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.
Our 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.
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.
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.