Nothing has gotten me more client work than my personal YouTube channel. Here’s why you should make your own.
Finding clients can be extremely daunting at times. With the current state of the world where nothing seems for sure, now more than ever it’s apparent how important it is to have a diverse range of income streams as a freelancer. Whether you’ve been freelancing for awhile or you’re just getting started, creating a personal connection with a potential client by attaching your face to your work can make the difference between you and another name on a screen.
Put your work out there.
In today’s digital world, having an online portfolio is the first step to starting any freelance business. Creating a website is great to have as a “home base” that you can print on your business card and refer clients to.
But why not take it one step further? Create another sort of portfolio on YouTube to broaden your reach and potential pool of clients.
I’ve been making videos on YouTube for over four years now. My freshman year of college, I got an email from the head of the study abroad office saying that he had seen one of my videos and offered me a paid internship to create content for them. At the time I was making videos related to my college on my channel. During my interview he mentioned how my passion for making videos really stood out and because of that he thought I was the perfect fit to bring something new to the department. Sadly, I left the school before I could officially begin the internship, but it was a great opportunity and something that would’ve never happened if I hadn’t been posting videos.
Bulking up your portfolio with YouTube content is easier than you might think, and it’s never too late to start. Plus if there’s one thing I’ve learned from posting content online, it’s that you never know who’s watching and what opportunities are around the corner.
Create what you want to be hired for.
In order to get hired, you need a portfolio. Upload content that shows your skill in whatever it is you’re doing and have a target audience in mind.
If you want to be hired as an editor, make high quality videos showcasing your skill. One easy recommendation would be to make editing tutorials. If you want to be hired as a photographer and your goal is to do more product photography, make a behind-the-scenes video where you explain the creative process of your most recent shoot.
The same principle applies to many different forms of social media. If you can re-purpose your content and upload it to Instagram, Twitter, or even Tik Tok, you heighten the chances of getting more eyeballs on your work. One of my friends made a short commercial for a wine brand, documented her process, and uploaded it as a quick tutorial on Tik Tok. The video got almost 400k views and many new potential clients reached out afterwards.
Looking for new clients can be difficult and time consuming. So, why not put some effort into creating content that will allow clients to find you? That’s the power of social media.
“I don’t know what to create.”
This is one of the main questions I get asked all the time by viewers and friends who want to start a YouTube channel, but don’t know how to get started.
For the majority of people, YouTube by itself isn’t going to be paying the bills. We’re all busy, and figuring out a way to consistently upload content online can seem like too much of a hassle for what it’s worth.
Learning how to make YouTube videos is like any other skill. It takes a while to get better. Learning how to upkeep a consistent upload schedule, speak to a camera properly, and even deal with the SEO side of choosing a good title and thumbnail isn’t something you’ll learn overnight. Logan from Shutterstock Tutorials started a personal YouTube channel in early 2020, and he’s learned a ton about viewer behavior by studying analytics. The point is, you can’t learn this stuff before you start — you have to be in it to understand it.
If you’re just getting started, I’d recommend establishing the motive behind your channel and three general topics you’ll be sticking to. Pick topics you are already passionate about. Sharing your passion can inspire others to share that passion or can link you to other people who are as passionate as you. If you want to promote your freelance work, make content that will achieve that goal, but also make something you can expand on and that you can sustain creating for an extended period of time.
Keep an eye on trends and new developments in the subjects you decide to cover. But, try not to get distracted by what others are doing. Instead, create videos that you’re excited about and try to improve with every new upload.
Get your foot in the door.
Remember that you’re also building a brand when you’re creating videos. You don’t have to learn everything about marketing before you set out, but here are a few things to keep in mind while you grow your channel.
Be consistent with your graphics, including banners, title screens, or animations. Your viewers will begin to associate these graphics with your channel, and by extension, you.Set a reasonable upload schedule and do your best to maintain it. But, don’t worry too much if you have to adjust it to fit your channel into your workload. Like your graphics, your viewers will link your music choices with your growing brand, so you want to be as consistent as possible. And, of course, you want quality. It can be something you write yourself or something you purchase, but either way it needs to fit your channel’s image.
There is, of course, so much more to making YouTube videos than music and a memorable title screen. From choosing and setting up cameras to lighting to backdrops, you have a ton of choices ahead of you. If you don’t have one already you’ll need to choose an NLE (non linear editing) system, plus decide if you’re interested in streaming on YouTube. Your home studio can—and probably will—look utterly different from your digital neighbors’ setup.
Tools and resources for starting.
It’s not actually bad news, though. It’s easier than ever to find the resources you need to choose the right gear and software (even if you’re on a tight budget while you wait for new clients to find your channel).
To give you an idea of how many ways there are for you to customize your channel, check out these guides and articles.
Getting Started with YouTubeEverything You Need to Start a Youtube ChannelThe Best Free Resources for Your Filmmaking ExpeditionStreaming on YouTube10 Practical Tips for Getting Your Livestream Ready TonightChoosing a Video Editing SystemA Total Beginner’s Guide to Video Editing Using DaVinci Resolve9 Beginner Tips For Editing Footage in Final Cut Pro XThe 7 Best Smartphone Video Editing Apps in 2020Filmmaking Roundup: The Best Free Video Editing ProgramsDIY Studios and LightingHow to Set Up a YouTube Video Studio AnywhereSetting up Lighting for YouTube: The Beginner’s GuideCamera Tips7 Filmmaking Cameras You Can Get for Under $1,000The 5 Best Webcams on the Market for Working from Home
And there’s so, so much more.
Don’t worry too much about the numbers.
The more views you get the more eyeballs on your work. That’s a fact.
But, the point isn’t to try and become a successful YouTuber and get the most views possible. It’s easy to forget that behind every view and subscriber is an actual person, and with each person there is opportunity.
The only reason I’m writing this article right now is because someone from the Shutterstock team saw one of my YouTube videos and liked it enough to reach out and ask if I would like to create content for them. The video they discovered me from had around seven thousand views at the time.
There’s something really powerful about showing the passion and process behind your work. Now more than ever in the world of social media, people are searching for authenticity and transparency, even in business. By showing a glimpse into your process, showcasing your passion for the work that you do, you never know what sort of opportunities may arise.
Learn even more about video production and social media with these articles.
TikTok for Photographers: Tips for Getting a Head StartHow We Got 100,000 Subscribers on Our Youtube ChannelTips on Recording Narrative Sound as a Solo FilmmakerCan You Use Holiday Lights in Your Video Content Throughout the Year?YouTube Sensation Nicole Glass Shares Her Stock Photo Secrets
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