Thursday, March 30, 2017

Going Pro: Website Part Deux

For the past dozen posts I've been chronicling my 40-week journey toward starting my own production company.  The first trimester of the journey has really been about setting up the "back end" of the business.  Today I launched my video production web pages. This is a big milestone for me; even though it’s not “finished” or complete, I now have someplace to refer people to see my work. 

Day 30:

For the time being my video pages are a section of my photography website.  This may change in the future, but while I have limited examples of my video work I am showing my photography as supporting imagery.  You might notice that I’m immediately contradicting myself:  my advice is to super niche, and only list what is important to my videography clients (photography is obviously not it).  Obviously, it’s difficult to follow any advice to the letter—real life gets in the way.  In this case, I’m hoping to create a media production company that combines still and motion.  But I’ll be watching to see if my “muddied” message gets in the way of any clients.
The video section has three pages: an introductory page with my portfolio, a process page that explains how I work with clients, and a contact page.  I have just six videos in my portfolio.   In other words, the bare minimum all around.  But it’s enough to say, hey, I am a videographer.  Until my portfolio includes really top-notch work, I can only expect companies with limited budgets to hire me.  People who can’t afford top-notch.  As a photographer I learned that the way to grow my business was to always deliver higher quality content than what I was being paid to produce.  This not only made for happy customers, it allowed me to pitch my services to bigger companies each time.  Yet again, I’m contradicting myself with the choice of videos.  I don’t have six videos in one niche, so I’m making do with what’s available.

The goal for today was to launch an introductory “website” (in my case, web pages) that would convey competence, accessibility, and creativity.  Most filmmakers aren’t great writers.  Luckily, I am.  I don’t say that lightly-- I’m an award-winning playwright and I write copy for my company.  One of the first things you learn as a copy writer is not to rely on your own creativity.  Being good with words doesn’t mean you know what to say.  My advice is to look at other websites to understand what you should communicate; if you’re good with words, you can decide how you communicate that message.

Keeping my niche clients in mind, I reviewed several websites from other video companies.  I chose companies that were not in my geographic area.  I looked for content categories (like testimonials, process, etc.); and I looked for language I thought was powerful.   I copied content I liked into a Word document-- several pages of content, actually-- and then edited and wordsmithed it until the language was specific to my clients and my strengths.    

My client database has doubled since Day 13.  But I’m not ready to contact any of them.  First impressions are important, even when you expect to make several pitches over several months to close the deal.  If I came to my website I wouldn’t hire me just yet, not if I had the resources to hire someone else.  From working in photography I know these pages aren’t competitive, and neither is my pitch.  One tenth of the way into my 180 day challenge, I still have a long road ahead.     

Just joining us?  You can read about the beginning of the journey here.

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