Web development often comes down to a choice between content and outreach. In the modern world, both can be considered "marketing" in the sense that they maintain or attract an audience. But what if there was a way to do both at the same time?
The Power of the Freelancer
Leveraged incorrectly, freelancers are a great way to ruin your brand with inconsistent messages, sloppy work, or by letting them become a money pit. But used properly, a freelancer brings talent and expertise to the table that you can't foster in-house. And there's a bonus.
Freelancers can be a great source of links, and not just because they produce great content.
How it Works
The gist of it is pretty simple.
- Commission a freelancer who has built an online reputation by producing great work.
- Publish their great work on your site and promote it through the usual channels.
- Ask the freelancer to link to the content from their own site.
Pretty basic, right? Of course, we're not going to let you walk away without giving you more to go off of than that.
Where to Look
When most of us hear "content" we think text, but there's also video, photos, infographics, audio, software, and so on. That's why you shouldn't always be looking in the same place for freelancers.
Whenever you find a promising freelancer, be sure to check out their site or blog for a decent online following and search engine authority. In some cases, you can settle for a strong social media presence instead.
Here are a few places to look.
Google - You know the drill by now. Google broad industry keywords, look for bloggers, make them an offer.
Flickr - This is a great place to find photographers. Check out the top pics. Keywords aren't so important when it comes for photography.
Deviant Art - A Good place to find photographers, illustrators, graphic designers, and all types of visual artists.
WordPress.org - A good place to start if you're looking for somebody to develop some web tools.
Visual.ly - The perfect place to find graphic designers, especially for infographics.
Vimeo - It's like YouTube, but with higher standards. Search for freelance video talent here.
Twitter - Try searching for bloggers here if you're having trouble finding them through Google. A good place to find writers who love to interact and who may be more responsive than those found via Google.
No matter what channel you use, the way that you approach outreach is important.
- Offer value. Just because you're offering payment, don't assume the freelancer will jump at the chance to do anything for you.
- Appeal to the ego. Applaud the freelancer for their work, not their social media profile or search engine authority.
- Start with what you want. If you butter them up before you tell them what you want, it feels cheap. Start with what you want from them, then congratulate them on a few things, and follow up with a few details like payment and the link you're hoping for.
Have you tried using freelancers as a source of links in addition to content? Any obstacles that we didn't touch on in the article?
Image credit: Muffet