We often see talented creators adding movie scripts, fiction novels, scientific research papers, poems, hard news articles and other non-marketing pieces to their CV Portfolios. We get it. You’re passionate! We don’t at all discourage you from sharing this side of yourself with clients. However, put yourself in the client’s shoes and consider if it’s clear that you’re willing and able to create content for a brand.
Brands can benefit tremendously from writers with exotic, interdisciplinary backgrounds; but you need to sell that idea to senior executives in the marketing and sales spaces. You’re equipped with the agility and creativity to help brands navigate the rapidly changing landscape of content marketing, so work your magic and demonstrate it in your own way.
How to reposition your creativity for content marketers
No marketing background? No problem! Sometimes we are so blown away by the sheer skill and street cred of a freelancer that we overlook the fact that their CV doesn’t showcase any content created for marketing purposes or contain any mention of marketing. To help freelancers win over clients, we suggest some tweaks to better their chances of receiving great projects.
1. Know that artsy creators are awesome marketers.
The great thing about dedicated freelancers who pour themselves into each assignment, treating it as a work of art, is that they are intrinsically motivated. They aren’t here just for the money. They want to be fairly compensated, but they also want projects that excite them.
Going beyond clicks takes passion and a new approach. More of the same doesn’t retain attention, and brands need to mix up their messages and the media they use to keep their image fresh and attractive. Trying to apply an all-purpose formula for content eventually grows tiresome to one’s audience, and this is why companies need creative types to breath new life into their brands.
Even as an industry outsider, you have an opportunity to sell your individual flair. Creativity is an often overlooked asset in marketing, but novel content is exactly what clients need to get unstuck and escape their own echo chamber. They need a diversity of content creators to spice things up.
Be ready to create bad ideas your clients will love and great ideas your clients will hate. At the end of the day, it’s up to them. Be proud of each creation, but don’t get too attached. You have to be ready, no matter what kind of horrible death your ideas may face.
2. Bridge the gap between you and marketing executives.
Our mission at ClearVoice is to build bottom-up growth with a freelance-first approach. You have a creative itch you want to scratch, and it’s important to find paying opportunities that are satisfying to you. Simultaneously, you always need to be aware and attentive toward client needs.
Opening yourself up to new, seemingly unartistic areas is important. Many accomplished and renowned artists such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Joseph Heller got their start in marketing. Working in marketing has helped creative types develop the discipline and the financial resources they needed to push their creative endeavors forward. In addition, successful artists need to know how to market themselves and run a business.
When honing your craft, embrace an interdisciplinary approach toward developing your skills and knowledge. If there’s one thing we creatives come to realize, it’s that no two bodies of knowledge truly exist in isolation. Let’s take two seemingly unrelated areas of expertise that can overlap.
Pretend you’re a music journalist, and your client is a SaaS company that helps other companies manage assets and logistical operations with blockchain technology. It seems like there’s no connection, right? Well, blockchain technology is already changing how music is shared and how industry professionals are compensated.
Just last year, Björk released an album that included units of a cryptocurrency for those who purchased it. In addition, an experiment is underway to use blockchain technology for managing royalty payments and copyrights. As a freelancer interested in the music industry, you stand to benefit from better understanding this technology through work with this client.
3. Don’t become a master of none.
It’s common for creative types to bounce from one interest to the next, and there isn’t anything wrong with that. It really depends on how sporadic and disjointed those interests are.
If you don’t develop strong expertise in an area, you won’t be able to differentiate yourself from other writers. The more general your interest is, the more competition you’ll have. Even if a category of content is in low demand, it doesn’t matter if you’re one of the few subject matter experts in it.
A good strategy is to pick a maximum of three niches. You can decide at a later time to tweak your niches as your interests evolve and as you learn what gets the most economic traction.
Make sure each niche fits one or more of the following criteria:
- The vertical/industry is in high demand.
- You’re already knowledgeable and/or experienced in this area.
- It’s a focus you’re passionate about.
When creating a portfolio or submitting samples to a potential client, don’t blend your different niches together. Position yourself strongly in all three categories and separate these niches in portfolio sections so clients can easily find what they’re looking for and disregard what they aren’t.
4. Be honest about opportunities that suit you best.
Be clear about the roles you’re available to fill, so you get matched to the right jobs. You don’t want someone asking for you to do graphic design if that isn’t your specialty. Even if you know a thing or two about photoshop, you shouldn’t be selecting the graphic design role if it isn’t a serious pursuit.