If you’re interested in building up your base of direct clients, keeping up with your local business news is an essential part of the equation. In this economy, I think it’s easy to cross the business news off your list as “all doom and gloom” and therefore not worth reading. However, as today’s post in The Wealthy Freelancer points out, freelancers who want to do well in a down economy have to become adept at finding clients that are doing well despite or even because of the slow economy. Although my own work volume has been quite high in the past few months, I’m making a concerted effort to market my services to more direct clients, so I’ve delved into the world of local business news media.
Wherever you live, you’re nearly guaranteed to find at least one publication devoted to local business news. Here in the Denver metro area we have three such publications: the Northern Colorado Business Report, the Boulder County Business Report and the Denver Business Journal. All of these publications have a variety of free content on their websites, and at least one even offers a free daily e-newsletter with local business headlines. In just a few weeks of browsing these news sources, I’ve seen a few items that piqued my curiosity. In some cases, the news briefs highlighted companies that may or may not need translators, but that clearly work in my areas of specialization and are thriving, i.e. “Law firm growing while others shed staff.” This seemed like a good opening for a “Congratulations on your success! Just wanted to pass along my contact information in case you have a need for French to English legal translation services”-type e-mail.
In other cases, the business news got me thinking about broader marketing possibilities. For example, a recent feature story chronicled a German solar power company’s selection of Fort Collins, CO as the new base of its U.S. operations. Although I don’t translate German, I thought that the solar company might be worth a contact anyway, if only to let them know that they can hire highly-skilled translators and interpreters right here in Colorado. But I was actually more interested in the story of how Fort Collins “rolled out the red carpet” (as described by the city’s CFO) to recruit this German company. It had never occurred to me to market translation services to city finance/business development people, but this article made me realize that when overseas companies think about branching out in the U.S., city government employees are often their major points of contact.
In other cases, I think that the local business news can reveal the little-known international affiliations of some seemingly local companies. I recently learned that a “local” company that manufactures turboprop aircraft is actually the North American branch of a Swiss company, so I put them on my list of potential contacts too. So, whether you live in a major metro area or a rural hamlet, take a look at your local business publications if you’re looking for some new prospective clients!