Raise your hand if you’ve ever made a video and put it online before.
Really? That’s it?
I expected more, especially since Be A Freelance Blogger just covered the basics of video creation in a recent post.
Look, I’m not trying to make you feel bad. I get it — the prospect of making videos is daunting. I realize they take time, effort, and a whole lot of courage to start creating.
But what if I told you videos could help you attract more freelance blogging clients?
Are you more interested in trying out video now?
Yeah, I thought so.
Why video is a powerful client magnet
It’s true video helps set you apart from other freelance bloggers. You put a video on your homepage and you automatically look different than those who don’t.
But there’s more to it than that: using video in your freelance blogging career shows you have not only writing chops, but also the unique skills necessary to translate those words into a visual medium.
Freelancers who know multiple skills are really desirable. The more you know, the more attractive you are to potential clients. Who do you think a company would hire faster — a freelancer who has experience creating content for videos as well as text, or a writer who’s only ever written for blogs?
It’s most likely the former (especially if this potential client wants to incorporate more digital media in their marketing efforts).
Knowing video also opens up more freelancing opportunities for you. In addition to blog or article writing, you have the option of pitching video-related services to potential clients, making you (yet again) more enticing to them because you can offer more value.
Take, for example, video script writing: you can pitch this service to companies who want to get a one-minute video ad up on YouTube or who want to get engaging training videos created that aren’t boring and corporate-sounding.
Even knowing a few video editing basics will help you get some extra income from clients who don’t have the time to do it themselves.
Basically, knowing video is a win-win for you and your future clients.
How to use video in your freelancer marketing
Now that you know how video can skyrocket your freelance blogging career, it’s time to start using video to get more blogging clients.
Check out these five different ways to weave video into your freelance blogging career:
1. Send out video LOIs, pitches, or queries.
When I was a moderator for Carol Tice’s Make a Living Writing forums, I discovered a fascinating success story from another freelance writer which involved video.
This writer (let’s call him Tom) had carefully researched and chosen ten businesses he wanted to write for. And instead of contacting them by phone or a traditional email, guess what he did?
He sent them each a personalized video pitch.
Turns out Tom was on to something, because seven out of the ten companies emailed him back, and three of them hired him within the week.
In addition to proving freelancing isn’t a numbers game, Tom discovered video pitches were a sure-fire, rarely-used way to get the attention of his target clients.
You should take a cue from Tom.
While most people send cold emails or conduct cold calls, you can easily make a potential client remember you better if you send them a video pitch, LOI, or query.
Simply take your intended pitch and record it on-camera. You may need to record yourself a few times before you get your message through clearly and quickly (keeping the video short and to-the-point just like you would with a text-based email is a smart tactic for this visual format, too).
You don’t even have to edit the video — your natural self is better than trying to add in crazy visual or sound effects which have nothing to do with your pitch. Just make sure you are well-lit (without harsh shadows or over-exposed footage), you sound clear (no background noises like screaming kids or buzzing from a poor microphone allowed), and you look professional and confident.
Upload your video to YouTube, and send the link to the clip to your prospective client via a short email introduction.
2. Put a welcome video on your Home and About pages.
Imagine for a moment you’re the marketing executive from the company you’d most like to write for.
You visit several freelance blogger websites, making a list of the ones who could potentially be good matches for your company’s blog. But then you land on one site which immediately makes you think, “Oooh, a video! I wanna see what this blogger’s all about.”
That’s right: another super-duper way to attract more freelance blogging clients is to include videos on your writer website.
Instead of simply writing out copy for your pages, transform the text into a readable script (no more than three minutes long) and turn it into a video. While the visual medium isn’t best suited for every page of your site, you can hardly go wrong replacing the copy with a clip on your home page, and even your about page.
Record, edit, and upload your video to YouTube or Vimeo. Grab the embed code for your video (or use your site’s “add media” tool), insert it into an appropriate location on your page, and you’re done. I suggest keeping auto-play turned off (most internet users hate auto-play), but you should test to see if turning the feature on works better for holding your visitor’s attention.
My friend and fellow freelance blogger Ayelet Weisz created a video for her home page, which you can see here:
Ayelet’s video is telling a simple story about why content is so important. She made it using Animoto.com (without having to film herself, either!) with free stock footage and clips of penguins she filmed at a zoo.
This video serves a dual purpose: it makes Ayelet’s home page more unique, and it serves as a visual supplement to the LOIs she sends to potential clients.
3. Pitch video interview ideas to companies and publications.
Forget text-based Q&A blog posts. Everyone can do those.
Why not use video instead?
Offer to conduct video interviews for a company’s site or blog with a professional they’d like to talk to. This idea is appealing to many businesses because they not only get the respect that comes with featuring an expert, but they also get the benefit of that interview being in a visual format (which is more easily consumed for some audiences).
Plus, video interviews are rarely seen on most business blogs and sites. Pitching one to a company as a way to set themselves apart and stay ahead of the game is not only smart, it’s downright unfair to other freelancers who didn’t think of doing the same.
Once a client has hired you to conduct a video interview, use Skype and a Skype-recording software to capture the discussion. I use Pamela Pro for PC, and others I’ve talked to like using Evaer or eCamm (Mac only). Skype has a list of call recorders on its site; double-check to make sure the one you’re interested in records video as well as audio.
If you can’t stomach the idea of recording yourself and an expert in a video call, try combining interviews and video in the way our fearless leader Sophie has done in the past.
Sophie told me she once got paid by a client to simply pull a quote from a non-video interview she conducted and turn it into a super-short video. That’s right — she got paid to basically make some words appear on a screen for a few seconds.
That’s more than most aspiring Hollywood screenwriters can claim.
4. Be more open to Skype video meetings.
I realize most of us freelancers are used to simply calling or emailing back and forth with potential clients.
But this is the 21st century, after all. Video meetings are a thing now.
So when you pitch a potential client, ask them when you can set up a video Skype meeting to discuss their needs further.
When you want to show how serious you are about working for a business, this is one of the best ways to demonstrate your intentions. This is because video tends to create a sense of realism. Companies see your face and think, “Holy shit, a real person.” Seeing someone on screen has far greater impact than yet another email or phone call.
Of course, you have to save Skype video meetings only for the clients you’d die to write for. Inviting every single business you pitch to get on a Skype video chat would just be a massive drain on your time. But doing Skype video meetings with your favorite potential (or current) clients helps solidify your relationship with them.
5. Start offering more video-related services.
I already mentioned this above, but knowing your way around the video world can really round out your freelance blogging services.
Does a business need someone to write out the closed captions for their videos? Offer to do it.
What about transcriptions or translations for video? There’s work there, too.
You can also start offering to write scripts and voice-overs, create storyboards for companies’ videos, develop well-written and SEO-friendly video descriptions to include with a business’s YouTube videos, etc.
Most companies would love to get into video but don’t have the time to make it a significant part of their marketing strategy. The ones who have the money, however, will pay you to do this work for them.
What all this video stuff means for *you*
I’m not going to lie: video work can take up more of your time. But trust me, it’s worth it.
The video market is growing, and will continue to grow and overflow into other content mediums… like blogging.
Large companies like Nike and Heineken are already using video in marketing and advertising. Medium- to smaller-sized businesses are struggling to keep up and integrate the visual format into their own blogging, marketing, and other content efforts.
If you take advantage of that video need now, you can set up a successful freelance blogging business with more to offer clients than just your writing abilities.
All you need to do is get some rates figured out so you’re properly remunerated for your time, and then go kick some ass with video in 2015 and beyond.