This post is written by Nicole Y Adams from NYA Communications
Why does a translator need PR?
When we hear ‘public relations’, or ‘PR’, we usually think of celebrities or large corporations and don’t typically associate it with freelance professionals. Freelancers might think PR would be over the top for us one-man bands. These days, there are a myriad of courses on business and marketing for translators, but none on translator PR. Marketing is of course essential, but we need to bear in mind that while marketing is all about the brand, PR is about the story behind the brand.
Every business, no matter how large or small, ultimately depends on its reputation in order to survive and thrive in the market. Customer and journalist opinions of a business can all have a powerful impact. In fact, in today’s competitive market and uncertain economic climate, reputation can be a business’s biggest asset. As a freelancer, it is the one factor that can make you stand out and give you a competitive edge. What’s more, successful PR is the biggest exposure you can get for the smallest possible outlay. PR is ideal for freelance translators who wish to drive traffic to their website, get people talking about them, position themselves as experts, boost awareness of their brand and of course make potential clients aware of their existence.
What are the best and most cost-effective PR activities for freelance translators?
- Interviews: Keep your eyes open for interview series that feature professional translators, or look out for potential interview opportunities in publications read by your target clients, perhaps an industry-specific publication read by clients who buy translation services.
- Press releases: Whenever something changes in your business, publish a press release to make the public aware of the change, and of your business in general. Do you now offer a new language combination or have you added a new service to your portfolio? Let people know about it! My favourite free press release distribution site is PRLog (http://www.prlog.org).
- Reviews (of books or translated works): Have you come across any publications that may be of interest to your peers or clients in your industry? Take the time to draw up a review and send it to relevant websites and associations with a request for publication, ideally accompanied by your bio with a link to your business website.
- Quotes: Look for opportunities to be quoted as an expert in relevant publications. This can be your local newspaper, translator association newsletters or trade magazines.
What are the top five PR strategies for freelance translators?
1) Ready-made pitch:
Put together your personal pitch template so you always have it at hand when a PR opportunity arises. This should be a basic draft that can be adapted to the different requirements of each opportunity, and it should include details such as your services, your target audience and your unique selling point. Be sure to also include a link to your press page or media kit. If you need inspiration, visit the pitch generator at Buzzuka (https://buzzuka.com).
2) Contact list:
Research the web and put together a list of websites, publications or colleagues that you think may potentially be interested in publishing a story about your business or featuring you as an expert. Find out the name of the person responsible rather than using generic email addresses.
3) Press page with media kit:
Create a dedicated page on your website where you list all your previous media appearances, such as interviews, guest blog posts, articles, and newspaper coverage. It also pays to create your own media kit and make it available for download on your press page. A media kit is a short document or zipped folder that contains your bio, images, contact details, links to other press coverage or publications, and your business achievements. The more memorable and visually appealing the better! This makes it easy for journalists or other interested parties to simply download all the details they’re after without needing to spend a lot of time firing emails back and forth.
4) Guest blog posts:
Identify at least three blogs that are read by colleagues or your target audience, and ask the owner if they’d be interested in publishing a guest post by you. While it’s obviously important to make your clients aware of your existence, it’s also essential that fellow freelance translators know who you are and what you specialise in. Translators very often recommend colleagues to their clients if they are unable to take on an assignment – and to recommend you, they need to know who you are!
5) Public speaking:
There is no better way to boost your public profile than speaking at events. Check for opportunities with local business organisations or translator associations, or try to secure a speaking gig at industry events. This will not only boost your credibility but also result in some excellent networking opportunities.
In a nutshell
Think of PR as a means of indirect advertising. Although you are not marketing your services directly, attention is drawn to you and your business, and colleagues and potential clients become aware of your existence and begin to consider you an expert in your field. As a result, they may contact you the next time a translation in your area of specialisation is required.
For more information on PR for translators, please download a free copy of The Little Book of PR for Translators here: http://bit.ly/1jH3HVk
Nicole Y. Adams is a certified and publicly appointed German/English marketing, communications and public relations translator with 10 years of experience in translating, editing, and project and quality management. She holds a Masters in Contemporary English Language and Linguistics from the University of Reading, UK, and is also a certified public relations consultant. Nicole has worked as a freelance translator since 2003 and, as a qualified member of the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs, also offers business coaching to help and inspire new freelance translators to grow their businesses. She is the author of Diversification in the Language Industry – Success beyond translation and The Little Books for Translators series and lives with her family in beautiful Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.nyacommunications.com.
For more information and help to create a marketing plan and get your year started right, check out the Quick Start Guide – 8 steps to a marketing plan for translators.