Just like any other business, a freelancing business needs exposure to gain more clients. Not only will exposure get you in front of your potential clients. It will also increase your perceived authority and credibility.
In this post, you’ll find 15 different ways to get more exposure for your freelancing biz. I’ve left out the traditional ways freelancers spread the word, such as business cards, brochures/fliers, and print ads.
Let me know if I’ve missed anything.
7 Offline Ways to Get More Exposure
Even as social media is becoming more popular and providing easier, cheaper ways for businesses to gain exposure, the offline world continues to be a valuable space. Traditional media, in general, are more easily recognizable than digital ones, and many continue to reach large audiences.
- Send Press Releases–A press release is a news-style article, which gives objective information about your business. Written in a journalistic style, it should be newsworthy: new, different, compelling, controversial, buzz-generating. A well-written press release can land you an interview in a media outlet, or get published or quoted in a related piece. If you send press releases to your local media, you’re more likely to generate interest than if you targeted regional or bigger media outlets–unless you have a big story to tell.
- Get Interviewed in Media–Your press releases, as mentioned above, could land you some media interviews. However, you don’t need to write a press release to get media exposure. If you notice your local media covering a hot topic, and it’s related to your work, you could fire off an email to the journalist covering the story with a media pitch. A media pitch is a letter written to catch the interest of a journalist or editor to interview you or write a story about you. In this example, your media pitch could say: “I noticed you’ve been writing about Story X. I do plenty of work in this field and my experience shows a different angle. I can show you case studies of how Y and Z are happening instead. If you’d like to interview me, you may reach me at xxx-123-4567.”
- Write for Magazines/Newspapers/Trade publications–Don’t think you’re interesting enough for media exposure? How about joining their ranks instead. Look at your local newspapers, business magazines, and trade publications. I’ll bet they’re always looking for fresh content to publish. Pick a few that your target clients read, and offer them an article every month–for free. For example, if you’re a graphic designer, you could write a monthly column on design branding tips for small businesses. Whatever you do, your articles should always be related to your freelancing work. And your byline should clearly indicate you’re a freelancer for hire, whom you help, and how interested prospects can reach you.
- Give Live Training–Another excellent way to get lots of exposure for your freelancing business is by organizing live events, particularly training sessions or seminars in your field. Give a half-day seminar at your public library or community center, for free, on a topic related to your field. Your venue will most likely post information about your event. It also gives you a good reason to contact your local media. And don’t forget the power of word-of-mouth. Ask your family, friends and existing clients to tell others about it.
- Publish a Book–Being an author makes you an instant expert in people’s eyes. After all, you know enough about a subject to actually write a book about it! It doesn’t matter that it’s a self-published book on Amazon or your local Staples. As an author, you’ll have more clout when approaching the media. They’ll be more likely to interview you when they need to get a quote from somebody with your expertise.
- Do Volunteer Work–There are more benefits to volunteering than feeling good about making a contribution. You could leverage the experience by asking your beneficiary to mention your work in their annual report or newsletter. It could be as simple as having your design work or writing attributed to you.
- Join a Trade or Business Group–Look for relevant groups in your area. In all likelihood, such groups have member directories, newsletters, a website, live events, and other means you can get your name out there.
8 Online Opportunities for Exposure
Since you’re reading this, you’re probably familiar with the Internet and how it can help you get more exposure for your biz. In this list, I’ve left out the usual ways people build a buzz online, such as blogging and social networking. There are less-known but effective ways to get the word out online:
- Interview Influential People for Your Social Media Channels–This may seem counter-intuitive, but in fact interviewing other people will help you get more exposure. If you blog, podcast, or have a YouTube channel, you have every reason to approach influential people for an interview. For one thing, this gives you something to announce to your social media contacts–something that’s likely to be shared around social networks. It’s also likely that the people you’re interviewing will tell their connections about it. This enables you to reach new audiences. By the way, your interview could take the form of an email interview (where you email your questions and the interviewee emails back their responses), Skype voice or video call, or even a videotaped in-person interview (a great idea when you’re attending a live conference or seminar).
- Give Away a Mind-blowing Freebie–I’ve previously written about the benefits of creating a buzz piece for your freelancing services. Well, they don’t call it “buzz” piece for nothing! When you provide free content and it’s GOOD, that gives people a reason to talk about you and even spread your buzz piece around to their friends. Don’t worry about this. You want people to give your free stuff away!
- Get Interviewed on Social Media–You don’t have to be a big name to land your own interviews on podcasts, online radio shows, web TV, and blogs. In fact, the creators of online content are always on the lookout for interesting subjects to interview. Check out a few that your prospects may be listening to. Consume some of their content to make sure you’re appropriate to the audience, and then approach the creator and pitch yourself. If you’ve written a book, or organized live seminars as suggested above, these make you all the more interesting.
- Host Free Webinars/Teleseminars–Free webinars and teleseminars are instant buzz pieces. You’re providing valuable information for free, hosting a live event (which generates interest in itself), and creating content all at once. You can either do the webinar/teleseminar yourself or interview an expert. This has the added benefit of having some of that expert status rub off on you as well.
- Publish Online Press Releases–Press releases have gone online, too. Aside from helping you get found by relevant people, an online press release will also give high-quality backlinks to your website. Online press releases have also gone “social.” You can add video, audio, PDFs, and have your press releases instantly shareable online.
- Submit Articles in Directories–Good old article marketing is still an excellent way to find prospects and demonstrate your expertise. Even if you have your own blog, article marketing will help you rank for competitive keywords. That’s because article directories have high authority and page rankings, and thus are more likely to get good search engine rankings.
- Join Online Forums–These are the digital equivalent of your trade or business groups. Similarly, online forums, groups and even listserves will help you network with potential clients, or get referrals.
- Advertise on Facebook–Facebook has revolutionized pay-per-click ads with its highly targeted ads. If your prospective clients hang out in Facebook a lot, it may be worthwhile to try setting up a Facebook ad to promote your buzz piece. Set a daily limit to the amount you’re willing to pay, use good keywords, and create an optimized landing page for your ad. It’s not a good idea, for example, to send your prospects to your website’s home page. Instead, create a landing page especially for those who find you on Facebook.
These are 15 ways you could get more exposure and buzz for your freelancing business. Of course, you don’t have to do all of them. However, the main principles to remember are to be willing to get out there, provide valuable content, and demonstrate your skill and expertise.
Clearly, freelancing is not for the timid. Not if you want to succeed.
Have you ever tried any of these tips before? If so, what results did you get?
Or have I forgotten other ways to get exposure, either offline or online? If you have other ideas, please do share them by posting a comment.
Image by Jurvetson