I thought I had the whole freelance marketing thing down. I knew how to attract freelance writing clients.
Send out queries and letters of introduction? Yup.
Maintain a basic writer’s website to point prospects to? Definitely.
Fumble around with Skype for a client meeting? Got it.
Make video to grow my freelance business? No way.
Why? It’s too hard! I don’t know anything about video editing. And it will cost too much to pay someone else to do it.
But video is a powerful marketing tool.
In a recent Forbes report, 75 percent of business executives said they watch work-related videos weekly. An estimated 54 percent of senior executives share videos with their team. And industry analysts estimate that 96 percent of businesses use video for online marketing, sales, and communication.
I decided it was time to make my own marketing video to attract freelance clients.
Here’s how I did it — by myself, and without spending a dime.
1. Get over your fears
The last time I edited a video, I was sitting in the control room of a makeshift radio and TV station in high school. That was 20-plus years ago, long before digital media dominated the Interwebs. No, I wasn’t using a reel-to-reel machine, but editing on VHS tapes makes me old enough.
A couple weeks ago I read a QuitN6 book by tell-it-like-it-is marketing guru Buck Flogging (aka Matt Stone), and he suggested making a PowToon video. Huh?
The idea sounded interesting. But with no experience creating digital videos, I wondered if it was even something I could do. Fortunately, I moved past that fear and decided to take action.
In about two hours, I created a customized video for my freelancing business for FREE. I uploaded it to YouTube, added it to my site, and started including it in my LOIs.
2. Create a PowToon account
You know the drill for this kind of stuff. Go to PowToon.com. Sign up for free to create an account. Check your email. Log in, and you’re ready to go.
Are there other video-making platforms that offer a similar service with easy-to-edit templates? Probably, but I didn’t waste time trying to find out.
3. Choose a video template to customize
I knew the start-from-scratch option wasn’t for me, so I chose a template from the tab marked “Customize a Ready-Made Powtoon.”
The “Teacher Intro” template under the “Education” tab worked for me, but there are lots of other templates that would be easy to customize for your freelancing business.
4. Edit the text
Seriously, it’s that easy. Before I did anything to the animations, graphics, and other features, I wanted to get the message right, and I wanted to keep it short. The core message I include in LOIs came to mind.
I cut the template down to seven slides and used a total of 59 words. It’s easy to change fonts and text size, but I didn’t deviate from the template defaults very much.
Slide 1: Looking for a freelance health writer?
Slide 2: Hello! My name is Evan Jensen.
Slide 3: I’m a copywriter, journalist, busy dad, and ultramarathon runner.
Slide 4: I write about health, fitness, nutrition, chronic disease, preventive medicine, and wellness.
Slide 5: I write for newspapers, magazines, and businesses like yours.
Slide 6: Got a project you need to assign to a Freelance Writer?
Slide 7: Evan Jensen, thehealthycopywriter.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, xxx-xxx-xxx
5. Customize the look
This probably took more time than anything else. I changed the teacher-lady to a friendly-looking guy. I took out most of the school-related graphics. I adjusted the timing of when the text and images appear on the screen, very similar to adding animations in PowerPoint. I added my logo to each slide. And I cut the length of the video to wrap up in under a minute.
You can even pick a different music track or upload your own, change slide background colors, and record your own voice-over to go with your video. But I didn’t use these features.
6. Export to YouTube
Once I was happy with my 50-second video, I clicked the Export button and the option to Upload to YouTube. (Note: I did have to create a YouTube account first.)
In a couple of minutes, my PowToon video magically appeared on YouTube. And from there, it was pretty easy to figure out how to get the video on to my site, and grab the link to include in LOIs.
It took me about two hours to create this with no prior experience using PowToon, posting a video on YouTube, or editing videos online. And once it was on YouTube, it was pretty easy to do the basic behind-the-scenes stuff to get this on my website.
Does video marketing work?
When I send out LOIs, I include the video URL in my signature line. And it’s getting noticed. I’ve heard back from a number of prospects that specifically mention the video. A handful of those will likely have paying work in the near future. The video also helped attract a potential client without any marketing on my part.
About a month after creating this video, I received this inbound lead:
After much back and forth with this prospect, I didn’t move forward with the project because we were too far apart on price. But the fact that my video generated an inbound lead is a good indicator to me that it’s working.
Make your own video — easy as that
Writing well-crafted queries and LOIs are key to growing your freelance business. But it’s no secret that smart and consistent marketing efforts make a difference too. Follow these simple steps to create your own video that will help you attract freelance writing clients.
Have you done any video marketing? Share in the comments below.
Evan Jensen is a freelance writer, newspaper editor, and reporter who’s plotting a path to leave his day job. When he’s not writing or chasing his three kids around, he runs ultramarathons.