Lessons in Launching Your Creative Career: The Art of Self-Promotion | Brad Woodard | Skillshare

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Lessons in Launching Your Creative Career: The Art of Self-Promotion

teacher avatar Brad Woodard, Illustrator + Graphic Designer

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      1. Introduction


    • 2.

      2. Welcome to Class


    • 3.

      3. Creating an Effective Portfolio Website


    • 4.

      4. Tracking Your Progress


    • 5.

      5. Social Media Part 1


    • 6.

      6. Social Media Part 2


    • 7.

      7. Professional Writing and Voice


    • 8.

      8. Reaching Out


    • 9.

      9. The Launch Campaign


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About This Class


Whether you are a creative just starting out, trying to land that first job, or you are ready to make the big leap and go solo, self-promotion is the key. You may have the best portfolio in the world, but if nobody knows it exists, it doesn't matter.

I am Brad Woodard of Brave the Woods, a design and illustration studio, which I recently left the corporate world to start with my wife, Krystal Woodard. 

After a few years of experimenting with self-promotion, we found a formula for launching our brand successfully. My background in design and illustration, paired with Krystal's background in social media and professional writing, created the prefect storm, allowing us to start and run a successful design and illustration studio of our own. In this class I'll walk you through everything we learned along the way. 

What You'll Learn

This class is a step-by-step guide to the science behind effective self-promotion. For all you creatives, this means getting your work seen, gaining followers, connecting with the creative community, using social media to your advantage and creating a stronger portfolio and personal brand. Through a series of short video lessons, project steps and other resources, we'll cover:

  • Getting your website in order. 
  • Making social media a business tool. 
  • Professional writing and voice. 
  • Reaching out and connecting.
  • Launching your brand.

What You'll Do

You'll prepare your personal brand for launch (or re-launch) by creating a self-promotional piece to send out to prospective clients and followers. This self-promo piece will be in whatever format is most effective for your work. Some examples may include a physical mailer, an e-blast, an invitation to an event, or a care package. This project is meant to showcase your work and gain momentum for your brand.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Brad Woodard

Illustrator + Graphic Designer



I am a graphic designer and illustrator raised in the Great Northwest, now living in Boise, Idaho with my wife and two little kids. After graduating with a BFA in graphic design, I started my career as an information designer and illustrator at Column Five Media. The digital illustration courses I took in college paid off, as I found that more and more clients were requesting illustration work in their designs. Merging both skills together I have been able attract all types of work, including my work in advertising at Arnold Worldwide.

Now, my wife and I run our own design and illustration studio full-time, named Brave the Woods. We also started the company Artists for Education, which brings artists together to create beautifully designed, educational artwo... See full profile

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1. 1. Introduction: I'm Brad Woodard of Brave the Woods, a design illustration studio that I run out of Austin, Texas with my life. I have a few other Skillshare courses here online and I'm looking forward to having you in my class. In this class lessons in launching your creative career through the art of self-promotion is for all creatives. If you're just beginning and you want to get your work out there for people to see for the first time and make some connections in the professional world, or if you're already been out in the professional world and you have a brand, you have work that you feel it's getting lost or isn't getting the attention that it deserves, this is the perfect class for you. The course itself is basically a checklist of things that my wife and I made for our own selves when we went to launch Brave the Woods, and that we found were most successful and really getting the attention of the right people and the most people. The project that you'll be doing in this course is basically working up to a launch or a re-launch of your personal brand or work. The physical project will be creating some type of self-promotion whether that's an email blast say at something or working with an email or invite people to share the launch with you and promote it to other places. Or whether it's a physical piece of art that you send a mail to just specific clients or potential clients that you really want to have. By the way, the project is for all creatives, and we definitely have a few things that will aid you in your quest for promoting your work. I look forward to having you in our class. 2. 2. Welcome to Class : Hey guys and welcome to class. This is the lessons on launching your creative career through the art of self-promotion. Basically, what we want to do is get your work out there. Let people know that you exist and that you're available for work. This is a class that I feel just now qualified to teach and I'm really excited to do so because way back when I started in college, in my design courses, I was fortunate enough and I'm glad I did. I had the foresight to start promoting myself early on and I made quite a few mistakes in doing so and I may or may not have burned a few bridges on the way. But I learned and I learned quickly and mainly because I had [inaudible] our graphic design instructor and he mentioned one day in class to look around you and look at all your classmates and about 40 of us in our class. He said, "Probably about two or three of you are actually going to go on and pursue a career in design." That terrified me and another thing he told me to was, "Your competition isn't these people in this room. You're competition is everybody else out in the field right now, in the professional field. All those designers and illustrators that you look up to, maybe photographers or other type of creatives in your case." But to me that resonated and scared me. I felt like I needed to really step my game up when it came to my studies, but also in promoting myself. I didn't want to be one of those students that didn't get to pursue his dream just because maybe I had good work but it wasn't ever seen. That's what this class is about. It's about how to get your name out there, get your work out there, and potentially get clients. I mean, that's the goal. I hope you enjoy the class, use it as a checklist of things that you can do. I'll often say in the middle of these videos throughout the course, to stop what you're doing, pause the video and actually go complete a task that we have. Promoting yourself is a really long process and it can seem overwhelming. But if you break it up into these bite-size chunks, it's actually very durable. A lot of these little things that you can do right now, just they may not have even think mattered, actually very big deals when it comes to promoting yourself in coming off as a consistent voice or brand that you're trying to portray. [inaudible] take good notes and use it as a checklist to build up to what we're ultimately going to do at the very end is have a massive launch where we promote through all different avenues, your work online and invite all your friends to do so as well, a grand opening of your personal brand or re-brand at the company that you have. But I hope you enjoy it. I hope you get a lot out of it and welcome to class. 3. 3. Creating an Effective Portfolio Website: So we're going to be talking about your place on the Internet, your website, or your web portfolio. We need to start here because this is where people are going to be finding your work and seeing your work online. If we don't have that, if we have just started our work on all these disparate sites that have all part of our work over here, just little snapshots of our work over here, we need somewhere where they can find out all the information about you, how to contact you, and everything's updated and best portrays your body of work. So this class isn't a design class, it isn't. So we're not going to be going over design or let alone building a website, but what we will be going over is tips on how you make your website more effective for the viewers. When I say more effective, I mean, when visitors come to your website, how are they going to interact with it? Are they immediately going to find your work or are the going to see something else? So are they going to have a few hoops to jump through before they can even get to your work if they can find it. Ultimately we want them to find your work and then go to your about page or your contact page and tell you how great your work is and offer you a job or start a project with you. So these are the few things that we want to go over and maybe take a critical eye if you have a website already made and go through and see if these things are being met. If they're not, make those changes. If you haven't built a website, we're going to go over a few platforms that will help you out so you can start one right away, because you need to start that out before you can promote yourself, you really need to get this place solid, your website solid. Just three things that visitors should expect when they come to your website, any creatives portfolio online. The first one is that it should load quickly and they should be able to find your work immediately. When it loads, you don't want to have a million different screens that they have to click through to get to your work. You want to make sure that they get to your stuff quickly and things like splash pages, I think if you're familiar with those, most of you probably are, they just provide another roadblock or something else to get through before they can get to your work. So I'm not a huge fan of slash pages, but just make sure that it's easy for them to get to your work. But number 2 would be, they immediately need to be impressed with your work and be impressed in some way, shape or another. So usually that's by your own work and that's probably the best way to impress them. Number 3 is you need to make sure the easiest one is, they need to know how to navigate through your website. Like I said, they need to go to your work and they need to be able to find you or how to contact you because those are the most important things. So here I'm going to go ahead and share a few things for you. I'm going to skip over to my own website of course. I can't go without showing you a little bit of that. I took a lot of time building it and a lot of iterations of this website before it actually happens. So when starting off with your website, I think a big thing is like I said, let's check and see if my website can hit those first three things. When someone opens your portfolio, does it take a long time to load? Well, you can open up on your own and find out. But there isn't any splash page, it goes straight to my work which is number 2, you need to be immediately impressed by your work. I have a gallery that they can go through that shows my work and whether it's new work or work I'm promoting or just work that I really like. Just need them to be interested and want to click into it further. Then from there, this website is clean, it's simple, it still shows a little bit of branding, which I think is okay, Lab Partners they go to their homepage, they do the same thing. You can see a little bit of branding there. Fuzzco, you can see that they have their own branding, and that's okay, but you can also tell that it's really simple and it's not the only thing that you see. Brent Couchman does a good job of going the opposite direction and just doing almost no branding and just making it clean and simple and letting those images stand out. So make sure that your work is shining because that's what's important, that's what people are there to see. Now, if you go into work page, you want to show the type of work that you want to get, not anything else because you're going to get people, if I showed a bunch of websites and I'm okay with getting web design, but it's not my favorite. What I'd rather do is illustrate or do some design work. Even you can even filter it even further down there on the type of work that I want to do that I enjoy doing. So that's the type of work that I show. If you wait, a lot of us will use the excuse, "I'm not going to show, even to make a website or put up this work in there because I don't have good enough work or I don't even have enough work to put it in my website." I wouldn't use that an excuse because then you're never going to have any work in that. You're never going to have your stuff in there because starting off, you're not going to have a lot of work or even the type of work that you want to do. Sometimes you just have classwork or just that you'd only had a few clients give you work, so you don't have a lot to show. But I think that's a good opportunity too to start putting your work in there and then as you go, and if you look at and let's use Lab Partners for an example, this is not their full breadth of work. This is all there showing you right here. Now, they've been around for a while and they're an amazing design and illustration duo. This is not all of their work, but this is the work that they chose to show and that they feel best represents them and best represents the work that they want to get. So over time, yes, you can filter out the stuff that you have on your website and narrow it down to just a few things and I have a harder time narrowing it down obviously, because I have a ton of stuff on here. But it's a good habit to get into because you don't want a portfolio full of mediocre work. You want a portfolio, it can be just a small portfolio of just a few pieces, and that's better than having a big range of projects that are subpar. For further things like photographers, now I think a website that's for photographers is really showing off the work is you see these big full bleed images, and then when you go into different galleries, it's real clean and everything else is knocked out. Those are great ways to show off your work as a photographer. I have another friend too, Laura Watts Walsh, and she does some amazing photography. This's just a very simple grid here showing off her work. All of these you'll notice, have their own unique URL. I'm not going to say much more than that, but some people will not pay extra to have their unique URL, but I think it's clean and it's easier to remember and it looks more professional, so I would just go with that. Another thing that I would mention would be adding social media links to your homepage. Now, I have them on mine, so you can Tweet this or you can Facebook it. If you go into my info page specifically, you can see where you can find me on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Dribbble. I have all my social media sites, and we'll talk more about that in the next part of class. But just to have them there is great so people can also reach out in other ways and share your content. But yeah, so just going through all these sites, hopefully it gives you an idea of how people are showing their work in different ways, but all of them are really emphasizing the work and I think that's what's crucial. They all know there's an easy path to what they need to get to. So someone came to the site, it's really intuitive and they know, "I can go here if I want to talk to her and go through here if I need to go through and find out if want to go through a projects and whatnot." It's just easy to navigate. But last thing I want to leave you with is, give people a reason to keep coming back to your website. So I'm going to go back to my site and show you that this main slider, great way to keep people coming to your website. Because what it does is, Fuzzco has the same thing, it shows you can update this all the time. If it's a new project or a new event or whatever, but it showcases work and it keeps it fresh so that people can come back and not feel like they're visiting a stale dead site. You have a living site, and that's what people want to come back to and see. Another way that you can keep people coming back to your website is making a place for announcements. Lab Partners, I guess they can keep it here for their announcements. On mine at least, I have right here. I can update these little sections here, just saying whenever there's something new from promoting something else or whatnot. But those can change. Also there's a way to join a mailing list. Another reason for people to come back or to get my mailers in their e-mails. They can click on that and then it pops out that they can sign up for direct mail. My biggest one is have a blog. Blogs are a place where you can share your own ideas, be able to promote your own work, but it also gives people a good reason to come back to your website over and over again, if it's every day, which I tried to do and I'd play with word with my wife, Crystal. We tried to update it every single day and make sure that we give people a reason to come back to the website and be excited to come back and see your stuff. You're a living brand and that's what you need to show, and so blogs are awesome for that. It really helps you find a way to have more of a creative outlet in a different way, and that's through writing and showing what you've learned. So all of those things, I hope you take away that you can rotate out old project where you have like a slider, make sure you keep putting in new projects, taking out old ones, make sure it's fresh, have a place for announcements, maybe if you want to add a little bit more, a blog, live Twitter feed, I think I forgot about that. Fuzzco does a good job of that. They have a Twitter feed right here that's always updating and their Dribbble shot still is pop-up on here every time they have a new one. So this all being said, is you're making the difference between gaining visitors and followers. So we want followers, we don't want visitors to our website and I think that's what you want for your brand in general. You want people to be a follower of your brand, not just know it existed once and then never come back. So go into the resources after this class or after this portion of this video and you can go through and look at other portfolio sites that I've shown here and a few more links to those, but also some good platforms for building your own website if you haven't done that already. So I'll see you in the next video. Thanks. 4. 4. Tracking Your Progress: So we're going to start talking about tracking your progress. Hopefully you learned a lot in the last video and you learned how to make a few little enhancements to your website to help the visitor go through your site and find your work and eventually your contact information and these little tips that you've been able to learn and you've been able to apply those to your website that's already existing or if you're starting a website from scratch right now, that you are starting to apply as you build it. Now, what uses this if we have no idea how to track it. So let's find now if the changes that we've made or the things that we're implementing into our new site. Let's check and see if they're making a difference with our viewer of interaction. Now, there is a great way to do that and that's through Google Analytics. It's free, it's easy to use and I would say I use it every day and maybe every other day, but this is something I live by and it helps me track my users into find out who's looking at my site, how long they're looking at my site and unlike what days, what hour of the day they're looking at my site. So all of these little details are really crucial and can really help me make some tweaks to get more people looking at my site and looking at the right pages. So before I go further, so you can access it through Google.com forward/analytics and it'll bring up this page. If you don't have an Analytics account, go ahead and set one up. I have a tutorial in the resources section. It's a really short video that I found that was perfect for this and it'll just show you how to set it up, but also put it on your website. So it's just a matter of embedding some code onto your website and it tracks all your info and then you can access it here. So I have mindset and so I'll go ahead and take a look. So you can just access Google Analytics, go to your website and this is what you'll see, this is your dash. It's titled your audience overview. So this is great because it shows you immediately one month, October 26th, November 25th here and you can see, you can immediately find patterns in the ebbs and flows of your user traffic. So each of these are days and if you hover over them, you get to see how many visits you had that day on your website. I immediately look for the high spots and try to find out where and what day was that? That was Friday, November, 1st. Why did I have 407 visitors? I need to figure that out because that was a really hot day. I want to get my days all of there and so looking at those days can be really key. Now, I can look at them hourly, by the week, by the month. Sometimes the month is nice because then you can see where you were last month. This is how many total visits, 1,000 and then it went up to 4,611. So that's always a good thing to look at as well. Down here, you get to see how many people visited your site, but then you get to see a breakdown of those visitors. How many were unique visitors, new visitors, returning visitors over here in this pie chart and how many page views. This parts are really important one because in the last one we spoke about how quickly people open a site and then leave the site. What we say 10-20 seconds, usually people do that before they leave. So the fact that we're getting an average site visit is two minutes, that's great, because you want them to be visiting there. That means they're looking at other things instead of just staring at the screen and then leaving and that's where this bounce rate comes in as well. That just shows you how many people are coming on your site and then leaving immediately without interacting at all. So the lower this is, the better. You can even see languages. You can see what country they're coming from, most of these visits are coming from. You can see the cities, New York, obviously loves me more than my hometown right here in Austin So my hometown, but currently in my home town. You can even look at what browser they're looking through to find your, look at your website. Little things like this you may think it's useless, but if you're having a hard time, if for some reason your website isn't compatible with other browsers and you find out most your people are coming from that browser you having a hard time with, may mean you need to make it across the board usable for all those browsers. So little things like that can really help. You can find out what operating system you're using if it's more mobile or whatever, Windows phone, your iOS. Just great little details to help you out. Now, if I want to pinpoint , I can even pinpoint certain days if I just want to look at, let's just say yesterday, what does, it maybe so the 24th. Let's go apply I want to look at just that day. I had this many visits and now I want to fit in. Then all this stuff adjust to suggest that day which is great. You can find out those details. Let's go back, let's just look at this month, November. I want to go to real-time. So let's just go down the board. Real-time is awesome because you can go in there and let's see an overview right now. This is how many people are visiting, are on my site right now looking at it. So now you can see some of these websites unavailable, of course, but it will show you what pages they're on right now. They're looking at my blog posts per day, the blog post from a few days ago and I think that was another one that was a few days ago. So people are on my blog right now and then it shows you where in the world they are, how long they're spending on your site, what set of pages, everything. So this is cool just to know at anytime who's on your site. Also, you can go down and you can look at just the traffic sources and find out where it's committed to direct traffic. So if you look over here and your active visitors. So 33 percent of our active visitors are direct traffic. That means they're typing in bravethewoods.com. That's pretty cool and then see now your people know who you are and they're coming straight to you. All again just coming out through finding it through like a search on Google, which it says right here and then referrals are just like coming from another website, just a link from another site to yours. All goods stuff, the content, what they're looking at and you can go on for all these things. Now, when I go to the audience, you can find a lot of cool things on audience because you can find out your demographics, age, gender. It doesn't always work for me and I don't really need that level of detail, but it's cool that you can find out maybe even, behavior of your audience like new versus returning, gives you all of these little details that you can look for. So let's just go down, let me shut the audience called acquisition. This is probably my favorite, go down three and go down to all traffic. So what this does is it tells you all the traffic, this is telling you what sites are referring over to your website basically. So Skill Share is giving me this many videos, that's the top. So in the last month that's given me 990 visits to my site just from referrals, from Skill Share and then it goes down the line direct people and then the second one, this just makes me really happy as people are coming directly to brave the woods. Second most right there as people are coming typing the brave the woods. So that makes you feel better. The third one is people just finding me just randomly. Which means that, SEO wise, Search Engine Optimization people are actually finding my name without me having to show them where my site is. So that's a great sign and that's the things we want to look for and you can look through all the pages or on this page, I like to see Okay. Let's actually, this is a good point to go to. Why was November 1st, so high. So let's figure out what was being referred on that day. So let's go to November first click ''Apply'' it show that many visits now and see what it says direct, 93 people still came directly to it, but Facebook was referring all people to my site. So then I can go and look and find out what was it that they were looking at. I'll go back to my Facebook page and I'll find out what I posted that day or Skill Share on the next one. So lots of little important things that you can track, that may seem frivolous, may seem a little paranoid as you go back over and over again every day to find out who's interacting with it, but all of these things have really, if you stay on top of it, you can really benefit from knowing this information, and then acting on it and then starting to maybe post, let's see if I'll go back to the dashboard, let's go to the full month. Let me cancel that for a second, partial whatever. Let's go back here and let's just say, there's a theme here. These low ones are all Saturday's, so maybe weekends, Saturday centered at the lowest days. We can start the best time to post things. Maybe I should post things on Monday. Monday is not even the highest though if you look at them all the time, it looks like in the middle of the week, Tuesday, Wednesday, as are the ones that are the highest. So maybe when I post content, I want to start posting it in the middle of the week or if it's really important information, I want to post it in the middle of the week. Something to consider because obviously you're getting more traffic that day. So you want to put stuff that you want seen up on those days and maybe not posting things all over the weekend because people are too busy out doing whatever they're doing. So last thing I think would be behavior. This one I use every once and awhile, not as much, but I do still use it and you can go through and you can find out, let's do this site content, all the pages. It just gives you who's looking at all these page or what pages are getting the most views there should say it that way. Homepage obviously that gets the most views, but then it goes work blog info. That's exactly what I want. I want people to see my work immediately is the second thing they do and blog, that's great. I like that because it gives them a reason to come back and the third is info, how to contact me. Then I can even see how long they're on those pages, on the info page and on their very long, that's okay. It's not very exciting page I just want you to find out who I am. Blog 222, good. They're at least taken a chunk of time and looking through those pages and looking through a blog post. Work, it could be better. I know, 44 seconds this is embarrassing, but overall, I'm happy with how people are interacting and going through the site and what order, what's getting the most attention. So take a look at these things, assess it. I would go and if you start seeing themes, take advantage of them and apply it to your own website. So I hope this helps, once you find things. Last thing I want to say is when you find that someone's, let's go back to your acquisition. Let's go back to, and then let's go to acquisition all traffic. When you find that there's somebody coming right here. If I find dribble, I know why those are coming, but blogged loving.com. Maybe I don't know who that site is or if I even go back further. I think I can see specific people putting my stuff on their website, How Design, maybe I didn't even know my stuff was on. How Design and that actually happen. I didn't know my stuff was on their website, but I saw it in my Google Analytics and then immediately I was like, I got to go to How Design. So I went to How Design and found my work and then I was able to thank them for it and I was going to be able to post it all over the web and I was happy that I had that news but I never got it. So things like that are super important because now you can find your work online and be able to share it yourself and ride that wave of traffic that they're already bringing, but then also you can see who's putting your stuff and maybe it's a blog, maybe it's someone's like a Creatures Comfort Blog. They've been so good to post my stuff and I've been seeing it on here frequently and she's been amazing of putting my stuff out there. So I went ahead and I thanked her for it and that helps them and most likely I would be the same way, but she's more apt to putting my stuff in the future that she sees and she likes back on her blog and featuring it. So make those connections. I mean, it's finding these little things and acting on them, not just knowing the data, but then doing something about it. Go ahead and contact her and say thanks for featuring my stuff on your blog and then maybe do a blog post on her blog or whatever if it's relevant, but it helps you build connections that helps you know where your stuff is and that helps you know how people are interacting with your website. So I can't rave enough about Google Analytics. I'm sure I've talked to you, you're off. So I'm going to stop here. We're going to talk more about Connecting and Networking, which I mentioned at the very end here in our next section. So I hope this helps and thanks a lot. 5. 5. Social Media Part 1 : This is a portion of the class where we talk about something that you are all familiar with, you all use, and that will be social media. There's a million different social media platforms out there to promote your work, just to gain friends and followers. But finding the right ones to help your business is tricky because you don't want to join too many social media sites, and have profiles on all these different ones, but then not keep up to date with them, and not post on them, not be consistent, and let them die because you have too many going on. What I want to do is I want to talk about the ones that I feel are the most effective, that have proven effective in my business of promoting my own work, and promoting my company, but also breaking them down a little bit and explaining how I use each of those platforms for self promo, and some dos and don'ts in there. There's also a few little tricks I'd like to show you in regards to those that I think could be very helpful. The ones I want to go over today are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Dribbble, Behance. We'll probably skim over a few of those, but there's a few of those that I really also want to focus on. The main focus for this portion of the class is going to be the idea of you being everywhere on the web. That's our goal. I know that's just like a vague statement, but when it comes to your work, having the same project not just on one side and being shown online, but also being passed around too. Being able to find it on Pinterest, or being also able to find it on your website and also on Twitter. Having it on all those different ways, just increases the odds of someone finding your work, and so that's obviously what I wanted to do. When doing this, there's kind of a precursor to this all, you may already have a bunch of these profiles on these social media sites. Deciding which ones you want to keep private, and which ones you want to turn into a business account, if that means adding one for business, that's definitely something I would recommend. I had to do that for myself with a few of my accounts. Decide what's personal, what's private, but also decide what you want to promote. Because you don't want to mix business and your personal life all the time. Depending on how you run your things or how you want to promote yourself as a brand, I guess that's up to you. But I typically try to keep a lot of my personal things that I want to just share with friends or family private, and then I have a business account for things like my Facebook page. Let me close out of here and then let's go ahead and talk about the first one. Let's talk about Facebook. Like I was saying, I have business accounts for things and I also have my personal ones. I have a personal Facebook. But for Brave the Woods, I decided to make my own page here, so that I can promote justice. I felt like I was getting a little bit out of control, and it was a little annoying, I bet to family and friends for all I was posting was my business related material or my work over again on Facebook, when my parents really just wanted to see my child. They know they want to see their grandkid, they don't want to see my work plastered on their Facebook page over and over again. They'd rather see the kid or a little puppy or whatever. Out of common courtesy there, when I had made my own business site, and that's really easy to do. You can set up your own business page. That's pretty straightforward. I use this to promote new campaigns or new classes like this one. But it's great even you can link it to your store, your shop. It keeps track of how many people are liking it, and it gives you business. Your about page basically on here where it's all right out from the open, and you can share. Everything that I work on, I always make sure to post it on Facebook. That includes all my blogs. I'll make sure that it's always posted on Facebook. I always try to include an image or something, just to make it a little bit, people click on that a lot more than they'll click on just some text when they're linking to something else. Facebook just got confused. We're not going to not worry about that. Facebook it's really great. Almost everybody's on Facebook so it's a great source for also setting up campaigns. You can have your photo line, but you can offer events. Why are you confusing us? I am not sure why I'm confused. If you click on here you can set up events, set up a calendar date or whatever. If you're going to launch your brand, like we're going to do at the end of this, or if you have your stuff in a gallery for speaking or what have you. If you're having a sale somewhere, you can put those up there. It's a really great resource, not just for connecting with friends, but a really good business tool as well that I would highly recommend. Your Twitter page. Now this one like I was saying, I had to separate. I had Brad Woodard initially when I started it. Luckily, I started it as a business account anyways. I use Twitter, not as much for social, but a whole lot more for just finding really good people that I'd like to follow, and that are other creatives, and are posting really cool stuff that's related to design or illustration or just in a creative realm at all. For mine I went ahead and branded it, since it was already Brad Wooder, so I just setup @MyBravetheWoods conveniently the same initials. I put my logo up there, and I just branded it to Brave the Woods just to show that that's what it is. It would be nicer if it said Brave the Woods, I just don't want to lose the followers that I already have. But if you're going to be setting one up, it might be nice to do that, when a lot of people will share my stuff, they'll say Brave the Woods, but that doesn't that connect back to me at all. If you're going to say at Brave the Woods, it's not going to show up as anybody. But if you're going say Brad Wooder, they are right here. When they put that in a tweet, it's actually going to link back to me. But if it's just Brave the Woods, it won't unless they put the link to my website. That's the only downfall I have with doing this. If you can avoid that pitfall early, I would definitely keep it. Whatever your business name is, have it there so that they can link back to it really easily. Let's see. Other things that I do with Twitter is, I make sure I use hashtags. I'm not great at this. I just did one right here. I posted about on the blog about the ACL Festival branding done by Invisible Creature, which was amazing. You should check it out. But if you notice under here, let's see this tweet if I can show it. Basically, all I just put is a little hashtags at the end. Hashtags are great, and they can be the coolest thing and they can be the lamest thing. Because if people start doing hashtag and it's like "hashtag best day ever," fine, great, but for promoting yourself, actual hashtags that a lot of people that are relevant to whatever you're posting about. ACL Fest, so people are already looking up a ACL fest, this will pop up in their feed. Watch this, if I just click on ACL Fest, it'll show all the other people that are talking about ACL Fest. If someone else went in there and typed up, ACL Fest or just looking for it, mine's going to pop up right there. That's the benefit of using hashtags and using wise hashtags that actually relate to what you're doing. Because once they do find it, they'll be like, "Sweet. That's exactly what I was looking for and that's cool." It increases the odds of your tweet being seen. Because it gets buried really fast if you go to your home and you see all these things like, in a few seconds you're going to see more pop-up, and it would be like 20 more tweets or got a lot more tweets. Posting often and having hashtags is a very good thing. Of course, you get these stupid promotions for things that are lame. One more thing I think would be important to know on Twitter, is you can use Twitter to actually do some pretty cool things. See we already have two more tweets. Sometimes you can look for what things are trending, and I would use those hashtags if it relates to what you're working on. But also when you're going through your searching, let's see. If I want to search for, hire me, let's do this. So if I go into my search here, if I want to have it in advanced search right here. I can actually type in things like all of these words. Let's say "looking for designer", lets just say that. Maybe it's not this exact phrase, or maybe it is this is exact phrase. I should have come up with this before. Let's just say looking for designer, and maybe a hash tag like freelance or something like that. I can go ahead and search things related to that. Some of these people looking for or blah. A new production company is looking for a graphic designer and it's freelance work. Looking for a Pakistani based freelance designer, need to get a book cover design. This is really hit or miss. But every second you have people posting new things or asking looking for designers or illustrators. Every once in a while I'll go into my advanced search and I will just scour for like, need an illustrator, or I need a designer, hire a designer, whatever keywords you want to use. But sometimes I've actually had work come from this. I was able to design an album cover from doing this very thing. Just going through my advanced filter on my search and you can find jobs. It's like you made your Twitter into a job board. But anyways, I won't bore you with that anymore. Let's go on to Instagram, I want to go really quickly over this one. I use it for personal, if you ever follow me on Instagram, you can, that's totally fine. It's just more of a mix of my personal life and my work at the same time. Things like this are great because then you can promote just a snapshot of what's coming up. These are new Christmas cards that I'll have up on my shop actually, which is cool. You can show that kind of a snapshot of what's to come and other people can share it. But just think of Instagram more of as a lifestyle shot of your company. This is a good place where you can put in your office dog sitting there under your desk and those pictures, or your messy desk, or sketches that you're working on. That kind of stuff is great for Instagram because it's still a little bit more of a lifestyle shot or more things that inspired you or what have you. But still it's a great place because there's millions and millions of people that are using it. I always say use those opportunities that you can. Let's talk about Pinterest. Yes, I am a guy, and yes, I like Pinterest, and a lot other guys do too. Not that I need the validation, but it is a really good site for not only sourcing your own ideas or being able to make booklets or what do you call them? Boards for inspiring your own work. It's a good place also to promote yourself. Because your stuff gets put on here. If you have an account and your stuff gets put on here, a lot of people link back and people following you. It doesn't grab a ton of attention. This many followers is great, it just means a lot of people are looking at my pins, but there are usually pins of other pins. But what's really good about Pinterest promotion-wise is when you post your work. Let's just say like on here I have website designs and I posted. Got it. Obviously I don't post a lot of websites, I probably should do more of that. I'm checking my illustration and my design ones, those are awesome. by I promoted my own work on here and then it gets passed around and linked around. As long as it's not the only thing you're posting, just your work, it's actually a good way to slip in every once in a while some things, you just kind of throw it out there and see if it sticks and if it gets shared. If it gets shared, a lot of times it could share all over the place. The best part about Pinterest is, if it ever loads, it's been having a hard time today. You're pretty much all familiar with this, I'm sure, you click on the image and it takes you straight to the site. So it'll take you straight to your work or your page, your website. That's great. Pinterest, you're gone. For Dribbble. Dribbble is one of my favorites and is relatively new, it's obviously been around for a few years. What I like about Dribbble is the fact that you can post just little snapshots of whatever you're working on, you don't have to commit to posting the full project right away. This way you can be posting more frequently because then I can post multiple shots of the same thing. Before my dinosaur poster went out I just shot some early illustrations that I did for it before it was printed. Then finally when it was printed I was able to show the printed version. You can even have the attachment for the large. That was great for me to use. I like being able to post iterations of what I'm working on. It leaves it so it's open for feedback, which is great. When we were talking in terms of getting work and promoting ourselves, again that's what this is all about. There's a couple of things. I usually pay the 20 bucks a year and get the pro account. What that does for me is it leaves the option of having a Higher Me Button, so people who like my work immediately they don't have to go on a website and then go to my about page, then find my email address, and then do that. They can actually just go straight from here on. I can't message myself, I can't hire myself. One thing you can do is you can go in there and click Hire and then you can send a little a message to whoever that you want and ask them if you want to start a job for them. So what they can do if people can find me, click on Hire Me and e-mail me directly. But also you have the option to look at your stats that way, and you know how much I like stats and checking those. You can see what days are best when you post and which ones are doing well, who's following you, all that good stuff. Dribbble is a great source. The only other thing I would say with Dribbble is that, I've gotten a lot of job opportunities, a lot of freelance gigs off of this because people come on as our businesses or individuals go on as scouts. What that means is they can go on here, they have a scout account. They'll go through and they can search through here and say, "I'm looking for different type of illustrators." They can search by, let's see if you can explore, you can search by colors, if they're looking for different cities or whatever. Like I want to look for somebody local here in Austin. They can go through there and find all the local designers and illustrators. It's a really good source for companies to find you. I would definitely be on Dribbble and post often because your stuff gets. If you go on here your stuff will be here, if I posted something yesterday, you don't even see my stuff because there's so many people posting on it. So posting frequently is good and make sure you tag. If you go back to one of my shots, here lets go back to my most recent shot, or let's go back to the Type Poster here. You'll see all the tags they've put on the side: lettering, poster, type, typography. Because every time you search in here it's going to do that. If I type in, let's just do Lettering. It's going to show the top ones for Lettering and then yours will be in there somewhere. Then depends on how popular yours is, with people finding it yours will pop-up earlier in this search. It's really important to add good tags to your posts on Dribbble. I think that's all you need to know about Dribbble. It's kind of the what would you call it? Land of misfit toys, land of misfit projects sometimes too if you can't find a good place to put them. Just a little experiment or something you liked, it's a good thing just to post it up here and get some attention to yourself and let people find you. It's a really good place for giving freelance work. The last one I want to talk about was, I guess I had LinkedIn. LinkedIn is great. Just once I've already met someone. I use it as a tool to connect with people, but not as much self-promotion. Maybe I should study up on that and use it a little bit more for that. Let's go to Behance because Behance is a great one too, and it's been around for quite a while. It's a lot more in depth. There's a whole lot more to do, so I'm not going to go real far into it. Just know that you can set up a profile. If you get a pro account you can host your own website on it, your own portfolio website with a unique URL. All of that stuff you can get done on here. Making a profile, it's pretty thorough, and has your whole work experience. I've heard very good things about people getting bigger jobs through Behance than they do through Dribbble sometimes, and I've heard vice versa. I would say try both of them because this one is a little bit different. This is once you have the project, is almost like your website. It is like your vacation home for your website basically. You just show all your little projects, you just post them all over again. It takes a lot of work. Obviously I've slacked on my end doing Behance, I really need to catch up on it. I just adopted it not too long ago, back in April. I need to be better. But it's the same type of thing. You need to be posting often to actually make it worth your while because your stuff will get buried. But if it does, if you do post some really good things, a really good project, and it gets posted. The big thing is you want it to be on here. You want Behance to think that it's getting enough views that they're going to put it on here and share it with everyone, and that's where you start getting a lot of attention. Behance is another great tool, another place to have your work almost like your whole body of work. I've heard Coroflot is another good option too. I remember doing that way back when in college. There are my thoughts on each of those platforms. I use these ones daily. Once I post one thing on Twitter, it's going to go on all these different ones for the most part. I'll shut Behance because it's making me feel bad about myself because I haven't updated it for so long. Just making sure that you're on all these, or finding the ones that are best for you I think is the important part. I'm going to leave you alone for a second. We're going to talk about just a few more things in SEO with social media and some other great tips in the next video. Thank you. 6. 6. Social Media Part 2: Welcome back to the social media portion of class, this is part 2. We're going to be talking about social media as a whole and social media etiquette because there's definitely a proper etiquette when sharing content and also very effective ways to make sure your content is seen and then you can get more followers, because that's what we're looking for. Making connections because those connections can turn into jobs or just really good friends, which, it's a win-win. In our last video we talked about specific social media platforms that you could participate in and that are great for self-promotion and great for connecting. I tried to hit all the big ones with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, all those. But for some of you, you're other types of creatives, maybe you're a photographer, maybe you're UI. I'm a designer/illustration so I put Dribbble and things like that on there. If you have some sites that you feel are also good to participate in, if you could share that within the form with the rest of the class, that would be wonderful so that they can benefit from it. Just know that I didn't mean that those are the only sites that you could use. They were just definitely some of the best ones and more general ones for everyone. Hopefully you took the chance and set up profiles on ones that you wanted to or that you felt like you haven't already participated in, and you're ready to move forward from that point. Because what I want to talk about is consistency. When I say consistency, I mean, when you have your profile that is updated and you have your bio and your avatar, your profile pic, all that stuff is consistent across all your platforms. Now, I'll show you real quick what I mean. Starting off, we're here on Twitter and I made sure that it says the location is Austin, Texas, that's correct because not only we want it to be consistent, but we want to look for things to be updated. Right now I'm in Austin, so this is great. I have designer, illustrator, Braver of the Woods. When I go to my Dribbble site, my About section right here says designer, illustrator, Braver of the Woods and where does it say I'm at? I'm in Austin. This is a big deal for me because I've moved in the past three years to three different states, three different jobs. We had a baby since then. All these different things that have changed in my life and have changed the status of this company, all of that, I've had to update this frequently. Really important because if someone doesn't know you're in that area, maybe you don't feel like it's a huge deal. If it said Boston here, that's where I just moved from, a lot of people will come to you for jobs but a lot of times they'll come and look for a local artist, and because they think I'm in Boston, maybe if that person is located in Texas here, they wouldn't reach out to me because they thought I was in Boston when I'm actually here and I lost out on that opportunity. So make sure it's consistent, make sure it's all updated. But also make sure that the wording in your branding is the same across the board. I have my Brave the Woods shield here. I keep going back to that post, I'll talk about that later. The shield's still here. These are more personal side. These are just me, because Brave the Woods is my wife and I. She does all the backend work of the company and the billing and invoicing. When I go on Brave the Woods here, you'll see we're a design and illustrator. So I say we. Over here it's speaking directly about myself. Just make sure it's consistent, the voice is correct and it feels branded all across because it makes you look more professional and makes it look like you have your act together, which is good. I'll stop at this point right now, you could just pause the video and go make sure that across all your social media sites that everything's updated and consistent. Now you're back and we're going to talk about just a few tips that will really help you be a better social media sharer, if that's really a term. Basically to make the most out of the content that you're posting and make sure it gets seen by the most amount of people. Number 1, post often. Be an active social media person. I've got to find the term for that. Post often but also make sure that the stuff that you're posting is quality. You don't want to just post a bunch of content that's subpar just for the sake of posting a lot and getting your stuff seen. People will do that and they bump their contents so that it gets seen more. If you're familiar with forums, you'll have your content there as soon as you put it up. Just like any other social media site, everything gets buried by new content every second. If yours isn't an intriguing popular thread, it's just going to get lost. People will comment on their own thread and make sure it bumps to the top. That kind of stuff doesn't get you friends and it just looks annoying. It looks like you're trying too hard and people don't want to keep seeing that stuff in their feed and will ultimately not follow you anymore. We want more followers. What you'll do is you'll post often, but make sure that stuff's quality. How do we make sure that that content is quality? A really easy way is to follow people that post good stuff and retweet them or reshare, reblog. That's a really base level. That's one way to share, but you can also just share content straight from what you find in your inspirations and things that you find inspiring by other designers or illustrators or creatives in general. Share those types of things because that's good quality content. It's good for you in that regard. If you share it and make sure to link back to that person who created it. If it's Twitter, you make sure that they have their Twitter handle on there. You can do the same type of thing with Facebook. Make sure their name's attached to it and it links back to them because then they know you shared the work and they now know you exist and potentially can make a connection with them. When they share, all their friends now see that stuff and it also has your name connected to it. So lot of benefits to doing that. Another quality content is just post your own quality content. Take time, maybe formative of an opinion about something related to your field and share it or share your own work. But all those types of things are what gets you followers. By posting consistently, people are seeing that stuff on there. But like I said, everything gets lost. The more you post, the more people are going to want to follow you and say, "What are they going to be posting today?" That's the goal. Make sure to post your work. Obviously the goals, they're posted everywhere. But when I say everywhere, I mean on every single site. When you post something on Facebook, make sure to post that on Twitter, Instagram, any of those other sites that you have and you're just going to obviously increase your ads of it being seen. But when you're doing that, you don't want to be obnoxious and be, trigger happy and just post a bunch of stuff, but you also don't want to be obnoxious and ask people to follow you. I think that's one of my biggest pet peeves is when someone goes on and they find something really cool and they are, "Hey, you did a really great job on this. Hey, go check out my work now." That's poor etiquette when it comes to trying to get friends in general because it's all of a sudden you're starting off a relationship but needing something from them. The best way to do it is just to share people's content, go ahead and comment on people's posts and share them and have an opinion and give them compliments. All those types of things will get you connections and friends and ultimately, there's really great friend in the industry that can share, that you can get help from or just have a good friend, but you also get potential jobs out of it. It's all about the connections. I can't stress that enough. We're going to talk a lot more about them in further videos. But just know, don't want to burn any bridges there. Whatever your content is, make sure you're not burning too many bridges or bashing too many people because it's going to come back around and bite you. Yeah. I think last little point I want to make on that is think of your social media habits as a 95 job. I mean, it's really a full time job. I didn't realize that until I got into it and then my wife took over because for a lot of that, not on my Twitter, this stuff on Twitter and the stuff on sites like Dribbble and is that's all me. But like our blog my wife takes over and on the Facebook page she does a lot of when it's the voice of Brave the Woods. That's really helped. But it is a 95 job and realize when people interact with your stuff, like take note of when people interact with your posts, because that's super crucial when moving forward because if you're going to be posting stuff at a certain time and you realize you don't feel like you're getting a lot of attention. I see this all the time on Dribbble. I'll post a piece of work and it's awesome I think, but it doesn't get any attention at all because I posted it at night or whatever, and that's not the time people are sitting down looking through Dribbble. I find people are looking to Dribbble at work for inspiration and those types of hours. So that was a good time for me to post. I realized that people are going to be checking the post before they go to bed or when they wake up, those types of things you don't think of. Find out what's best for you. You can use Google Analytics. You can use tracking on other sites, on your social media sites or just watch when people interact and that'll be a good indicator for you. I would say take this time, go get on social media and I want to have one little task I'd ask of you is to go find someone you admire in your field on social media and reach out to them, send them a message, share their work with a little message, give them a compliment. Just reach out to one person, take a moment pause the video and go connect with someone and see where that lands you. It may not be an instant job or whatever. They may not even answer you right away, but get in the habit now of connecting with people in that way. Go ahead do that and then we'll talk our last little bit about SEO. Last little section, just want to talk to you really quickly about SEO. If you're not familiar with what SEO is, it's search engine optimization. SEO is basically how well you show up when searched on a search engine. When you're looking yourself up on the Internet, where do you come up? Where does your content come up? I'm going to show you what's on Google. I'm going to google Brad Woodard. Who comes up? Brave the Wood comes up. Perfect, that's exactly what I want. I want my stuff to be first. Now, that's always the goal. I've actually been fighting for this position with this Brad Woodard, who's a Houston news anchor and reporter. His stuff whenever there's a big story or big scandal, he was smoking out of a site that was devastated by a big fire off camera, but was actually caught on camera. That big thing popped him up before me because it has got a lot of attention, so things like that. He was staying active and his stuff was popping up before mine, but now I've been able to knock him down around and take that a top spot. That comes from posting all over the place, having my stuff featured all over the place, being constantly active on my blog, on my website. All of those things help your SEO, but also tagging. You want to be able, this is my WordPress. This is the backend of WordPress and I'm going to be editing. This is a post from my blog. It shows here I can choose categories that this type of steps of branding, illustration. You could find it easier on my site, but down here you have tags and this goes actually in the code. When people search online, even Google searches or other search engines, these are words that will pop up as an indicator like I showed you on Twitter for tagging. It's the same exact thing. ACL 2013, this is [inaudible]. It's invisible creature did last year or this year and it was amazing. I did a blog post on it, but I also put little tags and say that are related to that blog post. In that way they can show up in search engines and that's how you get your names up here further in the line in Google. Another thing, even, I'll just show you an example. If I have somebody looking up, I just want to see cool spaceman art. Let's just do that. Cool spaceman art. Let's look at images. So 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, so the fifth one in it's my work. That's what you want. You want it so, this isn't titled Spaceman Art. It's called Hello Spaceman, but it's an art print. I had all the right words in there and that's what was searched. When those are hit and you've had a lot of views on there, that's going to pop up first. It's really crucial you tagged your stuff for SEO purposes and getting your stuffs to pop up as soon as people search it. I think that by doing so, in doing this, it seems like it just magically happens. It's a process, I'm going to admit, it's not just going to be your name's going to pop up first, but being consistent and posting quality content and making sure that it's spread throughout all those social media platforms and tagging everything with the proper tags, you're going to see a lot of progress and you might even see your stuff just pop right up there at the top which you ultimately want because that's when people search you, you want your stuff to pop up. I think that's all I got here. Just know if this sounds like a lot of work, it is a lot of work. It's something that I've been working on for a very long time. You'll see progress, it may be slow at first, but you'll start gaining momentum as you continue and just make good habits of being genuine and posting often and posting quality content and you're good to go. I want to stop talking and we're going to move on to the next course, part of the course, which is talking about the importance of your writing and your voice as a brand, and how that can affect you in getting new jobs. I'll talk to you then. 7. 7. Professional Writing and Voice: All right guys, welcome to your favorite portion of the class. We're going to be talking about your writing skills. Now, before you go ahead and just skip to the next video, hear me out. Having a voice and learning how to communicate through your writing is just an incredibly helpful tool that will help you as a creative, not only progress creatively and be able to convey your own ideas a little bit clearer, but it'll also help you reach the audience that you want to reach. That's really what we're talking about when we're promoting ourselves online for the most part. We'll be talking more about face-to-face interactions later on in this course. But so far, and majority of your people that will be interacting with your work will obviously be online, so make sure that your voice is consistent, like we've said before in previous lectures, but make sure you've decided on a voice. Now when I say you've decided on a voice, I mean as a company, you have multiple ways that you can approach this. When I first started promoting myself, I was bradwooderdesign.com, and I was promoting myself as an individual. Now, I've gone since then to bravethewoods.com. What that's done, it's created more of a brand experience and it feels a bit bigger. That was something I felt I needed at that point to get my name out there. For some people that works, for some people it doesn't. I have a lot of good friends and talented friends, I have great clients who just promote themselves and that's wonderful. Decide what you want and decide who your audience is, so choose, who do I want to talk to? What type of clients do I want? Then decide how you're going to talk to them. That's really what we're going to be learning about right now, is just how to talk to your audience. First establish your voice. There's multiple ways you could come off if you want to come off more robotic and super professional, that might be fitting for who you want to target, maybe you're targeting more of a corporate audience and that's fine. You could, just an example, let's just say I was posting something on Facebook, if I was going to be talking just representing myself, I would say something along the line of, "Hey, I just finished this project and I thought you all should check it out. " If it now has been brave the woods, it's, "We recently worked on this project with so and so and here's a link to go check it out and hear your feedbacks, appreciate it, " however you want to say that or you can be super relaxed about it and just be like, "Hey, had a read thing I just posted, you should go check it out. " Whatever those are and maybe your audience reacts to those, maybe the super cool relaxed one is maybe your audience's younger, hipper, whatever you're trying to go for, just make sure it's appropriate. Maybe take the time right now, I would say, and go look and see what your voice, what you're writing is saying about you as a company. Maybe go look on your social media posts, your blog post or your emails. Go examine that and see you're what in, is it consistent for one, and does it fit who your audiences is. If you don't know who your audience is, right now, I would say stop everything and figure out who you want to talk to. This whole self-promotion class will be for naught if you don't even know who you're targeting it to, so choose an audience. All right, and then come back then we'll finish this video. Okay, we've now talked about the importance of writing and creating a voice. But let's talk about a few ways to enhance our writing skills and be able to communicate more effectively with our audience. One way to do that is to have a blog. Now, I don't know how many of you have a blog. I mentioned a blog earlier. There's a million good reasons for a blog and I'm going to keep talking about them because I can't talk enough about how good they are and how much they can help you and your business. But having a blog in this regard for enhancing your writing skills is super crucial because this is an opportunity for you to share your thoughts and your feelings and opinions in your industry. What that does is it sets you up as someone who knows something about your industry and people will see that, and if you write in a way that's professional, if you write in a way that's gripping to your audience, you're going to come off as more of a thought leader in your industry than anything. That's what you want, you want people to come to you and respect your opinion and it just helps you formulate your own opinion. If anything, it helps you think and it helps you think about what you want to say, so blogs are super crucial for that. It's really the personality of your company, your portfolio, maybe on your portfolio, your websites super tight and more professional, but then in the blog, sometimes you have opportunities to open up a little bit and show the personality of your company, so that's always another benefit. It's a great place to promote yourself. I use it all the time and my wife and I use it for for posting new projects that we've worked on, any events, maybe I'm speaking somewhere, this class, all those types of things. It's a good way once you started putting out good content, you start having followers, then you can start adding in the promotional items for yourself and that's a super big plus. Blogs again, they help people see you as a thinker, as someone who knows something about your industry. Let me show you a few people that I look up to in terms of writing and blogging. Frank Chimero, one of the really influential designers and thinkers right now when it comes to us creatives. I always enjoy, if you go to frankchimero.com/writing, you can go ahead and see his essays here. He has such wonderful writing skills and it's interesting as a pro, it fits the industry, how you immediately go to him for thoughts on specific things that are going on within our industry. When it comes to design for you in other types of creative outlets, I'm sure you know of some of these people that you look up to in blog. Jessica Hische's writing is wonderful because she's just frank and honest and she's another person that's really promoted herself. She's not another brand, her brand is her, and you can see that in her writing, it's very straightforward and blunt and fun. Jason Santa Maria, has a little bit more of a professional vibe too him but you could still see his personality in it and he has some great writing samples as well. I also like the Design Cubicle, Brian Hoff, did some great articles. He's able to keep a level of professional. You really look at him as someone who knows a lot about that industry because of his writing and how tight his writing is and people respect that. So think of the people in your field. If you're not in design, you're not in illustration, I'm sure you follow blogs that you enjoy and see how they doing, maybe take some notes from them and start writing your own ideas and opinions out because they definitely matter and you'll definitely want to show your clients and let your clients know that you matter and you understand what you're doing. Just one thing when you're writing blogs. Make sure that you always include link backs to which people's work and just source your content. You don't want to be the person that's blogging content that's unsourced. It's misleading, and you'll just get a lot more respect that way if you'll be able to do that. A few platforms that you can use. WordPress. I use WordPress. I built my site on it, but it's also nice because you have your blog incorporated with it, and WordPress has been aimed towards blogs for so long and just a great resource to use. Blogger. You can go on Blogger and same type of thing. I used Tumblr for a really long time. Tumblr is great. There's a ton of people on there, just a ton of people. Down here, it says right here, 151.3 million blogs. The cool thing about Tumblr is that you can share and re-post blogs and stuff like that really easily. There's a huge community already there like a community base around that blog as opposed to when you're doing your WordPress, you're going to have to build your community. I chose to do that after I already built up a community in Tumblr, so however you want to do it. They're just some really quick ideas. So go ahead, stop right now, stop what you're doing in this portion of the video, and go set up a blog. If you don't already have one, go set one up, open up a profile in one of these sites, and write your first blog post about something related to your field that would interest the type of audience that you've chosen. Go do that, and we'll come back and finish up this last little portion. All right, so we're back. Let's talk a little bit about just posting content everywhere else, what our writing should entail. Tips for everything that you write? I would say even if your voice is laid-back, don't make it seem unintelligent or lazy. That's easy to do, and when you get complacent and just feel like, "Oh, my audience knows me and I can say whatever I want," be 100 percent positive that that's the only audience you want because that's how they'll view it. When it comes to coming off as somebody you're not, make sure you come off as who you want to be and who your company is. Generally, just as a little side note, my wife had me put this in here because she is a communications major with an emphasis in journalism, she wanted me to talk about active voice, and it's always better than a passive voice. An active voice to something like when you're saying, "The dog bit the boy," as opposed to a passive voice is the boy got bit by a dog. Why that's important? It sounds more authoritative, and it sets your opinion in a more firm way than if just using a passive voice all the time. Just a little thought that might help out. Let's talk about emails. Emails are a huge one because this is your interaction directly with someone, with a client, and even if it's not a client, another individual in your industry. At first, make sure that you're being super respectful, and come off using proper grammar and correct spelling. It's easy in the world of texting and autocorrect just to go ahead, and forget the caps lock, and just go ahead, and start typing, and not care, but it does matter in an industry. I've been working in advertising and other professional realms in design. It does matter and people do care about that, and your email can just go straight into the trash can if you're not using proper English, and grammar, and spelling, and whatnot, so make sure of that. You don't need to put the abbreviations like TTL, or LOL, or whatever, make sure that you're using full words and just talk to them. I would say, generally, if you're in an email and you don't like something or if you don't like the project, just be sure to be kind and to use a nice, positive voice about the project. It's easy to get offended and say, "Oh, I can't believe they offer this price. This project is a joke." Writing back to them, make sure that you're writing back with a positive voice because you don't want to burn any bridges there, and let them know, "Thank you for thinking of me, but I don't have time for this," or whatever you're excused may be. Just make sure you let them know that you've thought about their offer or them contacting to you. Another thing with the emails is make sure that you just respond in general. It's easy once you start getting a lot of emails to just ignore them, but you're never too important for someone's emails. It doesn't mean you have to answer it right away immediately or even write a big, lengthy email back. Just let them know that you're there, and that you got it, and give them a response just out of courtesy. That says a lot about you and your time in prioritizing them, and that goes a long ways. I think that's it about writing. What I'm going to do is I'm going to provide some examples of letters and/or emails, how to formulate your email itself to a client in different instances because those can be tricky. It can be tricky dealing with people, and it's not easy to not burn a bridge. Sometimes it's hard to just go and actually be the bigger person, especially if someone starts telling you of or offends you in some way. Emailing is an art in and of itself, so I'll make sure to have some examples there in the resources, so go check those out so they can help you start your own. All right, so I hope this was helpful to you. Writing is important, choose your audience. Who is your audience? That will really determine how you write. Just as an overall thought, just make sure it's professional, and make sure it's fitting. All right, thanks. 8. 8. Reaching Out: We've been passive enough, now it's time to start reaching out and cold calling and knocking on those doors. We've gone out and positioned ourselves and found ways to best position our work, and our content and spread that online, and let that grow organically and let people interact with it from there. But there's nothing better than a one-to-one interaction. You can't just stop it, spreading your work out there and then not interacting with anyone. Let's talk about some ways that you can literally connect with people, and that type of impression stays with them and it builds a lot of trust. There's definitely a few things that you can do, and to phenomenally just make connections, but also hopefully land clients. Number one, talk to everyone and everywhere you go, it's easier said than done. But if you're introverts, maybe this is a good way to step out of that comfort zone and start talking to people. I don't mean talk to people like a salesman, because a lot of times it's easy to go to someone and try to pitch them on an idea. But really to win over people, you need to be genuine and look for opportunities to let people know what you do and that you're available for work. There's tactful ways to doing that. The first way I would say is be interested in what they do. Start the conversation not about you, but about them. Find out what they want to do. Eventually, that conversation is going to lead to what do you do. Then you have that and to go ahead and say what you do, and that you're available for working. Hopefully that leads to something. But going into it with the non-salesmen type pitch is very helpful. During that, you can exchange a business card. Business cards aren't dead. I carry them around all the time, and they end up being a really helpful tool to share my branding, giving out a piece of your brain and then take home. They have your contact info and better yet, there's something that you handed it to the person and so you have that opportunity to start that conversation face to face, and that's what I like most about those. Just be friendly, people like friendly people. There's usually just nothing better than maybe people face to face. Talk to everyone everywhere you go, that's number one. Little pro tip before I go to number two is, before you go on a trip, look up other creative or clients in the areas that you're going to visit. See if you connect with them, maybe you can go to a coffee shop, or just meet them at their studio, whatever. But don't say it's about business, just go and meet with them. This can be with a potential client or just another creative that you admire in another city or place that you're visiting. That's a really good way to show people that you care about them, and that you're interested in what they do and where they work or their area. It's a good way to make new friends, and new friends equal new clients down the road. Always keep that in mind. That's just a tip that I do. Every time I go travel, I've traveled enough, just with moving to new states every single year. It's been really cool every time I get into new areas, especially when I got here in Austin. I'd already free call people, left some e-mails, or went on Twitter and direct message people, and tried to get a meeting with them and just talk to them, and just introduce who I am. Again, people just need to know that you exist, that's it. Be a nice person, and good things will happen. Number two, I would say is a blog. Now you've heard me say a blog a million times now. I'm going to keep saying it because it is just that important. But there's so many things that a blog can do. right now, a good thing to use a blog to reach out. What I did in college before I graduated, I started sending out e-mails and ask to other professionals that I felt that I really admired. I said, I sent him some email and said, "Hey, would you mind answering a few questions if you have time? I really like what you do." Gave them genuine compliments. Then ask them if they had a moment to answer a few questions that I'd send over in a follow-up email. If they did and I send over those questions that, one they answered my questions, which is great because then I got some great feedback from them. [inaudible] two, I had great content for my site and I made a connection. Lots of good things going on there. I would say use your blog to interview people you admire, post it on there. Make sure to let people know when you share their work. After you've shared it, let him know. What I mean by that, obviously, they know because you did the interview, but let them know when you're going to post it, and then send them a link to the short link to that file or to that post, to that picture on your blog so that they can share it to their friends too, and drive more traffic your way and stand the radar. I would use it for that. Other thing you can do along the same lines with a blog, is spotlight creative on your blog. I would just feature their work and then let them know. It's the same idea. I'm on the interview, but you can also contact them, ask them if it's okay to share their work and do a little bit more of a feature on them. That's a good way to do it. One is talked to everyone, two is a blog, three; get involved locally. Now this is something I had been terrible at until I moved here in Austin. I think it's because I'm always being on the move. I really didn't think too much about it, about community, which I really need to. Getting involved locally. What you can do is participating in community events and you start getting to know people in the area, local business owners. Really good way to spread your name and to also do some good. find local shows and galleries and take part of those. There's always stuff going on like that and find ways to participate, to help out, or to even promote your own work there, maybe set up a booth. But there's lots of ways, I think, you can be more creative than I am right now. But look for ways in your community to get involved. Because those are the people that you really want as clients and friends. Drop by a local business. This one, this is the called calling idea is, drop by local business and let them know what you do, and that you love to do work with them. Now when you'd be more direct and come in and just say, "Hey, I'm a local designer and illustrator, and this is what my services I can offer. If you ever need any type of thing here, I work or live right around this area and I loved to work with you. Just a good way to get involved locally, then you have more chances to work with people face-to-face. That's the best clients. Number four, I would say get involved with good causes. Pro bono work. There's definitely place for pro bono work and doing things for charities or other good causes, or small businesses that need help. That puts a good taste to people's mouths about you and about who you are. It also gives you a good opportunity to do some fun projects. A lot of the times, when you do pro bono work, you get a little bit more open, more free rein to creativity wise on these projects, so those can be a lot more enjoyable and know that it's going to be helping out a good cause is always a bonus, but usually those types of things too are widespread and promoted really well and that can get your name out there. What better thing to get your name attached to than a good cause. Before I go on to number 5, hopefully you're starting to see patterns start to form here. All these things lead up to let people know that you exist. Just be there, you don't need to be pushy, you just need people to know that you're there and let your actions and let your work speak for itself at that point. Number 5, I would say cold call. This is just straight up cold calling. I already said, I guess I'm going to cold call and drop in by people's local shops. But other things you can do is send e-mails to people or companies you admire. You can complement their work, you can say hello, and just tell them who you are. That's really all you need to do, you don't need to ask for anything else. Like I said, just let him know you exist. Call or e-mail those you admire and ask them for advice. No harm in that. It actually shows that you respect them and a lot of times you'll get that really positive feedback. Surprisingly enough, these people who you think wouldn't have time for you or are too big of a deal for the likes of yourself, if you feel like this person is pretty popular in their realm. A lot of times those people will surprise you and reach back out to you, so don't underestimate yourself and talk to anybody. Don't be afraid to reach out to any of those people that you admire. Another thing you can do is you can send e-mails to a company. This is again started with compliments, but let them know what you do and that you're very interested in working. So this is more of a direct instead of just saying you compliment them and say what you do. This one would be more of like, if you wanted to be more direct and you really specifically wanted to work with them on a certain project or what not. Send them an e-mail, always complement first, and then say that you're interested in working with them and this is why you'd be a good fit for them and again, maybe throw in another complement and then just don't beg. Don't make yourself look desperate, that doesn't help at all. So just invite them to see your work and now you're on their radar, that's all you need to do. Again, your work should speak for itself. This whole class about promoting yourself, you can fake it till you make it to a certain extent, but you really can't fake it when it comes to your work. When it comes to confidence and stuff like that, you can fake it. But when it comes to your work, there's no substitute for good work. Another thing you could do in cold calling section is reach out to blogs or magazines and provide them with free content. Content provided by you, which is your work. People don't realize that blogs and magazines, they're always looking for content because they post all the time. What they print monthly or whatever, so they're always looking for content. You have content. Just find some of your content that you feel is best, that would best fit with their audience and the type of content that they share normally and that will fit for their blog and then you just let it run from there. So just offer them up free content and you'll be surprised how many times your stuff gets published that way. That's not being forceful or anything like that or just being cocky. You feel that your work can be shared in this platform and see if they agree, no harm. Number 6, just start following people and that, as we've already talked about in social media section earlier. To get more followers, you need to really start following people. That doesn't mean follow everybody and their dog regardless of who they are. Follow good, solid people. But make sure you're still following quality people, make sure you're following a lot of individuals because then, when you follow people or at least quality individuals because then you follow them and then you get a lot of times they'll follow you back and at least they'll know that you exist. Another way to help you on that, is to be actively commenting on their posts or sharing their posts and people like that, I would like that. When people reshare my content or they go ahead and they compliment my work or they comment on something that I posted or did. I obviously see that and I'm immediately interested in who they are, so that's a good way to get your name out there. Just be genuinely interested in them, that's the goal. The last thing we're going to talk about is self- promotional material. That's the culmination of this course or the project that we want to build up to, and that's going to be this next section is basically, essentially we're going to make a campaign for promoting your work and yourself and your brand and maybe the form of a launch or relaunch. So number 7, I will save for the next class, for the next time. When I say class, I mean video. We're going to talk about all those things that we need to do to promote our launch, which will be good. One little last bit of advice is just to own your work and stay confident, nothing can beat that. Like I said, you can fake it all you want. Fake it till you make it, it's perfectly applicable to being confident in yourself and being confident in your company. But there's no substitute, you can't fake your work and you can't fake that quality. So do quality work, own your work, and then just make sure you believe in yourself and you'll be surprised at all the success that will come from that. I guess we're getting close to wrapping everything up, so I'll see you in the next and final video. 9. 9. The Launch Campaign : We finally made it to the end, end of this course and we've been able to do a lot. I hope it wasn't overwhelming for you. But now we get to launch our campaign and show off everything that we've learned and that we've created. Hopefully, now we have a functional website, and it's functional and beautiful and shows off your work. Hopefully, you have a current blog. Hopefully, you're active on your social media sites, and commenting and sharing and good quality content. Then, just flat out reaching out to people, and making those connections and hopefully new clients. All of these things that you've learned and implemented, super important things, is not a onetime thing, so make sure that you're making these things habits. May take a little while at first, maybe you might miss a few blog posts, but the important thing is that you keep trying to be more consistent. I promise the more you do that, the more followers you will see, and the better your own work will get, and you'll start rounding up some more clients, which is what we all want. But let's go ahead and hit the ground running. We want to make some big splash right off the bar, and let people know about your campaign. Let's talk about some ways that we can do that, and how we can get people excited. There's a pre-launch. Right before the launch day, I would say, reach out to family and friends first. They may make terrible clients, but a lot of times they will bring in a lot of friends as potential clients for you. If I tell my mum about any of this stuff, she will share in a heart bit and she has a million and one friends. Don't feel bad sharing with family, they want to help you. Take that, and those would be the first people I would send the stuff to. Number two, I will send out invites to everyone I know in general, by doing something like an e-mail newsletter. My wife and I did that when we launched Brave the Woods. I created some art and then I went into email and I did CC to everyone. They didn't see everybody else's emails, which is important, and blasted that out there. What I did on there, is I made sure that the content was branded, and I made sure I gave them an invitation date. I invited them and said, "Hey, we're inviting you on January 23rd to share the official launch of Brave the Woods. We're now open for business." Something simple, but just tells them what you're doing, and then tells them the date that they supposed to share it. You want everybody to share it on the same day, just so you can make a bigger splash. That's really the only idea there. But I would say for close friends, they can be in that e-mail blast, but make sure you're also sending them a personal e-mail. Just out of respect and it usually goes off a little bit better, because you're saying, "You're sharing this means a lot to me especially you". That usually goes off and helps them want to share it a little bit more, and it gives them a little bit warm and incentive, and that's what you want. You definitely want those type of people sharing it. The last thing you do is you can send out a physical mailer, and you can even create something yourself, or you can have something designed. But whatever you can send them out in the mail. People love mail, so that's not a bad idea. Number three, you can directly contact blogs. Blogs are super influential. They already have a big fan base and following, so mooching off of that and if they want to share it, that's awesome. Because then you get all their eyes from their blog onto yours and in your new site. E-mail will reach out to them and let them know. If you have good work, they're going to be more than happy to share it, because it's brand new content. People like original and people like new, especially in the blogging world. Shoot that over to them and you'll be surprisingly easy. Number four, I would say, prepare and brand all of your materials for the launch. What we did is we took Instagram, all of my social media sites, and I made little pieces of artwork that just said, "Brave the Woods is now open and here's a link to the website". I did that on Pinterest and made that. It's just a little piece of art that people would like to share and look at, because it was cool in and of itself. But it also has a link back to the website, and it said that we're open for business, and we were designing an illustration studio. I went ahead and made that artwork and resized in creative for all the different platforms that I had. Do that now early before the launch, because it takes a little bit of time. But you also want to make some art work for your blog, and for your homepage potentially. Last thing, make sure that it's all consistent. Because it's going to be shared all over the place, you want to make sure that it's all tied back to you and the same launch. Here you go. Now the launch. Now, this is the day that everybody's waiting for, everyone is starting to post your content and share your site. You need to be just as active, so host and share everything, put it all out there, put your blog post up and talk about your new branding and about your company and say whatever you want. This is the time to announce who you are. Then post your launch the artwork on all those different social media sites that I just mentioned. Make sure that all that stuff is up there and being shared. You don't want to do that beforehand, because again, you want it all at the same time and make this a big splash. But as this is all happening, number two, I would say is track your progress. We've already talked about tracking progress. You know how to go and Google Analytics, you know how to look in your different social media sites and find how you're doing and who's talking about you. Now, make sure you find out who that is, and just make sure to be reacting to those comments, reacting to those shares, thanking people and what not people know that you're involved and this is not just like a stale, thing that's being shot out there for your brand. To get time for people to get to know you. After the launch, again, give thanks to people. If the user analytics find out which blogs shared your stuff, shared your site, and your launch, and potentially just your work, then go out and just send them an email and say, ''Thank you so much, really appreciate it''. That was a big thing you need to do. Thank them, that'll go a long way and you can find them down in the future. See whether other people or companies have posted your work. You can do that just by googling yourself. Most people don't like to google themselves. They think it's vain. I go myself just so I know where I'm at, and a lot of times I'll find, if I go Google Images, I'll find my work in there. I can hover over the work and it will tell me where that work is living. If it's a site I don't recognize, I definitely going to click on it and find out who was and thank them for it, and make sure that they credited me and all that kind of stuff, but don't feel bad by searching yourself. But then I would just say the second thing is, just keep on keeping on. Continue posting that quality content and don't let this be a huge day of all these visits and all this activity on your end, and then all of a sudden the following weeks, you just fall off the grid. You need to keep it up. Continue blogging, continue posting on social media, keep reaching out to people, and of course, always stay humble. Then, after all is said and done, I would say the last thing that you can do is send out branded promo and swag. That's the fun part. A lot of times, a lot of companies will do this during holidays, or other events, or just if someone's reaching out to. If you want to thank a client, or if you want to reach out to a potential client, all reasons to make branded promotional material that you can send out in the mail. People love mail, and something tangible. Everything's online right now, so it's nice to have something tangible from you that basically shows off your work and your talents, and that they can hold on to. Think of stuff that's original, think of stuff that people would actually want to hold onto or use, and put on their desk, and just be clever about it. It's just there to make people happy, make people know who you are, and want to work with you. There's a million different places that you can find promotional ideas, and some really cool examples. If you go on Behance, or if you go on Pinterest, I have a couple links in there for you. You can go through those yourselves and decide what's best for your brand. That's the end of this class, and I want to thank you for being part of it. If this did help you out, please say so in the little survey that's at the end of this class. Just reply with how you like it, how this was. Any feedback would be great. If you wouldn't mind sharing it to your friends and family that you think that would need this course or benefit from this course, they are more than welcome to come in. Thank you so much for making this class possible, and continue looking in the resources section of this site, so that you can see all the different things that I have that you can work on aside from these videos. Thanks so much. I appreciate it.