Though you may not realize it, you are most likely judging the book by its cover when you approach a profile to hire a freelance writer. Sure, you read through the qualifications, achievements and certifications, but how important are the profile pictures as you browse?
We all want to work with someone we relate to and the picture is the first way we do this. Often photos are reminiscent of things in our past or convey subconscious feelings about personality, professionalism and ability.
Reliability vs Innovation
No matter how professional the writing, most businesses find a creative angle works best in content marketing. While some content, such as press releases, may not require a creative angle, ingenuity in writing is typically what sets your business apart from competition writing on the same subjects.
A profile picture can look very generic or present a different spin on what professional looks like. You may find yourself drawn to a picture that is flattering and creative but still maintains a professional appearance. Professional and creative are not on opposite ends of the spectrum.
An important part of a profile picture for a professional is looking their best. Messy hair, bad lighting and frumpy surroundings are never good for a professional industry shot. You might correlate the amateurishness of the image to the writer’s ability because it may show a lack of connection to reality or understanding of the market you are approaching.
Energy and Disposition
Without even thinking about it, you are probably already assessing the small amounts of information you have gathered from the picture – do they seem uptight or lazy? You might be forming a conclusive idea of personality based off of just one picture. The writer could seem energetic, friendly, boring, artistic or a number of other things. You may associate their appearance with someone else you know, and automatically assume they have a similar disposition.
Things Aren’t Always What They Seem When You Hire a Freelance Writer
It might be worth noting that some writing professionals do not have the means to get a professional photo or they are technical writers and don’t apply a creative approach to their picture. While a profile picture might serve as the closest thing you will have as a window into the content writer’s soul, don’t consider it a deal breaker. You might be surprised that the unappealing or amateur profile picture that begins to turn you away is really the face of a professional writer who will blow your socks off.
I have shot photography professionally for years, including sports, weddings and portrait photography. When it comes to professional portraits, the first appearance makes a big impression. Writers should carefully consider the effect their picture will have on potential clients, while clients should keep in mind how a photo might be impacting their decisions.
Coming from an art background, I consider a profile picture to be highly important and say a lot about a writer. I would encourage writers to have a professional picture taken or take a creative picture of themselves that expresses who they are as a writer. You don’t get many opportunities to impress while a client browses for a writer, so you won’t want to miss out on this one.
Alethea M is a corporate blogging guru and freelance writer for WriterAccess. She often uses interesting facts from her article research to impress friends at dinner parties. Her husband is her biggest fan — though this may be because her writing income allows her to share in bill-paying each month.