How to market yourself as a freelancer: 9 self-promotion tips to get new clients
Updated: Nov 9
Marketing is a key component to working as a freelancer and applies to all professions and fields. Translators, interpreters and all language and writing professionals need to allocate a certain amount of their working time to promoting themselves and their work, networking, gaining meaningful contacts to ultimately get more clients and work. Here are nine things you can do to market yourself as a freelancer, in particular if you are a translator or language professional.
1. Have a website and keep it effective and intuitive
Nowadays, it's easy to have your own website thanks to services such as Wix and WordPress. There’s also the Google service Blogger, Hubspot, StoryChief and others that offer some great solutions. Some are free and others paid, so it’s up to you to decide if you need all the added services of a premium account. You will have to buy a domain and these sites allow you to do that right through their services. Buying a domain isn’t expensive and is well worth it.
The important information that you need on your website should be above the fold, meaning what the visitor sees before having to scroll down. These should include your language combinations, specializations, years of experience, and perhaps your individual branding and special skills, anything to make you unique and stand out. Also, it’s worth mentioning what you will actually BRING to your clients, rather than talking all about you. That’s what they’re interested in, truly.
Don’t overload your website with too many graphics, bells and whistles, because this could slow down its performance and speed, which is actually detrimental to client conversion. In addition, make sure to focus on the mobile version of your website. Though I find a lot of visitors visit my website on desktop, nearly half come from mobile. So you need to make this visitor experience from smartphones highly intuitive as well.
2. Grow a social media following
How to promote yourself on social media is always an ongoing question. I’ve been observing the activities of translators and other language professionals on social media with LinkedIn in particular. What stands out is that they post frequently, if not a couple of times daily, are highly interactive with other posts, and post content that will draw an emotion out of the viewer. A lot is based on their personal experiences that they feel will have an impact on others, who then think: “Hey, that happened to me too!” The content posted doesn’t even need to be long and too “intellectual”, but rather thought-provoking.
Adopt a good mix of content that is made up of the following:
Industry insights and knowledge
Sharing industry content from other specialists and industry influencer to show you can stay relevant
3. Be recognized as a specialist
Showing off your knowledge will allow you to impress both your industry peers and potential employers. The point is that you need to stay in their minds if they run into a problem and they think of you as the person who could potentially solve it for them. That’s why point 1 and point 2 are important. On the website, you can have a blog with your knowledge, and on social media, you can keep yourself relevant and in people’s minds.
4. Be a part of groups
Being a part of a community is also important - the more you know people and open yourself to the universe, the more it will talk back to you. That means, joining as many groups in your field that you can manage, and not just groups about translation and localization either. Also consider joining groups in your fields of specialization. This is actually where you will find clients. There are tons of groups on LinkedIn, XING (German LinkedIn) and Facebook, plus you can head to forums and other platforms.
5. Take part in offline and online events
Networking remains one of the top ways that people get jobs - the phrase “it’s about who you know” is 1000% accurate. If you don’t know someone, it can be harder to make them trust you with a job. So, pandemic or not, you need to be able to do this online, as you can reach much more people this way.
7. Have video calls with industry peers
This idea was only presented to me this year when I got started, though it’s been something people have done for a long time. Having calls with your industry peers from other companies or with other freelancers, so you can swap ideas and get other perspectives. It never occurred to me before, so I was super happy that some people reached out to me for some insightful conversations. You never know if one of these conversations will lead to a potential job.
8. Guest blog
Having your own blog is cool, but if you are able to guest blog, you can get way more reach thanks to the existing traffic of the website you’ll be writing for. Guest blogging isn’t easy though, you need to know how to write, do it in a way that the website wants (each has its own set of rules and style guide), not be overly promotional, or at all for some websites, and choose an interesting and engaging topic they’ll want to publish. You can easily find the email addresses on each website, and then make a pitch in an email. Don’t get discouraged if not everyone answers. Try smaller fish rather than larger websites like Hubspot or Forbes, which are very difficult to get an answer from.
There are a lot of organizations who need the help of translators, such as UNICEF, Translators Without Borders, the United Nations, Red Cross, etc. If you get active there, not only is it great for the cause, it will also help your resume, and introduce you to new people and potential clients.
Do you know of any good ways to promote yourself? Share in the comments below.