No, this is not about the profile we all examine critically in a 3-way mirror. (I do, anyway.) I’m referring to the profile you have posted on IWOC’s Online Directory. The one that is your business’s calling card, posted to capture clients from all corners of the globe who are in search of professional independent writers in Chicago. The one that could make a difference in hiring you – or someone else. Far be it from me to be critical of that profile either. But I’d like to suggest a few places where you could nip and tuck that may help you optimize your opportunities for garnering more work – tips taken from analyzing the profiles of those who get work through IWOC. And lots of it.
First, you must know...
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 1000 times. But it bears repeating for the 1001st: Clients don’t necessarily know who you are, or that you even exist. (Brutally stated, but true.) So when they go a-Googling for freelance writers, they won’t be entering your name. They’ll be entering such keywords/phrases as “Chicago freelance writers” – or variations thereof. When they do, IWOC will come up on the very first page, if not in the top 3 rankings. They’ll then go to www.iwoc.org, click on “Find a Writer,” and enter a specialty or field of expertise. If it happens to be one of yours, your name will pop up. Amongst the millions of writers the world over, clients will be reaching out to you. No cold calling needed on your part. That’s called a “warm lead.” Cool!
So now that clients are eyeballing your profile, ask yourself: Is it attractive enough? I don’t mean in the glamour-puss sense. I mean in the business sense. Will it attract them? Make them feel that you’re the writer who can save their day and then get them to contact you? Following are points to ponder that may very well raise your chances of getting them to do just that.
1). You oughta be in pictures.
That headshot of yours. Is there one? Or if so, is it one of those generic “silhouettes” that look like you’re in a witness protection program? Why the mystery? Post a real picture. Doesn’t have to be shot by Annie Leibowitz. Just make sure it’s of good quality. Clear. And that you look professional – but approachable. It’s been scientifically proven that words accompanied by pictures are far more likely to be read. The same, I would venture to guess, would be true for your profile.
2. The “Summary” section
Consider this to be your elevator speech. On a 3-story elevator ride. You have about 30 words to grab potential clients by the collar. So cut out the fat and make sure every one of those words carries its weight in gold. Thoughts to consider:
3. The difference is in the “Details” section
Here’s the section where you get to flesh out the “Summary.” Several thoughts:
4. If you’ve got links, flaunt ‘em.
Post the links to your Social Media platforms, blogs...but especially, to your website, where clients can really drill down into who you are and what you do. And speaking of websites, if you’re going to direct clients there, be sure your site looks clean, contemporary, is up-to-date and easy to navigate. Your website is what will most likely motivate a client to get in touch.
5. As for sewing up the deal...
That’s out of IWOC’s hands -- and in yours. But at the very least, through a strong, engaging online profile, you’ve increased your chances of attracting a client’s attention and bringing them to the table. The potential for landing more business? Lookin’ good!
- Laura Stigler
* "Life in the Freelance Lane: Business Basics for Freelance Writing Success" is presented regularly at various venues throughout Chicago and surrounding suburbs. Regular speakers are Jeff Steele and Laura Stigler, along with alternating presenters George Becht, Sally Chapralis and David Steinkraus. If you'd like to join our speakers roster or host a presentation at your venue, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
(Members can comment by clicking on the vertical dots next to the headline.)
Copyright 2011–2018, Independent Writers of Chicago
332 S. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1032 #W686
Chicago, IL 60604-4434