How to market yourself as a creative professional

Matthew Packwood; Motion Designer, Creative Director, Animator, and Podcaster, recently came to JMC to give a talk on marketing yourself as a creative professional. He spoke to our students about creating your portfolio and showreel, getting your first job, and promoting your brand as a freelancer or studio.

“Matthew’s presentation provided a really thorough framework for how to build a professional presence online and in person. Any student who attended the talk came away with a roadmap for how to seek work and get noticed in an industry where these things really matter. Animation, games, VFX, and motion design are areas where persistence and enthusiasm are essential, along with being good and fast at what you do.” – Sean Callinan, Head of Animation + Game design at JMC Academy

So what was Matthew’s advice?

1. Building a Plan
It’s always good to have a plan of action, and that’s no different when it comes to marketing yourself. When building your marketing plan, you should always include the following:
Quality – You need to do good work fast. This involves studying the correct techniques and practising these in a variety of environments. 
Research – Who is looking for employees, what kind of roles are on offer, what requirements are they looking for?
Unique sales proposition – market your strengths. Use your research to pick out what people are looking for, and market your strengths based upon your relation to those key aspects. 
Branding and marketing assets – how you build your personal brand. 
2. Making your personal Brand
Working on your personal brand can help you stand out from the crowd in a competitive industry. JMC student Jess Verco attended the event and learned that “Good branding is so helpful, make a brand out of yourself that people can remember and easily link to you!” JMC student James Mackay also attended and made a note of Matthew’s top 4 things needed to make your own brand:
Build a website. It should be simple and elegant but you have to invest to get a good product.
Think about creating a logo. Get it professionally done if need be and this will represent you, your abilities, your style and ultimately your brand.
Create a strong CV – again, simple and keep short (1 page if you can). Check out our CV tips for graduates here
Put together a Showreel. In your reel, make sure you:
o Be original
o Think of it as an advertisement of your skills
o Cut ruthlessly (30 secs to 1 min max)
o Start and end well
o Match to the studio or the role you are applying for
o Make your role clear
o Show workings as breakdowns
o Never report the year
o Add personal work to your portfolio/demo reel- people love seeing work fuelled by pure creativity rather than work made to meet a brief
Check out our top tips on making the perfect showreel here.
3. Self-Promotion
“You need to invest in marketing yourself. We spend money on education and the software/tools etc but often neglect marketing our skills and experience.
It will be money well spent.” – JMC student James Mackay
“What I’ve learned is that self-promotion is key to finding work in the industry! This includes networking at events, emails, phone calls (especially!) letter box drops, social media, and so on.” – JMC student Jess Verco. 
Some avenues in which to market yourself;
Social media
Choose networks where your audience are going to be. E.g. LinkedIn
Word of mouth
Do good work, and ask for referrals. Build a network.
Attend events and conferences. Have business cards you can easily hand out if people ask. 
Online portfolio
Emails & phone calls
Through real-industry experience and connections, JMC graduates leave the course prepared to work in the industry. Find out more about studying courses like Animation, Game Design or Digital Design
Check out our Game Design course overview video below...