There are lots of ways to share your expertise as a professional. And none of them have to do with what you list on your CV. After all, you don't introduce yourself to others online with the line, "Hi, my name is Paula. Here's my CV." That's why we need to think outside the box and use the reach of the world wide web to meet people where they are right now -- meaning, to talk to them in a way that makes sense with what they're seeking and the challenges they face -- and to show our expertise so that they can draw their own conclusions to hire us as translators and interpreters.
Here are a few ways you can do this with just a little bit of added effort and a sense of what your clients are looking for when they decide it's time to call in a professional.
Maintain a professional website that speaks directly to your translation or interpreting clients.
Having an up-to-date website seems pretty obvious to most professionals these days. But boy… if I had a dime for every translator who told me they don't have time to work on or update their website, I might be able to retire early from my own translation business. All jokes aside, the "up-to-date" bit is just the beginning. Having a website that clearly appeals to your ideal clients first and foremost is key. You may also want to seriously think about writing a blog for your clients. A blog is a wonderful way to drive traffic to your website and to demonstrate your expertise on a given topic. Who better to write a blog for your ideal clients than you? If you know who they are and what their challenges are, you can talk to them -- by way of your web copy and visuals -- in a way that will help them draw the conclusion that you are the right fit for them.
To read more about how your website is your best marketing tool, or how a blog can boost your online reach, check out Three Easy Ways to Drive More Traffic to Your T&I Website and Why Your Translation Business Needs a Blog. Or to learn how to transform your website into one that will speak to your clients, join the waitlist for my T&I Website Blueprint Course.
Update your LinkedIn profile and connect with potential translation or interpreting clients.
A lot of freelancers think of LinkedIn as a waste of time. The main thing I hear people saying is "I've never gotten any work from having a profile on LinkedIn." And my response is usually something along the lines of "When was the last time you logged in and updated your profile or tried to connect with someone?" Crickets.
Just like any online platform, LinkedIn can be incredibly useful if you put in a little effort and time to make it work for you. Share information often -- both your own, as well as posts from others. Write articles to share as well (did you know that LinkedIn has this feature?). Or better yet… take the ones you've written for your professional blog and share them on LinkedIn as an article. Try to post to LinkedIn or share something valuable for your ideal clients at least once a day. Remember, it's nice to share information by and for colleagues, but remember, they're not usually the ones paying you to translate or interpret for them. Do your best to post content aimed at those you work for (or those who you'd like to be working for!) on a regular basis.
For more information on how to use LinkedIn as a powerful marketing tool, check out How to Strategically Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Network and Business and How to Use LinkedIn as an Extension of Your Website.
Share valuable content.
I often get asked by colleagues what kind of content our clients would find valuable. And while I cannot speak for anyone else's clients, I can say that it's not as hard to figure this out as we make it. Here's what I do.
I think about my clients and who they are, what they struggle with, what their goals are, and where they hang out online. And then I think of how I can help them with their challenges, reaching their goals and how I can show up for them online. It's really that basic. From there, I decide how much content I want to share with them, how often and what type of content would provide value to them where they are right now in their business or organization. This could be an article I find online with a little note from me about something I think they'll find useful. It could be something I write myself because I cannot seem to find anything online that will be helpful in the way I think they would need at this time. Or it could even be a connection I make for them with a colleague or a professional in another industry who might be of service to them. I do it again and again.
You can do the same on social media, sharing original blog posts or articles, as well as those from others. You can do it in direct emails to clients by writing something as simple as "Hi, Jane. I wrote this short piece on "X" and I think it might help you decide how you want to handle the upcoming "Y" you all are working on." Or you could even send someone a book you just read that you think will be truly valuable to them in their work. Include a short handwritten note with it. These things are unexpected and always appreciated.
Yes, all of the items I mention here mean that you will have to go a bit above and beyond your normal work as a translator or interpreter. But in doing so, you have the ability to show others your expertise on a given topic or in a certain field. You'll also be able to show that you're keeping up with your specialization and that you dedicate time to doing so and to sharing that value with your clients. Above all else, it shows you care about what you do and about your clients.
No matter what you share or the means by which you do so, remember that you are the face of your business. So, before you share something with someone, whether through your website, LinkedIn profile or elsewhere, make sure you ask yourself this very important question first... "How will this serve others?" If you're not sure, save the idea for later and move on with another one that you are sure will be valuable to the person receiving it.
How do you show up for your clients or potential clients on a regular basis? What can you start doing today to show your clients the added value you bring to the business relationship?