Most of our readers know that we believe in the power of the Web 2.0 for business purposes. At our workshops and presentations, we always encourage our colleagues to explore the endless opportunities of these new technologies and to use them to their advantage. Something we highly recommended is writing a blog. If this sounds like work (and it is, no doubt about that), think again: your blog doesn't necessarily have to be related to translating or interpreting (although we'd love to see more blogs in our field). Why? Because decision-makers in large, medium or small companies (= your potential clients) are people like us: they have hobbies.
Let’s say that a passionate gardener, who happens to be the director of marketing at a large international company, really enjoys reading X’s highly insightful blog about gardening. The director of marketing will, at some point, want to know who pens her favorite blog. She will look at the “About me” page and learn that the gardening expert is actually a translator. At that point, the marketing director might remember she had been meaning to look for a translator for an upcoming project. Translator X will be a natural choice for her, not because the marketing director has any idea of translator X’s expertise as a linguist, but because she knows her as a regular, highly professional blogger and she will assume that translator X is equally reliable as a linguist.
It recently happened to Dagy, who blogs about the new German orthography. One of her loyal readers contacted her about a large translation project two days ago and confirmed her quote the same day. The reader of the blog assumed, rightly so, that Dagy is just as professional and knowledgeable a translator as she is a blogger. The same would definitely have been true if her blog weren't language-related, but, say, dedicated to scrap booking. Give it try! Blog about something you are passionate about, share your thoughts with the world and connect with like-minded people. Although of course it's never guaranteed -- and getting business probably shouldn't be your main motivation -- you might be surprised by the positive, if long-term effect on your business. We recently read Jost Zetzsche's interview in the ATA's Chronicle (conducted by Marcela Jenney), where he discusses his outstanding free biweekly newsletter on technology for translators. He mentioned that folks hire him as a translator "because of the consistency of the newsletter, there is the message that I'm reliable and consistently produce results." If it works for Jost, it could work for you.