I’m a new freelancer using my background in research as a framework for investigating my online presence. To create a cohesive brand, I’m using my blog as the headquarters of my freelancing business.
Freelancer branding includes connecting social media platforms to create a cohesive branded image. A freelancing business’ brand is their resume, creating the first impression employers see.
Your freelancing brand matters.
Your blog, brand, and freelancing business
Let’s start on the same page.
Your brand as a freelancer isn’t just job applications or your WordPress blog. We’re going to look at the whole freelancer, brand and all.
Your brand is more than the articles you write for others. Brand your posts. Your brand, the message you want to send, is the structure behind your blog posts. Use posts on WordPress, Facebook, Instagram, or any social media platforms as portfolio pieces. Portfolio pieces on a variety of platforms will grant you greater visibility.
Greater visibility can send a disharmonious presence to future employers, if not done thoughtfully. Share your brand values using your multiple social media platforms to share brand contents.
Share content with a consistent color scheme, voice, and format. Bring your social media profiles and freelancing business into alignment. Alignment through a consistent message about your work, the work you do and the value you bring.
A space for introspection. What was your last post on social media? Does the content align with your freelance business?
Use your social media footprint to the fullest
When you apply to projects online, employers are going to look at you as a whole. When someone hires a ghost-writer or a data entry-clerk they have to know that you can do the job. Most freelance projects expect you to have the appropriate competencies to complete the work.
That’s why they are going to look at the quality, verity, and quantity of your work and testimonials.
A space for introspection. What type of impression would you make if they search for your work?
How easy is it to find your website or social media accounts?
Your clients shouldn’t have to look far for proof of the value you bring.
Tips to display your value.
First. When applying for projects share samples of your work that are similar to the proposed project.
Second. Use your website to display further content knowledge, testimonials & referrals, and other displays of your worth as a freelancer.
Third. Your work samples should be similar to the projects you are applying for.
Thoughts to think about #metacognition
When you apply for freelance positions you are often up again a lot of other people. If you are just starting, like me, your competitors may have a longer resume.
How are you going to stand out?
Look at your work as a whole rather in fragments, your work is not just the articles you write for others, it’s so much more.
The devils in the details. So spend even more time on your applications, personalized cover letters, and work samples. There aren’t shortcuts just, you have to make a commitment and then but in the work.
A space for introspection. If you wanted someone to hire you, where would they find your work? Would it be the quick and easy path?
An exercise in your virtual footprint
Step one. Got to a search engine that doesn’t have your login information. If you don’t know what I’m talking about try opening a private or incognito window.
The point of the exercise is to see what your followers see, not see what you already know.
Step two. Google your name and or business to get started. Have a notepad to write down any content patterns that emerge. The results from your website presence are always helpful, you can write down the top posts that appear.
Now, go down that rabbit hole investigating your online presence. Record every online profile you have, any site where you interact with other people.
Below I’ve included some screenshots from my search.
Step three. The final step.
Have a section for every website that you visit daily.
Are you interacting and sharing your brand content?
Where can your readers, followers, what-have-yous find your work? Where would you want them to find you?
Start Googling! If you need a push, try starting with the ideas below.
- Your blog’s name
- Your name + school’s you’ve attended
- Your name + your blog’s name
What sites come up? Are they coming up in the order that you would expect? Dive into this investigation. Write down your general impression of your profile and perceived level of hire-ability. Hireablilty is how like you would be hired based on what your search.
For example, I googled my full name and then websites name. When I typed in my full name I was hoping that my blog would be one of the first results to come up. That was not the case, it was on page 2 so I have room to improve!
My order was (1) LinkedIn, (2) Facebook, and (3) Outdoor Project.
From these results, I now know which profiles I need to work on. The content from my top results should represent my ‘brand’, share my values, and should lead people to my website.
I developed this exercise through my own research and have shared some results and some implementation plans below.
Results & Insights
I learned a lot by just taking a step back, to experience my freelance portfolio pieces through my readers’ eyes.
For instance, I found old projects and a website I made in undergrad. I can use this. These new but old resources can be portfolio used to share your expertise.
I found some profiles that I forgot about, like my Research Gate account. An account I made when I was accepted into graduate school in 2016, which was the last time I visited that site.
This tells me that I need to update or delete old profiles. I paid special attention to the first page of results.
Remember to keep an open mind, click on everything, write down all the notes!
I’ve found process improvement ideas, each I wrote as they popped into my head. For me, writing down thoughts gives more weight in my long-term memory. If I don’t write something down while the thought is in my head or it will just drift off…
My search results!
There are lots of insights to be found! Explore your brands’ virtual personality.
Please share your results in the comments.
Stay tuned as I fine tune my professional portfolio.