As a freelancer, credibility is one of the most important things you have going for you. If you have a high degree of credibility, you can get in front of more prospects and create more clients. The question is, where do you start?
Why Credibility Matters
Credibility has always mattered in the business world. However, you could argue it’s even more important for freelancers who lack corporate backing or the support and stability of an employer. And in an age where millions of professionals are leaving salaried positions to strike out on their own, competition is heating up.
Almost everyone thinks they can write. People assume that being a freelance writer is easy to work – something that can be done on the side until you figure other things out. But truth be told, that’s the mindset of a below-average freelance writer. If you want to build a career, you have to be fully committed.
Prospective clients want to know that they’re working with professional, committed, and skilled professionals. The problem is that many have been burned by lazy and unprofessional writers in the past. So in addition to evaluating skills, clients are looking at credibility when it comes to vetting and hiring freelance writers. And if your credibility jumps off the page, well, let’s just say that bodes well for your chances of getting the job.
6 Tips for Increasing Credibility
Credibility is about trust, stability, and authenticity. It’s basically a measure of you being who you say you are. And if you want to increase and communicate your credibility, there are a few steps you can take in a positive direction:
1. Design a Compelling Website
Any good freelance writer needs a compelling website. It doesn’t have to be complicated or incredibly thorough, but it should communicate a clean and professional brand.
A good website is simple. It should feature no more than one to five different pages – typically a home page, about page, portfolio, and blog. Show your face with pictures and video, articulate a unique selling proposition (USP), and give people a taste of your work.
2. Constantly Update Your Portfolio
Most freelancers create a portfolio and then forget about it. But to be credible in the marketplace, it’s imperative that you continually add to it over time. As your skills improve, you may also want to redact older pieces that are no longer indicative of your best work.
3. Gather (and Share) Testimonials
Any time you write for a new client and they’re happy with your work, consider asking for a testimonial about your services. Then use these testimonials on your website, in your portfolio, and as part of your pitch to new clients.
4. Go the Extra Mile
There are plenty of freelance writers with compelling websites, rich portfolios, and impressive testimonials. And while you absolutely need these ingredients, the recipe for credibility often requires some additional spice.
Look for ways to go the extra mile. One example is to print your own book with writing samples, biography information, and testimonials. Then mail this book to prospective clients (or bring a copy with you if doing an in-person interview). Doing something tangible will set you apart from the competition and make you more memorable.
5. Have an Established Fee Structure
Every business has a clear and documented fee structure to present to a prospective client when the time is right. As a freelancer, you need your own established fee structure that you’re confident in.
It’s always possible to discount your prices (or even increase them) in certain situations. However, having an established fee structure gives you the confidence to approach any pitch or opportunity with vision and clarity.
6. Stick to Your Processes
Amateurs let circumstances dictate how they respond. They ebb and flow with each prospective client and opportunity – trying to figure out the perfect response for every situation. Professionals already have pre-established processes. Not only that, but they’re consistent with how they use them.
When you show up with an established process, it shows the client this isn’t your first rodeo. It oozes confidence, which makes you seem more credible in their eyes.
Win More Clients
Communicating your credibility is the first key to winning more freelance writing clients. Then it’s your job to continue delivering on the credibility you’ve communicated. Consistently meeting and exceeding expectations will give you a chance to build a successful career that blossoms over time.