Life as a creative –
We dream, we plan, and we execute.
We dream big.
But it takes more than that. In order to continue growing, we must invest. If you are producing the best work out there, but nobody sees it, where will it bring you?
Life in the freelance world is incredibly demanding – you must be a creative, a visionary, a do-er, a people person, and on the flip side you must be an accountant, a marketing manager and the chief operations officer. The growth of your company depends solely on you to make it happen.. and you want to make it happen.
Where to start?
There is no key answer to success in being ‘found.’
It simply requires going at it from all angles. Since there is never any guarantee or way of showing where new business is directly coming from, I try to touch all the bases.
Here are a few tactics that I utilize for investing in my growth as a photographer.
- Third Party Marketing Sites
- Client Relationships
- Word of Mouth
- Social Media & Blog Posts
I am not going to sit here and say that I completely fill all of these categories to the fullest, but I do continuously strive to work on all of these avenues of possible growth.
1. Search Engine Optimization
What is SEO? Search Engine Optimization is making sure that your website has the necessary ingredients to show up in relevant searches and to put you at the top of the list. It requires adding keywords and tags to your photographs and pages so that when a potential client searches for somebody to satisfy their needs, you will be the answer to that. SEO is a bit more extensive than simply adding metadata, but that is a good start. Watch this video for a more in depth explanation and guide to improve your rankings on the internet.
2. Third Party Marketing Sites
There are numerous third party marketing sites that will showcase your work and put it in the eyes of those who are looking. I use a third party site called Found. Advertising agencies and companies can browse Found Artists and look for a photographer that matches their brand’s vision and reach out to hire them. By showing your work on this site, you gain exposure to various commercial companies, ad agencies, and potential clients. You do have to pay for these services, but sometimes you have to pay to play. When it all comes down to it, this is an investment for your future. Some other sites that I am looking into are BLVD Artists, Wonderful Machine and Workbook. They all have their various pros & cons, but it’s all about finding out what works best for you.
Found creates a workbook and sends it out to advertising agencies and other potential commercial clients. Here are a couple workbooks that I was featured in:
3. Social Media Sites & Blogging
Social media, social media, social media.. We all fall victim to spending our time on these various social channels. Sometimes we get carried away into the social media rabbit holes, but sometimes our connecting is powerful, productive and beneficial. Sometimes we are looking at inspiration or searching for people to work with. Other times, potential clients are searching photographers’ portfolios through their social media channels. Either way, it has become quite a part of this creative and networking world. For photographers in 2017, Instagram is your very own digital portfolio. It is like walking around with a briefcase of prints that the entire world can see from the tap of a screen. What do you want it to say? What do you want the world to see you as? How do you want to connect with those who are looking at your work? These are all valuable questions, but for starters, it is most important to get your work out there. Put your self out there and post your work!
4. Client Relationships
I imagine that we can all agree how important it is to make sure that your client leaves happy. The next step up from this takeaway is that they must leave with an outstanding impression of you. You must stick out in their mind. There are an endless number of photographers and freelance creatives, that if you do not make an impact on your client, you may miss the next opportunity if somebody else strikes their fancy. One way that I invest in my growth as a photographer is through maintaining and nourishing client relations. Even after a project is complete, I make sure to stay in touch with clients and give praise where praise is due. If I am going to post the work that I did for a client, I make sure to showcase their product/service and thank them for working together. Not only does this help you stay relevant in their mind for the next assignment, it also leaves you as their go-to recommendation to others. Speaking of that…
5. Word of Mouth
Create a buzz. Get the people talking. Even if your clients are commercial companies, you still need to post on social media. You still need to stay in the eyes of the people. In reality, companies are run by people and if people are talking about your work, then at some point, it will get into the right hands to make something big happen. Word of mouth is such a powerful tool that does not cost a dime. If you are posting on social media, blogging, networking and connecting with past clients, somebody is bound to talk about you to a friend, investor, client, or business partner. This is the exact reason why it is so very important that you make a positive impact on your past clients as well. You do create a reputation, as does any brand. When a past client is asked the question, “Have you worked with any noteworthy photographers that I could contact?” What would you like their response to be? Make an impression, stay relevant, and give the people something to talk about. That is where future business comes from. Get the people talking.
These are just a few options to get your business out there. The goal is have clients seek out your work. By utilizing these helpful tools, you can stay relevant and available in the eyes of the consumer and have clients calling you to work for them. Work smarter. Get found.
I would love to hear about any other methods that you use to create growth in your company. Please feel free to strike up conversation in the comments section below!