No matter how great your work is, sometimes it just needs that extra push to enable people to find it. You don't need to be able to afford expensive agency services, though. There are things that you can do yourself to boost your profile, get your name popping up in Google search results, and create a solid reputation for yourself in your field.
Once you've refined your personal brand as a creative, there are some easy ways that you can make it work for you. We live in the age of self-promotion, and with a little bit of time and effort, you can do it promote yourself for free as a way to complement your own brand.
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It’s important for designers, illustrators and other creatives to have an easily findable profile, especially as a freelancer. As well as showing off your talents, it can offer more opportunities to collaborate, a better idea of what is going on in the industry and an improved likelihood of being considered for commissions or projects.
There are various ways to create and collate a public profile, and speaking in articles, on panels, in presentations, on podcasts, on TV, radio and other mediums is a great way to get noticed in the creative industries. A little can go a long way in a very competitive and sometimes crowded industry.
Here are 7 tips to help get you where you want to be:
1. Pitch yourself as a creative expert to journalists and bloggers
Follow people on Twitter or Instagram and look for the hashtag #PRrequest or #journorequest or #bloggerswanted to see what reporters need information about. If you can give insight into the future of digital art, fashion trends, photography and a myriad of other fields relevant to what you do then there will be a journalist that wants to hear about it. Only pitch yourself if you can fulfil the brief, otherwise, you’ll waste your time and potentially undermine what you’re trying to achieve by being a trustworthy source.
2. Sign up for PR emails and press releases
Sign up for PR emails like HARO (Help A Reporter Out). They are often divided by category so if you look into the lifestyle and general sections they have requests for technical explanations about design software, creative trends, tips for using design equipment, creative career advice and other niches that creatives can comment on. If there is something relevant to you then you can pitch yourself as necessary. Reading press releases that are design-adjacent also means you can look out for roles and opportunities to comment as soon as they become available, and tailor your approach to them.
3. Curate a 'shop window' for your achievements and artwork
It’s important to have somewhere that people can quickly see, as they will want to find your creative work quickly and easily. Make sure that your social media accounts all say the same thing as well as highlighting your skills and work to each audience as appropriate. Create a website so that you can put everything in one place, so your best work, client work and your personal work so people can easily see the scope of what you can do. Make sure that your contact details are obvious so people can easily contact you. Make sure it looks good as this is your ‘shop window’ and key to success.
4. Set yourself up as a knowledgable source
If you have enough specialist knowledge on graphic design, illustration, animation, photography or another creative field then you can set yourself up as a source on a database like Qwoted or Find My Expert. This can help broadcasters, podcasters or writers come to you for your expertise, but make sure to check your inbox as it may be a quick turnaround story.
5. Find the right people to follow
Follow PR companies to see who they are representing, what their work is and where they're going with it. This can include anyone relevant to your industry and niche from medical professionals to winemakers. The algorithm will then recommend more relevant people that you may benefit from following.
6. Set up tailored Google alerts
Keep abreast of the things that are important to your role by using Google alerts so you know as soon as something interesting like a report is published. This gives you the opportunity to speak on an issue formally (via a news article or blog) or informally (on public social media like Twitter).
7. Get to social media early
Keep your research and/or working knowledge on the subjects in your niche fresh so that you can discuss them on social media as soon as they happen. This doesn’t mean that you have to have a controversial opinion, but you can give something valuable to add to the conversation that people will want to listen to. Got a comment on the new Adobe update, some newly released creative work or a current trend in your industry? Talk about it.
If you combine these strategies, they can really help you be seen in your chosen field. An added bonus is that this recognition can help your self-confidence and belief in what you are doing, something that can be difficult to achieve in the creative industries where rejection can be a big part of it.
Raising your profile can also mean collaborating with others, an important bonus especially if you often work alone. These connections can really pay off in the future as you can bear each other in mind for future projects and create a symbiotic relationship. Whatever opportunities arise from it, PR is a vital skill across all industries and the more you do it, the more you’ll learn and open new doors for yourself.
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