3 years ago

Find your audience: a roadmap

Finding your audience by going back to college

5 TIPS TO FIND YOUR AUDIENCE–A ROADMAP

You’re an awesome photographer. You can create amazing work. You have a cutting edge website, showcasing your images and video. So how do you get people to hire you? “You can put up the billboard,” says the Workbook owner Bill Daniels (@TheWorkBook) “but you can’t make the drivers look up.” Let me share some expert advice and show you how I’ve applied these tips to my photography business. These tips are not specific to photography and I trust they will help you find your audience.

Building your audience requires hard work - heres  a list of steps you can take on the road to building your audience.

On the road to find my audience

I used to work as an in-house photographer for a catalog company for seven years. I got a salary and every few weeks I received a calendar of all the shoots the studio was going to do that month. Then I was downsized. Twice. In 12 months. So I ventured out on my own and a strange thing happened: nobody called, no one emailed me, there was no corporate shooting calendar in my inbox. Why? My epiphany came to me in the form of an art director I ran into a few months later. She told me that she had been looking for a photographer and that I would have been the perfect match, however she hadn’t even thought of me. (We are close friends and love to work together.) I realized that, if she wasn’t thinking about me as a photographer, how would someone, who did not know me at all, consider to work with me.

That evening I sat down and decided to change that, so I went back to college – actually my old yearbooks – and looked through 4 years of portraits of my classmates from 12 years ago and contacted each of the people I knew on LinkedIn (this was in the pre-Facebook era). That was the first step in finding my audience. Then I went through years of business cards, suppliers, vendors, customers, friends and family and began building my network (Just a heads up – I’ll be writing and talking about building your network later this month – stay tuned).

Tip #1: Find your audience by being very active.

Ever since that evening many years ago, I have been actively promoting my business. Online and in real life. 

“Activity gets you assignments. Relationships keep you working.” 

Rosh Sillars

Activity is anything that helps your client remember you. That can be a page in the workbook, a tweet, a personal note, … it can be expensive, it can cost you a few cents. The important part of activity is that it make them remember you. It’s no good to be ‘that photographer in Miami, who makes these really cool photos of [fill in the blank on what describes your photography], whats-his-name again?’

Get busy. Be active. Work comes from the strangest places. A parent of your kids school friend. A google image search. A friend request on Facebook. A local charity you do pro bono work for. A conversation on Twitter. A personal project you are passionate about. All of these have led to work for me and I’m sure they will help you find your audience as well.

CASE IN POINT:

If you believe being active on social media is a waste of time, you may wanna read how I got booked to shoot a 5 figure video project on Facebook in 43 minutes. Remember what Rosh said: Activity = assignments. However don’t forget the second half: Relationships = repeat business (I just photographed  for the client that originally booked me through Facebook again last week). I don’t care how active you are, you must cultivate your relationships. If you don’t, you’ll end up meeting your art director, who says they didn’t even think of you.

This post is the first in a series of five exploring how you can find your audience. Check back tomorrow and read “How to find your audience by being cutting edge.” This series on is born from a post I wrote for the American Society of Media Photographer’s Strictly Business titled “Find your audience: It’s easy and really complicated

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How to get clients as a small business or freelancer. - 8 months ago Reply

[…] Your work has get in front of the right audience. If it sits on your hard drive or on your shelf I don’t care how awesome it is – no one is going to hire you based on work they can’t see. Build a strong web presence. Write a blog. Learn social media. Have a good website. Make it easy for potential clients to find you. Build an audience – (here’s a Roadmap to building your audience.) […]

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