September's SPARK event focused on crafting an authentic brand story to build an audience and secure new clients across different social media channels.

Along with Freelancers Union, Megan Davis of SpendLove and Lamb - a social media coach and consultant - designed a dynamic curriculum for freelancers gathering in 18 cities across the United States to realize their brand story and start smart marketing strategies.

Did you miss the fun on September 2nd? Never fear: Megan Davis recaps the content here.

Don't forget to put next month's SPARK on your calendar!

October 7 SPARK: Make your contract your best business ally

Promoting your business online without defining your audience is like wearing a blindfold and shouting into a crowded party. You may get a few confused glances, but chances are you will be ignored or even worse, asked to leave.

Does this feel familiar? Are your tweets, posts and shares disappearing into cyberspace with little or no impact?

Let’s try a different approach. You walk into the party, scope the room for people who look interesting and approach them. You stand nearby and listen to what they are speaking about until you see an opportunity to join in the conversation.

It works that same way online. Think about the types of people you will be talking to. You must speak to a person, not the masses. If you write as if you are speaking to someone online they are very likely to respond.

The process of defining people you would like to speak to will save you time and energy as you target specific people. By exploring the needs of this person you will be able to connect with them better online. If they find the content you produce to be helpful they are likely to become a loyal fan.

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Start by identifying 3 types of people you would like to speak to. Think about what you do and how it relates to finding a type of person who ‘needs’ what you do.

It is often a good idea to start with people you are currently doing business with that you enjoy working with. Next choose someone who you would like to work with, but haven’t quite landed yet. For your last choice go for your pie in the sky dream client!

Get a pen and paper and write these people down. We are going to get started on building making these dreams a reality.

We must flesh out these types and make them into individuals by creating a profile illustrating their wants and needs. This is a process of creating insight into someone’s life to understand how you and this person can work together.

1. Type of Person

Think of an actual person that you know. It is often helpful to give them a name. The more real they are to you, the more you will understand how to speak to them! Let’s do one together and create a character named Sue. Sue is an art director at a small graphic design studio.

2. What Do They Need

Be sure to use the word ‘to’. This need is a problem this person has. For example saying, “Sue needs to hire a freelancer designer to assist with large projects” is a very different statement to “Sue needs a graphic designer”. See the difference? Using the word ‘to’ allows us to expand on why Sue needs us.

3. Your Insight Into Their Life

Why do you think Sue has this need? What is your insight into this person’s life? What opportunities is this person looking for? Remember this is about the person, what are their needs and not what you want them to do.

People often think they need something, but if you look deeper into their life, you will probably find their need comes from an entirely different place.

A true insight into someone’s life can often feel like a surprise, or even a contradiction to what you assumed about them previously.

Let’s revisit our statement, “Sue, an art director at a small graphic design firm needs to hire freelance designers when big projects come in.”

She has explained that she needs someone who can work independently without a lot of management. She and the rest of the team are very busy and need them to be able to jump in and get work done.

What is the insight here for Sue?

Sue needs to be sure of hiring a designer with experience working in teams. She has to be sure a freelancer can manage a workflow that includes many people.

To attract the Sues of the world explain in your bio or your project description in your online folio that you are used to working in teams to produce the featured work.

Now have a shot at constructing your own sentences for each of the three personas you would like to do business with.

(Person) needs a person to (x) because (Insight Into Their Life).

The great thing about this is it is a process that you can continuously tweak and make changes to. The more you learn about your clients the more you will understand how to attract them with the types of posts, language and content that you create to target these people.

The best way to get insight into your current or potential client’s life is to listen to them. Learn about what their needs are by sitting down over a cup of coffee and just simply ask.

You never know what the answers will be or where a cup of coffee could lead. A new collaboration, contact or client could come from this act of listening.

Any good relationship is built on mutual trust and respect. Learning how to care for your client’s leaves the act of selling behind and elevates you into the powerful realm of relationship building.

If you care for your client relationships you will never have to sell anything. Focus your social media and online content on your client’s needs and it will be hard to go wrong!

Looking for a more personalized approach? Book a Skype mentoring session with me for only $60 now through November 1st.

A well-planned digital strategy is a framework that connects you to people and organizations who need what you do. Megan Davis of SpendLove and Lamb is a social media consultant dedicated to helping people create the right voice for their online presence.