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Seven Ways to Position Yourself for Unlimited Work

As Junta42 continues to grow, we’ve started to branch out and hire freelancers and form partnerships. What I’ve learned through this process is that the way I make decisions on who I buy from or partner with has completely changed from just a few years ago.

Whether you are an experienced freelance writer, a journalist/editor in a media company or brand, or even a marketing professional, there are things you must be doing now to make sure the work is always there (whether you work for yourself or someone else). It saddens me to find that people who I worked with for years at Penton Media, so full of talent, have been unemployed for long periods of time.  This should have been avoided.

How you ask?  Below is a combination of how I make my own buying decisions and how people have found me in order to hire us.  If you follow this religiously, two years down the road you’ll have more work than you know what to do with.

  1. Define Your Expertise: Even if you consider yourself a generalist, you need an expertise area.  Find something, no matter how small or niche, that you can position yourself as the go-to-expert.
  2. Blog: I don’t hire anyone that doesn’t blog.  Understanding what it takes to create a successful blog, learn the value of social sharing, and be able to define ideas succinctly is a must have for any marketer (here’s some key blogging questions to ask yourself). Be consistent with your blogging…pick something you can do, but two-three times a week has worked well for me.  Seth Godin is amazing that he blogs EVERY day.  I can’t remember the last time he missed a day of blogging.
  3. Google Yourself: I don’t care if your name is John Smith, if someone types your name into Google and does not easily find a wealth of information about you, that’s bad news for your future career.  Take David Meerman Scott.  David started using the “Meerman” because David Scott was such a common name.  Type in David Meerman Scott into Google and you get 172,000 results.  Pretty impressive. That’s all him.I’m lucky because Joe Pulizzi is not the most common name, so my goal was to make sure I owned all the results on Page 1 for that Google search. Kudos to Joe Pulizzi III from Williamsport who makes it on Page 9 of the Google results as the first result that is not yours truly.Before anyone hires you or decides to call you in the first place, they’ll check you out (it’s almost expected now). What does Google say about you? Maybe you didn’t get the job because Google doesn’t know who you are.
  4. Focus on the Big Three (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn):  Build your network on these three by consistently producing great content (through your blog) and sharing it out on these social media sites.  Also be sure to share other’s content.  That will build your network the fastest. A growing fourth site is SlideShare (the YouTube for PowerPoint presentations).  Anytime you give a presentation in PowerPoint format, get it on your SlideShare site.  Good presentations spread fast.
  5. Plan now for Your Book:  Don’t shrug this one off.  A printed book is the best business card you can have. When you start or develop your blog, begin to think about writing pieces of chapters for your book.  After six months of blogging, you may have more than half a book done.
  6. Focus on the influencers in your Expert area: Find the 10-15 blogs that really matter to you and your niche and get active.  Read their posts…comment when you have something helpful to say.
  7. Give, Give, Give:  The answer to all these questions are yes.  Will you present at our next webinar?  Would you be willing to write a guest post for our blog?  Would you write an article for our next newsletter? Would you write me a recommendation on LinkedIn?Freelance writers especially find it hard to give all their expertise away.  If you are being strategic about it, frankly, you have to.  The last two freelancers we hired because they consistently blogged and shared content via Twitter. I never look at resumes anymore.

These are the key seven.  You’ll find more in this Secrets of Personal Branding Success post as well. If you need a little more help defining your niche area, this white paper on content marketing will really help.  It’s one of the few things we actually ask for registration on, but it’s worth it. And of course, the book Get Content Get Customers will help you with the whole package and provide case studies as well.

I’m urging you, especially if you have a full-time job that you feel is secure, to start doing this NOW.  I can share hundreds (yes, hundreds) of examples of people who thought they were secure, didn’t do the work above, and are now taking unemployment.  There is a ton of work out there, but it’s all going to the people who follow the seven steps above.

Good luck and make it happen.