So you’ve decided to rebrand your online profiles or professional website. You grab a cup of coffee, sit down and start doodling some new logo ideas and writing about yourself.
Not a lot of people like writing about themselves. In fact, when writing copy and branding for clients, I find it 5 times easier than writing about myself. When working for someone, I can assess all the information they give me and produce the best outcome possible to try and attract their audience, paint the best picture, and so on. I really want them to win. But when it comes to writing about myself it kinda feels like “Hi, I’m Meg and, um, yeah I do webdesign and copy, would you like some?”. I’m sure you know the feeling.
But before you go into just producing new texts, it is good to take a step back and think about your brand as a whole.
Imagine a potential client, let’s call her Lisa, who is a marketing manager for a group of restaurants. Lisa is looking for a freelance translator who can translate their whole website, menus, assets, social posts into Italian [for example]. Lisa doesn’t speak Italian, so it is even harder for her to assess who will be good for a job to keep up the excellent reputation of the restaurant chain in central London and communicate with her Italian clientele. Lisa doesn’t care about cost, she’s ready to invest. She could approach an agency, but they are looking for someone who will have an ongoing relationship with them and possibly also to help deal with Italian translations on a daily basis.
What is it that she might be looking for?
She’ll be looking for someone she can trust. Someone who will take all her texts into capable hands and will provide the results she wants. Someone who knows how to translate those kinds of assets and who will advise her on the best way to communicate with the Italians living in and visiting London. Someone who will solve her problem.
– She might just Google for a search term “Italian translator in London”. Scope a few websites. Naturally, she’ll gravitate towards user-friendly, finished products and not something outdated, with incomplete information and a security warning on page one (you do that too when googling!).
Tip: When putting your website out there, ensure it is a finished, full product. It doesn’t matter how big or small it is. If it looks wonky and unfinished, the trust factor is not carried over. If the copy is excellent but lacks design it won’t be as effective as it could. If the design is great but the copy is full of typos, it won’t project a professional image either. The design and copy don’t have to be overwhelming, but it’s just not good if it’s underwhelming. Make it complete and balanced.
– She would then check out your services, look at what you specialise in, quick look at the portfolio, check, you’ve done some website translations, brilliant!
Tip: Use an approachable writing style, the style that works for you and how you want to be perceived. Feel comfortable with it but think about other people having to read it. Use shorter texts for branding elements that go directly to the client and are not blog posts. And then use a unified style across all your communications.
– She just saw your smiley picture on the contact page, so that’s a good sign! This person looks friendly. She looks like she’s got it! I’m confident she will be able to help me.She’s sent you a message asking for availability.
Tip: Professional photos really go a long way. Think about how you look for services online, or when you get a reply from someone who has a smiley photo in their email signature. It has a more of a subconscious impact, people really don’t spend a lot of time thinking about them, but the whole nature of communications automatically changes to a more friendly and positive approach. Get a set of professional shots done, ideally matching your audience (it can be something outdoorsy and creative if you’re translating travel and marketing, or office photoshoot if you’re translating a lot of legal) and pick a few photos on your roster so that you can project a unified image across all platforms, email included.
– She then also clicked at your LinkedIn profile link – similar picture, great, verifiable. Same logo as on your website. Good experience, some really nice testimonials – she seems trustworthy. Let’s wait for a reply!
Tip: It is important that if you have a few bits of your online presence, such as the website, online CV, LinkedIn profile, Xing profile, Proz profile – that they all correspond with each other by having similar tone of voice, info that checks out across all profiles, similar photos, logo and/or brand colours that are unified. By doing this you will build a strong brand and foundation for clients to trust you. And that really is what you want. They will be more likely to buy from you, if they can trust you.
– You replied but were in a rush and although you didn’t mean to, suddenly your reply comes off as curt and quite short. Is this the same person I was reading about online?
Tip: When choosing the tone of voice for your brand communications, or if you have them written for you, make sure that it corresponds with your natural tone and if necessary, adjust your day to day comms to match the projected image, especially if you think it will work better in getting new assignments. If you’re not used to writing ‘How are you?’ or ‘Have a lovely day’ but are suddenly working with a large British client, who does that constantly, try to adjust your ways. Email comms are a part of your branding! Insider info: when working with translators at an ad agency, we always chose the ones with whom the communication was easy, fluent, positive, and – not rude (you’d be surprised, and I don’t just mean an occasional curt response).
– Lisa gives you a call to discuss and due to your professionalism on the phone, her initial worries disappear. It’s the same person from the photo alright! You set up a meeting in one of her restaurants and take it from there.
Tip: Dress to impress if you have an opportunity – make sure your professional outfit matches the general look and feel you want to project. Bring a CV / portfolio / leaflets / business cards with you that match the rest of the online assets that Lisa has already seen. Make sure you know which projects you can show her from your portfolio that match her expectations. How does she know you’re good? Show her the testimonials, or if you have a good client who’s willing to help, connect her with them to ask for reference herself. What else you can do for her? Maybe you have enough cultural insight to recommend a banner campaign in some Italian online publications.
– You then proceed to send her an official quote for the first assignment and begin. When the work is done, you send her an invoice and leave it at that.
Tip: Have a package of proposals, estimates, invoices looking professional, with the same branding, colours, details. It can be quite confusing when the estimate and invoice have different details or addresses, different logos, colours – it just doesn’t look thought through and raises doubts. Spend a few hours on perfecting those elements of your customer service and you’ll have them all ready to use later. And remember about follow-up emails! Ask Lisa what else she may need, are there any projects in the pipeline that you may be suitable for. Send her a thank you note.
Make it easy for her. Seamless. Trustworthy. Make it whole.
Do you take time to work on your marketing and branding?
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