Your freelance reputation is your biggest asset. And it doesn’t happen by accident.
Improving your reputation, or even developing one from scratch, can and will benefit your bottom line. It isn’t all that difficult or time-consuming and you can make it happen in 30 days if you follow these 10 simple steps.
Improving your Freelance Reputation
1. Improve your website’s copywriting
Copywriting. You can’t avoid it! The importance of great copywriting spreads far and wide and for many reasons. If your website is full of mistakes your reputation will absolutely suffer.
First make sure that your grammar and spelling are correct. One thing you do not want happening is having the Grammar Police going over your copy with a fine tooth comb. They will shame you into making it right.
If grammar and spelling aren’t your strong spots, it still isn’t a problem. Call in the pros or you can even try one of the online grammar and spell checkers.
Well written copy with proper grammar and spelling goes a long way to making it look like you know what you’re doing. And it will hardly be noticed. That’s right people won’t notice or praise your spelling abilities if it is done correctly. But if your copy is rife with errors they will definitely notice – and unfortunately think less of you.
Now just because your spelling and grammar is error free doesn’t mean your copy has to be boring and mundane. In fact, in my humble opinion, I don’t even mind a few sentence ending prepositions or split infinitives. It can make your copy more conversational and not so dry and unemotional.
Google, Spelling, and Grammar. Do those things go together?
Although Google likes to keep their ranking factors close to their chest, we do know that they want to deliver in their search results the most relevant content – and the highest-quality.
That “highest quality” includes proper spelling, grammar, ease of comprehension, and reading level.
2. Blog, keep blogging, and then blog again
Did we say you should be blogging? Yep, there’s nothing like building your freelance reputation by publishing interesting and informative articles.
Publish a new blog post every single day. Not a mediocre one, but a well thought out interesting post that actually helps people.
Hubspot blogging stats say that 82% of businesses that publish daily acquired a customer that used their blog, compared to 57% of marketers that only posted once a month.
Not only will you drive more traffic to your website by posting regularly but readers will get to know you. They will form their opinion based on your writing style and how knowledgeable you appear to be.
Things to remember when blogging:
- Short articles are OK infrequently but generally longer posts are better. If you don’t have more than a few hundred words to say – you probably don’t know enough about the subject.
- Let your personality show in your writing. Your tone, temperament, and writing style tell a lot about you and helps people form their opinion of you.
- Once a month isn’t enough. The more you can produce high quality blog posts the faster your freelance reputation will grow. Don’t sacrifice quantity for quality – but if you know your stuff, you should be able to do both.
…long form content of over 1,000 words consistently receives more shares and links than shorter form content.
Source: Steve Rayson for Moz.com
3. Comment on and follow other blogs
Back in the days of the wild west of internet marketing, blog commenting was a great way to build inbound links. Now most are nofollow links. But guess what! It doesn’t matter. You can help build your freelance reputation by commenting on other people’s blog posts.
Now we don’t mean saying “great post, thank you”. Read the whole article and comment knowledgeably. Really give your opinion or ask a question. It will be appreciated and a good blogger will answer your comment. You will begin to be noticed and let others know who you are and what you are about.
Subscribe to blogs that interest you too. You’ll be noticed as a loyal follower and reader. Doing this on better known sites than yours can help you build your freelance reputation with some of the big shots. Who knows maybe they’ll give you a mention sometime or pay some good attention to you.
4. Keep it real on social media … but not too real!
Your business social media accounts are a great way to strengthen and maximize your freelance reputation. Use it and use it wisely. Your presence should be consistent and ongoing.
If your freelance target market is attorneys – act like it. If you want to attract stay at home moms tailor your social media to them.
With building your freelance reputation on social media you can take it back to what your parents taught you.
- Be polite and always say thank you
- Always answer questions
- Listen and don’t just talk
- Take criticism graciously and learn from it
- Follow the golden rule
And let’s take a moment to address your personal social media. Don’t learn the hard way that what you do on your personal accounts matters. No one really wants to see your drunken escapades anyway. Strong opinions are best kept to yourself.
5. Do what you say and say what you mean
Nothing spoils a good reputation like going back on your word. If you put it out there that you are going to meet a deadline – meet it. Whether you are a start-up or established entrepreneur your word is gold.If you aren’t sure of something, don’t say it. Damage control is not fun. #reputation… Click To Tweet
If you cannot deliver on a promise, let those it affects know as soon as possible. There’s nothing wrong with apologizing and taking responsibility.
Business relationships are built on trust. It is what makes loyal clients and customers. The old saying, “don’t over-promise and underperform” stands true. Live up to what you say. It’s that simple.
6. Be Generous and altruistic.
It’s not all about you. Going on endlessly about yourself makes you look pompous and aloof. Helping others builds your freelance reputation to one that is altruistic. People are more likely to do business with someone they think is a kind and good person.
So how do you help? Here are several ways to help other businesses (and as a byproduct help yours).
- Give a referral
- Write a favorable review
- Mention them in a blog post
- Make an introduction
- Help others reach their goal
7. Be approachable
Looking high and mighty is a sure-fire way to drive people away. You must be approachable to connect with customers. They need to feel like they can purchase, interact, and connect with you easily and without any risk or consequence. If they can’t relate, your chances of a sale drop significantly.
Your social media is a great place to set your approachability. Always respond to social media mentions. It isn’t a one-way street.
Don’t even think about talking down to your prospective leads. No one likes a know-it-all. Be a little vulnerable too and ask your own questions to learn more about your prospects.
8. Keep track of who is talking about you.
The good old internet makes it pretty simple to keep track of who is saying what about you and your business. Here are a few tools:
Google Alerts: It’s easy to set up an alert to monitor what others are saying about you. You can set it to get instant alerts or on a schedule. You can have multiple alerts too. Make several for your business name, personal name, and any variations.
If This Then That (IFTTT): This lets you create your own “recipe” for brand mentions and news. You can set notifications in a variety of different ways.
GoFishDigital: Gotta love this one. You can search all of the complaint websites at one time! Nothing will stop you in your tracks like a bad review on Complaints.com or the dreaded Ripoff Report.
9. Create a customer focused atmosphere
Every move you make should always be focused on your customer. From the user experience of your website to the customer service you provide. Even as a one man show, giving kick-ass customer service will increase your freelance reputation considerably.
Care about your customer by answering their emails quickly. If they ask for a refund, you should probably give it to them or negotiate a happy solution for both sides.
If your target market is senior citizens, don’t have a website with a 12pt. font. Make it large and user friendly. Make contacting you easy, with an easy to find contact information.
If you have employees, make sure they provide quality customer service. Inspire them to go above and beyond to make sure every single one of your customers are pleased.Remember your customer is not a number. Make sure they always know they are appreciated. Click To Tweet
10. Remember one big mistake can be a fatal one
Be careful. Be very careful. You are the commander of your ship. If you are serious about a freelance reputation that is above and beyond reproach, you will make every single move with care.
Don’t wear your emotions on your sleeve. Emotions are normal but not everyone needs to know when you are frustrated or annoyed.
Be ethical. Don’t allow anything that even smells unethical in or around your business. If you send a message that making quick money is more important than doing things the right way, you can kiss your business and your reputation goodbye. Don’t tolerate anything unethical. Period.
Today’s freelancers face a multitude of obstacles — competition, financial, and even cultural. People’s opinion of you matters. Your freelance reputation might not always be able to be pristine, but you should be able to handle even the negative things. So cultivate and then maintain a positive online reputation.