This is me: raw, unfiltered, front and centre of my work life: a freelance writer, amateur photographer, wannabe videographer, and learning to do other things good too (thank you Derek Zoolander), with a suspiciously tidy desk.
This image of a podgy middle-aged bloke presents one advantage over bigger businesses. No, it isn’t my self-deprecating humour or nerdy t-shirts. And yes, I know I have red on me.
Big businesses with their teams of marketing strategists and public relations teams have a carefully managed public persona.
It’s understandable that they rarely want to put individual employees front and centre. In a medium or large business, the message is of a large and corporate entity that shares common values across the organisation. It’s rare for any one person to be the face of that business, although some retail outlets in the UK will feature “real employees from store in [place name].”
Why do they do this? Because of something every freelancer has that they lack but so desperately want to present – a face, a voice, a human being behind the products and services.
Your individual unique self is the one advantage you have over those businesses. You’ll never have their marketing budget. It’s unlikely you will ever have their reach or the scale of public perception. You probably won’t ever have an advert on the radio, let alone the television.
We’re now two years into a pandemic that is showing no signs of ending. Marketers have noticed a fundamental shift in how we engage with businesses in this time. I’d even say we’ve changed on a personal level.
Everyone wants to slow down, spend less time working, forge more human connections. In short, we want individuality – a face to a business, and a unique voice that resonates with us.
How Do You Use This Individuality, Face, and Voice?
There are a few ways of going about this. The first and most obvious are photos. I get that a lot of us are camera shy and hate seeing ourselves in images. However, if a podgy middle-aged average-looking bloke like me can get more engagement from his social media posts than those with no images or even stock images, I think it proves something.
Another – and one I get is more daunting – is video. I’ve enjoyed playing with video since 2020 having used it for stuff like book trailers on my other site. I’ve also done some reels on Instagram which have been well received. You get over that camera shyness quite quickly.
It’s no different from blog posts. Ideally, your freelance blog posts should contain a nice image of you. Get rid of those mirror selfies though – most people are going to focus on your dirty mirror. Whether you get a small tripod or clamp or use a second human being to do it for you is entirely up to you though.
Your written stuff is also important and sadly, this is where so many freelancers fall down. They’re not writers (well, some are, but that’s not what I mean). When a photographer or app developer writes a landing page or blog post, they’re writing almost entirely with SEO in mind. They might install Grammarly or Pro Writing Aid to ensure they iron out all those errors.
So far so good, but none of this will give an insight into you. Stuff written purely for SEO comes across as robotic. Grammarly, Pro Writing Aid and all those others make suggestions that formalises a creative’s voice, removing the unique flourishes of your individual communication style and making it stiff and passionless.
You have a face, and you have a voice. Do you need a writer to help you develop them? Give me a shout!
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