Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank
As a freelance writer, I’ve spent a great deal of time honing my craft and making a name for myself. From content mills to private clients, I work hard to have a positive brand identity. And it’s something you should consider as a freelancer.
Now, this is something that isn’t going to happen overnight. It takes time to build a strong reputation as a professional in any field. But the rewards are incredible if you do it right.
For instance, this is the traffic WriterSanctuary has accumulated over time. Can you tell when I decided to put more effort into creating an identity for the blog?
And this pales in comparison to what I’ve done for my client. That company’s traffic graph makes mine look tiny.
Today, I’m going to show you how I help myself as well as my clients establish a brand identity for quality. And it’s really not all that difficult.
It just takes time.[adrotate banner=”8″]
Why Does a Brand Identity Matter?
Having an identity online is vital to success nowadays. And trust in a brand plays a major role in whether a client will use your services. In fact, 75% of people admit to trust over trendiness.
Creating a trustworthy brand can take you far in today’s world. By creating a brand identity that is authentic and more “human,” you can easily increase engagement and income.
Keep in mind that about 86% of consumers focus more on authenticity when it comes to picking a brand they support. So, creating a strong freelance identity only serves to benefit you in the long run.
OK, so now that we have that out of the way, let’s take a look at how to establish a professional presence.
9 Steps to Making a Brand Identity
I tried to keep these steps in a logical order. And you don’t need to be strict when following along yourself. However, each of these has helped me as well as my clients build an online persona that works.
Keep in mind the more effort you put into anything, the better the results.
1. Have a Website Ready
First, you should have a website for yourself as a professional. Think of it like your base of operations. It’s where potential clients can find out about who you are and how to get in touch.
Now, you can use a free web host to build your site. However, you have far more control over what you can do by choosing self-hosting. This is when you get a web host and a proper domain name.
It should cost you less than $100 per year, and is far worth the investment.
Not to mention how you look far more professional with your own domain rather than the subdomain you get with free systems.great platform for hosting all kinds of websites.
I get contacted a lot through WriterSanctuary.com and MichaelBrockbank.com. From advertising on my websites to asking about content pricing, potential clients can easily contact me.
2. Establish Social Media Profiles
Next, you’ll want a social presence. Social media is such a driving force today that everyone, including their pets, has an online profile. And yes, I’ve been contacted by clients on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and especially LinkedIn.
Not only does it give potential writing clients a way to see more about you, but it can also effectively help you make more money. For instance, you can become an influencer and get paid from other brands to just mention them.
Now, it’s important to realize that having a social presence means nothing if you’re not, well, “social.” Interact with others, join conversations, and be a part of a community in your niche.
I’ve accumulated around 100 followers in the past few months just by spending about 20 minutes on Twitter and chatting with those communities. The end result is having a list of some incredible contacts.
3. Understand Your Target Audience
Most freelance professionals have a specific niche. Take me, for example. I am building a brand identity surrounding writing in all forms. And those who are interested in following my footsteps, they are who I am targeting.
So, I highly doubt I will attract graphic designers, musicians, or actors, unless they want to build a website for their own brand names.
My point is that you need to know who you are targeting and work to impress those people. That’s why I have several blogs; one for gaming, one for health and fitness and WriterSanctuary.
I’m also about to add another for “green living.” Each has its own niche, target audience, style, and focus.
I spend a lot of time analyzing Google Analytics and YouTube statistics to see what kind of content my audience likes. Though, sometimes I branch a bit into the general freelancing niche to see who else I can attract.
4. Create a Specific Personality or Style
Consider your brand its own entity. This is true for any business, whether you’re a freelance writer or sell shoes. The business persona should have its own personality and style.
Of course, a lot of your own personality will bleed into the brand. And this is OK. For one thing, personality gives the brand more of an approachable and human feel.
A good example of a brand identity with its own personality is the makers of Cards Against Humanity. That brand doesn’t really care who it offends, and if you played the game, you’d understand.
WriterSanctuary.com keeps politics out of social feeds. It doesn’t want to be political. And it has more fun with writing memes, comments and stories.
5. Create a Color Scheme for the Brand Identity
Having a good color scheme for your brand identity helps clients recognize you. In fact, the right colors improve brand recognition by as much as 80%! And since humans are a visual species, people will immediately identify a brand based on imagery alone.
A good color scheme can take you quite a long time to perfect. And sometimes, it requires quite a bit of trial and error. But a good place to start is by considering the psychology of color.
Color can invoke emotion, make certain things of the brand stand out, and leave a lasting impression. When I say, “Google,” most people will instantly think of the multi-colored “G” logo.
One of the reasons I picked shades of green for WriterSanctuary is because it promotes “balance and harmony.” And this is something I’d like to promote with the brand identity.
6. Make a Memorable Logo
People connect images to brands quite easily. For instance, what immediately comes to mind when you see these images:
Personally, I associate the one on the left with social media, chatting with friends and family, and reading memes. The one on the right, well, it’s more centric to taking pictures, imagery, and showing off food pics.
The fact is that a good logo will make your brand identity stand out in a crowd. People will associate the kind of quality and professionalism that comes with your graphic.
This is one I’m still working on. The other blogs have a logo using Colorado’s color scheme…because that’s where the site’s center. But I really need to develop a good one for this blog.
7. Ask for Reviews, Testimonials and Highlights
From large mega-corporations to the sole freelance writer, reviews and testimonials work wonders. That is because 91% of consumers prioritize reviews before using a brand.
There’s nothing wrong with asking a client to leave a comment or review on your website regarding your service or expertise. Perhaps you can ask to highlight the client’s logo on your page to boost social proof.
The bottom line is elements like this make an immense impact to trusting a brand identity.
I know, I don’t really have reviews or testimonials. However, my name is all over my client’s website as an author. And I don’t really promote myself as a work-for-hire professional right now simply because of how busy I am.
But the moment I need the work, you can bet that I’ll install some WordPress plugins to manage reviews and testimonials.
8. The Brand Identity Needs a Video Presence
Videos are one of the cornerstones of having a strong online presence. Consider how about 55% of people online watch daily videos. We’re talking billions of eyes consuming content.
There are multiple ways you can do this on the Internet. You can:
- Highlight yourself as an expert with a YouTube channel.
- Go live on Facebook to engage potential clients.
- Create Twitter videos to promote yourself.
- Jump on Snapchat or Instagram Stories to connect with your audience.
The possibilities as a freelancer are almost endless when you include video elements. Case in point, my YouTube channel has made a profound impact on my marketability to prospective clients.
Now I just need to come up with my own pricing scheme for mentions, posts, and sponsored reviews.
9. Create Updated and Consistent Content
When all is said and done, your brand identity needs to pump out consistent content. Whether you focus on writing blogs, uploading videos, adding artwork, or creative writing, consistent material brings in an audience.
Keeping the content moving acts as an online portfolio. In fact, this blog is essentially my portfolio for writing. It’s a way for clients to see my style in action.
If you’re not sure where to start, begin with your specific expertise. For instance, writers can blog about the niche they focus on. Graphic designers can create time-lapsed video of putting together a masterful image.
You have a lot of possibilities when it comes to boosting your brand identity with video content.
This is one I can attest to seeing myself. As I mentioned earlier, this blog in particular grew incredibly over the past few months. Most of that is because of the effort I’ve been putting into establishing myself and the brand.
BONUS: Don’t Be Afraid to Change with Time
Technology and the Internet change rapidly. What worked yesterday has a good chance of failing tomorrow. Don’t be afraid to expand, evolve, and embrace the times. The last thing you want is for people to view you as obsolete.
In reality, I’m still debating on changing the theme of this site to something more modern. I just haven’t had the time to really dive into design until now.
In the End…
It’s all about who you are and what you’re trying to build. A brand identity isn’t all that hard to start, but it will take a lot of work to sustain. But the end result of more clients, more money and more opportunities makes the process worthwhile.
Let me pass it off to you, now. Do you find yourself getting excited about creating your own brand identity? What kinds of things are you looking forward to in the long run?
Let me know in the comment section down below.
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