Today's post comes from Fred Schebesta, the Co-founder and Director of finder.com.au, a website that helps Australians compare credit cards, savings accounts, home loans, personal loans, travel insurance, life insurance, shopping deals and more.
Freelancers really have to fight the hard fight to stand out from the crowd. Not only is sourcing work draining, making a landing impression on potential clients is near impossible unless they can get a strong impression of what you’re about. Say hello to personal branding – perhaps the strongest drawcard in a freelancer’s arsenal. Building your personal branding is crucial in that it will not only attract potential clients, it can also fuel your credibility as a newsworthy and timely entity in your industry – and who doesn’t want that. That being said, not following a regular ‘brand plan’ and being sloppy in your personal practices will leave your authorship in the dirt. Here’s four key steps to building and keeping a killer ‘Brand Plan’:
1. Position yourself on a need
If you’re thinking of becoming another PR pro or marketing guru, you might as well just stop – nobody asked for you. That being said if you were thinking of becoming a PR pro who, for example, specialises in crisis PR for events, then go for it. Yes, your passions are very important in terms of conveying your brand, but if you’re not actually founding your services on a need or a niche, then you’ve got a weak basis for a brand, simple as that. Ideally, people should know exactly what you’re about within two minutes of interacting with you – be it through social media, your website or in person. The best way to determine if the need you’re basing yourself on is profitable is by first working out how much you expect others to charge, and running tests on getting your service to that standard.
2. Nobody likes general
An extension of the first point, this tip is geared toward your interactions with other brands. If you’re offering vanilla advice or simply affirming societal views, you’re wasting space. Make every interaction unique, engaging and fresh – it’s just simple logic that this increases the likelihood of people resonating with you, as you’re bringing out more varied content. This helps to cement your brand not only as a prominent voice in your industry, but also as a dynamic and free-standing source of information and findings.
3. Close out big wins, even at an expense
Building a personal brand can be a tough one, especially when it may eat into your other priorities or resources, including the all elusive resource of time. Here is a bit of unconventional wisdom: focus on making your next massive wave, not at the resources it will use from your other priorities. Your brand is much more likely to be remembered for a single, groundbreaking moment it created than a slow but consistent trickle of mediocre material. If you pull it off, it won’t take that much longer for the damage to be repaired anyway.
4. Know what you’re killing off when you build
Personal branding is a slow, uphill battle and any coverage you receive will take a long time to meet fruition. This being said, building your personal brand around a few focused ideals will essentially elevate you for those qualities while also minimising the range of expertise you have elsewhere. This is an especially important consideration for people working in hybrid or digital roles, as you might run the risk of being more known for some of your skills than others. Sitting down and having a long, hard strategic positioning session is in order if you’re to fold your skills wholly and completely into your personal brand.