The Internet has simultaneously made it much easier and more difficult for creators to gain exposure and build an audience surrounding their work. You can reach more people but it can also be a challenge to stand out from others. When so many are trying to promote and make a living from their creativity, how can you stand out? Here are some of the most effective ways to raise interest and money for your creative endeavors.
Make Something Available for Free
When starting out as an unknown creator, making some of your work available for free can generate interest and build your fan base. Authors can make short stories or the first few chapters in their novel available for free. Artists can draw web comics and others can build a platform via YouTube videos or streaming on Twitch. Even a short video game, such as a first experimental effort, can be offered for free to hopefully help generate a positive response and interest in additional projects. The point of these initial free offers is to find an inroad to your audience, not to replace paying work. You can use some art to advertise for commission work, an excerpt of writing to show your skills to an outlet, or a demo as a way to get people interested in your game.
Leverage Social Media
Social media platforms are invaluable resources for sharing your work with a larger audience. Most Internet users are active on at least one of the major social media sites. You can use tags and hashtags to make your work more discoverable. Social media is also a great way to keep fans updated about the status of a project throughout development. Although social media accounts are free you can use paid advertising on them for potentially even bigger gains. It’s important to remember though, that social media is not the endgame. In crass, economic terms, like and retweets won’t necessarily translate to sales. On a deeper level though, they might not translate to a rewarding and productive relationship to your work. Use social media as a means of promoting your work, not the endpoint of it.
Crowdfunding over the Internet is a newer but highly effective way for content creators to raise money for projects they want to do. These efforts are often more successful if you follow best practices for crowdfunding. This includes already having a platform and established fan base willing to support you, as well as offering rewards as incentives for fans to fund your projects. Sites such as Indiegogo and Kickstarter facilitate crowdfunding while sites like Patreon allow fans to regularly tip creators for their work. Some sites let you get individual tips, so if folks don’t have the cash for a regular donation, they can throw a little something your way. Sites also can give extra benefits to donators, just the opportunity to vote in polls about your work, to see it early, or to get access to behind the scenes material.
Provide Regular Updates
This can be one of the more difficult things to do when struggling to bring a creative dream to life. It’s incredibly easy to get too busy or stop giving updates for other reasons, but you must not allow that to happen. Providing updates and remaining active continues to build buzz surrounding the project and will ensure contributors never feel as though you have forgotten about them. Make a regular schedule for updates and be sure you have plotted in vacation time and rest. It can be easy to burn out, especially when you make your own work hours and it is something you are passionate about. Make the time to rest. That effort will show up in your work too.
There is no magical formula for making a successful creative product, but some practices do help. Releasing some projects for free and crowdfunding for more ambitious projects are good options. Be sure to handle your project, yourself, and your supporters with respect to hopefully experience a positive result for everyone. The world of creative work can be stressful and difficult. However, with a good plan and the support of friends and colleagues, you are sure to find fulfilling work.