Launching Yourself as a Freelancer – Publicity

by Simon. Average Reading Time: about 4 minutes.

In the first part of this series I talked about setting yourself up in business. The next step is to publicise yourself and your skills. At this point, it is helpful to know exactly what line of work you want to be focusing on, since you will need to target your efforts.

In the dim and distant past, the job of publicising yourself was extremely difficult. Can you imagine life without the Internet, mobile telephones and email? How did people ever do business? With the advent of the World Wide Web and in particular search engines and blogging, this all changed and a wealth of opportunity has become available, especially to the freelancer.

But where do you start?

Create a Brand

Creating a brand is a great way to market yourself. This does not have to be the same as your company, and through time you may set up different brands for different sectors or ideas you may have. Brands serve to create associations and therefore, expectations of products you create, so a good brand name is a great way to get recognised in your community.

You can register the brand in the UK, Europe and the US, although the latter requires a US address. It is also not a given that your brand registration will be successful, making it a costly exercise. Careful consideration is what is needed here.

Create an Avatar

Avatars are images or icons that represent you in the online world. They are an extension of your brand. For example, the header of my website is also my favicon and avatar on various online services. It is a great way for people to draw an association between your online presence and you.

Create a Blog

Blogs are a great way to get yourself known and therefore heard amongst your peer group. Your blog should really be an extension of your brand and is a great avenue to showcase your skills, demo example applications, code and designs, or simply give your opinion on a subject.

I use the excellent WordPress blogging application, in a self-hosted environment. You don’t need to do this since there is a hosted version at WordPress.com, or you could use Blogger, another popular blogging platform, provided by Google.

The key to blogging is talk about what you enjoy, don’t just keep it technical. Blogs should be an extension of you, not an avenue for pretentious comment; you’ll soon be found out!

If you go the self-hosted route, you’ll need a domain name, hosting provider and obviously a blog application. I have listed a few below that can get you started.

Domain Names:

Hosting Providers:

Blog Applications:

If going the self-hosted is all too complicated for you or you simply don’t want the hassle that is associated with self-hosting, all is not lost. WordPress.com and Blogger are for you.

Blog Hosting Providers:

Both services take the onus away from the user when it comes to management (backups, plugins etc). At the simplest level, all you need to do is create and publish the content.

Join feed aggregators

To get noticed in the blogosphere, you can’t simply rely on the Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft search engines ranking your site. You will need to alert your peers to the fact that you’ve created some content that is worth reading. You can achieve this with feed aggregators.

Below I list a few that I use:

If you use WordPress, then you’re in luck. WordPress has a service called Ping-o-matic, which updates different search engines when your blog has been updated. You can also add your own services to ping and therefore notify the service of new content.

Comment on Blogs

Commenting on blogs is another great way of getting yourself known as well as offering an opinion. Since comments allow you to include a link back to your website, try and comment as your brand.

One tip, try not to be defamatory towards the blog owner, or others unless you have a strong justification for doing so. It’s all about the karma!

Join Micro-Blogging Services

If blogging is not your thing or you don’t have time to write articles, there are a number of blogging and, more importantly, micro-blogging services available to you that allow you to get your thoughts out into the wide-world.

Such services include the not-always-venerable Twitter, the feature rich Pownce, the new kid on the block Plurk and the blogging service, Tumblr.

Building a following will allow you to announce to your followers important events and ask questions of them.

What’s Next

In the next part of this series, I’ll talk about networking, a natural extension to publicising yourself on the web.

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From the creator of Wordpress, Matt Mullenweg, and developed in collaboration with Dougal Campbell, Ping-O-Matic is a service to notify different search engines that your blog has updated. Update pinging is a great way to increase your exposure, and there are so many different services that want that data, it is a daunting task to visit each site in turn and manually ping. Ping-O-Matic neatly fills this requirement.

Launching Yourself as a Freelancer – Networking

In the first two parts of this series, I talked about setting up in business as a freelancer and publicising yourself via branding and blogging.

Tools to Help You Manage Your Websites and Blogs

As content on the Web grows exponentially, our ability to make sense of it is inversely proportional. In other words, we are fast sinking under the sheer amount of content pouring onto the Web every day. The Social Web hasn’t made life any easier on managing content production either – in fact its lowered the barrier to entry.

  • Great post,
    I’m really following this with great interest, I’m currently changing career and looking to go freelance as an option.
    All this advice and direction is of so much help in my situation, I thank you.


  • Good tips!

    I think freelancers also need to be active in their communities and networks, both online and offline (Chamber of Commerce, local business group, etc.). Also, be heard and get noticed by offering to give tips or simply be a resource for local news organizations (tv, newspaper, etc.). If you’re new to the freelance world, maybe consider some ‘pro-bono’ work for a non-profit.

    By the way, I would also add that if you’re a ColdFusion developer, you might also consider BlogCFC (http://blogcfc.riaforge.org/) as a viable (free) blog application option for those hosting their own sites/blogs.

    Ok, my 2 cents have been spent now.

  • Great info thankyou for sharing this.

  • Yes great tips.
    I do some freelavce work for scriptlance and your-bids.
    The work is hard sometimes but when you get paid its great.
    Nice article thanks for sharing

  • James Ryley

    A useful site: http://www.FreePatentsOnline.com

    It provides free patent searching, free PDF downloading, allows annoting
    documents and sharing them, and free alerts for new documents.

  • In this kind of job it is really important to publicize your skills in order to get hired.