How DeLene Stands Out with her Freelance Brand
Impressing Clients with Her Freelance Brand
Having a freelance brand has helped T. DeLene Beeland stand out from other freelancers and more than double her income in about a year.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
In a sea of freelance medical writers, T. DeLene Beeland stands out with a freelance brand that quickly shows clients she’s insightful, innovative, and professional. DeLene developed her freelance brand after taking a course in freelancing as part of the University of Chicago Medical Writing and Editing Certificate Program.
Most freelancers don’t have brands. That’s why her freelance brand has helped DeLene more than double her income in about 18 months. And DeLene is doing less marketing, because her freelance brand helps clients quickly understand what she does and how she can help them meet their needs.
DeLene’s freelance brand includes her:
- Business name
- Client-focused marketing messages
- Marketing email signature.
Choosing a Business Name
DeLene had already shifted her specialty from science writing to medical writing and defined the types of clients she wanted to work with (her target markets). Without knowing her specialty and her target markets, DeLene wouldn’t have been able to develop a freelance brand that would help her attract the right clients.
Choosing a business name was DeLene’s first step in developing her freelance brand.
Clients often tell DeLene that she brings insight to their projects so she wanted to use this as part of her business name. To choose the rest of her business name, DeLene did a lot of brainstorming. Also, she reviewed hundreds of websites and LinkedIn profiles of other freelancers. After taking her time to think about ideas and try different combinations of words, she chose InsightMed Communications LLC as her business name.
“I think most people hire me because of my work, not my company name,” says DeLene. “But having the company name allows me to present myself as a dedicated professional.”
Developing Client-Focused Marketing Messages
Next, DeLene started thinking about marketing messages based on the needs of her clients and how she could help them meet their needs. Her key client-focused marketing message is:
“Delivering insightful medical and health content to educate and engage health care providers and patients.”
Part of this key marketing message, “insightful, concise, and strategic medical and health content” is DeLene’s tagline. A tagline is a memorable phrase or sentence that helps your target markets understand what you do. Other marketing messages include crafting: “clear, accurate, and lively strategic content” to “inform and engage your readers.”
Using Client-Focused Marketing Messages in her Freelance Brand
Also, DeLene uses her client-focused marketing messages in her marketing email signature, LinkedIn headline, and website home page.
Here is DeLene’s marketing email signature. Her tagline, “insightful, concise, and strategic medical and health content,” shows how she helps clients meet their needs.
Here is DeLene’s LinkedIn headline.
See DeLene’s LinkedIn headline in her profile.
Here is the top part of DeLene’s website home page.
See DeLene’s full website home page.
Working with a Professional Designer
Next, DeLene hired a professional designer to work on her logo and her freelance website. She started by doing a web search for design firms that help small businesses with websites. DeLene’s project was too small for the first firm she contacted, but the owner referred DeLene to her lead designer who also moonlighted, Frank Pereira of ten12designs.
DeLene decided to develop a logo because I recommended this in the freelancing class. A logo—one of the main ways to show a freelance brand—is an image, symbol, or other design that helps people quickly identify what you do.
During the process of developing a logo, choosing colors, and designing her website, the professional designer served as DeLene’s guide. To understand what DeLene liked and didn’t like, the designer showed her some fonts and stock designs.
Then DeLene and her designer worked together on colors for her freelance brand. “I have always used some sort of minty or ocean green on my website in the past, and on my resume, it’s just a favorite color,” says DeLene. The designer used minty green as the main color in DeLene’s brand and they experimented with the secondary color.
For her logo, DeLene had some ideas about what she wanted to it look like. “I wanted this spray of design to the left of the business name. I wanted it to look energetic and creative, and to speak to the action of parts synthesizing into a new transformative whole. To me, this is what the writing process is like… we take bits and pieces of information and make something new out of it,” she says.
Finalizing the Logo in Her Freelance Brand
DeLene’s designer created some logo concepts for her. Then they went back and forth until DeLene was sure that her logo was just right. Here are Delene’s early logo concepts.
In early logo concepts, the original secondary color was pink or black. DeLene didn’t like the black and asked her designer to change this to an ochre yellow. Yellow is associated with bright ideas, which ties into “insight” in DeLene’s business name. DeLene also wanted to introduce a touch of color contrast for visual interest, and together the colors represent liveliness and happiness (green) and creativity and energy (yellow). These colors worked well together and projected insight, innovation, creativity, and being professional.
“To this day, I love that little zip of yellow! And I love how he introduced the gray for “Communications” to emphasize the InsightMed part of the name,” says DeLene.
Here is DeLene’s final logo in her freelance brand.
Developing Professional, Client-Focused Marketing Tools
DeLene’s LinkedIn profile and website were the last parts of her freelance brand. Using her client-focused marketing messages and what she had learned about LinkedIn profiles for freelancers, DeLene revised her profile so that it was complete and focused on the needs of her clients.
Then, within about a month of updating her profile, clients started finding DeLene on LinkedIn. Now, most of her new freelance business comes from LinkedIn.
Here is the beginning of DeLene’s LinkedIn profile.
The content of her LinkedIn profile helped DeLene write her website content. She used the same client-focused marketing messages and made sure that the rest of her content was compelling, clear, and focused on client needs. Also, DeLene wrote web content that is conversational, concise, and scannable.
Having a design that’s visually engaging, clear, and easy to navigate is as important as compelling, clear and client-focused content. Before working with her designer on the design of her website, DeLene did her homework.
So she looked at websites of other freelance writers and companies, looking for elements that she liked and didn’t like. “I thought systematically in terms of the aesthetics of my website but also its function,” she said.
It helped that DeLene had worked with prior clients on revising the structure and content of their websites. So she already had a structure in mind in terms of the number of pages and what would go on them. But her designer was key in helping to integrate elements like testimonials into an existing page, rather than making it a separate page.
DeLene made lists of a few websites she liked to use for inspiration and websites that she didn’t like. She gave her designer the lists and notes with her thoughts about what she liked or didn’t like about each website, or what DeLene calls “what to design towards, and what to design away from.”
Armed with this information about what DeLene did and didn’t like and having already developed her logo, the designer created some website concepts for DeLene to review. Finalizing the website design so that it had the right look and structure was easier because DeLene had done her homework. The designer selected stock photos and designed graphic art to support the communication goals and DeLene worked with him to find better photos or revise graphics to her liking.
“It helps to be prepared when you first hire a web designer, because when you have a vision, the projects goes smoother and takes less time,” DeLene says. “Also, as writers, we can write the copy for our own sites.”
Here is the top part of DeLene’s website home page.
“My logo and website convey who I am and the kind of work I do,” says DeLene. “I wanted my logo to express the ideas of transformation, synthesis, and creativity, which are central to communicating groundbreaking research. My website backs this up by showing my professionalism and experience.”
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