Content, Freelancing, Personal Branding, and everything in between: in conversation with Shreya Pattar

Everything you should know before starting out as a freelance content writer!



3 years ago | 7 min read

What’s the most important thing a content writer should keep in mind?

How to start out as a freelancer?

Which platforms can help freelancers get more clients and how to establish your personal brand on these platforms?

Shreya Pattar, a copywriter and content writer, talks about content, freelancing, branding, and much more in this exclusive interview with CoFoundersTown!

Q. What kind of new jobs have been created due to this content revolution that didn’t exist some 12-15 years ago?

One of the main changes in the world of content has been the nature of the content being consumed. Right now we are seeing an increase in video content like Instagram Reels and Tiktok.

Especially now during the pandemic, people are more interested in live webinars, online presentations, and video courses. So content writing is being used in the creation of video scripts and video content, which may be a new tangent in the content writing job.

Q. What are some common mistakes people make while starting their journey as a content writer?

Some of the common mistakes that people make are absurd, and they don’t even realize they are committing them. If you want to be a content writer, you have to write.

Get up and do things yourself. Get involved in the entire process of writing. Experiment and figure out things yourself.

Many new freelancers and content writers feel entitled to ask questions and get answers to all their doubts and confusion. It’s a continuous cycle of wanting to be spoon-fed with responses.

If you really want to go hard in content writing or freelancing, you should learn to make your own mistakes by giving it a shot yourself. Stop looking for advice and start writing. Be confident in making your own mistakes.

Q. What’s that one single most important thing one should keep in mind as a content writer?

As a newcomer in any industry, you need to realize that your goal is to help people solve a problem that they cannot solve themselves.

So as long as you are writing content with correct grammar, punctuation, vocabulary, and form semantically correct statements, then all you need to do as a content writer is to find someone who either cannot write for themselves or does not want to write for themselves and make them pay for your services.

You don’t need the expertise to succeed as a content writer, you simply need to solve the problems of individuals and brands.

Q. More and more individuals now want to work independently and be their own boss. However, in a country like India, freelancing is still a relatively new term. What are some major challenges you see individuals facing in countries where freelancing is relatively new?

Choosing to be a freelancer requires many people to leave their jobs and put their financial security at stake. The decision becomes all more difficult if too many people are dependent on you financially.

In this sense, big challenges arise even before becoming a freelancing. Then, of course, dealing with the entire independence and 100% responsibility of freelancing is challenging.

Another challenge is the fact that freelancing is overwhelmingly packed at the entry-level. Getting through the initial 1-2 years is one of the most important and challenging phases in the career of any freelancer. Keep up with yourself. Be strong enough to ignore everything else to make it past beyond the first two years of your freelancing life. Do your best to overcome all the challenges in the initial stages.

Q. While starting out as a freelancer, many individuals find themselves in the middle of “You lack experience vs You need a project to get experience”. How to start out the freelancing journey?

One of the first things I did while starting out as a freelancer was to put out all the content I had created until then, in my portfolio. At that point, I had created lots of LinkedIn posts and I was getting fairly good engagement on the platform.

In fact, some of my earliest leads came in the form of inbound leads on LinkedIn, and the posts they saw were enough to show my skills. With time, I was able to build trust & credibility, and with more projects, I was able to strengthen my portfolio.

So, if you have some existing content, use that until you have projects to show in your portfolio. If you don’t have any existing content, start creating articles, blogs, social media posts, and other content, and use them to showcase your skills.

Q. Personal branding earlier used to be associated with athletes, models, and celebrities. But now, it’s becoming more and more prominent in the business ecosystem. Why should freelancers work on their personal brand?

Building a personal brand is not all about having an influence on people, having a large number of followers, or having a strong digital presence. Today, your virtual presence and personal brand are strong indicators of who you are. A personal brand is something that gives you the identity and the credibility of being who you are and doing what you do.

I create content because I love doing that and since I am doing things I absolutely love, people reach out to me because they believe that the person on the other side of their phone is real. And that’s how you gradually build your personal brand.

Instead of focusing on building your personal brand, focus on getting your best personal self out there online, start doing what you love, and the credibility will soon come along.

Q. Which platforms can help freelancers get more clients and how to establish your personal brand on these platforms?

Different platforms might work differently for different individuals.

Back in high school, I created profiles on platforms like Fiverr, Freelancer, and Upwork but never used them actively. A few years later, I started out on LinkedIn and it started working for me.

Linkedin got me leads, clients, helped me build myself, and share my content. Just a few months ago, I started out on Instagram and it is bringing me leads and boosting my visibility, and has allowed me to explore a different genre of content (videos).

You have to figure out which platform works best for you, which brings you the desired results, helps you in boosting your credibility, and gives you the scope of creating the kind of content you love creating.

Experiment with different platforms, explore the possibilities of creating content on different platforms, start using them, and find out what works best for you!

Q. What have been the key strategies you used to establish your digital presence as a prominent freelancer?

When I started creating content, I had nothing on my mind except doing what I love — writing. I started writing and putting my content on Linkedin, and it worked. It worked because people were reading it, people were enjoying it, it was creating value for the readers. That’s when I decided that LinkedIn is working out and I am going to keep doing it.

When I started out on Instagram, I explored the Instagram Live feature and realised that it was fun, engaging, and it was again creating value for the people.

Although I haven’t explored everything yet (like podcasts), all the things I have done so far are simply because I loved doing them.

Authenticity has always been the key for me. Being authentic about who I am and what I care about has helped me create meaningful content. This, in turn, has helped me come up with content that resonates with people.

Q. Over the years, many individuals have successfully used ebooks to get more clients and enhance their online presence. You had an ebook published recently. Why have ebooks been so effective and why should a freelancer give a serious thought at making one?

My aim with the ebook was neither to get clients nor to enhance my online presence; my aim was simply to create something.

Creating an ebook is not necessary for all freelancers but you have to allow yourself to be at a point where you really want to do such things all by yourself.

I wanted to create an ebook for a while but I did it only when I was really headstrong about it and felt it is the right time to do it NOW.

An ebook is definitely a good way to create a product; it’s a good way to showcase other sides of writing; it’s a good way to show your commitment.

Creating an ebook is a project in itself. It includes writing, editing, designing cover pages and layouts, marketing, selling, and a lot of various other things. So, if you are able to create and sell ebooks successfully, you can create ebooks for your clients too, and help them in adding things to their marketing funnel and boosting their sales.

Q. What should be the thought process while planning to get your own ebook? What are some marketing strategies that could help in getting your ebook a good reach after it’s published?

Ruthless and selfish self-promotion is the best way to market any product. If you have released an ebook, you should keep talking about it through social media posts, videos, stories, messages, newsletters, webinars, and everywhere else possible. Make people aware of it.

The only way to increase sales is to make something like this exist in the first place. Paid ads may also help boost your sales, but either way, promote yourself.

Q. To everyone planning to start out his/her freelancing journey, what would you like to advise them?

Stop asking for advice, start writing, make your own mistakes, and start learning from them.

Soak in all the information you get online, consume more content, and watch more videos.

I would recommend all the newbie freelancers to check out my IGTV videos in which I have covered various freelancing topics in depth. Check out my e-book #Anthology which has various tips on freelancing, writing, growing on LinkedIn, and many more such topics, along with 50+ cues for writing LinkedIn posts.


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