The Fetch Blog

Curated reads and events for professionals

Personal brand it up: mastering the art of self branding when freelancing — June 25, 2015

Personal brand it up: mastering the art of self branding when freelancing

This is a guest post by Christina Morales from the CloudPeeps blog.

Businesses spend billions of dollars on marketing to build their brand. It’s brand recognition and a unique identity that sets them apart, bringing customers through their doors and keeping them coming back. But large companies with big budgets aren’t the only ones who need customers coming through the door.

How are you branding yourself as a freelancer?

Okay, so we don’t usually tend to have logos, slogans, or even a brick and mortar building for customers to visit, but the image and knowledge that we convey will show our credibility, which in turn builds trust and leads to loyal clients.

While we are not actually selling a tangible product in most cases, we are selling our talent and our potential to become an important asset to a would-be client. Here are three tips to brand yourself better as an asset that your client customers need.

1) Get specific when communicating your expertise

You may be an incredible writer, but just providing a blanket statement like “I’m a writer” won’t get you very far. Are you a technical writer, creator of marketing content, or grant writer?

Let’s get more specific: are you a technical writer for the usage of smart phones and mobile devices? Do you create online marketing content across social media channels? Do you specialize in writing grants pertaining to education?

The more detailed you get, the more likely you’ll be to find those clients who are searching for a writer with your expertise. Better yet, you can join communities and discussions with like-minded professionals or follow industry leaders (like on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc.) and stay up-to-date on important information and get your name out there to those who may be hiring.

Starting out and not sure how to title your expertise? Check out job sites like CloudPeeps, Upwork, or Guru to see how employers are advertising for the jobs that you are qualified for.

2) Customize your portfolio for the clients you want

You’re only as good as your resume, work examples, and references, so make them all standout. Career expert Alison Doyle writes on about.com that you should, “Focus on accomplishments rather than duties or responsibilities. A list of what you did isn’t going to help you get interviews. What you achieved will.”

What part of your resume makes you stand out from the crowd? Consider customizing your application to appeal to each potential job opportunity. Directly address the qualities they desire on the posting and explain why you’re the best person for it.

Freelancers Union has a great article on “How to Write a Killer Freelance Resume” that you may want to look into for step-by-step details on constructing a great resume. They have a ton of do’s and don’ts that are really helpful if you’re just starting out or if you find that you’re not getting as many callbacks as you’d like.

3) Formulate your voice to appeal to the clients you want

It seems like every profession or field has its own personality. For example, computer programmers tend to be quirky with a unique sense of humor, startup employees are often more laid back workaholics, and non-profit workers are more personable and outgoing.

Depending on your expertise, you’ll need to formulate your own voice that appeals to the clients you want to attract and the audience that they are trying to appeal to. Confused? Lindsay Shoemake who works in the social media and digital marketing space for a luxury brand and also runs the popular blog That Working Girl has great advice for branding yourself. She says:

“When strategizing for That Working Girl, I knew that I wanted the blog to become the go-to resource for smart, savvy women in the PR, marketing and advertising industries. I wasn’t for posting in a Valley Girl voice at all, but I didn’t want the blog’s verbiage to come across as too uptight either. After a few weeks of posting I fell into my groove and haven’t looked back.”

Wrapping it up: you are your brand

Finally, you are your brand and your first order of business is to think of yourself as a product. Since I knew most of my jobs and networking would come from online resources when I first started freelancing, I polished my resume, got professional headshots, and continually posted my latest work on various social media sites (like Facebook, Tumblr, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.).

I’m also careful when it comes to blurring my online personal and professional life since my brand covers both (you may find pictures of me with my kids at the park, but you won’t find political commentaries or anything that I would be embarrassed to show my mom).

Social media specialist Simon Mainwaring has said, The keys to brand success are self-definition, transparency, authenticity and accountability. If you pass the test on these four points, then you’re well on your way to taking the freelancing world by storm.

Featured job: Client Whisperer, Apostrophe Copywriters, Melbourne — May 11, 2014

Featured job: Client Whisperer, Apostrophe Copywriters, Melbourne

George-Clooney-OMEGA

Apostrophe Copywriters – Melbourne’s first copywriting collective – is on the hunt for a mid-weight Client Whisperer. Discover more below.

A not-so-traditional role.
Primarily, they’re after someone who’s good with people –­­­­­­ an inspiring communicator who’s well connected in the design, digital, corporate, new business or branding world (or can be with very little effort).

You know the kind – able to deliver a pitch with the charm of Clooney, the clarity of Tim Ferris and the warmth of Oprah. A triple threat communications pro.

Must possess super powers.
The candidate doesn’t have to wear a cape or anything, but must be super brainy, super malleable and super dedicated. A day in the life of an Apostrophe Client Whisperer might include writing briefs, meeting writers, drinking caffeine, and then flicking the switch on the right brain for some off-the-cuff thinking.

The more versatile you are, the better. Play the guitar? Fly a plane? Bake cupcakes? Right on.

Nest34

Socks up.
A good attitude isn’t enough. It needs to be frickin’ amazing. Deeply collaborative with an entrepreneurial spark, this person must have a passion for people and a willingness to learn. Kudos and constructive criticism are valued equally.

The power of one.
While Apostrophe is made up of 25 writers, there will be times where the candidate will be working solo, so he/she must love his/her own company. Insert clap (or high five for one) here.

Short (or long term)
At this stage, they’re after someone for three months. In saying that, if KPIs are met they’d like to make this a full-time role.

They’ll give you:

  • A trampoline to jump as high as you want to
  • An inspiring office space (in Thornbury) buzzing with startups and entrepreneurs
  • A decent wage based on your hard work, profile and experience
  • The chance to work with a kick-ass team of wordsmiths
  • The opportunity to rename your job title
  • The freedom to do your work exceptionally well.

Nice-to-have.
While agency background (digital, branding, design or advertising) is a plus, it’s definitely not a mandatory. They know skills are transferrable and the right person will be able to shimmy them over better than Tina Turner herself.

If you feel like you have the right stuff, email them at jobs@weareapostrophe.com.au.

They’d like to see a CV and some creative answers to the questions below.

  1. What are the three words that summarise your higher purpose?
  2. What’s your favourite word?
  3. How would you connect with a person who didn’t want to be connected with?
Event Review: 2013 Marketing Trends — December 4, 2012

Event Review: 2013 Marketing Trends

What: Networx Marketers Meeting
Topic: 2013 Marketing Trends
Where: Fringe Bar, Sydney
When: 27 November 2012

With the year almost over, now is a good time to review what’s happened in 2012 and make plans for the next year. What trends will be leading the charge in 2013? What platforms should we be using? What can we really expect? Solange Francois went along to Networx to find out.

The panel at Networx: 2013 Marketing Trends

The panel at the final Networx event for the year was a energetic one: Carl Moggridge, Communications Director at Naked Communications; John Batistich, Director of Marketing at Westfield Group; Shani Langi, MD at Play Communications and Alex Hayes, Editor of B&T.

They discussed insights around marketing, experiential, digital and advertising in front of an audience who were scrambling to take notes during the session, and ask questions at the end.

How can we source information on new marketing trends?

  • Look to what’s happening in Tokyo, Europe, Silicon Valley and other parts of the US for insights and trends that can be developed in Australia.
  • Keep an eye on what’s going on but also remember to not just chase trends. Ensure that you really look at who your customer and how they can be reached.
  • Look at industries and markets outside of your own to gain new perspectives and the ability to innovate.

Where is digital and social media heading?

  • Mobile is crucial. Ensure that every customer experience is optimised for mobile.
  • Social will become more embedded in businesses rather than just in campaigns. It’s growing up!
  • The biggest populations of the world are: 1) China 2) India 3) Facebook 4) USA. Social isn’t going anywhere – it’s enormous.
  • MySpace has been doing a lot behind the scenes. It has the potential to become a big player in 2013.
  • Nike is a good example of a company that has created a digitally enabled community. It has essentially become a technology company that sells products.
  • Retail is going social, vibrant and engaging. A good example is www.thefancy.com

How is traditional marketing changing?

  • Influencers are now advertisers, too. Bloggers, mums, dads and regular people have influence on how your product and service is seen. Consumers trust their peers.
  • Marketing is not just about inspiring or conveying a message, but also about providing tools and ways to do things to make lives easier.
  • Consumer-generated content like Instagram is becoming more relevant.
  • We can look to successful campaigns of 2012, such as Virgin Mobile’s ‘Fair Go Bro’, Coke’s ‘Share a Coke’ and Metro Trains ‘Dumb Ways to Die’ to see that brands that entertain are memorable.
  • We need to personalise messages and add value – too many emails are sent to customers and they’re opening them less.

How do we build a long-term strategy and adapt?

  • Look beyond your target market and see who is actually making purchasing decisions. For example, women influence two-thirds of shopping for men’s’ apparel.
  • Understand that digital natives use technology differently, for example, while older users search with keyword terms, natives often search in whole sentences.
  • We need to create profiles about our customers and use big data to gain insights.
  • Know how to measure effectively. Views and likes don’t mean that the message reached the consumer.
  • Spend time with your customers outside of a focus group. Experience living like them in order to truly understand them.

Alex Hayes summed it up for me with one of his comments: “We can talk about knowing what will happen in 2013, but who really knows?” It’s true. With the environment changing as fast as it is, we can be sure of one trend: it’ll continue to evolve. We must be adaptable in order to achieve our marketing goals and stay ahead.

About our Ambassador // This article was contributed by Community Ambassador Solange Francois. She is a marketer and lover of travel with a passion for psychology and lifelong learning. You can connect with Solange through her blog or on Twitter @solangefrancois

Interview: Melbourne local, Justine Bloome — November 26, 2012

Interview: Melbourne local, Justine Bloome

Melbourne Community Ambassador Jade Craven kicks off her first interview with Justine Bloome – an entrepreneur, creative strategist, mother and lover of behavioural psychology.

Name: Justine Bloome
Website: http://justinebloome.com
Twitter: @inBloome
Works: Founder and Chief Strategist of The Village Agency

You are the founder and chief strategist of a virtual marketing agency. Why did you decide to leverage this model?

I was working in a globally-recognised agency that, despite its specialisation in experiential, was still very traditional in its structure and approach with clients. That was great for me because I got to see from the inside what worked about that, and what didn’t.

Then the GFC hit and a huge chunk of our team was ‘made redundant’ and hired back as freelancers… just to reduce the head-count on the balance sheet, not because we didn’t have the work to sustain that level of resource! It seemed utterly crazy to me that these fantastic, talented and creative individuals were now ‘free agents’, that could work with any agency in town.

As an agency, your primary assets are the skills and the creativity of the individuals that come together to collaborate on your clients’ projects. So it seemed ludicrous to me that we’d allow those assets to enter the broader market, in favour of reducing other overheads.

I have always been called a Closet Geek. I was the first of all my friends and family to get a Hotmail address, and I’m about to celebrate my fifth birthday on Twitter. I think I’ve always just been interested in how digital can help people connect, communication and collaborate.

The idea of a virtual agency wasn’t necessarily a new one. But The Village Agency has only come about because the advances in technology and digital have allowed me to rethink how I could gather the most creative minds around a project.

For me, the virtual model allowed me to focus the agency’s energies in the right place – the creativity, the client’s brief, the client’s outcomes – in favour of servicing overheads like a big fancy office for us all to sit in. Or, indeed, a massive team of full time staff. For many clients, they are happy just to have a small piece of the very best person in their field working on their business. A virtual, freelance collaborative like The Village allows them to have that, without the price tag that would go with it from a traditionally structured agency.

Justine speaking at Creative3 in Brisbane earlier this year

You have a strong interest in behavioural change. How has this impacted on your work?

To be honest, keeping this at the forefront of my approach to marketing is what keeps me in this industry.

About once a year, I have an existential crisis. I look at the larger marketing landscape and feel a little sick in my stomach. There are so many people that work in this industry for the money, or the awards, or for the ‘perks’.

I have always struggled, (and now as my own operation, I often refuse) to work with businesses and brands that aren’t giving anything of true value to their end customer, who expect their agency to help them manufacture the demand for their product, or make the customer feel unworthy without that product or service.

I’ve always been fascinated by human behaviour. What makes us tick? What makes us choose what we do? Why are some people happy to just cruise and others are always striving for excellence. In general, I am someone who loves change. I embrace it and often invent change in my life, just to mix things up and keep progressing.

So in my work as a creative strategist, this means I am always focused on the audience. Whether they are a consumer, a trade audience or an internal audience, I always start with what their existing behaviour is. Researching this is often the birthplace of the most creative ideas. Understanding whether you need them to change their behaviour – a little, or a lot – in order for your clients’ objectives to be achieved, can often be the biggest difference in delivering an outcome for a client.

Who else do you think is doing good work at the moment, both locally and globally?

I really enjoy watching the work that agencies like Naked and FRANk, but to be honest, most of the really innovative stuff is coming out of the little players. Check out the work of Hunter, for example. Or TheSumOf in Brisbane. It’s these smaller players that I enjoy watching the most!

What do you have planned for The Village in the future?

We’re in our third year now and the model is continually evolving. I’ve observed so much of the behaviour of the freelance teams we assemble. The way they integrate and the way they engage with clients. I’m always thinking about ‘how can we make this better?’ and ‘how can we make this bigger?’

We have some really big things planned for 2013. The freelancer marketplace is exploding. I get approached daily by freelancers wanting to know how they can join. And, for now, we’ve put all business development on hold because we are getting approached by clients on a regular basis also.

The plans include an evolution of the model, we want to scale to connect more freelancers and more clients through our community. We want to shift slightly from being a “full-service agency” with a virtual model, to become the easiest way for clients to navigate the freelancer landscape, to find the best resources to help grow their businesses. We’ll do this while still giving personalised service, remaining the curator of creative teams, assembling the highest calibre individuals for a given brief. It will involve creating our own digital platform, and partnering with some too. Watch this space!

What stands out about the Melbourne creative and digital community?

If I’m honest, I think some of the best creative in Australia comes out of Melbourne.

Not because they are any more skilled than other cities, but because of their attitudes to collaboration. Melbourne creatives seem to me, to be really open-minded and generally tend to understand that the best creative outcomes are drawn out through collaborative thinking and working. I think this is what often gives them a point of difference when working with a client as well – particularly Melbourne-based clients, who are more likely than the clients we have in other states to have multiple stakeholders involved in the decisions around their marketing. Collaboration on both sides is what makes creativity in Melbourne unique, in my experience.

The group at a Meet&Eat event

Tell us more about the Meet&Eat concept…

Ahhh I love my little Meet&Eat side project! While The Village may work with seven of the best restaurants in Melbourne, I have always been a massive foodie. I also love meeting new people, particularly likeminded people. But I am not a big fan of traditional ‘networking events’. I’ve always enjoyed a more relaxed style, without the nametags or the whip around the room for the five-minute “who am I” sell. The events where people gather around a common interest and just chat, connect and, if you’re really lucky, create.

So Meet&Eat is about offering a relaxed networking environment, with likeminds. We give two degrees of likemindedness though; generally the attendees to the events I host are also foodies, and we give each event a ‘theme’ – such as Creative Minds, Fabulous & Freelance, Business Babes, or Get Your Geek On. This seems to ensure there is always something to kick off the conversation, and I am yet to host one where there has been any kind of uncomfortable silence! I enjoy watching the connections and collaborations happen between attendees off the back of an event. I guess it’s fair to say that connecting people to create outcomes is a little bit of an obsession for me, and Meet&Eat is another dimension to that.

What trends and innovations are exciting you at the moment?

I am loving the trends in health and wellbeing. It seems that our infolust (facilitated by the interweb) is translating into greater self-awareness, particularly as a generation who were raised to believe that our GP had all the answers! The public’s awareness of the relationships between pharmaceutical companies and the medical fraternity, a growing acceptance for alternative health practices, coupled with an explosion of apps available to consumers is now facilitating increased awareness of what it takes to be truly healthy and well. That ‘health’ is not the absence of illness and that preventative health is the key to wellness, not a bottle of pills.

This probably seems like a totally off topic trend to be talking about! But it’s one that inspires me personally. Food, fitness, health and wellbeing are the four industries I most enjoy working with, because I am personally passionate about them and what businesses in these industries can deliver to their customers.

It’s also an industry that will boom in the next few years. The number of consumer health apps has grown from 3,000 in Feb 2010 to over 13,000 earlier this year*! The global mobile health apps market is tipped to be triple the size it was in 2010 – from USD 1.7 billion to USD 4.1 billion by 2014**.

I’m not about to launch another health app, in what will be a cluttered marketplace in no time! But I am keeping a close eye on the developments, trends and innovations in this space, because I’m planning to launch a new health and wellbeing business in 2013.

* Source: MobiHealthNews, Jul 2012 / Trendwatching.com
** Source: Technavio, Feb 2012 / Trendwatching.com

About our Ambassador // Jade Craven is a blogger and social marketing intern who’s obsessed with digital, startups, and publishing. She helps microbusiness owners become famous in their industry. Follow her on Twitter @jadecraven.

Interview: Sydney local, Katie Chatfield — October 23, 2012

Interview: Sydney local, Katie Chatfield

This fortnight, our community ambassador Laura Menge chats to Katie Chatfield about life as a creative strategist in Sydney.

Photo by Gavin Heaton

Name: Katie Chatfield
Twitter: @katiechatfield
Website: Get Shouty blog
Works at: Jack Morton Worldwide

What are you excited about right now?

Learning new stuff always excites me, particularity new stuff about why people do things and how we might help people form more positive behaviors.

Where do you seek inspiration?

Everywhere. The sky. Reading both the back of cereal packets and non fiction and novels. Listening to people on the bus. Looking at the ocean. Having coffee with people smarter than me.

Who do you think is doing cool stuff in our industries?

It’s so hard to find out who our industry is doing cool stuff. I think the most interesting stuff is happening behind closed doors, and is about business transformation and social innovation. What I know about the best work is that the people who are doing it are far to busy doing it to talk about it. And their clients don’t want anyone else to know what’s being worked on. But cool stuff IS happening I swears!

What does a day in the life of a Creative Strategist at Jack Morton entail?

Reading, distilling, teaching, learning, collaborating, and maker-uppering.

What advice would you give to someone just starting off who wants to work in an agency?

That is a hard question – I can’t help but think that it depends on what you might want to do. If you want to be a creative then get involved in creative projects. If you want to be a strategist, then share your opinion. Be findable on Google – and network in real life. Ask for introductions. People really do love to help.

What’s next for your blog Get Shouty?

Get Shouty will continue to be a stream of consciousness strategist’s notebook. Hopefully I can share more of my sums soon.

What are some interesting trends you’re noticing in the online world?

For me the trend is the disappearance of the notion of online/offline. It’s all ‘the world’

What are some upcoming events you would recommend to The Fetch community?

FastBREAK is always a great idea. And the breakfast is an added bonus.

About our Ambassador // Laura Menge is an IT Recruitment Consultant at Peoplebank. Besides tech and connecting people, she is passionate about startups, digital and getting inspired while checking out the many events and happenings in Sydney. Connect with Laura via LinkedIn here.

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