Compelling Marketing Materials, No Matter Your Niche
I love notebooks. I am, after all, a writer.
In the world of iPads, smartphones, and other technological devices, there is still something wonderful about a notebook.
I have always been a pen-and-paper person. In college (in the late 90s before PDAs) I kept everything in my trusty planner. I carried that thing with me everywhere. If I lost it, I was doomed. But I never lost it. It had my calendar, address book, membership cards, and even a ruler! I put things I didn’t want to lose in it’s zippered pockets and wrote everything in it.
When I graduated, I ditched the planner. My life was much less chaotic with a full-time job and I didn’t need to keep track of assignments. So I started carrying around a blank, unlined notebook. I started collecting quotes I heard and liked, lists of books I wanted to read, and sketches I drew during my lunch hour spent in downtown Boston. It was like a journal without all the personal secrets.
My favorite kind of notebooks were Moleskine notebooks. They were small, sturdy, and came without those pesky lines. Some of them even had a built-in elastic to keep the books closed. When I saw this post on designboom about a new architecture book series Moleskein was publishing, I thought “Now that’s a great idea!”
Moleskein decided to choose four architects and put together notebooks incorporating their drawings and handwritten notes in a journal format. It’s like taking a look inside the brain of some of the world’s greatest architects. They’ll be adding two more to the series this spring.
How do You Keep Track of Your Ideas?
I’m not sure how you, as a freelancer, keep track of your thoughts and ideas. But I do it with notebooks more often than not. And, depending on your level of skill and talent, these notebooks can really become works of art.
If Moleskein can publish books depecting the works of some of the great architects, why can’t you do it for yourself?
If Moleskein can publish books depecting the works of some of the great architects, why can’t you do it for yourself? Of course, it wont work for every freelancer, but those who use a visual medium (photographers, graphic designers, architects, artists) can journal their way through a project and collect and publish their work.
You don’t need to be published by Moleskein to share the “behind the scenes” thought process of your work, but it is a great way to show potential clients how you get from point A to point B.
I am currently working on a feature story where I gave three landscape architects different blank slates to create their dream design. Two of them have been in the business for 40 years, and they created drawings by hand to submit to me for the piece. The last one was a younger guy who also likes to draw his designs by hand, but he had a company render his design using CAD Design Software.
It was so interesting to see the different layers of work these three designers went through to create their designs. They include aerial drawings, POV drawings, and lists of stones and plants to use in the design. They were, truly, works of art. In fact, one of them had their design matted and framed and put on his wall!
Marketing Your Working Process
As a freelancer, you need to find a way to show people your work and market yourself. Writers on this blog have talked about creating compelling business cards, digital flipbooks, photo albums, mailings, and other clever marketing materials that you can put in people’s hands. Creating small journals of your process from start to finish is just another way to do that. And with online publishing tools, creating a portfolio is even easier than ever.
When bidding or interviewing for a potential project, you want to be armed with everything the person doing the hiring could need or want. Having a killer portfolio showcasing other work similar to the project you want to be hired for is a great way to gain their confidence.
You don’t have to give this stuff out on the street—be choosy! Use these marketing materials wisely as to not waste them. Send them out to potential clients and do your research before mailing them out. I can’t tell you how much stuff I get in the mail and in my email from people I would never hire, simply because they don’t live in our area.
Check out the submission guidelines for these companies. Do they hire freelancers who live in other countries? We do not. In fact, we don’t publish anyone who doesn’t live within our coverage area. So all the stuff I get from New York, San Francisco, and London go right in the trash. A waste of money for these freelancers looking for work.
But targeted marketing materials do work—and they can work rather well if you take the time to make them. And even if you just start keeping a notebook to gather your ideas and inspiration for yourself, that’s a pretty cool project, too.