Making a career out of video production is both a dream and a challenge. For filmmakers, it’s the end-goal, something to think about when you’re stuck working on real estate videos or marketing projects. But the challenge is collecting enough clients to keep your income reliable.
Yes, you’ve developed the right skills, researched the best cameras, and bought some great gear. You’ve been getting hired for more projects, whether that’s shooting wedding videos or testimonial interviews.
But those early successes aren’t enough. If you want to truly turn video production from a weekend hobby to a reliable source of income, you’ve got to start thinking about it as a business.
And the most important thing to figure out? How to get clients for video production.
There are a few ways to go about that. But instead of giving you one-sentence explanations about 10 random things, let’s dive deeper into three key things you can start doing right now that will help you attract more clients than you’ve ever had before.
1. Diversify your reel
Treating video production as a business doesn’t mean you’ve got to start using these cliche phrases, but you get the idea.
Finding new clients may mean you’ll have to try your hand at new types of projects, even if it’s stuff you don’t especially enjoy. That’s where a diverse demo reel comes in handy. (Many production companies spend a big chunk of time working on projects outside their preferred style or expertise.)
But the good news is that this is a task you can start today from wherever you are. Think about what you do well, and also any “blind spots” you haven’t worked on before. Then look for opportunities to tackle that sort of project, or shoot something yourself for fun.
The more types of videos in your demo reel, the wider the variety of clients who will be willing to hire you on for a project. And if you can make a demo reel that’s entertaining, you’ll show off your work and wow any prospective client.
2. Build a network
Diversifying your portfolio is an obvious place to start. But if you’re wondering how to get clients for video production work, the easiest way is by networking.
Posting about yourself and your work on social media is a good idea, but there are obvious limitations. Short of direct referrals (or, you know, stalking local businesses on Facebook), you’re going to have a hard time drawing the attention of new clients.
The great news is that many industries that need video work also rely on specialized freelancers, and that means they tend to have events or expos for people to build professional networks.
You can even use social media or other social apps to find groups of filmmakers. There’ll be competition for jobs in those areas, but it’s a starting point for hearing about events in your area. It’s also a way to get a sense of what sort of work is in high demand nearby.
If you live near a metro area, maybe you start shooting music videos. Maybe you go to a wedding expo with business cards and build relationships with people in that industry.
Or maybe you want something with guaranteed paychecks. In that case, you could even take a regular 9-5 video job with an ad agency. That’s a longer route to building a network, but it’ll show you the ins and outs of operating a production team and provide a lot of opportunities.
3. Practice SEO strategies
Okay, sure, this is another marketing term. But the reality is that advertising is as important to content creators as it is to global corporations. The more people who discover your work, the higher percentage that you’re going to turn those people into paying clients.
The downside is that ad space is expensive.
Fortunately for you, search engine optimization (SEO) is free.
You’re probably familiar with the term, but it’s worth explaining: If you search for “video production in [your city here],” all of the results earned their first-page ranking because they invested in SEO. They made sure any potential customers would find them first.
So yeah, SEO is something you can utilize, whether you want to rank on Google's first page or dominate YouTube views for a topic. And because filmmakers kind of live in both of those worlds (a business and a creative endeavor), you can use both sides of the SEO coin too.
In short, any sort of SEO effort will increase your visibility. And that means more potential clients will discover your work so you don’t have to pay for traditional ad space anywhere.
Final tips on how to get clients for video production
Thankfully, you can mix and match these three options. Or you can put a little bit of effort into networking (something most people dislike anyway) and spend more time getting to know SEO and how to get your content in front of prospective clients. Or maybe you are interested in a different path altogether.
The great news is that you’re in control. You know your skillset, and you’ve got the best chance of understanding what your local market is like and how your work fits into that.
In terms of how to get clients for video production, it’s true that client expectations vary based on the field or industry they work in. If you’re looking to shoot more weddings, having the right tools to interact with clients (especially on the day of the event) goes a long way.
The same is true for corporate clients who want you to help them turn their boring projects into cinematic video interviews. For any project like this, the only limitation to your ability to attract new clients is how much effort you’re willing to put into the process.
But if your goal is to turn your filmmaking and video work into a reliable source of income, you’re definitely going to want to do everything you can to stand out and grow your business.
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