If you’re a creative professional living in the modern era, you’ll already know that making a living from your passion can be hard work, and you’ll need to catch the eye of the right people if you want to break through. Luckily, there are some key strategies to help you turn heads and get discovered - here are a few to consider.
Whether you design clothes, build sculptures, or produce art for galleries, if you’re serious about pursuing your craft professionally, it’s important to project an image of professionalism. A good place to start is with a website - if you haven’t already, take the time to learn about site builders and create a page for yourself that represents you in a sharp, confident manner. Your site should provide examples of previous work, an about page introducing yourself, and a clear means for prospective clients, agents, or investors to contact you.
If you’re selling goods or a service, it may also be a good idea to form an official company. As well as improving your professional image, a Limited Liability Company (LLC) can provide tax advantages, cut down your paperwork and reduce personal liability in the event of business blunders. The regulations around forming an LLC differ depending on the state so make sure to use a formation service to help you navigate these.
For better or for worse, social media has become an important means to garner interest from those who are established within their industries. Oftentimes, a creative’s career prospects are actually determined by their online popularity. The good news is, regardless of who you are and where you come from, it’s easier than ever to cultivate a social media following - you just need to use a few key marketing tactics. Start with some brand essentials - logos are easier than ever to design with free tools and you can design banners online with this free template - just add text, color, and fonts and upload them to the channels of your choosing.
It may even be a good idea to invest some funds into paid campaigns - with social media marketing, you can precisely identify the demographics you’d like your page to appear before. This means that, if you know the income, locations, and interests of those placed advantageously within their industries, you can directly target them with your adverts. For creatives looking to increase brand awareness, it’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the various campaign types and to focus on generating ‘impressions,’ CPI (cost per impression) campaigns are cheaper and are the most effective at increasing exposure.
It’s an unfortunate truth that, in creative industries, skill and experience are sometimes trumped by nepotism. Therefore, if you want to give yourself the best chance of succeeding within a creative space, it can be a benefit to socialize and develop a personal reputation. This is a balancing act, as you don’t want to become sycophantic or to use people for their influence. A good philosophy is simply to ingrain yourself within the industry itself, show an interest in the work of others, and get to know everyone, from the interns to the CEOs.
Positioning yourself to meet others working in your industry is another matter entirely. If you can support yourself financially, try applying for internships, and weekend workshops and attend public galleries/shows. Alternatively, look for mixer events and industry-specific conferences. If you can strike up a friendly relationship or offer a service that provides value for people, you can increase the likelihood that someone will reach out for help.
Getting discovered as a creative is no easy feat and, more often than not, it can come down to luck. But, if you’re clever about your approach, it is possible to improve your luck and create the circumstances that will eventually lead to sustained success.
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