Stand Out in a Sea of Freelancers: Your Brand
What do freelancers have in common with oranges, coal, and cattle? They’re all commodities—services (freelancers) and goods (oranges, coal, and cattle) that are largely interchangeable.
To many clients, one freelance writer or editor (or another type of freelancer) seems just as good as another—unless you have a freelance brand and client-focused marketing messages. Then you’ll stand out in a sea of freelancers.
With less freelance work and more competition in a recession, standing out is more important than ever.
Stand Out with a Freelance Brand
Most freelancers don’t have brands and client-focused marketing messages.
If you do, clients will see you as providing more value and being more professional than other freelancers.
You’ll stand out in the sea of freelancers. So you’ll be able to attract more—and better—clients. And when clients contact you, they’ll already understand what you do and how you can help them. So you’ll be able to do less marketing.
What’s in a Freelance Brand?
Your logo and tagline are the main ways you show your brand. A logo is an image, symbol, or other design to identify your services. Logos often have an image, but sometimes they’re just text in a nice design. A logo should be easily identifiable and simple.
A tagline—one of your key client-focused marketing messages—is a memorable phrase or sentence that helps your target markets understand what you do. Target markets are groups of clients (usually part of an industry) that you work with or want to work with.
Make your tagline short enough to look good with your logo. And make sure it’s clear. Clarity always trumps creativity and cleverness in a tagline (and in all marketing). Work with a professional designer you to create a logo that represents your business.
Other Parts of Your Freelance Brand
Your freelance brand is also made up of:
- Tone of voice
- Business name (or your name and title)
- Client-focused marketing messages.
Tone of Voice
Your brand tone of voice expresses your company’s values, personality, and way of thinking. It needs to be appropriate for your target markets. For example, if your clients are conservative, you need a formal, conservative tone of voice. But if your clients are creative, your brand should be bolder and more creative.
Colors, which are associated with specific characteristics, are important too. For example, blue, black, and red are among the most popular colors in brands. Here’s what they mean:
- Blue: Trust. Also dependable and strength. Blue is often used in business brands.
- Red: Excitement. Also bold and youthful.
- Black: Powerful and sleek. Black is often used for luxury products.
Most freelancers use their personal names instead of a business name. Having a good business name will help you stand out even more in a sea of freelancers. But even if you use your own name, if you have a strong brand you’ll still stand out.
Your business name doesn’t have to be unique—and it probably won’t be. It should appeal to your target markets, say what you do, and be clear. Use real words or phrases, and stay away from anything that will confuse clients.
If you don’t create a business name, make sure your title clearly says what you do. For example, if I didn’t have a business name, my title would be Lori De Milto, freelance medical writer. My busines name is Lori De Milto Writer for Rent LLC.
Learn More About How to Create a Business Name
Create Client-Focused Marketing Messages
When a client looks at your LinkedIn profile or website, you want him/her to immediately think, “Yes, this is the right freelancer for me.” You make this happen with client-focused marketing messages.
Client-focused marketing messages focus on client needs and how you meet those needs. The key overall client need is for you to make the client’s life easier. Other general needs are:
- Meet my deadlines
- Stay on my budget
- Do the project right
- Be flexible
- Be responsive.
Your tagline is a key client-focused marketing message. Also use client-focused marketing messages in your LinkedIn profile and website, especially in the heads and subheads.
Make sure your client-focused marketing messages are clear. If clients don’t know what your marketing messages mean, they’ll move on to the next freelancer on their list.
See 3 Examples of Freelance Brands
Your Freelance Brand Statement
Your freelance brand statement will help you think about your logo and create your tagline and other client-focused marketing messages. It needs to clearly and concisely state:
- What you offer: Services
- Who you offer it to: Target markets (types of clients)
- How you’re different or better than other freelancers.
Focus on the services and target markets you like best where there are good opportunities for freelancers, even in a recession, and types of clients that can give you steady, high- paying work, even in a recession. You can still do other types of work and work with other types of clients.
And you don’t actually have to be different or better than other freelancers. You just need to position yourself as different and better.
Choose one or a few needs of your target clients and a few core values and personality traits to focus on in your brand. Examples of core values or personality traits are accurate, creative, efficient, punctual, and trustworthy.
Combine the client need(s) and your core values and personality traits to create client-focused marketing messages that position you as different or better than other freelancers. Use these in developing your logo and tagline and in all of your marketing.
Become a Fearless Freelancer
This post is based on my book The Fearless Freelancer: How to Thrive in a Recession.
Steady, high-paying clients who need your help are still out there. The Fearless Freelancer will show you where they are and how to get them.
Developing your freelance brand is 1 of 10 steps that will help you thrive in the COVID-19 recession.
My book gives you an easy-to-follow, proven process for doing this—from a freelancer who’s thrived during two recessions and now, during the COVID-19 recession.
The print and e-books are available now on Amazon.
Recession-Proof Your Freelance Business
Learn more about The Fearless Freelancer:
How to Thrive in the Recession.
Click here to start thriving today
Recession-Proof Your Freelance BusinessLearn more about The Fearless Freelancer:
How to Thrive in the Recession.