Tag Archives: freelance marketing

First Impressions Count

Joe Wallace Turntabling Rare RecordsI was just looking at a website designed to sell gear to freelancers, offering personalized service at a better price than with larger resellers. The site’s copy included, “We will connect you with the latest technology”.

But the site design was horribly out of date by about ten years. My first impression was definitely not good–how could a company offer to sell me “the latest technology” when the site itself didn’t keep up with that concept?

As it turns out, after a few minutes of exploring I discovered that the site had been last updated a decade ago, but was still haunting the Internet with its promises. And as far as being inactive goes, it’s probably a good thing–I shudder to think what would be happening to that business right now if it were a going concern.

I hate to admit this, but seeing that made me click over to my own resume page to give a critical once-over to it first-impressionwise. And naturally I found a few faults in my own presentation. Faults that will take a small bit of time to correct and update, but faults nonetheless.

The old wheeze is true–you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Sometimes making one tweak is enough to steer someone away from the wrong idea at first glance.

In the case of the site I found, simply not making the claim to hook up buyers with “the latest technology” and finding a more effective sales pitch would have gone over a lot better. Sure, that’s all moot because the site seems as dead as the Dodo. But it’s a valid point, regardless. Can you tweak your own presentation by a few sentences and make it more effective? In my own case, definitely.

Joe Wallace is an audio junkie who collects rare and weird vinyl records, vintage analog synthesizers, and likes recording when he’s not pounding the freelance pavement. His vinyl blog, Turntabling.net, is a repository for all sorts of weirdness and rare goodness on vinyl.

Don’t Let The Freelance Competition Get You Down

Unfortunately a lot of people new to freelancing or considering the leap feel the way this YouTube video poster does (see the clip below). Freelancing can be an intimidating thing indeed–the staggering amount of work it can take to find clients and establish new relationships makes people want to look for short cuts in the that process.

Unfortunately, there are no short cuts. Word of mouth business, for example–something this video poster brings up–only comes when you’ve taken the time and care with your existing clients to generate that word of mouth buzz. The person in this video expresses hope for a shortcut by using a third party service, but such hopes are misguided for more reasons than just the obvious ones.

That’s because the Youtube clip winds up being a shill for a seemingly defunct company called ManifestingInMotionNow.com. The website returns a 404 Not Found error when you try to see the site. But freelancers can still learn a great deal from this video–especially when it comes to how NOT to market yourself or your company.

Marketing should be clear, direct, and to the point, and after watching this video, please tell us–were those qualities present here?



Marketing Yourself as a Freelancer–Mistakes To Avoid

by Joe Wallace

book and script editor for hire Joe WallaceThere’s plenty of advice floating around out there telling you what to do to market yourself as a freelancer. Let’s not re-invent the wheel on that one.

Instead, let’s take a look at some things you should stop doing right now.

FOLLOWING THE HERD

We all do it, even I’m guilty. But the worst way to market yourself is to try wading into a crowded marketplace with too many people in it and try to get noticed. If you fly with the flock, you’ll never stand out from it.

Instead, try hitting some markets that don’t seem so obvious. Travel writers would naturally gravitate to something like a Lonely Planet type guide or magazine–why not write travel pieces for food mags instead? The proper angle is the key. Freelance editors get stuck thinking about books and scripts, websites or magazines…but there are plenty of catalogues, brochures, technical manuals and other things out there with the same need for a sharp eye.

Think outside the box. WAY outside. Forget the traditional routes and find something so crazy you don’t think it’s ever been tried before. Once Catherine Tully and I co-wrote an article about martial arts.

For a JUGGLING magazine.

Get the idea?

Not Having Your Own Domain

One prolific blogger I know bought a domain called “IAmJohnDoe.com”. No, John Doe isn’t her real name and that isn’t her actual domain name. (It’s not live yet so she asked me to keep it private). Her chosen domain name (JohnDoe.com) was already hogged up by some other type of business, so she got creative.

The point is, if you are marketing yourself, you need to put your name out there connected with all the keywords in your specialty. Freelance writer, freelance editor, graphic designer, catapult builder, whatever. Yeah, I’ll say it–“for free” domains are useless for you if you are serious about marketing yourself. The first impression factor alone might not matter, but the amount of control you have over your own domain versus one of those free ones is worth the price.

Not to mention that if your free domain company goes bust at some point, or switches to a for-pay model you don’t like, you lose any Google value your site has built up over time.

Your goal with a site like this should include building it up so that if someone does a Google search on “Your Home Town Here” and “Freelance Writer” or “Freelance Editor” or “Freelance Cat Juggler” they should be getting YOU in the top results, because your resume site includes the right combination of keywords and relevant information.

Marketing Yourself To Other Freelancers at the Expense Of Your Target Market

I¬† belong to a few e-mail lists for writers and editors. A lot of people spend an inordinate amount of time doing PR stuff on these mailing lists, chatrooms, LinkedIn groups, etc. “Hey, I’m teaching here” or “Read my interview there” and such–a high volume of material that’s aimed at other freelancers. My question is this–how much time are you spending getting street cred with your fellow freelancers versus marketing yourself to potential clients?

I am NOT saying don’t participate in these groups. What I am saying is beware of spending more time with your colleagues than you do with your target market. Blowing your own horn is great, but if you’re just blowing for the rest of the orchestra to hear you aren’t really PERFORMING, know what I mean?

What I Learned About Freelance Marketing from Flashback Weekend

family guy corn mazeOctober means the harvest, Halloween season, and best of all there are a massive load of horror movie conventions all over the country celebrating the scariest time of the year. I’m attending Chicago’s legendary Flashback Weekend this weekend (Oct 23-25 ’09) to promote my vinyl collector/DJ blog Turntabling.net, and wouldn’t you know it, I found a way to tie it in to Freelance-Zone.

I like to take lessons on the freelance game wherever I find ’em, and this morning while Googling directions to the event (at the Wyndham Hotel in Rosemont) I noticed that the official site for Flashback didn’t have the hours listed in a prominent place. In fact, I wasted several minutes searching for the hours (I finally located them buried deep on the schedule page–it’s too early in the morning for such a bug-hunt).

Here’s a lesson in marketing freelancers can learn:

Continue reading What I Learned About Freelance Marketing from Flashback Weekend

Jennifer Mattern on Freelance Marketing

Jennifer Mattern has some excellent advice for freelancers in this recent post on freelance marketing. One great point she makes about holiday marketing is not to overlook sending Christmas¬† cards or other holiday-themed communications, even if you don’t personally celebrate that holiday. It’s easy to get tunnel vision about that sort of thing, and this advice is well-timed.

Another great bit of advice in this article; take stock of your accomplishments this year and start thinking ahead to next year. I’ve always started doing this round the end of the year, but earlier is definitely better when it comes to making plans for next year. What I would add to Jennifer’s advice is to start thinking ahead in terms of your budget, especially if you need to get new business cards and other promotional items.

Are you launching any new ventures in 2009? Will you start teaching writing classes or doing seminars? You’re going to need money for promotional materials and supplies. Do you need some extra tax write-offs for 2008? Get those supplies early and count it towards this year’s taxes where it’s legal to do so. A little extra thinking time never hurts. Great advice and food for thought all around in Jennifer’s article, Evaluation Time – Monthly Marketing Mix.