As I work on my marketing calendar for 2020, I want to share two very important strategies in my own business in an effort to encourage you to add them to your own 2020 list!
1. A Personal Project
Choose something that matters to you deeply. A story to tell of someone else’s, or maybe a story to tell of your own. Cross off an enormous bucket list item. Give to charity in a huge, meaningful way. Pick a passion of yours and dive in. Perhaps something like:
Photograph schooling/lesson horses near you
Donate senior/retired session for a horse that will pass soon
Take portraits of or with your own horse
Volunteer to photograph at a local hippotherapy center or racehorse rescue
Give away a session to a person or family in need
For example, in 2016 I set out to photograph all of my old horses and tell the story of how they shaped me into the person I am today. You can read more about it here.
What does personal work have to do with marketing? In the beginning, make it personal. Make the pursuit genuine and passionate and full of love and care to fulfill your heart as an artist and a human. Once you are finished with the project, make it business. The stories I told of my horses connected with my audience in a very authentic way. They organically became some of my most-read blog posts. I had several equine media outlets republish the content onto their blogs and social media. I challenged my followers to tell me their story using a hashtag. Once you finish the project, think of how you can get your images into as many hands as possible:
Can I get this on the local news?
Is there a way this could go viral?
Are there any magazines willing to publish?
Keep pushing the content into new hands and repurposing the images in as many ways as possible to connect with a brand-new audience.
2. Photograph a Model
A real model. A model-model. A person who gets paid to be in photographs. Pay them to be in your photographs. Reach out to your favorite girl on Instagram, and/or consult a local agency of yours to pay a model to be in a shoot for you. Bring together a wardrobe, find the perfect location, and tell the story of your DREAM shoot. Make it big and make it epic. This will do a few things for you:
- Fulfill your creative soul. Nothing feels better than shooting exactly what you dream about in a completely stress-free environment.
- LEARN from the model. Working with a bonafide model takes an enormous posing burden off of you, while [most importantly] teaching you posing techniques. Watch them take direction and launch into their own flow posing. See how they shift their weight and give you new angles to work with. Study how they change their facial expressions. After the shoot, critique your own work to find out how you can apply what you’ve learned to your portrait clients.
- Cast the net. Add these images to your portfolio, use them to enhance your social media aesthetic, and include them in any printed material that you pass out. You will attract the work that you show. If you successfully orchestrated a dream shoot, you will start attracting hired work along the same vein.
- Sell. Are these images you could add to your stock photo library or license to business? If so, start reaching out to commercial and editorial clients with a curated sample of images.
Dream big in 2020! Challenge yourself to carve the time to get these images made, and then hustle hard to leverage them in your marketing efforts to reach new heights.