Before the days of online content, if a creative freelancer wanted to write a book, launch a talk show, or become a radio host, she had to get approval from major gatekeepers like publishing companies and TV stations.
But not anymore! Now with just a laptop and internet connection, you can create blogs, videos, podcasts, and social media posts that grab the attention of your potential clients, help them understand the value of working with you, and convert them into happy customers.
If you have a creative freelance business, creating engaging content will be the key to your entrepreneurial success. But how do you know which type of content is right for you?
Below is a breakdown of the pros and cons of starting a blog, podcast, and YouTube channel so you can decide which platform will help you grow your freelance business.
But before you dive in, I highly encourage you to snag our cheat sheet of 9 ways to grow your graphic design business! You can download it here:
Blogging is a fun and effective way to attract a following and catch the attention of your ideal clients. Blogging is the primary content creation method I used to grow my freelance graphic design business!
Unlike social media posts which are scattered across multiple platforms and fall to the bottom of the feed, articles on your business’s blog are housed on your website where readers can find them later. That means one well-written blog post that gives your audience tons of value can keep attracting visitors to your site for years into the future.
Ideal Client Profile: Blogging
If your ideal clients are working professionals, they probably can’t devote the time to watch a YouTube video or listen to a full podcast during the day – both activities that would require headphones and a designated chunk of time.
But with blog posts, your potential clients can Google a topic, stumble upon your blog, and either read your post, bookmark it for later, or quickly skim through your words to find the answer they need.
If your ideal clients tend to have a lot on their plate or simply prefer written content, blogging is the best option for your freelance business.
You can also use blogging to share information they will want to refer to later. For example, if you’re a photographer, you could publish a post called “The 5 Best Poses for your Professional Headshots” that readers can pull up when getting their pictures taken.
Blogging is best for you if…
– You want to create content quickly and on your own. You can write and upload a blog post in just a few hours (and at any time of day or night!) without needing to think about factors like lighting, background noise, or visual editing.
– You want to improve the search engine optimization (SEO) of your website so potential clients can find you more easily on Google.
– You don’t love being on camera or having your voice recorded, but you still want to create content that showcases your business and personality.
– You want to keep potential clients on your own website where they can explore and click around rather than on a third-party website.
– You simply enjoy writing!
Once you have published some blog posts, you can promote them to your Instagram audience to start driving traffic to your website! Here is our free guide to 20+ Instagram post ideas for designers:
Blogging doesn’t have a lot of drawbacks, which is why I recommend it to creative female freelancers who aren’t sure which content creation route they want to take.
Your blog posts don’t have to be stuffy or perfect – they are simply an opportunity to share your business insights and the value you can provide to clients. You may even look back later and cringe at some of your first posts, but that is actually a good thing because it means you are improving your writing and your approach over time.
If you don’t consider yourself a strong writer, blogging may not be your favorite content creation option – in that case, it’s possible that videos or podcasts will be more appealing to you. You could also try an online transcription service that translates your voice recordings into written text for your blogs.
At its core, a podcast is an audio file. Rather than writing out a blog post, you can simply speak into a microphone, post the file online, and people can download or stream the file at their own leisure.
Podcasts have taken off in popularity in recent years, and everyone from celebrities to politicians to true-crime experts have launched podcasts that monetized their businesses. While every podcast is different, many hosts format their shows in episodes and seasons to resemble a TV show.
How do you know if a podcast is the right tool to grow your creative business? Here are a few elements to consider before hitting “record”:
Ideal Client Profile: Podcasts
Even though podcasts are growing in popularity, not everyone listens to them. Before going through the effort to create one, think about your ideal client for a moment: Do they listen to podcasts? If so, where would they stumble upon a brand new podcast? What would make them want to give yours a try?
Podcast episodes are typically cross-posted to a variety of platforms such as Spotify or Apple Podcasts, and podcasting can also be a way to build your website’s SEO.
You could create a blog post on your website, embed a link in the post where readers can listen to your podcast, and include a written summary of the episode. Some podcasters even share a transcript of the episode which makes the information more accessible to those who prefer written content.
Here are some amazing templates for Instagram carousel posts that are specifically designed to help you promote your podcast.
Podcasting is best for you if…
– Your ideal clients enjoy podcasts and are willing to try out new shows.
– You plan on interviewing or collaborating with other people. Podcasting is a great way to feature outside guests – who will then help you grow your audience by sharing the episode with their followers.
– You enjoy speaking and have always wanted to host a talk show!
– Your clients want to get a sense of your voice and conversation style. Some people feel more engaged when they hear you speak, as if they are right there in the room with you, versus reading your words.
– You want to demonstrate your services and give potential clients a taste of what it would be like to work with you.
Depending on how much effort you put into production, the costs of creating a podcast can add up quickly. Some podcasts have custom theme music as well as high-quality microphones and editing software, but before spending on all of those items, think about your ideal client.
Are they expecting that you create a highly seamless and professional-level podcast? Or are they more interested in your thoughts and ideas than in the production quality?
I usually recommend that creative freelancers start by getting a few podcast episodes out in the world, even if it’s in a more DIY style at first. Some thought leaders record podcasts just by speaking into the microphone on their phone, doing some light editing, and posting it – it’s truly whatever method works best for you and for your ideal clients!
YouTube is a popular video platform and search engine where people can post and watch videos. Viewers across all demographics watch an average of 5 billion YouTube videos per day, and the platform is especially popular with younger audiences.
If you want to make a face-to-face connection to your audience or create “how to” videos that answer their questions, YouTube is a great platform to help you build a following and attract more clients. You can also repurpose blog posts or podcast episodes into YouTube videos so your content reaches a wider audience.
Ideal Client Profile: YouTube
If your ideal clients enjoy watching videos and visually following along, launching a YouTube channel could be an exciting opportunity to grow your audience. This is particularly true if you want to share demonstrations, behind-the-scenes footage of your workspace, and before-and-after design photos.
Since YouTube is a search engine, you will want to make sure the titles of your videos clearly align with the problems your ideal client has and the solutions they are searching for. This will help you grow your audience faster and attract subscribers who are genuinely drawn to your personality and teaching style.
YouTube is best for you if…
– You want to land professional speaking gigs in the future. Potential speaking clients can watch your YouTube channel to get a sense of your energy and presentation style.
– You know (or are willing to learn) the basics of video editing. Your videos don’t have to be perfect, but there may be a learning curve of cutting out bloopers and making your videos look cohesive.
– You want to visually demonstrate your knowledge to your audience. Makeup artists, videographers, photographers, and designers who share step-by-step processes can thrive on YouTube.
– Your ideal clients are on YouTube. It’s simple: if your potential clients are not looking on YouTube to solve their problems, then you have no reason to be there either.
Your videos don’t need to have the perfect angles and lighting at first, but to position yourself as an industry expert, I recommend investing in a few basic pieces of equipment.
Some of these include a ring light, an external microphone, and basic video editing software like iMovie. Some entrepreneurs genuinely love the creative process of making videos, while others find it cumbersome – it’s all up to you!
While you can embed YouTube videos on your website, YouTube is still a third-party platform. You will want to think about how to direct viewers towards your website or email list signup so you can contact them directly in the future.
When figuring out where to create and post the content for your creative business, ultimately what matters the most is where your ideal client is. If your clients simply don’t listen to podcasts, then a podcast won’t help you grow your freelance business at the rate you want – even if your podcast is amazing.
But if your audience is spread across a few different platforms, there is one last question to ask: what do you enjoy creating the most? Whether you start a blog, a podcast, or a YouTube channel – you will need to create a lot of content for your creative business over time. You may as well find a format that allows you to have fun and share your expertise in a way that comes naturally to you.