When it comes to marketing,
The biggest mistake creatives make is not having a marketable portfolio.
When working one-on-one with creative clients in the past, I oftentimes found these creatives had portfolios that unknowingly repelled the very audience they wanted to attract! And when they didn't realize this, they also didn't realize that it was the very reason why the marketing strategies they saw working for others were not working for them.
A marketable portfolio is one of the most important foundational aspects of marketing because:
Your portfolio directly effects your marketing success.
A portfolio is a visual resume that demonstrates competency as a professional. It is not a collection of all your work, but a showcase of your BEST work that's demonstrates your abilities as a whole. It should be a cohesive collection that shows direction, expertise, and a theme. It should be curated to target a specific audience you are purposefully marketing towards.
The problem is, when we're looking at our own portfolio with our own eyes, we may be missing some or many of the characteristics needed to lay a strong foundation for marketing. Build on a faulty foundation and what you build will never last.
So, why is this important foundational aspect of marketing overlooked? Two reasons:
1. We unknowingly view our creative work through our own eyes vs. those of a prospective client.
2. It's a sensitive subject.
A critique of our own work, whether from ourselves or another person, opens us up to judgement and judgement can leaving us feeling less than. If we shift our perspective from the negative connotations the idea of critique brings and more appropriately define it as an EVALUATION, we can become less defensive and more open to allow the opportunity not only for our work to shine, but our business!
There is something we all need to remember when we near the possibility of feeling less than:
What you create is product of your creativity. It does not define who you are as as creative.
With that statement in mind, we can let go and grow. We need to know where we are lacking, what we can do to improve, and how to bring our work together to present it in a manner that makes cohesive sense to its audience. We need to know if what we create is what those we are marketing to are expecting and looking for (knowing if we're marketing to the right audience is an entirely separate subject that's important to evaluate as well!).
An honest, constructive critique, both from ourselves and an industry professional, is necessary. You need to know if:
as an artist, do my paintings have similar color schemes, subjects, and look like a series vs a collection of varying art from multiple artists?
as a photographer, are my edits consistent and are my images of the quality that will attract high-end wedding clients?
as a hand-crafted jeweler, do I offer too many styles to attract that niche audience I'm hoping for?
And if you're wondering, (because I know you are), do not rely on your own critique.
While self-critique is a must, because you see our own work differently with your own eyes than those of prospective clients, it is in your best interest to look to an industry professional for an honest evaluation of your work.
Not your family or a friend, but an industry professional who can honestly evaluate your work constructively so you can set yourself up for marketing success with a marketable portfolio!