the scenes look into your business for a more authentic view. Your interests outside of work can also help you to be relatable as who knows, maybe your ideal client also loves Labradors just as much as you do, and a shared interest is a great ice breaker.
Determining your niche and ideal clients and crafting your brand messaging with their needs in mind will ensure you are appealing, as it will feel as though you are talking directly to them. Don’t be afraid of a narrow approach; you will naturally capture some clients outside of this niche as well.
How to deliver your message
Personal branding for freelancers can be difficult initially as you navigate learning different tools and gain confidence; however, the more experience you have with putting yourself out there, the more confidence you will gain and the more visitors and clients you will attract. We recommend providing upfront value for your audience; a great way to do this is to share free resources that you’ve created such as eBooks or blog posts, share tips on your social media channels and answer questions and converse with your audience. These strategies are a great way to be seen as an expert in your field as well as assist you in building an email list and social media following.
From the beginning, make sure that you are also creating awareness of the services that you offer, don’t expect your audience to go searching. A great way to promote your services is to understand your audience’s pain points and build your messaging and call to actions around your business being the perfect solution for them.
Other great strategies to deliver your message are via cross-promotion, writing blog posts for complementary businesses in your industry or other industry-leading websites, and sharing testimonials or case studies. Social proof is a great way to get clients over the line.
Remember that your brand can and should grow as you do personally and professionally. Personal branding is how you share yourself with your target audience or clients and how you convey the value you provide.