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Set your communication framework as a freelance

If there is one crucial step you need to take as a freelancer, it's that of marketing. Establishing both a communication framework and a communication strategy is essential to your business activity. Knowing how to "sell" yourself, "sell" your services and make yourself visible is critical to success. There are various methods available to help you achieve this. Here's what you need to know about them!

Do you need to use a brand and/or a company name?

When it comes to communicating about your business and marketing it, one thing that you can do is to associate yourself with a brand name (your own) and/or even creating a company (and of course using its image as part of your communication framework).

The advantages of using a brand name or company provides an excellent way of promoting your professional identity and gaining visibility. It goes without saying that this kind of marketing strategy is strongly recommended, especially when first starting out.

There are no universal rules about choosing whether to use a brand or company name. Whether you use a brand name and/or a company depends on the kind of service you provide and the nature of your project. In all cases, your communication framework must be precisely and clearly defined. It is not a question of simply doing just anything but instead involves putting in place a set of guiding principles and sticking to them (in terms of the target, the definition of an image, promotion and marketing, etc.)

For example, it can be useful for a graphic designer to use a brand name which is itself associated with a strong visual identity. The same would be true in the case of a web developer. This idea can also be useful if you are working together with other freelancers, as this then involves "selling" your collective association rather than simply selling your own services. In fact this is an ideal way to demonstrate your professionalism and encourage the more reticent potential partners to place their confidence in you. What we have in mind here are entities that may not necessarily be in the habit of working with freelancers, such as very small to medium sized organizations.

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Personal branding

Though marketing and communication themselves are essential, it is not at all obligatory to associate yourself with a brand name and/or a company image. Many freelancers opt for what is today known as personal branding. This is a marketing and communication method where the focus is the self, and it is mainly oriented towards electronic media. When providing services as a freelancer, it is basically you yourself that the customer is employing, so it therefore follows that it is you that needs to be "sold".

If you decide to opt for personal branding, your communication strategy will need to focus mainly on your skills, your professional history, your working practices, etc. It is about demonstrating that extra plus you can provide, the factor that makes you stand out from the competition. What needs to be expressed are your areas of specialization and your personally achievements.

Personal branding is not a very expensive approach, but it does require a lot of time. In general, it's about promoting yourself on social networks (those best suited to the particular services you provide):

The aim is to expand your sphere of influence; though be careful to ensure you maintain a regular presence: simply creating an account is of no use at all.

For example, it would be a good idea for someone specializing in fitness training to place their focus on personal branding and, via their personality, use it to highlight and emphasis their uniqueness. Something a personal fitness trainer could do is provide information about their own favorite physical activities and explain in what ways these could also be of benefit to a client. In such a scenario, it would be important for the trainer to publish photos of themselves to showcase the kinds of things they do each day (i.e depicting them involved in their fitness training-related activities).

Differentiating yourself clearly from your brand

We cannot repeat it often enough: your marketing strategy must be tailored to your project and its overall theme and approach.

If you have opted for a brand image or a corporate identity, do not put photos of yourself everywhere (one is enough). Rely instead on the logo associated with the brand or company. The idea behind using a brand image is that of emphasizing and highlighting the company's history as well as that of its services and partnerships etc. Ultimately, it is the activities carried out in the name of your brand/company that need to be presented. You need to sell your professional identity and explain the advantages of working with your company/brand (i.e. expertise, local convenience, longevity, etc.).

If you choose to use a brand image, this should then guide your entire marketing strategy, from the way you present yourself through to your use of social networks. Your personality needs to be relegated to the background in order to bring your corporate identity to the fore.

You can achieve this by joining the same social networks described above but using them in a different way. Creating a website specifically designed to present your company and make the most of your professional identity is a particularly useful step to take. Don't forget the importance of SEO however: be sure to optimize your web content accordingly.

In summary, a communication framework does not impose itself on you but rather becomes defined over time based on your professional experiences and your development perspectives.