Freelancing can be difficult. Whether you are a freelancer yourself or you deal with them, the process can be a struggle.
Depending on your project, budget or both, finding a freelancer to meet your needs can be a pain. However, there comes a time in many businesses where the process of creating content has just become too much. You simply need a little help!
Many businesses simply can’t justify the need for a full-time employee to take up this extra work. Whether it’s due to rapid expansion or just desk space, this is where a freelancer could benefit you by offering a quick solution to growing problem. Thinking outside the box, a freelancer could also boost other sections of your workload, not just the “new” stuff.
The Benefits Of Freelancers
With the digital and physical world becoming increasingly disconnected from each other within many businesses, the idea of a freelancer offering a temporary solution is becoming more palatable. The idea of a remote employee who is able to work when the office isn’t, offers the potential for some real headway in digital marketing opportunities.
This flexibility has seen freelancing boom, with an estimated 56.7 Million people in the US and around 2 Million people in the UK now working in such a way.
A freelancer marketer can be anyone of any age and, in itself, is a lifestyle that anyone can adopt at any point in their career. Freelancers can also specialise in a single skill or have a multiple ranges of skills. These can range from social media content and/or copywriting to websites strategy, building and design.
Question: Have you ever thought of becoming a digital marketing freelancer yourself?
Questioning where to go next or what is actually normal in working terms, can leave you constantly trying for something better. You might want to be a department lead, join a new start-up or even have your own agency but, how do you achieve this? All of those options have pros and cons and this is where freelancing could be the answer for you. Freelancing allows you to grow professionally, develop new skills AND expand your network.
This journey can be started simply by searching on freelance marketplaces and posting adverts. The income/cost will vary depending on the work that needs to be completed and how long it will take. With quotations being flexible, the work quality can also be flexible. This is nothing to fear as there are plenty of great places to find work through these sites and for employers, can find the right freelancer for them if they are on a budget.
Roles for branding, creative content, design and development can all be found some marketplaces even provide “pre-costed” forms of advertising such as business cards, flyers or website design.
Here are a few you can look into
Here at Gravity, we have used 99 Designs previously. This is a great tool in our experience as we ran a competition through 99 Designs for the design of our previous website. The designers and key collaborators are so friendly, you won’t have any problems with submissions and the designs will come flying in. Remember to take note of them time-zones however!
Querying On Social Media Such As LinkedIn
Many recruiters, especially managers of projects, go straight to social media platforms such as LinkedIn to look for freelancers. This is a great strategy to find impressive individuals who can demonstrate the specific skill set you require. At the same time, as a freelancer, you can grow your own network and find more contacts who have similar skill sets to yourself.
LinkedIn gives the option for a user to search for individuals by keyword, a certain topic or skill. People in your network will come first so, you are best to be more specific in your search. Try and be more tailored to get the results you require as both employer and freelancer.
A very obvious solution is often the one that can often be overlooked. Asking your network for recommendations is a sure fire way of discovering strong, trust and competent freelancers. If they have worked with someone you already know (and trust) and impressed them, then they are already a likely candidate. An endorsement for a skill means everything as it puts some evidence behind the theory. A freelancer will usually always knows another one as well, think back to LinkedIn networks. A good trick, as an employer: If the freelancer you want is taken,ask them for a recommendation.
Opposite to referrals, if you see content you like from a freelancer, make sure you keep a copy of it. This will allow you to be able to reach out to the creator should you need them down the line.
Picking The Right Freelancer For You
You’ve discovered some freelancers, woo! You like the look of their work but, are they a good fit for you? Also, this going to be a “one time” piece of content or, constant support?
This is why you need to define the scope of your work. This will not only save you money but, also give you a better understanding of what you require.
Even after getting the right referrals, look at their portfolios and take a look at similar work they have done. This can give you a good view on what they are able to produce and more importantly, allow you to see if the customer was happy with the final product.
You’ll also want to be checking they can actually do the skill they are selling, obviously! A copywriter should be able to produce engaging text based content, a designer should be able to produce striking visual designs etc… Any inability to provide an example of their previous work should be a red flag!
Another thing to consider is talking face to face. This gives you a direct personal connection and although not always possible (an over-seas prospect), it allows you and the freelancer to clarify the job in question. This also provides the employer a perfect opportunity to gauge if the personality and work ethic matches that of any current team.
Starter Projects And Trial Runs
You’ve weighed up the freelancer and have a good feeling about them, the next step is to try and give a starter or trial project! This project will further cement the abilities of the freelancer in the employers eyes. It works both ways:
- For the Employer: They are able to see how the freelancer is able to work under pressure (potentially a tight schedule) and the quality of the work they produce.
- For the Freelancer: They can better understand the needs to the business and what should be expected of them moving forward while also demonstrating their skills
When the trial project is completed, it also offers opportunities for both parties to ask questions.
Creating Project Briefs
As good as freelancers are, they can not read your mind. What might seem like an obvious concept to you, could raise many questions for them. You’ll want to maximise the output of your freelancers. To do this, you make a brief for your project and ensure they have all the information they need. Having all the information in one place provides your freelancers with the perfect tool when they need something. This could be anything from just the specification and goal, all the way to the location of assets, key figures, data and so on.
Your final draft will always usually need some revision and tweaking. As a result of this, you’ll need a process for communicating feedback, about editing, that is clear and constructive. Structured feedback makes the process far less stressful but, far more clearer.
Feedback can sometimes be hard to swallow because it is being given incorrectly as a criticism of the work. Ensure your feedback is constructive, by offering suggestions on how to change or improve the end result. This, in turn, enables your team (not just the freelancer) the opportunity to ask/answer any questions that come from it.
The Pros And Cons Of Freelancing
Digital marketers love that can work for themselves and the freedom that comes with it. Some prefer the ability to work remotely and save on the daily commute, while others prefer travelling the world to meet and work with their clients. Each person is different but, there do comes some cons with all of those “freedom” pros.
- The practicality of living and accommodation – live wherever you please instead of relocating for work
- Create your own schedule around clients and customers
- Save time and money on daily commuting
- Work where you want – At home, a coffee shop or even a hot-desk
- There isn’t a fixed salary – You’ll need to budget for the Christmas period, as an example, when many tech firms imposed a code freeze.
- There are no company benefits – Health insurance, paid leave, memberships, software and technology… it’s all coming out of your pocket.
- You’re a on-person show – The spotlight is right on you and with a deep well of skills, you may need to use multiple at a single time and it can become overwhelming
- Distractions – Being in your own environment can be distracting. Only the most focused are able to avoid a Netflix break every 20 minutes
The Daily Routine For A Freelancer
While working as a digital marketer, learning becomes a daily task. As previously mentioned, it’s a one-person show and as such, comes with multiple responsibilities.
A variety of tasks need to be done which can vary on a daily basis depending on the client the freelancer is working with and what content needs to be produced. Roles can vary quite widely from the following below:
- Implementing digital marketing strategy
- Sending reports to the client using marketing templates
- Set the KPIs
- Implementing and writing blog content
- Creating PDFs, eBooks, presentations or any other marketing promotional material
- Designing and implementing case studies
- writing newsletters and content
- Copywriting for the website
- Building and implementing a marketing funnel
- Learning marketing concepts
- Improving conversion and CTAs
- Create social media calendars
- Organising and holding webinars
- Designing and implementing a marketing funnel
- Learning marketing concepts
- Designing and implementing websites
- Staying active and relevant in online communities
- Meetings and conferences
- Working through analytics through programs such as Facebook and Google Ads
- Search engine optimisation
- Building up backlinks for website authority
- Dealing with website speeds and analytics
- Sales calls and encounters
- Meetings for new clients
They all seem like simple tasks. However, it can be overwhelming but, there are dozens of tools out to help manage this load and produce better results. Of course, every role differs depending on the job and task that is at hand, don’t expect to have to do ALL of this for every single client!
Having the right set of skills is everything and because of this, freelancers are able to multitask with the best of them.
Situations can quickly become chaotic and you may find yourself juggling all of the social media content along with organising meetings and scrapping that design you spent 4 hours on. With so much to learn in marketing, specialising in something particular could give you the better option.
Emails can, and usually will, be a pain. However, marketers have learnt the secret art of building the perfect email from newsletters to outreach messages and product updates. As such, it’s a much required (and desired) skill.
Sometimes, gaining an extra skill or boosting your knowledge and understanding of one you already have could be just the thing clients are looking for. Below are some subjects to consider looking at in order to really boost your arsenal:
- Willingness to receive emails (Always remember about GDPR regulations)
- Find the right tools to work with, for example MailChimp
- Mastering the “perfect” headline
- Writing great copy for emails
- Creating a great, eye catching CTA (call to action)
- Follow up with emails, people can always respond to the next email
- Always make sure you have an active list. Sending emails to inactive people can be a real pain and if you are using a marketing automation system this can be even more of an issue.
Even the best written content EVER can only go so far if it’s not reaching the inboxes of your audience. This is where free spam checker tools can help. They make sure that your marketing emails get delivered, instead of getting lost in the spam folder.
Content Marketing & SEO
Are you a word wizard or vocabulary veteran? Content marketing is everywhere, it is also one of the most useful skills in digital marketing; the ability to create a great copy. According to a recent survey, welcome emails have an open rate of 83%. This presents the perfect opportunity to charm your audience and nail that sales pitch. You will also need to master SEO and what it means to build external links with other blogs. Get on the first page of Google then, optimise that website speed and build up that outreach on the website.
It’s hard work.
Analytic is an important tool in marketing, and in the world of digital marketing as a whole. Should everything be measured? In short, yes. One of the greatest things you can have is data and how you use it.
Every analytic approach should be divided into steps:
- Capturing the data
- First or third party analysis of the data
- Interpreting the data
Making data-driven decisions should be a core pillar and value of each marketer. Learning from programs such as Google analytics and using the right measurement tools will allow you to build client business. Also, with the use of intelligent data collection, you’re not required to sort the chaff from the wheat.
Analytics Through Social Media
Staying on topic, this analysis can also be achieved through social media, including Facebook Ad Manager. Ad Manager is pretty amazing but, a lot of small businesses can find it extremely complicated to manage and implement. Managing ads and your social portal can be time consuming. However, it does not fall into the realm of being a “real job” and as such, sits in a blurry grey area. It can take quite a while but, trial and error could be the answer if you can learn from the mistakes.
When developing a new skill, practice makes perfect. Mastering both the art of design and copywriting is ultimately understanding who the audience is and what do they desire. Once you have a crystal clear understanding of this, any concerns they could face can be mitigated by your campaign. This way you are effectively offering them the solution before they realise they have the problem.
Learning to convert your audience to website visitors and then, genuine leads, is crucial to success. If you are looking to master ads, look towards Google and Facebook as a starter.
How Can You Improve As A Freelancer?
Expanding your skill set is a great way to set yourself apart from the other freelancers in this industry. Increasing that skill gap can give you an edge, allowing you to have the flexibility to cherry pick roles, assignments, contracts and projects in your field.
According to an original study around 50% of modern business are suffering from a shortage of skilled workers. By learning the fundamentals of digital marketing, you will be able to constantly “level up” and find yourself a niche in which you can specialise. Remain competitive and attractive to businesses. You are the product in this situation so, show off.
As a freelance marketer, a CV or portfolio alone will not land you the calibre of clients and organisations logos you desire on your website. Building your best portfolio can be one of the hardest things you may possibly do. Showcasing your prospects, taking on small business or internships in your early career might be the only answer for your services in return for experience in your industry.
Gain confidence and add plenty to your portfolio over this time. Use this time to grow. If you are a content writer or marketer, pitch as much as you can. Writing and research on relevant topics to your industry of expertise can provide a lot of connections by putting yourself out there.
Rather than pitching out for freelance work all the time, create an engaging mobile optimised website with relevant social media channels to host your marketing and content. Make it your platform. This will enhance your online presence as well as, ultimately, having your clients queue up for your services.
Want to learn more about improving as a freelancer read our blog on copywriting and marketing automation ‘The Greatest Copywriting Conventions’