My least favorite part of being a freelancer is self-promotion. As a copywriter/journalist/blogger/social media marketer, it's tough to boil down what I do into a simple phrase or title. When people ask, "What do you do?" I find myself tailoring my response to to best fit the person I am speaking with and which aspect of my work I think they'll most easily relate to. I am making two big mistakes here:
MISTAKE No. 1: Judging that the other person will not "get" social media marketing is silly. What if they are in fact looking for someone to help with their Facebook Fan Page or Twitter presence? By not mentioning this aspect of my work, I'll have missed an opportunity. MISTAKE No. 2: It's silly to not have a succinct, cohesive answer ready. (Especially since I am a wordsmith. I have no excuse!). What I do is not terribly complicated and I will have a better chance of generating more business if I can really pitch someone on my work and make it sound great!
With this above dilemma in mind, I would like to share three approaches for freelancers out there to promote themseleves. It doesn't matter if you're a writer, designer or other type of creative professional, start developing your pitch, because you never know whether you'll meet your next client on an airplane, at a baseball game or waiting in line at the store! 1. Develop a UVP or USPNo, they are not sunscreen ingredients. A Unique Value Proposition (UVP) or Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is a statement that describe your business, who your target customer is and what separates you from the competition. For example, you can tell people you design websites or say, "I have 15 years of experience designing e-commerce sites for small-business owners," which is much more targeted and specific. Here's a helpful post on Infomarketerszone.com, with more details on coming up with a good UVP. Also, check out a post discussing the differences and similarities of UVPs vs. USPs on the Theconfidentcopywriter.com. 2. Practice your elevator pitch The term elevator pitch refers to a pitch that fits into the 30 seconds to 2 minutes of time afforded during an elevator ride. For example, founders of Silicon Valley startups, looking for venture capital, would be able to spit out a coherent pitch to a potetinal investor in this short span of time. The elevator pitch is a larger sales pitch that can incorporate your UVP. It's great to have an elevator pitch ready when a conversation turns toward "how much do you charge for that," or "maybe we should set up a meeting." You can even use a good elevator pitch to cold call a client you really want to work with. Here's an article on Office.Microsoft.com with tips on creating a successful elevator pitch. And here's a ridiculous Youtube.com video about the format. 3. Design a word cloud resume This last idea is a lot easier (and more fun!) than coming up with UVPs and elevator pitches. Use Wordle.net to create a word cloud of your resume. The word cloud will emphasize what you do best, and it's a great item to feature on the "About" page of a website or to attach as a signature in business e-mails. To get started first take the "fluff" words out of your current resume, such as street addresses, dates, years, contact information, etc. Leave all the words that actively describe your professional experience and even cities you've worked in such as San Francisco or New York. Then generate the word cloud and customize it with the fonts, colors, orientation and sizes you like. Graphic designers out there might want to start on Wordle.net and then move the word cloud into Photoshop for further customization.