Repositioning Your Brand

You’re a brand. You know that, right? Whether you’re just starting out and trying to define your career or you’re a few years or decades into it, you have a perception in the market. Beginning writers – you struggle with this most, but it’s not tough to position yourself in a way that secures a strong foothold in the profession. Maybe you beginning writers have an advantage over us veterans. You can decide from the get-go your market, your clients, and your direction.

We who have been at it a while have had an old-fashioned upbringing – we started small, built and built and built, suffering burn marks and hard lessons along the way. But we too can reposition ourselves and create a better career.

Define your mission. Yes, you should write a mission statement. Something like “I deliver exceptional marketing results through powerful imagery.” Find your niche market, your interest areas, your wish list of things you want to be doing instead of what you’re doing, and apply a mission statement to it.

Define your brand. This is a little different. Your brand encompasses your mission, but it’s more than that. It’s the value – the benefit – your clients get from hiring you. My brand would look something like this – “Extensive experience in risk management, insurance, and finance writing and editing.” While I do more than that, that’s my core brand.

Align your marketing to your mission and your brand. Here’s where the real work comes in. If your mission involves marketing copy, you should stop targeting magazines. That’s taking you far from your mission. Instead, start contacting agencies and corporate communications departments. Your key audience, the one that will help you maintain your mission, is right there.

Brainstorm ways to expand your client base. With your brand and mission defined, think of how many ways you can apply those to clients. For example, I know writers who write web copy. They also teach web writing courses, and they hold seminars for companies teaching their employees appropriate electronic business correspondence (emails in particular). You could be a speaker at conferences on your topic. You could hold online courses helping others learn your skills. Whatever your brand, there’s a way to expand on it.

Consider certification. For me, the obvious certification would be in insurance and risk management areas. For resume writers, certification in resume writing. For copywriters, copy writing and editing. Etc., etc.

Guest post. Want your brand to reach new clients? Write guest posts on your topic for blogs in your targeted industry. This positions your brand as a sought-after expert, and as a familiar voice in the industry.

What more can you do to develop and expand your brand?

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  • Devon Ellington October 28, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    The words "brand" and "niche" always make me gag.

    The reason I freelance is NOT to be boxed, not to create a box for myself.

    I do whatever interests me and get paid for it.

    I often call myself "The Anti-Niche" (perhaps that's my brand), and a friend teases me by calling me a "Modern Renaissance Woman" , to which I counter that, in this day and age, most will take it to mean I spend way too much time at Ye Olde Fayke English Market wearing a bustier and thigh-high boots.

  • Lori October 28, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    There's an image that could brand you! LOL

    I hate them too, but in reality, even when we avoid them, we have them. 🙂 We gravitate toward certain interests. It never hurts to develop those sides.

    What I'm not keen on is segmenting oneself just because of one specialty. I think that could eliminate a lot of possibilities. At the same time, I think many writers miss their calling, miss their mark, because they're busy chasing the dollar instead of building the reality they'd rather have.

  • Wendy J. October 28, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    As much as I hate to even think about branding, I know that, in my field, it’s necessary. While there isn’t an over-saturation of web writers in my area; there are still tons and tons of print books, eBooks and CD’s to compete with.

    Most of the people in my market appear to be repeating other theories and techniques over and over. They just put their own twist on them. In order for me to stand out and give something that’s new or fresh; I’ll have to figure out a way to shake things up a bit. Why hire me when you can regurgitate someone else's theories, using their own twist on the subject?

    I figure, if I do it right, I won’t back myself into a corner and pass up too many other possibilities.

    I have a possible speaking engagement in the works. I was asked to be a guest speaker in it, if they decide to do it. I’m hoping, if they go through with it, to get my segment videotaped and be able to use it in my business.

  • Eileen October 28, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    Once I decided on a niche, I found it waaaaay easier to market and to win business. But it's broad and deep enough that I'm never bored, always learning, and it's easy to expand further into related areas. I tried first with a different niche just because I had a background in the field, but because I didn't love it, I couldn't muster up the enthusiasm to really sell it.