9 ways to spread the word about your freelance practice

9 ways to spread the word about your freelance practice

If you're starting out as a freelancer, you'll quickly learn that the key to getting work is making sure the right people know about you and what you do. Rachael Oku, author of Become a Freelance Writer , has these online promotion tips for novice freelancers.

Getting your work seen by more than just your nearest and dearest that is perhaps the biggest hurdle for a new freeelancer, writes Rachael. When it comes to engaging with your audience, the key is to be proactive. You'll need to utilise a combination of traditional and new techniques to get yourself and your practice noticed. Here are 11 tools and tricks to consider when promoting yourself and your services.

1. Social media

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Google+ and Digg are ideal for conveying your brand messages and sharing your content. It isn't about a hard sell. Self-promotion has to be one facet of your social media content plan, but think also of ways to highlight your talent without blowing your own trumpet. You might share things you've enjoyed or that are similar to what you do; you'll even earn Brownie points with followers if you give credit to your rivals when they do something really well. Be wary of how many social media networks you attach to your business, however. By all means experiment, but once you've got some results, maintain what works and ditch what doesn't. 

2. Forums, groups and membership clubs

Forums, groups and clubs provide support and guidance plus contacts with fellow professionals. Professional associations in your field will host events and keep you updated on industry news. You could even join Enterprise Nation to become part of a community of freelancers, independent professionals and micro-businesses in other fields.

3. Guest blogging

Guest blogging on other people's blogs is a fantastic way to gain exposure and to interest the right potential customers and collaborators in your work. Target online trade magazines read by consumers and influencers in your chosen niche - teaming up with a respected publication or site will give you instant credibility and position you as an expert in your field. When submitting guest posts, your byline is crucial. Links are essential, so include relevant social media and website links and briefly say who you are and what you do. 


Another great way of diverting traffic back to your site and building relationships with influencers is to leave comments on their blogs. If you have something insightful to add or can answer another commenter's query by linking back to something relevant you've written, you're sure to earn some new readers. 

5. Networking

As a freelancer, you can never have too many friends and networking is an integral way to build your brand, promote your skills and meet collaborators. Whether in person at industry relevant events or online through forums and groups, the trick is finding the networking event that is right for your business, but that also suits your lifestyle requirements. At the average networking event, you'll have to sum up what it is that you do multiple times, so it pays to perfect your 30-second 'elevator pitch' - and never forget your business cards

6. Events

Whatever your skill or area of expertise, there's more than likely a way that you can translate it into a successful event. If you're a writer, start a writing circle; if you're a graphic designer, organise an exhibition for yourself and others at a local venue (which could even be a coffee shop); better yet, organise a co-working group (such as a Jelly) for local freelancers and homeworkers in your field.

7. Analytics

Tools such as Google Analytics, Spring Metrics, Stat Counter and KISSmetrics will help you determine at which point of the day your site receives the most traffic, what visitors are reading, how long they spend on your site, where they live, and much more. Social media platforms such as HootSuite also come with an analytics feature, as does Facebook. The results of your analysis will enable you to work out what you're doing well and who your key demographic is. You can then adjust your content accordingly. 

8. Media kits

Media kits tell potential new clients and partners about you and your business. A basic media kit should be easily accessible and downloadable from your website, and present you as a professional and knowledgeable freelancer. A PDF is the best format as it's easily printable and can be sent by email at a moment's notice. A professional media kit should include the following: 

  • a brief biography
  • a photograph
  • lists of clients, projects and speaking engagements
  • information on your work, including any relevant links and press clippings
  • achievements, such as awards and accolades
  • case studies and testimonials.

9. Email marketing

Most email marketing is conducted in the form of a regular newsletter and there are many benefits to promoting your work via email: it's cheap; you can target specific audiences and track customer engagement; and it has global reach. I'm a big fan of Mailchimp and use it a lot in my own business. Other software that comes well recommended is GetResponse, Constant Contact, Infusionsoft

Photo credit: Derrick Collins via Compfight cc

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