I woke up one morning and realized that the worst had happened…
I had no pending writing contracts, no clients, and a leaking bank account. I was down to ground zero and I had no idea what happened.
I bet you’ve been in this position before.
Well, a few weeks later, I had more work than I could handle and was writing on a whole new level. It was a different scenario and the reason was crystal clear:
I simply changed my job description.
Just like corporate businesses or huge multi-national companies, every freelance writer is a brand. You are a brand. And at one time or the other, every brand needs a makeover – a re-brand.
I didn’t know this and saw freelance writing as a part-time gig for people trying to hustle some extra change into their pockets. No, it’s not.
You may be thinking that this shift in my perspective was responsible for the influx of clients and the overwhelming number of writing contracts. Well, not exactly.
The moment I re-branded, I lost everything!
Re-branding doesn’t just give you more clients, it gives you better clients. But this comes at a price. You have to get rid of the old in order to make way for the new and re-branding does this for you. It sifts through your clients to make way for good ones. It gives you the confidence to ask for what you’re worth because you can’t just raise prices without offering something better or more valuable. So if you’re ready to take your “gig” to a whole new level, here are 5 steps to re-brand yourself. Implement at your own risk.
1. Change Your Perspective To Make Way For Improvement
This may seem like an obvious step that you’ve heard so many times. But if you don’t do it, the other steps would have no meaning. As a freelance writer, you can have two different perspectives about what you do.
You can choose to see yourself as a normal, remote employee with little or no control over your clients and pay rates. Or you can see yourself as an entrepreneur upon whom ground-breaking decisions rest. Employees are paid based on the market condition or company profits and not on the basis of what they’re worth. This shouldn’t be the case with you.
Take action: You are more than you think you are. Stop settling for, “this is what I have to offer you” and start telling clients what you want (just don’t make outrageous demands).
Stop looking for jobs and start looking for clients.
2. Develop A Tagline That Explains Your Service
Taglines aren’t only for big companies but also for people like us, with just laptops and internet connection.
A tagline is a phrase that explains who you are and what you do. If WritersinCharge were to be a freelance writing business, “Helping you write for traffic and money” would have been an appropriate tagline.
Get the gist?
At first glance, a good tagline should give a client an idea of what you do or who you are. Your tagline is a ‘salesman’ that sells for you even before the client contacts you.
So how do you write a good tagline?
Take action: Develop a tagline that is short (less than 10 words) and clear. It should be benefit-driven. Your potential client should be able to see how you plan on helping him/her. To test your tagline, simply read it out loud and ask yourself, “What’s in it for me?” Just don’t use something too general like, “Freelance writing at its best”.
3. Construct A Pitch That Sells You Completely
Your pitch finishes what your tagline starts. It communicates what your service is about and how it can be of benefit to the potential client. It’s like a proposal you submit to become a partner or a contractor of your client. This may seem like a hard thing to develop but actually, it isn’t. Once you have a good tagline that briefly introduces you, crafting a pitch becomes easy.
The first thing is to know who your target client is. Are you targeting film producers that need scripts? Is your target client a typical blogger who just needs epic blog content, or an online entrepreneur who has products to sell? Once you find this out, your pitch should explain how you plan on satisfying this need and what clients have to gain from working with you.
So how do you construct a good pitch?
Take action: I also needed ideas when I was constructing my pitch. If you’re like me, view the “Hire Me” pages of various freelance writers. The pitch always comes in the first few sentences, usually before the service description. Another method would be to view the profiles of freelancers on bidding sites like Elance. There are gold mines of killer pitches on these sites, so don’t neglect anyone. Study the profiles of their top freelance writers and craft yours. Don’t just copy and paste.
4. Create A Sales Letter That Markets You Passively
Don’t let the phrase, “sales letter” scare you. You can also call it a service description and you don’t need to be a copywriter before you can create this. It is at this point that you get into the details of what you offer. Do you offer guest posting services or write movie scripts? Do you transcribe or translate? Do you offer editing or copywriting services? This entirely depends on you. So don’t include any kind of service just because other freelance writers did.
A typical sales letter should contain your tagline, pitch and service description. If you are just starting out, putting this on a hire me page alone really won’t give you much passive marketing. You need to go all out and tell people what you’re made of. This is called advertising, just in case you’re wondering. Oni has provided some really great marketing tips you can adopt right away on your new brand.
Take action: What services do you find easy to offer to clients? If you are at a loss about freelance writing skills available, visit bidding sites. Glance through the skills in the writing section and pick out the ones you feel you can deliver. If the only language you know is English don’t include language translation in your service description.
5. Build Enough Confidence To Prove Your New Brand
The tagline starts the sale, your pitch sells the product and then the product speaks for itself. In this case, the product is your service. It is at this point that you prove yourself and what you’re worth. It is in this phase that you raise your prices and negotiate contract terms. It is also at this stage that your client realizes whether he just bought crap or the real thing. So what is it going to be?
Take action: If drinking coffee every morning is what gives you enough confidence to talk with clients and write epic content, then don’t stop drinking it. When communicating with potential clients, let your confidence show in your words. Let it also show in your service. When you are criticized, let it show in your defence strategy (whatever it may be).
The process of re-branding is not instantaneous. It could take weeks or months to complete the whole process. Presently, I’m still building my confidence, even though I developed my tagline over six months ago. The most important thing is not how long it takes but how well you do it. As you re-brand, some low-paying clients will run from your new brand, and the high-paying ones will be curious of your quality of service. Trust me, you’re in more trouble when you re-brand.
Do you see the need to re-brand yourself or are you at the level you want to be? I’d love to hear your views in the comments.
Lanre Solarin is a WritersinCharge team member and a freelance writer who helps service professionals generate leads online using content marketing. Download your free copy of his Proven 20-step blueprint to start generating your first few leads online.