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8 Ways to Market Yourself as a Freelancer

8 Ways to Market Yourself as a Freelancer

Building your personal brand through an online portfolio has never been as important as it is today. More than simply showcasing your latest works or achievements, it’s a way to stand out among a sea of talented, go-getters.

An online portfolio is recommended not only for freelancers but also for career shifters, college students and basically anyone who wants to make their presence known on the Web. Now, it’s easier than ever to be discovered through your personal blog or website. So easy in fact, that a LOT of people are doing it.

But competition doesn’t stop with the hundreds of domains being created every minute. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), there are more than 53 million Americans who are entering the freelance industry. That means one in every three.

So how do you ensure maximum success with your online portfolio if you’re competing with millions?

The answer is simple: make it search engine-friendly.

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1. Pick a Suitable Platform for Your Online Portfolio

It all begins with the platform you choose.

  • First, identify your NICHE and search for suitable platforms in that industry.
  • Second, check for FEATURES – especially for mobile compatibility.
  • Third, see if it fits your BUDGET and unique CONTENT requirements.

For example: if you’re a blogger or researcher, sites like Contently would suit your needs best, because it was built specifically with this type of content in mind. For artists (i.e. designers, photographers, graphics creators, etc.), try Foliodrop or IM Creator. Don’t forget to check if the platform offers a FREE version (with the ability to upgrade anytime).

2. Decide on a Simple, Readable Domain Name

The K.I.S.S. rule always applies, especially when it comes to choosing domain names OR creating URLs for inner pages of your online portfolio. Simple, readable URLs perform better because:

  • People know immediately what to expect.
  • Search engines (like Google) prefer them due to usability.

The rule of the thumb is to go with your name or initials (i.e. algomez.com, alanson.contently.com). But if you want to spice it up, you can include your expertise or related terms that give clues to what you do (i.e. seoexpert.algomez.com, ask-al.com). This is recommended if you have a common name.

3. Optimize Text AND Images

Keywords are NOT obsolete – you just need to know HOW and WHERE to use them for maximum effect within your online portfolio. To know which keywords are being searched within your industry, use Google’s Keyword Planner tool. Download the results, and pick the ones that are most relevant for use in your site.

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keywords-google-planner

    But don’t limit yourself to keywords. Long-form relevant terms sprinkled in strategic places around your portfolio can help increase chances of better visibility on the Web. For instance: if you’re an SEO consultant, try scattering ‘SEO consultant services’ or ‘what does an SEO consultant do’ within your blog.

    You may also use these keywords as filenames and alt-tags for photos in your online gallery. Optimizing images is a basic SEO technique that will help boost chances of your own images being found on search results.

    4. Include Proper Tags and Categories (for Blogs and Galleries)

    If you have a personal blog or a photo gallery, grouping posts under the right category with appropriate tags does several good things, such as:

    • Help users easily and quickly find your content
    • Help search engine crawlers properly align your content with relevant search terms

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    blog-category-tags

      It’s a small act, but it has a big impact in the long run. Keep posts and photos organized for faster archiving as well.

      5. Submit Your Online Portfolio for Indexing

      With all the content that’s being created every minute, it’s not surprising that sometimes, search engines take a while to include your online portfolio (and its updates) in their database. Help Google out a bit by submitting new pages to the Search Console.

      google-console-submit

        If your portfolio is a full website, you can also make and present a Sitemap for faster indexing. Once your page has been indexed, it will appear on the search results.

        6. Include Your Link in Author Bios

        Are you writing or contributing content to other websites? Make sure to promote your online portfolio by including a link in your author byline, along with your social media accounts. This helps spread the word about your work best projects.

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        7. Share Your Portfolio on Social Media

        Of course, don’t forget about social media! Pin your online portfolio link to your Twitter page for maximum visibility. Do the same on Facebook if you have a business account (you can’t Pin on a personal account). Add a link to your LinkedIn profile as well.

        A clever tip? Include a link when creating social media headers for your profiles.

        twitter-header-online-portfolio

          This is a beautiful and creative way to promote your portfolio without putting in a clickable link. Plus, it’ll be more noticeable as it’s usually the first thing people lay eyes on whenever they visit a social media profile.

          8. Stay Consistent

          Ensure that your contact details and URLs are correct. Keep them up-to-date and consistent. This is especially important if you’re managing multiple accounts (your website, blog, social media, etc.). Whenever you can, link them together so that search engines can recognize them as belonging to the same person.

          Basic SEO will make your online portfolio user- and search engine-friendly. Don’t worry about NOT being active everywhere. Focus your attention on your online portfolio (count your personal blog, if you have one) and maybe two to three social media accounts. This ensures maximum output from every platform you’re maintaining.

          Now, you’ll be ready to be seen on the Web, across any device, anytime.

          More by this author

          Al Gomez

          SEO Expert and Entrepreneur

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          Published on December 18, 2018

          How to Brand Yourself and Make Your Business Stand Out

          How to Brand Yourself and Make Your Business Stand Out

          You’ve been in business for years and have finally hit your plateau.

          The tactics you’d implemented for your customers aren’t working as they’ve used to. You feel like your business has fallen out of the spotlight and now you’d have to settle for any business you get. It’s how businesses work, right?

          The truth is that some brands will fade off the business world–while others will adapt well and continue to grow. You shouldn’t be too hard on yourself for where your business currently stands. After all, you’d kept applying tactics that provided predictable results.

          Instead, decide to not settle for average results and spend more time building your brand. To make your business stand out from your competition, you need to be unforgettable. But how can you?

          In this article, I’ll cover timeless tactics that have worked for other businesses. If you apply these tactics correctly your competition won’t be able to copy them. Here’s how to brand yourself and make your business stand out:

          1. Win Your Audience’s Hearts with Authenticity

          The truth has always shined.

          Even without the technology we have today, people always had a way of finding out if someone was lying. And, with everyone engaging in social media today, it’s hard to hide from the truth. Yet, this seems to be what many businesses fail to do.

          For example, companies like Listerine have been fined for lying.[1] A quick buck today won’t be worth it in the long run. Instead, practice being authentic to your customers and they’ll eventually rely on you.

          Allow your customers to buy your products with a money-back guarantee – then deliver on your promise. Be consistent with the content you provide and stay true to your brand.

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          For example, if you provide coaching services for entrepreneurs, don’t sponsor irrelevant brands. If you stop caring about your brand’s mission, your audience will notice. They’ll question your integrity with your business and stop trusting your brand.

          But if you gain your customer’s trust, you’ll start standing out from your competition. Your customers will feel safe purchasing from you since they’ll know you’re honest.

          2. Share a Story No One Will Be Able to Copy

          A few decades ago, a brand would’ve gotten away without being unique. That’s because back then starting a business was not accessible to most people. You’d either need enough money to launch your business or have the credentials. And even if you had all these qualifications, you needed to get past the gatekeepers.

          Today, technology has disrupted many of the barriers that were present a few decades ago. For example, today a college student can launch a Podcast within a week. He can create a website in a few hours and record a few Podcast episodes. If he’s persistent, he can build a large following overtime and get paid by sponsors.

          This is great news for aspiring entrepreneurs but there’s more competition than ever. You can only do so much before other businesses begin to copy you. But what no business can copy is your story.

          That’s why you need to share your story with your audience.

          For example, if you have a money blog, share how you’ve overcome your financial struggles. If you run a freelance writing business, share how you’ve overcome writer’s block. The more your audience can relate to you the better.

          Without a story, your business won’t stand out. And if you copy what’s working for other businesses, you’ll experience short-term success.

          Take some time to share your story with the world, your audience will love you more for it.

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          3. Stop Reinventing Every Single Thing

          “Don’t reinvent the wheel, just realign it.” – Anthony J.D’angelo

          You may have heard that being original is the way to stand out. While this is true to an extent, you also shouldn’t be original when something is already working.

          For example, if your competition has a successful Podcast in your field, then so can you. Don’t search for better alternatives to a Podcast if it’s already working.

          Why?

          Because this is a waste of time. Instead, copy what’s already working and make it your own.[2] If your competition has a Podcast, figure out which areas you can improve and tailor it around your brand.

          Knowing this you can now spy on your competition and determine which areas you can improve. But, know that it also works the other way around. Others will view your business and copy what’s working for you.

          That’s why it’s important to stay true to your brand and be authentic with your audience. When you do, your competition won’t be able to copy your unique traits. Have an abundant mindset and feel confident for what your business has to offer.

          4. Shine Because of Your Uniqueness

          Stop trying to help the entire world and focus on helping a specific group of people instead.

          I get it, you’re willing to help almost everyone because you want to bring in more business. But the truth is that if you resonate with everyone, you resonate with no one.

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          Take, for example, a marketing agency that helps businesses promote their product. This business doesn’t speak to anyone but gets occasional sales throughout the year.

          But what if there was a similar marketing agency dedicated to helping real estate agents? If there was a real estate agent looking for help in marketing–who do you think they’ll choose? That’s why niching down is necessary if you hope to stand out from your competition.

          Determine which customers you enjoy working with the most and determine which customers bring in the most revenue. Once you’ve gathered enough data, focus on servicing your ideal customer.

          Don’t expect immediate results since this won’t be an easy transition. If you’re currently helping a narrow audience, slowly transition into a niche audience. Niching down is crucial to building raving fans.

          5. Be the Brand Everyone Can Depend On

          Being the brand your customers can depend on is important. How many times have you bought a product that’s failed on its promise? Or have settled for an average service?

          Exceeding your customer’s expectations is a sure way to make your brand stand out. In the book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, studies on human psychology prove that when you give to others, they’ll reciprocate. Offer your customers free consulting, a free ebook, or free quality content. Eventually, they’ll be happy to reciprocate after receiving value from you.

          View what your competition is doing and surpass their offers. For example, if your competition offers a free 15-minute consulting call, offer 30 minutes. When you focus on helping others more, your customers will notice.

          Make it your mission to serve your customers first and then worry about making a profit. Other ways for your business to be reliable is by inspiring your customers. That’s right, a business isn’t only about selling, it’s also helping customers achieve their goals.

          For example, you can write content that will inspire your audience to take action. You can interview guests that will push your audience to break bad habits. Get creative and look for more ways in which your audience can depend on you with.

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          The Bottom Line

          Imagine serving fewer customers and getting paid more than ever.

          Despite the fierce competition, you’ve got fans wanting to buy your products and services. Although this may seem impossible right now, it’s not. If other brands have been able to stand out in a crowded industries, why can’t yours?

          The truth is that standing out from your competition isn’t easy. There’s no secret formula that’s available to the rest of the world. The trick is to do what most brands are unwilling to do.

          Many businesses don’t want to niche down because this will mean a loss in sales. But that’s sacrificing short-term gains for long-term success. Niching down is necessary to build a brand your customers will love.

          Many businesses will spend a lot of money looking for ways to innovate, but won’t apply what’s working. But, not you.

          You’ve got what it takes to stand out from your competition. Start slowly and master each principle covered here. Now go and make your business stand out like never before.

          More Resources About Entrepreneurship

          Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

          Reference

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