This is a guest article by Indiana Lee. If you want to submit a guest article of your own, be sure to read the guest article guidelines.
Going freelance can be deeply rewarding. You get to set your own working hours, choose your clients, and handpick the content you create based on your niche. However, the freedom of freelancing comes with responsibility. You have to protect your personal brand if you want to make it alone. A strong brand will help you find new clients, retain high-paying patrons, and justify increases in rates.
The importance of a brand
There are hundreds of thousands of writers looking for work in the freelance market today. A strong personal brand is necessary to help you stand out from the crowd and draw the interest of potential clients.
A personal brand can help you refine your writing identity, too. As a freelance writer, you should develop a strong sense of your niche and can use branding to settle on a particular style. For example, if you’re looking to write finance-related content, you can use your branding to show clients that you write with clarity and an appreciation for accuracy over flair.
Nailing your niche can help you command a higher salary and find new opportunities. Folks are more likely to trust you if you have a multi-platform brand that reflects your services in a positive light. Your clients will screen your social media profiles before they hire you, so be sure to create a digital brand that shows off your skills.
A solid brand can help you weather the storm during times of economic uncertainty, too. Most businesses scale back their marketing spend during downturns but may keep on a few writers. A strong brand presence means that you’ll be less likely to lose work and can find replacement clients in a heartbeat.
As a freelance writer, you live and die by your reputation. If clients believe you’re a reliable, trustworthy writer they are far more likely to hire you and retain your services for years to come. However, you can’t rely on goodwill and quality content alone — you need to employ a few reputation management techniques to protect your personal brand.
Start by maintaining your social media presence. A strong social brand can help your business grow but it can be a risk if you don’t moderate your pages. Be sure to post regularly, or clients may think you’re no longer working as a freelancer. Respond to comments — even negative ones — to build community and show your followers that you care about their insights.
As a freelance writer, you’re probably familiar with search engine optimization (SEO) content. Remember to write some SEO content for your own blogs and websites, as this can build your portfolio and improve the amount of traffic that comes to your site.
It’s unlikely that you’ll be targeted by reputation attacks as a freelance writer. However, you need to be aware that big businesses do utilize underhand tactics to achieve their marketing goals. Look out for fake reviews on your site and use Google’s webmaster to spot bad links built to boot you off the SERPs.
Clients are looking for more than grammatically correct content and stylish syntax. They want to work with writers that have a thumb on the pulse of current trends. You can protect your business and land more clients by using your brand to show that you are capable of producing relevant content in the digital age.
Staying relevant can help you retain current clients, too. Set time aside to gain further qualifications and explore training opportunities. Clients want to work with writers who have an array of experience and qualifications and may offer higher-paid work to retain your services.
Make the most of your efforts by posting to your blog and social pages. Even short write-ups can help you land new customers and stay relevant. So, if you’ve got some free time, schedule a few posts that show off your qualifications and follow them up with longer bio-pieces on your blog.
Protect your brand and assets
Going freelance can be nerve-wracking. You don’t have the comfort of contracts and can be let go by your clients at any time. Rather than burying your head in the sand, you need to protect your assets and actively strengthen your brand.
Consider registering as an LLC to reduce risk and protect your assets. As an LLC, you’ll get an EIN and will be able to hire employees as your business grows. As an LLC, you’ll be able to separate your business funds from your personal income, too. If you face a lawsuit, your personal assets will be protected.
(Editor’s note: The above advice applies to US-based freelance writers. Variants of LLCs vary across different countries. India, for example, has LLPs as well as Public and Private Limited Companies.)
A strong brand presence is vital for the long-term success of your freelancing business. You need to create a brand that attracts new clients, improves your rates, and protects your income during times of economic downturn.
Start by creating a social presence for your services. This can help you moderate negative reviews and will show clients that you are an active writer with an appreciation for current trends. Consider forming an LLC or its equivalent if you’re worried about lawsuits as this can help you separate personal assets from business income.
About the author: Indiana Lee lives in the Northwest and has a passion for the environment and wellness. She draws her inspiration from nature and makes sure to explore the outdoors regularly with her two dogs. Indiana has experience in owning and operating her own business. Feel free to follow her on Twitter @indianalee3.