The Freelancer Balancing Act Between Committed and Stressed

I’m so extra.

One of my bookmarks is an article on the six natural resources that’ll run out. I do mental exercises so my mind is prepared for the pain if ever I’m a victim of anaesthesia awareness.

I don’t plagiarize, but I’ll take an article I wrote my damn self and run it through Copyscape just to be sure.

So it’s no surprise that I make content writing way more stressful than it needs to be.

The job I’ve created for myself since graduating is straightforward. A startup says, “We’re a startup that makes buttons. Can you write an article about fall fashion trends?”

Cool. I bang out an article. They’re happy. They pay me.

This is the part of the story where I’m supposed to move on with my life.

But I get overcome with guilt and intense pride, even if it was ghostwritten. How did the blog post do? Did it do what you wanted it to do? What are your content goals?

I get that a blog article is high up on the marketing and sales funnel and won’t have a high conversion rate.

I know I did the job I was paid for, and thank you very much for paying me on time.

But I’m still curious:

Was it good for you?

So I follow-up. I make suggestions. I get fidgety. Like someone who got attached after one date, I have to keep checking their social media channels, their blog, to see what they’re up to content-wise.

How are you doing? How are you DOING? HOW ARE YOU DOING?

Give away too much and you’ll have a nervous breakdown

It’s a delicate balancing act though.

When you write for a larger company, they have a very clear role carved out for you as their freelancer.

“You write this, you submit it on this date, we pay you. We literally do not need your opinion about anything else we’re doing. There is someone whose job title is that specific sliver of advice you think you’re blessing us with.”

But with startups it’s different. In most instances, so long as you aren’t obnoxious about it, they welcome your suggestions. Not because they aren’t capable of figuring things out for themselves, but because they have no time to think about it. They’re trying to keep the lights on and convince people to give them money so they can stop stressing about keeping the lights on.

They can barely breathe, let alone think about a data-driven content strategy.

But here’s where the balancing act comes in. You end up giving away more than you should, and if you aren’t careful it leads to exhaustion, resentment, or even irritation on the part of the client who never asked for all this extra effort and now feels burdened by your overcommitment.

New freelancers walk a fine line between adding value and stressing for no pay when no one asked them to.

I think I’ve struck a balance, but it took some time.

Add value but demonstrate your worth with informational invoices

I’m not entirely opposed to free work, so long as it’s work that’s building value on top of a piece of paid work and the person you’re providing it for respects your time. But you have to communicate that it’s a complimentary offer very clearly.

The best way to do this is by sending informational invoices. If you throw in a brief summary they can use when they share the article on Facebook, include how much it would have cost and just apply a discount on the subtotal. Another option is to simply point out how much this would have been worth when you send it along.

No matter what, make your worth crystal clear, baby. And a pox on anyone who belittles you for doing that.

Above all, if it gets exhausting, remind yourself that this extra thought is not paid thought and you can take a break guilt-free. This is easier said than done: Freelancers have autonomy and control over their schedule, but most find it difficult to “turn off”.

For me, I think the easy answer is that I should be working full-time for one company. I take a lot of pride in my work, and I don’t like a set-it-and-forget-it approach even if it’s just a teensy, tiny project.

But then I’d have to work on someone else’s terms. I’d have to “be the brand”. I’d have to look presentable every day, and I’m quite comfortable with my ragamuffin freelancer look, thank you very much.

Also: Fuck office politics.

How To Increase Likes For Your Company’s Facebook Page

“Why should people care about my company’s Facebook page?”

Asking yourself this question while planning your Facebook marketing strategy is a surefire way to make the right decisions.

If you already have a buyer persona then you’re off to a good start since targeting the right people instead of screaming into the digital void is essential. But once you’ve got that, here’s what you can do to get that preferred audience to pay attention.

Create a Schedule and Post Consistently

People “like” a page because they expect that page to provide daily content. Posting consistently sets your page up as a source of regular, useful information. Many businesses fail to update their networks.

Running your company’s social media page seems easy until you realize just how much there is to do. I’m of the opinion that shorter blurbs are harder to write than longer blog posts. With a higher word count, you have more room to hide the crap. With social media, your mediocre sentences lie pathetic and naked in full view.

Throw in the fact that you have to source images that are both good and free, select appropriate hashtags without spamming users, plus come up with good ideas multiple times a day and you can understand why companies hire entire teams to manage their channels.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Choose consistency over frequency and slowly build as you have more great ideas to share.

Put Up Stuff People Actually Care About

There are a lot of terms for this – engaging, interactive, click-worthy – but all it really means is that your content should be things people care about. If you’re an insurance company, people don’t want six posts a day about how you’re the best insurance company in the country. Instead, relate it to things they care about in their life.

An article about the average amount car insurance goes up every month? Boring.

A list of all the things someone could buy with the money they save by switching to your car insurance? Interesting.

Want people to care even more? Put things in a format they have time to consume. Let’s say someone does want to know what they could buy with the money they save switching to your insurance plan. Despite their interest, they’re so busy that they tell themselves they’ll read the article after work. They’ll either completely forget about it or not bother looking for it.

To address this problem, share information in a digestible, visual format. A colourful chart or graphic is not only eye-catching, but it’s also easier to read in a rush.

Rep Your Facebook Page Everywhere Online

Wrote a blog post? At the end, encourage readers to like your Facebook page to read the latest content. Include links that allow readers to share your articles online. Include social plugins to your Facebook page on your website.

When you share your Facebook page on your personal network, be sure to do so with a piece of content that is interesting to your friends and family, so it’ll catch their attention as well.

Share Images Regularly

Someone casually scrolling through their Newsfeed is more likely to stop and stare at a bright photo than they are to stop and read a block of text. Find bright, interesting photos to share on your Facebook page so that people will either like the photo or stop to learn more. That could mean reading the caption or clicking on the accompanying link.

Hit The Invite Button

Don’t be shy – hit the invite button. You have a community of friends, family, colleagues, and more who have heard about your business and want to stay updated. They will also feel more compelled to like and share your posts. This kind of engagement can bolster your page’s importance and relevance and increase the number of people Facebook shows your page to. Even if most of the people in your personal network aren’t your target customers, they may know people who are. You want your company to be top of mind.

Spruce Up Your Actual Facebook Page

Don’t forget to put some time into making your actual Facebook page look appealing. Be sure to include:

  • A profile picture. A clear image of your logo is the best option
  • A cover photo. Choose a photo that is clear and inviting. Smiling customers or a nicely staged photo of your product works.
  • Choose the right dimensions. Avoid posting a distorted profile or cover photo by abiding by Facebook’s dimensions.
  • Fill out all the information. Provide company hours, contact information, company description, and more. This increases the usefulness and professionalism of your page.

Use Contests and Coupons to Encourage Likes

If you have some room in your budget, offer a prize or free gift card to a lucky person. All they have to do to enter the contest is share the post and like your page. If they’ve already liked your page, they share the post thereby spreading the word to other people who are also compelled to hit “like”.

You can also offer discounts or coupons exclusively through Facebook, so that people have an incentive to like and follow your page for regular updates.

With close to two billion users, marketing on Facebook is unavoidable. And once you get your feet wet with simply posting on your page, you can dive into the wealth of paid advertising options available on the social media site. Since so many people use the platform, Facebook allows businesses to specify their advertising audience based on preferences and demographics. In the meantime, simply optimizing your Facebook page and posting regularly is an effective way to get into the habit of small business digital marketing.