There comes a time when all freelancers and independents have to face the possibility that their business needs a PR refresh. Some are lucky enough to gain most new clients through word of mouth, which is infinitely better than any press coverage, but if client prospects are drying up and you want to try a few easy steps yourself, why not try these?
1. Make a short video introduction
In a world where it’s more and more difficult to connect on a human level, video offers you a chance to reach millions through sites like YouTube.
To be honest, you can use an iPhone, but we’re all in favour of getting it done professionally. You might hate the idea of seeing yourself on video, but it’s who you are and it’s what makes people connect with you. You can be yourself, but be prepared, keep it short and make sure you optimise it for search be including all your ‘keywords’ and a link to your website.
If you don’t know where to start, try asking for some help from a professional. If you are in the UK, VidShorts have just launched a neat little service for small businesses that looks affordable and professional.
2. Get a professional profile photo
No, your holiday snaps won’t do. It’s amazing how many you see of these. Invest in your profile photo by getting a professional shot taken. It’s worth every penny and will elevate you from amateur to pro. Use it for Linkedin and other social networks, particularly your ‘business’ related ones.
3. Be a speaker
It’s amazing how many organisations are looking for speakers to wow and excite their audiences and bring new ideas to their events. Just making it clear on your blog that you do speaking engagements gives your authority an instant lift.
Set yourself up with a Slideshare channel and upload your presentations there to show the sort of presentations you give.
There are speaker agencies too, if you feel that your niche area is sufficiently interesting to companies that are prepared to pay for it.
Make sure your blog has details of upcoming events and somewhere to sign up.
4. Enter a small business competition
The Guardian Small Business Network and others run regular competitions to showcase interesting start ups and small businesses. There’s no reason why you can’t enter some of these if you qualify the entry criteria and you can show results.
These are very good for profile raising and getting your business listed. Even if you don’t win!
And the added advantage is that it forces you to think about who you are, what you do and how you describe the value you bring.
5. Be a guest blogger
Sites like KindredHQ appreciate offers from guest bloggers, and provided that you write a post that matches the blog’s tone and ethics, you can get yourself published.
Most will accept a link back to your site as a thank you, and it’s great for your profile raising. Everyone wins.
6. Start an email newsletter
Email newsletters used to have a reputation for being spammy, but these days they are considered to be a great form of marketing.
The only thing to remember is that people offer up their email in return for something, so you owe it to them as well as yourself to provide them with valuable content. How to articles work well and if you can give them some special offers and discounts, you’ll be well on your way to their hearts.
Don’t forget to add your current clients to your subscriber list too. Just because they know you with one hat on, it doesn’t mean they don’t need other services you can provide. We use MailChimp which at it’s basic level is free, and very, very easy to use.
7. Publish an ebook
Talking of offers and incentives. If you are serious about telling the world what you are an expert in, ebooks are really easy to produce and although they aren’t necessarily a money spinner, they give you more scope to expand on subject matter expertise.
You can easily publish them through Amazon and other online retailers, and make them available on your site. We wrote a comprehensive article about it here.
8. Tell your story with a podcast series
It’s amazing how little you need to publish podcasts on your site. Just a decent microphone and some software which creates the right kind of file, and you are off.
Podcasts mean that you can talk through more complex issues or interview interesting people in your field. They are excellent value for money and if you pick the right topic you can run a whole series for download from your site.
That’s our starter list, but there are hundreds of things that you can do with relatively small chunks of time to improve your professional profile and get new clients flocking to your door. Do you have any tips? Please share them in the comments box below.