Contrary to popular belief, branding is not a difficult thing to do if you know who you are and how you want to be perceived by others. Oftentimes, you might be paying more attention to your products or your services to gain customers and revenue while neglecting your brand. But why is branding important anyway?
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a freelancer, or even as a small business, is to ignore building and promoting your brand. As vague or unfamiliar as it may sound to you, branding is one of the most important aspects of any business.
Branding is a form of persuasion without being aggressive. With a killer brand strategy, you can establish credibility, likeability, and authority in your field of expertise—while finding the right clients and projects that fit into your niche. Branding also helps distinguish you from the crowd and inspires loyalty—because of your reputation and the good word-of-mouth associated with your services. What then makes a successful branding strategy? Here are 5 keys to creating a killer brand:
Start with your mission. Before doing external research, start by determining your personal vision about the work that you do. Ask yourself, what’s the one thing that sets you apart from other professionals that have similar skill sets? Your branding should be about expressing your unique qualities in a way that showcases not only your talent, but your professionalism as well. After setting your mission, you can outline your goals. In the end, you want to establish a solid and compelling business identity.
Define your niche and create an honest image and style. Branding represents who you are and what you do, so make sure that the visual elements and marketing content conveys a coherent business. Don’t hesitate to play with fun ideas like using out-of-the-box concepts to reflect your imaginative side. However, remember to stick to your identity and your brand should be consistent with both your work and personality.
Engage and network with your market. We’ve all heard about the saying “content is king.” While this is true, when it comes to branding, remember to launch a unified content strategy, both online and offline. Your online portfolio should be concise, brief, and should provide links, for other information.
Utilize and update your social media platforms. Make sure to keep your social media accounts alive and up-to-date. Many visitors will rely on social media to check the credibility and popularity of your brand. Maintain your site by creating interesting and useful posts that are relevant not only to your work, but other current issues as well.
Protect your brand. Don’t forget to trademark your company name, logo, and tagline on your online and printed materials. Make sure to include clear copyright notices.
When you’ve established your brand, you can try venturing into other brand-building activities like hosting your own regular podcast and webinars. Remember to keep your content informative and memorable so prospects will recognize you as a consummate professional—someone they would want to work with in the future.