Tips for Showcasing Your Work Online
Tips for Showcasing Your Work Online
When you’re in business for yourself, there’s nothing more important than showing potential customers or clients just what you can do. But as a consultant, freelancer or small business person with a specialized focus, it can be difficult to know how to show off without feeling like you’re, well, showing off. That’s just one among several reasons so many of us put the task off, preferring to rely instead on ad hoc strategies.
The irony here is that, once built, showcasing your work online is an easy and effective way to establish your expertise, build your reputation, and convince potential clients to reach out to you without having to get too salesy.
Where to start? Let’s take a look at a few creative and fun strategies.
1. Create an Online Portfolio
Naturally, an online portfolio is a must for anyone in a highly visual field and creative field, like designers, advertisers and photographers, allowing professionals to give potential customers an instant look at the range and quality of the work they can perform. They’re also effective for writers who need an easy way to centralize and organize a mass of clippings across mediums.
But even professionals outside of creative fields can make good use of an online portfolio. A business analyst, for example, might post a Powerpoint presentation on SlideShare, while a consultant might offer old reports for consumption. Don’t worry–you don’t have to post an entire project if that conflicts with any lingering contracts. Even an abbreviated taste can give potential customers a good sense of what you do.
There are three main hosting options for portfolios:
Your website. Displaying sample work on your website keeps all of the information a customer needs to know in one place and helps lower bounce rates. When they’re done looking through your work, a potential customer can easily find your contact information or take a peek at your packages. Even better, building a portfolio on your own website allows you space to describe just what every featured job entailed, so that potential customers can get an inside look into not just what you do but how you do it.
A portfolio site. Sites like Behance, Clippings.me, Carbonmade and many more make it easy to upload your work into elegant and professional-looking templates. What’s more, Behance even works with LinkedIn, so you can share your portfolio with all of your professional contacts and make the most of social media networking as you go.
Pinterest. If major corporations use Pinterest to feature their work, why can’t the little guy? Take a browse through this section of the site devoted to resumes and portfolios, and you’ll see a number of creative approaches, from infographic resumes to more basic clippings that are fun and easy to browse.
Or, hey, why not do all three? You can’t go wrong when you’re creating more ways for potential customers to see your work.
Even if you work in an offline field, you can still make use of an online portfolio simply by snapping a few photos of your work and posting them online with short, engaging and informative descriptions.
2. Make the Most of Free Tools
For designers and programmers of all stripes, building something fun, beautiful or helpful for potential clients to use can be a great way to highlight your design eye and demonstrate your coding know-how. This infographic, for example, showcases the Alt Creative aesthetic while also providing interesting information about the impact of our charitable campaigns. The infographic is easily shared with clients, provides a glimpse into how we operate, and clearly articulates both our ethical and our design principles, while still being fun and easy to understand.
But you don’t have to be a technical savant to take advantage of visual tools. With simple infographic builders like infogr.am, turn the results from your hard hitting research or customer statistics into art that will help lay people understand what you do in just a glance.
Note: No matter what kind of free tools or designs you make, make sure to include identifying information so everyone knows just whose creative genius this is. You’ll also want to make your tool or resource easily shareable on social media and to promote it prominently yourself.
3. Film a Video
As countless big companies and advertisers know, online video is driving a large percentage of search traffic, and that number is only growing. Video portfolios make intuitive sense for videographers, animators and special effects designers, many of whom turn to the much more artsy and community-driven Vimeo for hosting.
But video can also be an effective way to show off physical, real world work, and to introduce potential clients to your personality. You might, for instance, tell the viewer about how you approached the projects you’re featuring. You might tour us around the city you helped plan. Or you might just compile the photos from a more traditional portfolio into a slideshow to better capture a user’s attention. Make sure to tag the video correctly, as this will be crucial in getting your work found online. Try using any one of the portfolio sites previously mentioned, as they all support this format.
4. Write a Whitepaper or Case Study
Whether your job is highly technical or you’re a life coach who works one-on-one, sometimes the best way to describe what you do is to tell a story through white papers or case studies. For example, a virtual assistant might begin with a section detailing the kinds of organizational issues with which their client struggled before moving into the rationale behind her approach and presenting a detailed “after,” complete with both personal and statistical improvements. This is a particularly effective technique for those with newer job titles that might be inscrutable to most.
5. Gather Testimonials
Last but not least, even testimonials can be a great way to show off your work, especially when you don’t have anything tangible to show. When happy customers describe their experiences with you at length, that gives potential customers a good grasp of who you are and what you do, while also providing social proof. Again, consider using video testimonials and pictures to help drive traffic.
Talking about your work may not feel natural to you, but it’s an essential part of growing a successful business. Get to know the tools at your disposal, and don’t be afraid to get a little creative. Good luck!