I am Promo
Every year, almost without exception, I try to create some sort of self-promotion. It's rarely a herculean effort. Mostly small stuff. Refreshed business cards. Accordion mailers. New portfolio pieces. Self-published book. Set of postcards. Something to remind my fan base of what I'm all about. Ironically, most of these self-promotional efforts end up reminding me, first and foremost, what I'm all about. What makes me tick and click.
I find most photographers generally shy about self-promoting. Many feel it's too braggy, too self-righteous, too self-important. But I think, for photographers, there is more going on here. For those timid of self-promoting, I think the more accurate reason for their insecurity is two-fold. One - lack of confidence in their skill set. And two - lack of confidence in their unique selling propositions (USP).
To be an ardent self-promoter (and I most definitely am), you need to be 100% convinced of what makes you tick and click. Until you know this, you'll never be able to convince others. Whether print or video, online or offline.
Timidity and self-doubt are self-promotion killers. Unassertive marketing efforts, in print or video, result in unassertive projects and customers. Personality attracts personality. Confidence attracts confidence. Belief in yourself attracts belief from others.
You need to know, without a shadow of a doubt, who you are...photographically. What your photographic strengths are. What separates you from your competitors. What you can do and shoot better than anyone else. What your core aptitudes are. And I'm not talking about a casual knowledge. But a deep, abiding, passionate understanding and comprehension of what makes you tick and click. From the depth of your being.
The more persuaded and assured you are, the more convincing your self-promotion will be.
Here is my new self-promotional video demo. It was shot and edited by emerging fusionist, Ben Eckstein. A few links to the backstory about this weekend promo shoot in Cape Cod are right here, here and here.
I don't think there is a greater or more powerful tool on the planet today than video for artist marketing. Every photographer - newbie or veteran, young and old, starting or finishing - should have a promotional video. It is, hand's down, the most commanding, persuading and influential marketing medium of our time. Period.
Think about how photographers have typically and traditionally gone to market. With still images. That's totally understandable since that's the product and service being sold. But what does a still image, or even a series of still images, tell your customers about who you are as a photographer? Or about your personality, your work ethic, your aura, your workflow, your client compatibility? Let me answer this. Nothing. Zippo. Nada. Zilch. Not a bloody thing. Stills capture. But video moves.
In this relationship economy, customers what to connect with you like never before. Before they hire you, they want to look under the hood. They want to see what you look like. How you talk. How you dress. How you come across. How you relate to crew, models, clients. They want to know you're a real person. And what better way to get to know you than through a promotional video?
Video allows photographers to show personality and portfolio together, in the same package. Character and commerce. Process and product. Emotion and work. Video allows you, as a savvy marketer, to create a storytelling narrative around who you are and what you do. An emotional narrative so strong that it leaves little doubt in the hiring process. And actually pre-sells you before the job even begins.
Video is powerful.
Art buyers and art directors used to hire photographers, sight unseen. And I'm sure some still do. But most don't. Most prefer to see a promotional video or blog so they can connect your workflow with your actual work.
I know I keep saying this over and over again, but in a downturned, relationship economy (like we are experiencing now)...it's not just about 'the work'. It's about so much more. It's about you. Your personality. Your integrity. Your work ethic. Your honesty. Your communication skills. Your ability to connect and engage. Your team skills. Your demeanor. Your attitude. It's about you!
How do they see all of this 'you'? Simple. Video. And although a self-promotional video won't solve all your marketing problems, at the very least it will put a face to your folio. Personality to pictures. Humanness and genuineness to your work. And that simple, behind-the-scenes glimpse might be the catalyst a buyer needs to award you that job and sign that purchase order.
I'm quietly working with a couple of commercial video producers to help them develop photographer promotions and packages. At all different price points. With all sorts of varying production values, based on those price points. So stay tuned here. More to come.
For now...find out what makes you tick and click. Write it down. Embrace it. Live with those thoughts for a few days. Then develop your own promotional video outline. What does it look like? How long is it? What strengths will you be showcasing? What does the audio sound like? Is it scripted? Is it you on camera? Others on camera? Both? Answer these questions and you'll be on your way.
Make it your mission before the end of the year to have your own self-promotional video. Trust me on this. Clients will love it. And it could very well be the best marketing investment you've ever made. You will get your money back, guaranteed. Turn up the volume. Self-promote or self destruct!