October 31, 2014

Build Your Brand Like a Boss — For Freelance Writers

MissMe Jeans

Only MissMe jeans adorn my booty.

Freelance writers need to build their personal brands. Whether you’re a freelance journalist, copywriter, editor, or candlestick maker, you and your products represent a brand – your brand. What brand of running shoe do you prefer? I like Nike. My favorite coffee? Starbucks. Favorite jeans? MissMe. Favorite computers? Apple (of course).

You may recognize Nike, Starbucks, and Apple, but not MissMe, or maybe you recognize all four. These brands matter to me because they provide value to me. They’re relevant to my needs, wants, and desires. Hopefully, your clients find your products and services valuable, meaningful, and relevant to them and their needs.

Clients who feel this way have found something unique in the services and products you provide. They come back time and time again. They’ve developed a loyalty to your brand just as sure as my booty is loyal to the MissMe label.

Self-Awareness and Perseverance Lay the Foundation

Self-awareness and perseverance –these lay the foundation for building your personal brand as a writer. They represent the hard part of personal branding. Your customer service and BOSS writing talent (among other things) provide the bricks. That’s the easy part.

You need a keen awareness of your writing strengths and weaknesses as well as the strong and weak elements in your core marketing strategy. Admit where you excel. Like Kidd Rock says, “It ain’t braggin’ if you can back it up!” Don’t act like an arrogant fool, but know what you’re good at and where you need more work.

Lots of people in the writing and blogging niche use the buzz phrase “unique selling proposition” or USP. You can’t determine what your USP is if you don’t know where your strengths lay.

All Media Freelance, LLCOur tagline at All Media Freelance, LLC states: Always on Target. Always on Time®. Our USP focuses on our uncanny ability to precisely target the exact voice and style necessary for any client project and to get that project completed on time.

Every time.

Don’t Send a Brand to Do a Man’s (or Woman’s) Job

“Being” a brand doesn’t mean that you give up your personhood and your character. You must have heard the copywriting adage, “Show, don’t tell.” Your potential clients want you to engage and connect with them, not tell and sell to them.

samantha gluck photo shoot

Show ‘em who you really are.

When you connect with others – whether it’s on Twitter, G+, LinkedIn, or Facebook – you show them who and what you really are. Everything you say, do, wear, and give to the world reflects upon your brand, whether you want it to or not. Even your tone of voice and the types of words you choose to use reflect upon your personal brand as a writer.

So when you tweet or post to the other various social media platforms, keep your brand in mind. Work on your self-awareness, which, in this context, also relates to brand awareness. Robert Caruso, founder of BundlePost, once told me that businesses must send a person, not a brand, to engage with others via social media. Otherwise, people will see you, your brand, and your writing as un-authentic.

So connect and engage with others as a person, not as a brand, while always keeping your brand and the authentic image you’d like to convey to the world in mind.

My close friend and mentor, James S. Robbins (yeah, Google that), forwarded a link to a post from The Creative Penn about Branding for Writers. Author Dan Blank implores us to embrace that we’re writers, to focus and speak clearly, and to create core messages to rely upon again and again. He goes on to talk about telling your story to engage people and the value of repetition. It’s definitely worth a read and then another.

Too many incredibly talented writers flounder about and don’t even think about developing their personal brands. It’s time to stop flying blind and soar like an eagle. Develop your personal writing brand.

Come sparkle with us: Do you have a personal brand as a freelance writer? Why or why not? Share your thoughts on branding.

About Samantha Gluck

Not only am I the chief editor of this multi-author online magazine, I'm a content creator and social media marketing strategist with a background in journalism, finance, & healthcare. I began my content marketing agency, All Media Freelance, LLC, in 2010 and lead a well-rounded, talented team of multi-channel content strategists and niche writers. I've developed and managed print and digital content projects for health care, fitness, financial services, mental health, non-profit, and automotive publishers, as well as for biotechnology brands.

Comments

  1. Ron Goralski says:

    My Patch editor named my column, A Sporting Dad’s View. I’m now thinking of taking the column “on the road” to youth sport’s groups. I’ve been working on the brand and think I’ve come up with a great one. The idea actually jumped out at me from a Stevie Wonder CD.

    • Hi Ron! For some reason, I can’t get the link to the FB page to take me to your page. It takes me to mine! Weird. So, I removed the link. Please send me link and I will correct it in your comment. I love the name of your column and the fact that you’re taking it “on the road”. Would love to hear more about your branding, the challenges you face, and the outcome. Stevie Wonder? Can’t beat his amazing talent and music! xoxo Samantha

  2. So true. A personal brand as a freelance writer is important.

    I started my writer website Savvy-Writer.com in 2008, but I still need to work on my brand. I know I have a vision for my freelance writing, but I need to articulate it into words.

    I think most freelance writers don’t think of themselves as a brand. They’re writers, not huge corporations like Coca Cola. New freelance writers are focused on finding writing clients and not on establishing a brand.

    Some freelance writers could be afraid they’ll pigeonhole themselves if they have a brand. In general, I think it’s a good idea for freelance writers to brainstorm and come up with a brand that’s right for them.
    Amandah recently posted..Comment on How to Write Your Writer’s Personal Statement in 3 Easy Steps by Savvy Writing CareersHow to Take Charge of Your Writing ScheduleMy Profile

    • Hi Amandah,

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. You make some valid points and it’s important for new freelancers to understand that they won’t pigeonhole themselves (at least not usually) by establishing their brand and what’s unique about their services in the sea of other writers out there.

      I’m a health care journalist, so my branding niche is medicine and all things health care related. But, I still write small business stories for the Houston Chronicle and have written about real estate for the Hartford Courant. if you’re good, your good. Period.

      I engage with peers and potential clients far outside of my medical niche and I think that’s what drives the diversity of my business even though the majority of it is, inarguably, health care related.

      I hope to see you around here more often. By the way, my maiden name is Blackwell.

      Samantha (Blackwell) Gluck

  3. Hi Samantha,

    I’ll be here more often! I like the name of the website, “Freelance Writing Dreams.” I think many people ‘dream’ of becoming a freelance writer, but don’t pursue it for various reasons. I found that ‘fear’ keeps many people from going after their dreams.

    I agree that it’s important to “engage with peers and potential clients” outside of your ‘main’ niche. You never know when opportunity will strike. And, there isn’t a rule that’s says freelance writers can’t write for other niches. But, I think it helps to narrow if down, especially if you’re a new freelance writer.

    Samantha and Blackwell are great names. :) I used to watch “Who’s the Boss” with Alyssa Milano and wished my name was Samantha.
    Amandah recently posted..Comment on How to Write Your Writer’s Personal Statement in 3 Easy Steps by Samantha GluckMy Profile

    • I completely agree — that for new writers, finding a niche and developing your skills and authority around that niche is essential. It’s easier, once you’ve got some powerful clips in your niche, to branch out to other areas of interest.

      I’m pleased that you like the name. One part of our unspoken mission involves helping others, through mentoring and other activities, achieve their goals and dreams as freelancers. We’re actively mentoring two people at the moment and truly feel that this part of our mission gives back to others what we’ve gotten from our own mentors and heroes in the field.

      Fear is a daunting and tricky emotion to overcome, but it’s essential people do so when that fear holds them back from their destinies and callings.

      My first name is Laurel Ann (not many folks know that tidbit), but Samantha is my middle name and I’ve always felt it fit my actual personality better. Yes, Blackwell is truly a wonderful family name. I’m honored to carry it on for my father through my children.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] recently wrote an article about the importance of building a brand for writers, inspired by my good friend and mentor (whether she realizes she mentors me or not), Laura Spencer [...]

  2. [...] recently commented on Samantha’s latest post on how to build your personal brand and it struck me that I unknowingly highlighted the importance of embracing you unique self, in [...]

  3. [...] judiciously proofread and edit it before sending it along to the client. This work represents you, your brand, your reputation. Protect it. Put your own sword into the words you send your client. There is no [...]

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