Why Freelance Writers Should Create Their Own Brand

Freelance writers have a familiarity with crafting pitches and stories depending on the different publications that they are trying to reach, but what many have difficulty with is developing a unique identity beyond their lede when it comes to their professional persona.  Writers are born with an innate creative gene that allows them to tell stories in captivating ways and this talent could help define their career beyond the printed word.

It can be a daunting task writing pitch after pitch, trying to convince an editor to develop faith in your writing and publish your work; hopefully for pay.  In today’s market, many editors seek out freelancers who already have a dominant presence on the internet through their writing and beyond because they know that other publications trusted in their work and that their writing must be good enough to get them published.

With the economy in such a slump, crafting an online presence can mean the difference between paying rent or crashing on your friends couch for just another week.

Daily newspapers and online forums are closing regularly as the journalism market continues to change and publications have a difficult time keeping up.  Just this week it was announced that media kingpins The New York Post, The Daily News, and The Village Voice would be laying off employees due to financial hardships.  Editors are looking for new ways to bring attention to the content that they publish and seek out writers who are usually already established and can guarantee readership for their work.  It’s a tactic that ensures an audience beyond the publication’s readers.

In order to remain relevant in this competitive atmosphere, freelance writers need to take a creative approach when it comes to constructing their own unique brand.  Writers may be fearful, if not unwilling to expand their attention beyond writing to create an online presence or personal brand with the help of social media.  Old-school freelancers can be unwilling to embrace the changing dynamic of the journalism realm, swearing off social media as a passing trend.  It may be the thought that they chose journalism to write and only write, or unfamiliarity with social media platforms, but the time has come to embrace change.

The market is becoming increasingly competitive as many writers turn to freelance careers in lieu of a nine to five’s because they aren’t able to secure a position while unemployment is still high.   A professional brand is just the answer to ensure a successful future for your craft.

Creating and maintaining professional Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and Youtube or Vimeo accounts ensure that your work has a regular forum to reach the masses.  Posting articles, engaging in conversations, and speaking your professional mind shows that you have interest in new journalism and embrace changes when they come.  They also act as a portfolio for editors who are seeking freelancers who are not only great writers, but those who can engage an audience with their thoughts.

It’s important to note that that the success of creating your brand doesn’t only come from starting these profiles, but from maintaining them as well.  It won’t do you any good to have an abandoned profile with not recent activity or engagement as employers will think that you are either too lazy to keep conversations going, or that you are too unorganized to know that you have inactive profiles scattered throughout the internet.

As journalism is establishing its own identity, it’s necessary for you to do the same.  Publications are facing difficult times and need to establish a devoted audience to guarantee a successful future.  It takes time to craft and maintain these profiles, but in the end it will establish your brand as a forward thinking and flexible journalist.

About Sean Flynn

Sean Flynn is a recent graduate from City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. His work has appeared in The Buffalo News, Condé Nast Traveler, The New York Times 'Fort Greene Local', The Daily Meal, and FoxNews.com.
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