50 Fresh Self Promotion Tips

 

 

So, you realise that promoting yourself as a freelancer is important.

You’ve got work samples in about twenty places online and have tried a dozen other things to get your brand out there. You’re getting some results or some great results, but need a bit of a boost, something extra, or some new ideas?

Try our 50 Fresh Self Promotion Tips for some different perspectives.

Many of these are taken from our Tips for Creatives newsletter, which provide new tips each week. You can sign up for those here.

 

Here are those 50 tips in no particular order:

 

1. Get Your Clients and Buyers to Sell for You

One of the things that will boost any online self promotion you do more than anything is getting and showcasing various testimonials left by your previous clients and buyers.

Testimonials add credibility and trust to your brand and your products. You only need a line or two, and a name to make an ideal testimonial, that you can place on your sites and blogs.

Make it easy for your clients and buyers to send you a testimonial by asking for one after they have used your services or bought any of your products. Ask them these two questions to provide a testimonial framework for them:

1. How has (your name/product) benefited you?

2. What was the best thing about working with (your name) /using (your product)?

 

2. If you lack the self confidence to promote yourself, fake it

Many of you can get frustrated in your pursuit of further recognition and further paid work because it requires a large amount of belief in what you can do, which is difficult if you haven’t had much experience and much recognition to start with.

In the same way that someone lacking confidence in general fakes it, at least to start, to eventually gain more and more confidence, so should you if you lack confidence in promoting your work.

Act as if you have the passion about your own work when you promote it, even if you don’t feel it, and you’ll see differences not only the way people react to you, but in the way you perceive yourself and your own work. You’ll find your positivity behind your work and your motivation to get more done, increase.

 

3. Work on Marketing Yourself 5-7 Days a Week

Now this is something I know I don’t do. However, if you can spend any amount of time every week day or more promoting yourself and your brand, you are in a minority. However, doing so will put you at a massive advantage. Not only will your freelance career benefit, but you will be making marketing a habit, and that is the key.

Most of us just don’t put in the work to market ourselves, and yet without it, no one would hear of us and we don’t get work. Simple as that. If you can turn something we avoid into a daily habit, you will benefit greatly.

You don’t have to do anything that takes long each day, simply a few tweets, or some emails to previous clients is all you need. Just make it a habit and make it regular.

 

4. Use Craigslist to Find Client Leads and Jobs

I know online classifieds site Craigslist might get a bit of a bad rap for some of the dubious quality of some of its content. However, I do think you are throwing away a great opportunity for sourcing new clients and jobs by searching around the jobs section of the site.

Many people post quality job requirements for freelance workers. As Craigslist is organised over several regions and cities, you can search by area, so it is particularly useful if you are looking for local work, but there are many opportunities for people who can work regardless of location.

If you find a posting you might like, just send the poster a quick email, and a link to your portfolio, and you may pick up a job or a prospect for further down the line.

Also get into the habit of asking people if they can be added to your newsletter so that they are updated in future of your work.
Craigslist can also be used to advertise your own services in the classified areas for service providers.

 

5. Build ‘Key Contact’ Circles Using Google +

I imagine most of you have heard (if not bombarded with) news of Google’s latest social media concept: Google +. I’m putting in a great deal of research for an upcoming guide on using it, and one of the things I’ve seen as being really useful for promoting yourself is the ‘Circles’ element of it.

Basically, you can use ‘circles’ to organise people within groups, in order for you to share and see things from certain categories of people. This has the benefit of allowing you to keep track of particular groups, such as clients and prospects, and keep them separate from your more personal contacts, so that you can organise who is important to your business and your promotional campaigns and engage with them.

Google + even allows you to share updates that you post through it with specific circles, so think of the benefits this will provide (as long as you are sensible) with keeping groups updated of your work.

 

6. Build Your ‘Likes’ on Facebook

I’ve noticed how some major brands and companies are working pretty hard to attain people who ‘like’ their facebook pages. Companies like Coke and Diesel have recently been offering incentives like discounts to attract people to ‘like’ them.

This really shows the value in attracting people who like your page (if you have one). When you think about it, there is a lot to benefit from gaining people who like your page.

Each time someone ‘likes’ your page or engages with it in some way on Facebook, your page is effectively advertised to all the contacts of these people, via their news feeds. This is of huge value to those with the page.

As such, really think about ways to increase the number of relevant people ‘liking’ your facebook page (and create one if you haven’t already! I explain how to do this in my ebook). You might consider an incentive of some kind in exchange for a like, for example a free song, if you are a musician.

 

7. Go Behind the Scenes to Create Exposure

I often talk about using various forms of content for ultimately marketing yourself. This includes writing articles for blogs that attract people to your brand and your portfolio, and build your credibility.

Other forms of content you can use for self-promotion include videos, tutorials and podcasts.

Another form of content you can use, and has shown to be extremely successful at marketing your work and your business is by showing people around what you do ‘behind the scenes’.

So you could create a blog post with photos, or video documenting your work space, lifestyle, work process and more. You’ll be surprised how many people would find this interesting.

What this does is build people’s trust in you and your products and services, and adds a very important human element to your brand, that people can see for themselves, whilst also learning about what you do and experiencing it from a different perspective.

The creators of DODOCase in San Francisco provide a good example of this, with their ‘behind the scenes’ video.

 

8. Upload your Resume/CV to Document-Sharing Websites

Many of you will have a PDF or DOC file containing your resume or CV that you might share with prospects and have available to download on your personal site.

You can attract more of the right people to your resumes by uploading them to sites like Slideshare or Scribd. Both of these sites allow you to upload and share documents, but also to keep the same URL whilst being able to make constant updates to them.

These sites often appear at the top of search inquiries for your resume on Google, for example, so can potentially attract many prospects to you and your work.

 

9. Vocalize Your Mission!

I recently saw the ‘about’ section of a top creative agency and read through their mission. This is their overarching aim which clarifies exactly what they want out of their business. But it’s not something they keep behind closed doors. They display their mission all over the place, and so could you.

Clearly vocalizing what it is that you are striving for as a professional, be this great customer service or having a positive effect on the environment helps you as well as your client more clearly understand who you are and what drives you.

As well as benefitting your own focus, this kind of clarification makes it easier for someone to choose to use your services both through being able to trust you better because of your openness, but also in gaining a sense of collaboration towards your mission.

Get your mission out there and see how it encourages action in yourself, your clients and your fans.

 

10. Make Use of Your By-Products

As you go about creating, making and selling, it’s useful to be aware of those things that you are making in addition to what is obvious.

It is rare that you are creating a single thing in your various endeavours, it might be the case that you could earn a little extra through spotting an opportunity via something that is a by-product of your work.

Perhaps it’s a video tutorial of an awesome wall mural you are working on that you could sell, or use to market your work. Maybe those graphic elements that were rejected on your last design project could be resold online as stock, for example. Maybe you could write a book on all the unique stuff you are learning as a stage actor.

Dig a little deeper, and you will probably find stuff that you could use to market what you do, or make some extra cash.

 

11. Join the conversation and get seen!

In and amongst the incredibly fast-paced world of the Internet, thousands if not millions of creatives like you simply want their work to be noticed and to become really famous. Am I right?

Well, some of you may disagree, and others might agree, and some kind of discussion may ensue from this. Whether I’m wrong or right, my point is that a conversation holds a lot of power in its ability to engage people, especially in a digital environment, where getting people engaged is one of the toughest things to do.

If you have a product or service, the best way to draw attention to it, is by playing a role in a conversation. Join the discussion, or start a new one.

Social media and web 2.0, 3.0 (whatever you want to call it) holds such power because of its ability to act as an intermediary of such conversation. There are a ton of people out there willing to engage in conversation and willing to engage with you.

Get out there, it’s worth it.

 

12. Post Pictures and Videos on Facebook

It’s now a known fact that pictures and video links, particularly on platforms like Twitter, Reddit, Digg and Facebook are more likely to be looked at or watched than other information is read.

For matters of self promotion, it would be very useful to know that you are likely to get more response from sharing links that are pictures or videos.

There is a really useful feature on Facebook when you promote yourself or something using a video via your Facebook page. A non-fan of your page can see it, and be provided with the option of liking your page via a small button that appears in the top left.

A strong video could be a really useful way of increasing numbers of fans in your Facebook page.

 

13. Share Everything You Know for More Exposure

One of the most effective ways of getting the word about you and the work you do out there is not necessarily so much in the very work that you share, but in the expertise that you provide to others.

Don’t be hesitant about the amount of knowledge you share with others about what you do, whether it be in writing, tutorials, or talking.

Top people brands like designer Stefan Sagmeister, Twitter creator Jack Dorsey and the chef Jamie Oliver know the value of sharing what they have learnt through experience. They are also aware that people who pick up their ‘secrets’ are not going to compete with and better them at their own game, because what they do, their reputation and their own perspective is where the value lies.

Sharing what you have will allow you to build an audience, credibility and a reputation, and this will work very well for your own exposure.

 

14. Telling Stories to Deepen Your Brand

What makes Richard Branson and Steve Jobs such compelling representatives of the hugely successful Virgin and Apple brands?

If you think about it, a lot of the reason we are attracted to these people and their brands, is the story that accompany the leading characters behind the development of a brand. The story of how Branson came to develop Virgin is as much a part of his brand, as are his products and services.

You can apply the might of story telling to your own products and services to build up a picture of who you are. This picture will help you gain a ‘stickiness’ with potential customers and clients, make you more memorable and build your credibility.

Think about ways to bring your story to your service to help create a picture of the person behind what it is you do. One way is inside of your website’s bio page; another, in what you sure via your newsletter, and any speaking engagements you might give, for example.

 

15. Use Quora to Ask for Advice, Gain Contacts and Promote Yourself

Quora is a social question and answer site I recently stumbled on that is no new idea, but popular amongst techie types, entrepreneurs, CEOs and so on, which sets it apart as a place of high social value and quality information.

This could prove to be very useful for getting hold of good quality advice from people on all kinds of issues, including on things to do with new technology, marketing, running a business and so on. It also looks like an excellent place to build a high value social network, promote your brand and your work through the questions you ask and answer, and even get hold of new clients through the site.

 

16. Use Video to Promote Yourself as a Brand

The power of using video to reach out to potential new clients and new employers is becoming more and more evident. This is true especially in the way that you can be creative, show a bit of who you are in more in-depth, provide something that will actually peak people’s interest, and include a lot of information in a short time frame.

You could create a short video about yourself and your work and add some appealing content, whilst telling the simple facts. Use the Mashable tips on video resumes here for some ideas. Then get the video out there using various promotion techniques, including on your blog and sharing the link on Twitter for example. You can use my ebook on online self promotion for lots more ideas.

 

17. Why Content is no Longer King for Bringing Traffic to your Blog

Although writing exceptionally good content for your blog is still something I recommend as hugely important for its success, it is not something that I would say is the most important element of bringing traffic to your blog.

The reason for this is due to the sheer amount of other strong content there is online, making it hard for people to read it, much less link to your posts.

The way forward in terms of bringing people to your blog posts, is by getting well connected people, ideally other bloggers themselves, to link to your posts.

There are many ways of establishing and maintaining a connection with well-connected people, including:

- Writing memorable comments on their sites

- Introducing yourself and your work via email

- Interviewing them

- Write a guest post for them

- Coming to an agreement on sharing posts in return for them doing the same

 

18. Get a Gravatar for Improved Visibility and Credibility

A ‘Globally Recognized Avatar’ is the small photo or image that appears next to any comment left on blogs. These have to be blogs that have a gravatar plug-in, which is most blogs.

It’s important that you have a Gravatar if you make use of blog commenting for self promotion and online networking. Having one is part of creating an image of yourself that is trustworthy, part of building a personal brand, and important in building relationships in the process.

Having an image also means people are more likely to attract clicks over to your site, when a comment is left.

The great thing about having a Gravatar is that once you have uploaded your image to gravatar.com, because your image is linked to your email, which is left with a comment, any time you post a comment the picture will appear.

Head over to gravatar.com, sign up, and upload an image, preferably one of you (this only needs to be done once), and get commenting!

 

19. Crowdsource Funding for a Serious Creative Project using Kickstarter

I’ve noticed the rise in ‘crowd sourced’ funding in the form of donations for projects and charities recently through organisations like Flattr, Kiva and Kickstarter.

Kickstarter allows people to get help with funding creative projects specifically and could provide you with a great opportunity to work on a top notch creative endeavour you otherwise wouldn’t have tried because of the costs.

Kickstarter allows people who want to back your work, contribute to the completion of a project, whether that be a short film, a special work of art, a website, and so on.

Having an extra special piece of creative work associated with your name could work very well towards your credibility as a creative professional, your marketing strategy, and open up further opportunities for you.

 

20. Create a Follow Up Poster and Strengthen Leads

Here’s a nice little tip to increase your chances of people hiring, returning to and/or referring you once you have made contact. One of the most important things that highly successful freelancers and creatives do that is overlooked so often by others is following up on any leads to a job they might find.

Whenever you meet someone new, start a conversation with someone, exchange business cards, and so on, it is crucial to follow up in order to strengthen your relationship with that person, and increasing your chances of doing business with them.

A really effective way of following up is to create a poster or leaflet that includes all the key stuff about you and your services, such as a picture of your recent work, your rates (if you want to share them), any discounts offered, and a call to action that guides the prospect to taking action, like saying how they can get a quote by emailing you. You can do this in a really creative and interesting way to get people to notice and remember your work and what you do.

Create a pdf, a page on a website, a physical flyer or postcard if you have a postal address, or an html email and send this to whatever leads and prospects you get hold of. You should see an increase in people taking action and coming back to you.

 

21. Make a distinct style your PRIORITY or suffer the consequences!

I talk a lot about the importance of developing a style that is distinct to you and your brand. We are now living in a time where your own style is not only important for setting you out from the crowd and making you look like you know what you’re doing, but it is a necessity for getting any work at all.

The reason for your own style being so important stems from the growth of talented and low cost labour coming from around the world. People are able to source creative work for things like icons, sound, design, writing, illustration and logos, for example, at very low cost as competition increases and trained professionals emerge from growing economies like India, Kenya and Mexico.

Obviously it depends on what exactly you do for a living, but with this pressure of lower cost labour, you need to at least prioritize working towards a style or way of working that is unique to you, so that you remain in demand.

 

22. Tell a Prospective Client Why They Should Choose You

There are tens of thousands of creative professionals like you working to grab the attention of prospective clients to land a new, well-paid project. What is it about you that will make them choose you?

A way to make this an easier choice for potential clients is by providing a list on your personal site giving 5 or 10 reasons you should be hired over the rest. Do this on your about page or on a separate page and use this to sell yourself and it might just make a client decide to go with your services.

 

23. Don’t forget to ask for testimonials

For those who haven’t, start working on developing a decent list of positive testimonials for your personal site. There’s nothing better for your credibility as a creative for prospects to see that you have had good feedback in writing from previous clients.

Whether you’re working on a free or paid project, make sure you ask for a short written testimonial (or even an audio or video testimonial if you like!) at the best moment, ideally as you are thanking them for working with you.

A set of good testimonials will really benefit you in getting more notice and more work.

 

24. Build up your Mailing List Using LInkedIn

LinkedIn is a fantastic resource that allows you to search for and connect with all kinds of creative professionals.

One tip for using LinkedIn to build up your mailing list is to search for potential clients such as art directors at companies you think could use your work (you’ll need to put in the research for this) and add them through the ‘friend’ option, which requires you knowing their email address.

They have the option of adding you back if they find you and your services of interest. This is why it’s useful to have a great LinkedIn profile, with links to your work and good credentials and information that will make you look professional.

 

25. Clear out those not following you on Twitter using Refollow

You might have come across the method to building a large Twitter following of targeted followers in my self promotion ebook.

One of the key things to do in order to maintain solid growth of your follower count so that you have steadily increasing numbers of targeted people following your updates, is to clear out those people who do not follow you after a while of you following them, so that you have space to follow more people within the limits that Twitter sets on its users. Phew, long sentence!

So, by using a service (one of many) called Refollow, you can unfollow those not following you by selecting the ‘not following me’ box and unfollowing those people, one page at a time.

 

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26. Ping new content for a marketing boost

Many of you run blogs that you may use for increasing your online exposure, whether that be as a writer, artist or other form of creative. Whenever you add a new post or new content to a site, you will want search engines and blog aggregators to know about your new content quickly.

Too often, people add content to blogs that is simply never heard about.

By submitting your site to a pinging service like Pingomatic and Pingler, various ‘ping servers’ are notified of your recent blog or site entries and filter through the web, notifying blog aggregators and search engines like Google of your update.

You can do this after each post you add to your blog to ensure that more online readers come across your blogs and posts, and ultimately you and your work.

 

27. Use Twitter Search to Find More Work

Here’s a quick tip for those of you looking for freelance, part-time or even full-time work. Use Twitter’s search engine, Twitter Search to find people currently tweeting (in real time) about work requirements. For example, find illustration jobs by typing in keywords like ‘illustrator’ and ‘looking’, to pick up tweets along the lines of ‘looking for an illustrator’.

Once you find a potential job within a tweet, you can click on the tweeter’s icon and contact them either through the web link they provide, Googling them, or by following them and messaging them once they have followed you back.

 

28. Incorporate Plenty of Keywords into Your Social Media Profiles

It is very useful to make sure you have plenty of keywords that relate to your skills and brand spread throughout the text within your various profiles. Of the major social media platforms, this applies mainly to LinkedIn, where people looking for contacts and workers will do ‘people searches’.

Having more relevant keywords will positively benefit where you rank in the LinkedIn search results pages and will be useful to you if you are trying to promote yourself.

Keywords are also very relevant in the context of Twitter, including in your bio and tweets themselves. Google actually indexes individual tweets, so if you mentioned something regarding design in a tweet, the tweet (and link within it if there is one) will turn up in Google search results.

Keywords are also significant when it comes to Facebook. Many of the words you use will be searchable by people who are your contacts on there using the advanced search.

 

29. Use ‘Later Bro’ to Preschedule Twitter or Facebook Updates

If you take social media seriously in being used as a powerful self promotional tool, you’ll have realized that regular status updates are one of the most important elements of keeping your contacts aware of your (and your work’s) existence.

To go a step further, and to cut out some of the time spent and wasted on social media sites, and generally go about things more efficiently, it is possible to pre-schedule a set of updates that you can arrange to appear over time.

Use Later Bro to do this, by setting your time zone, putting in what you’d like to say, set a time, and you’re done!

 

30. Make Yourself Accountable to Someone

With a self promotional plan in place, or at least if you are working through a basic marketing strategy, it is really useful to have a contact that you can keep up to date on how you are progressing.

Ideally you want someone who can give you feedback on what you have done so far, and about what you can do next.

The best people for this are those in a marketing role or other creatives who have developed somewhat further than you through the ranks, and has more experience of successful promotion strategies. Ask them support and train you until you begin to get a feel for things on your own terms.

Having someone you report to will also add pressure on actually taking action within your marketing strategy.

 

31. Following and Unfollowing on Twitter using ‘Manage Flitter’

For those of you who use Twitter beyond simply for fun, and are looking to build up a large following of active and targeted users, there are several online tools to help you manage your account and followers better.

One site I’ve recently found that does a good job of unfollowing people who don’t follow you is ‘Manage Flitter‘. As well as this, it is a useful tool for tidying up your accounts, finding out who your inactive followers are or carrying out searches inside your Twitter stream. If you find the checking of individual checkboxes tedious, some browsers, including firefox, come with a plugin to install (one is ‘Check All’) that allow you to check all the boxes at once.

Hopefully you’ll find this a useful tool to manage your Twitter accounts, so that you can build a large following of relevant people that, over time, you can promote your work to.

 

32. Increase Referral Traffic to Your Blog Using Social Media Widgets

If you have a blog that you use to draw in traffic to your work, incorporating what are known as widgets or buttons that readers can use to share your posts on their own social media platforms, can increase further visitors to your site dramatically.

In a recent post by blog host Typepad, placing the Facebook ‘like’ button at the end of posts has ‘increased referral traffic to blogs by 50%’. Widgets can be installed into your blogs through plugins, coding or through getting some help from a professional.

If someone likes a blog post of yours, a reader might click on the ‘like’ button so that a link to your post will now appear to all the friends of your reader on Facebook. This can prove to be an excellent means of increasing traffic to your site.

 

33. Don’t Rule Out Aiming For Your Ideal Clients

Make a list of five real clients that you regard to be ideal, even a dream to work with. These should be companies, groups or individuals with attributes, budgets, a style and attitude that you really admire and respect.

Every month, you should introduce yourself to them (5 new ideal clients) having learned a little about each one. Use this information to make a meaningful connection via phone or email that shows you have a strong interest in working with them.

This will, subconsciously or not, over time move the progression of your own work/portfolio/brand towards something that will really appeal to your dream clients. Eventually, you might just get hired, and possibly sooner than you think.

 

34. Always Be Making Win-Win Decisions As You Promote Yourself

I recently received an email from an illustrator evidently looking to promote their work through my illustration site Ape on the Moon. I’m always happy to receive work suggestions from various people. The only thing was with this email, I simply received one image and a link to their website.

I wouldn’t have ignored the email had I received some sort of introduction to the artist in question and some suggestion from them as to how I would benefit from being aware of their work.

What I’m hinting at here is the importance of making decisions that benefit both you and other parties whenever taking any steps in promoting yourself.

Other examples are swapping a mention of your work through the mailing lists of you and someone else in a joint agreement, or verbalizing the benefits that prospective clients will receive in working with you.

Making win-win decisions will propel you forward, even if you aren’t subsequently successful, because your actions will be viewed in a favourable and positive light.

 

35. Know What You Are Helping Your Target Market To Do

It’s so easy to lose sight of exactly what constitutes one of the main driving forces behind how we brand ourselves, and ultimately how we market ourselves. This driving force is simply to know exactly what it is that you are helping the people you are working for to achieve.

Take a second to write down a list of as many possibilities as you can think of that follow the statement: ‘My aim is to help [my target market]…’

For example, as a web designer, you would write down sentences similar to: ‘My aim is to help freelance service providers…establish a web presence that is functional and professional.’

This exercise should help clarify what it is that you are helping or need to help your target market with, so that you can hone it down to one or two main things.

It is this awareness of what you are helping your market achieve that will inform a huge part of how you market yourself, as well as your own brand.

 

36. Choose Self Expression over Pleasing Others

I want you to take a few minutes after reading this tip, to take a step back and have a good look at how you are marketing yourself. This includes how you present your work through your own website, how you communicate with others about your services and in general, and in the other ways you promote yourself.

One of the biggest mistakes we make is in promoting with the intention of pleasing others and seeking approval. The fact is, if you are not being truly authentic in the way you present yourself and your services to others, you are not being true to others, which people can sense.

Even more importantly, you are not being true to yourself, which will hamper your marketing efforts in a big way, because you simply won’t be passionate, confident and satisfied.

Find where this approval seeking is happening in your own marketing campaigns and decide whether you really are promoting with an expression of yourself and your quirks, and your values or whether you are not really being you.

Knowing yourself and expressing who you are in how you promote yourself is the key ingredient in a successful personal brand that will get noticed.

 

37. Offer Prospects a Free Trial

Here is an idea for those of you just starting out in a particular market, who lack much in the way of previous work samples and testimonials, but also for anyone looking to find new clients:  Offer potential new clients a free critique of their current materials or system or a free taster of your services.

For example, if you are a web designer, you can critique a prospect’s existing website.

By doing this, you can show prospects what you know and what you are good at in a way that relates directly to them, instead of showing what you have done for other clients in the past. It’s also a great way of building credibility.

If they like what you come up with, you will be much closer to securing a project with them, and further building your own portfolio.

 

38. Nurture existing relationships using email

What I believe lies at the core of any promotional activity you do, is staying in touch with people you already know (whilst continually growing your network).

So, if you haven’t already, make use of the quick and easy nature of email, and create a system to keep in touch with all your existing contacts.

Reach out to people to remind them that you are still active and that you still exist, at least once every three months. This can be done with an informal and non-pushy, ‘just touching base’ message sent individually, or through an email newsletter, sending over news of your business or sharing relevant tips and advice.

 

39. The Importance of ‘Call to Action’ Buttons

Effective self promotion involves connecting with the people who will support the work you do. This support comes in the form of spreading the word about you, giving you advice, hiring you and referring you to potential clients.

This is why it is so important for you to prolong the interaction such people have with you and your brand. To do this, you need to enable ways for them to connect with you and hire you, and more. This is where ‘call to action’ buttons come in.

Things like ‘Join the Mailing List’, ‘Work with Me’, ‘Follow Me’, ‘Buy My Book’ are all examples of calls to action, and will often make the difference between visitors to your sites and pages taking action or not.

These are not messages you would give directly to people you interact with online.

These buttons/links are made available where people’s eyeballs go, including on your portfolio site and blog. Your mission should be to bring people to these calls to action indirectly, then visitors taking specific action can follow.

 

40. Apply the 80:20 Principle

No matter how many friends, followers and contacts you have online through mailing lists, Twitter, LinkedIn, and elsewhere, the 80:20 rule still applies to how you go about promoting yourself.

The principle states that ‘roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes’. This applies to how you market yourself in that you should stay focused on the 20% or so of your key contacts and industry influencers, and develop those relationships as best you can. After all, 80% of the work you source will come from these important people.

So, be aware of where the majority comes, and could come from, and focus on these areas. This will help you become more efficient and save time in your self promotional activities.

 

41. Change ‘Subscribe’ to ‘Get Updates’

Here’s a great tip I got from Jacob Cass of ‘Just Creative Design’. A way to improve the number of subscribers to either your mailing list or your RSS feed is to replace whenever you mention the word ‘Subscribe’ with ‘Get Updates’ (or very similar).

Because many people tend to associate the word ‘subscribe’ with a commitment of some kind, such as with a magazine subscription, this may be restricting the number of people signing up.

Using ‘get updates’ instead can be a better prompt for people because it implies they are receiving a bonus, which, in most cases, they are.

 

42. Believe In the Value of What You Are Promoting

Here’s a slightly less technical tip, but an important one nevertheless that I feel people can easily forget.

Make sure you have belief in the services and products you are promoting. If you value what you have to offer, you will more easily promote with energy and enthusiasm. This will have a strong effect on your marketing strategies.

If you doubt what you can produce, or you are concerned that people will think you are not truly honest in what you are showcasing, you will have difficulty finding the motivation to tell the world of what you can do.

 

43. Using Twitter Hashtags to Increase Your Visibility

Hashtags are the ‘#’ sign you see before certain words and phrases in ‘tweets’ on Twitter.com, such as ‘#webdesign’. What they do is effectively groups tweets that are all about the same topic or event.

Hashtags are like tags you assign to photos you might upload to Flickr or to blog posts, so that they are categorized and searchable. On Twitter, whenever you include a hashtag and word within your tweet, you are categorizing your tweet, so that when people search for the tag, they can find your tweet.

This can be very useful for your exposure when it comes to popular hashtags, as your tweets will be linked to popular subjects.

Keep an eye out for hashtags on Twitter that are relevant to what you are tweeting about and tag your tweets where appropriate. Use hashtags.org and Twemes to search for them, as well as ones that are popular. Also keep an eye on the trending topics in your Twitter sidebar, as using tags with your tweets that are trending will attract a lot of visibility.

 

44. Using TweetBeep to Keep Track of Twitter

If you find Google Alerts useful for keeping track of your brand and various keywords on the web, you might like one of Twitter’s equivalents: TweetBeep. Once you’ve signed up, you can specify a set of keywords for it to pick up and email you in a similar way to Google Alerts.

This will enable you to keep track of mentions of you and your brand and/or company so you can keep track of what people are saying about you, but also references to available jobs, content to retweet and content you are interested in.

From a self-promotional point of view, you can use it to be aware of help or advice people need when they ask questions around certain keywords. This will allow you to respond with the suggestion to use your services or see your blog, for example, if it is relevant to them.

 

45. Using Tumblr to Attract People and Self Promote

Tumblr is a blogging platform much like any other except users are able to follow other users and the emphasis is on ease of use and simple customization.

It’s an excellent way to put in motion a simpler, smaller blog that requires little input on your side, that creates content that you can provide to people in your network, including automatically posting to Twitter and Facebook if you specify it to.

The great thing is that the content on your Tumblr blog circulates on the web as well as in Tumblr itself, as people search for stuff inside the network, giving you great exposure to those using the site.

As well as providing content that people will enjoy seeing, having a Tumblr blog is a great way of maintaining self exposure if you incorporate promotion into your content and leave a link to your site in your blog description or bio. Obviously you could use the platform as a place to showcase updates to your own work only, as well.

 

46. Using Su.pr to Share Links

I recently switched from bit.ly to Stumbleupon’s link shortening and posting service su.pr for a good reason.

Not only is it a great way to track the number of clicks coming through your links, which you can use to post in both Twitter and Facebook, but because links are tied to Stumbleupon, your links are much more likely to be stumbled, and therefore lead to viral marketing.

Su.pr also provides useful information on optimum posting times based on a little graph that shows you traffic trends coming to your links.

 

47. Don’t Forget SEO!

For those of you looking to increase visitors coming to your site, it is easy to get lost in various web tactics to do so, including social bookmarking, forum posting and pay per click advertising.

These can be important, but make sure you don’t forget to focus ultimately on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as a means to bring targeted visitors to your site and work. This means your site appears more visibly on search engines in relation to various keywords people are searching for.

Don’t be of the group of people that think it is bad to adapt your site to benefit its search ranking, because it is ‘tricking Google’. Some techniques might be cheating and against the rules, in which case Google will penalize you. However, for the most part, improving your site’s search ranking through SEO is useful, legal and surprisingly easy.

Get learning about SEO, and start applying it bit by bit to your site/s. There is nothing that benefits the professionalism and popularity of your site more than appearing high in the rankings on search engines like Google for relevant keywords.

To start learning the basics of SEO, especially if you have a blog on your site, I’ve provided a useful link, here.

 

48. Using Posterous for an Exposure Boost

Like Tumblr, Posterous it is a mini-blog service that seeks to make blogging more immediate and easier to integrate to other online platforms like Twitter.

The clever thing about Posterous is that, once you have set up a Posterous blog, you need only email all the content you want to Posterous, and it will immediately publish what you send to your own Posterous blog.

The reason I mention Posterous as a way to increase exposure is in the way its content gets indexed by Google. Because the site only allows for a single design theme in its customization, as opposed to Tumblr, it gets indexed better.

You can add any content you like to Posterous, including material from your main site or blog, for example quickly via email. Be careful about importing duplicated text from your blog for example, as Google have been known to penalize against this. It might be worth making some changes to your content before bringing it to Posterous. I don’t think it is a big deal personally if there is not much text.

You can provide an introduction to a post on your blog through Posterous for example, and pick up traffic coming back to your main post on your blog.

Posterous can be used to share your interests and share your own updates. In doing so, make sure you provide links back to your own main sites for added exposure.

 

49. Broadcast Multiple Updates Using Ping.fm

Here is a very useful platform you can use to streamline the time taken to post updates to more than one site.

Ping.fm allows people who want to post updates to several social networking sites all at the same time. For example, if I have just written a new post on my blog, I might want to notify friends and followers of this through Twitter, Facebook, Plurk, LinkedIn, as well as my blog’s Facebook Fan Page all at once.

You’ll need to get set up at ping.fm, which is pretty straight forward, and then post to all these sites from there. This will work as long as you have linked up your membership of the sites/platforms you’d like to broadcast to. This you do throughPing.fm.

You can use Ping.fm to post a tweet, but be aware that some users on sites other than Twitter may not understand what is meant by all the Twitter jargon, such as the @ and # symbols, so make sure your updates aren’t too focused to any one site.

Once you’ve written your message in the ‘post’ box, you’re ready to go, and you’ll click ‘ping’.

This can be a great time saver for keeping your updates visible on a regular basis to your friends, contacts and potential clients.

 

50. Be a Member of One Core Forum Group

Joining in with online forum discussions can be an effective way of building up your network, gaining support and inspiration, as well as finding and attracting clients.

It is wise to participate in a few different forums (occasionally or as much as you want) that each have a different focus relating to your industry.

However, focus the majority of your participation on one, core forum, so that you can develop a stronger sense of community with the other members, build trust and credibility as a creative freelancer and simply have more of a presence on that one forum.

In this way, you can really focus most of your effort in one area, adding value and quality, whilst maintaining some visibility in the other forum groups you are a member of.

 

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About the Author: Alex Mathers

Alex is a project starter, sometimes finisher, writer and illustrator. He started Red Lemon Club in 2009 with the aim of helping talented creative people leave their mark.

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