How To Use Video To Promote Your Freelance Work

Joshua Lockhart 06-11-2013

$2500 for the crew. $500 for the equipment rental. $1000 for the editing.


And that? That’s cheap. Video production is an important tool for any freelancer, but at the same time, it’s a rather expensive commodity. With that said, you need it, and MakeUseOf is here to tell you how to use it.

Whether you’re dishing out the dollars or breaking out the family camera, video production is a great way for freelancers to show potential clients what it is that they do.

Why Is It So Pricey? (And Should It Be?)


One may say hiring someone to create videos is a bit too much, but the reality is the price is actually pretty fair.

One, you’re getting access to high-dollar equipment at a fraction of the price, and two, you typically have to pay for several other freelancers to come together and develop such a production. (That is, each freelancer is a bit like his or her own sole business, and he or she has to pay for expenses like any other: insurance, licensure, materials, etc.)


You’re also paying for another thing: expertise. Let’s face it. Most people heavily rely on the auto features of their camcorder, and even with that, they still don’t get professional-looking images. By paying up, you have access to the trained brains of other individuals who know — for the most part — what they are doing with cameras that have more manual features than your family camcorder.

With that said, you, a Handycam, and iMovie aren’t going to make a video that’s as good as the pros. That’s not elitist — it’s just a fact. So yeah, it should be pricey. Rates tend to vary depending on the geographical market, but they are also fairly negotiable depending on who you are working with.

That said, don’t expect to get someone who will do a good job if you pay them $50 to come out for 10 hours with their camera and spend 20 hours on editing. (Yes. That happens.)

Should I Still Make My Own Videos?



Well, yes. Just because you can’t hire the pros doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it yourself. With that said, when attempting something that usually costs thousands of dollars to develop without the experience, following this motto might be in your best interest: “Simplicity is a good substitute for expertise.”

Yes, you need video content, but keep it simple: Basic interviews with clients. Stripped-down how-tos that show people what it is you do. Updates on what’s happening in your portion of the world.

That said, don’t start producing content that involves extremely complicated camera angles, acting, special effects, intensive editing, or something that you saw last night on television and want to replicate. It’s going to look corny. Promise.

As a creative activity, go for it. Be as extensive as you want. But when your livelihood is on the line, you may want to leave the pro stuff to the pros. This doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to make something that’s amazing after much practice — of course not. It’s just that you need to be realistic with what you can do.


If you want to know more about the technical side of developing video, check out this piece on DSLR video production Start Shooting With These 4 DSLR Video Tutorial Sites Recently, I covered a little bit of DSLR video for those of you stepping out to see the low-cost solution to production. My focus has been on helping those who don't necessarily do much video... Read More .

What Videos Should I Post?

There’s a big problem that most businesses have when wanting to develop video: content.

Yes, you may know that you should throw something out there on the Internet, but you don’t know exactly what to throw out there. No problem — this is the same reason that even major television shows and movies flop. In short, there’s an idea of what you want, but there’s not a good enough vessel.

For example, watch this video of Ricky Gervais with Patrick Stewart for a more dynamic explanation (mildly inappropriate):


I’ve mentioned a few of these already, but here are some types of videos you should consider publishing:

  • Customer testimonials
  • Explainer videos that show potential clients what you do
  • Weekly vlogs on your most recent projects
  • Interviews with yourself
  • Videos that display bits of your portfolio

With that said, try to keep it as non-cheesy as possible. Don’t have scenes where you are sitting in a swivel chair, turn to the camera, and say, “Oh! Didn’t see you there.” Also noteworthy, do not attempt to develop reenactments of encounters with your clients. Be honest with homemade productions.

On the other hand, if you do decide to go the paid route, don’t necessarily limit yourself. Look to the expertise of the individual you have hired to put such a video together for you, but at the same time, understand that this is your video, and you should definitely get what you want. Ask for what’s possible, be insistent about your needs, but also trust the insight of the expert who is at your disposal.

Where Should I Post My Videos?


Yes, you can upload your video on YouTube The YouTube Guide: From Watching to Production Want to get the most out of YouTube? This Youtube guide is for you. This guide goes over everything you need to know about YouTube, whether you're an enthusiast or a budding director. Read More , but that simply isn’t enough. Let’s be real. No one is going to just so happen to find your video by searching for “freelance graphic designers” on YouTube of all places. They are looking for cats. Or poor attempts at twerking. Not you.

Instead, post these YouTube uploads on Facebook, Twitter, and your blog (yes, you need a blog 5 Ways to Use Your Blog as Your Online Work Portfolio Sure, you could go out and get a fancy website with all sorts of zip-zaps and ding-dongs that supposedly would wow your potential clients. But then again, you don't have to. What if you just... Read More ) where people are more likely to visit you. That said, let your website serve as a reason for people to come see what you have to offer, and let the video be the reason they stay.

Many companies make the mistake of posting their videos on sites like Reddit without context or using them as ads on websites. Sometimes it works, but most often, it’s pretty annoying. By invading a place where people are looking for other stuff, you become – gasp – a spammer. OH SNAP. So don’t do that.

Instead, make your videos shareable. Much like word of mouth, the only true way for videos to spread these days is through social media.


Video. You need it. TL;DR? Keep it simple if you can’t hire the big dogs. Listen to the big dogs if you can, but don’t be afraid to ask for the bells and whistles.

What other tips do you have for video production and freelancers? Do you have a video for yourself? Did you make it or did someone make it for you?

Image Credits: jsawkinsTax Credits, Vemon Chan, Hector Alejandro

Related topics: Filmmaking, Freelance.

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  1. Skylark
    November 10, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    Come on guys, the phrase "with that said" was only used four times.
    I mean, with the three of our comments, we've already said "with that said" more than the author did.

    Now to actually add something to the topic at hand...

    My mom is a freelancer, and I'm a hobbyist. When she needs video editing done, she comes to me. I'm not a professional, by no means, but I do have a keen interest in doing these things and when I spend some time to make it look good, I can make a pretty decent video for her. My tools of the trade? Powerpoint and Movie Studio.

  2. Robert Kulpp
    November 8, 2013 at 5:52 am

    Freelancers, remember that a lot of video professionals are freelancers too. You want to be hired and so do they. Don't be too stingy to spread the love and support someone that is very much in the same professional league as you. They are just in a different discipline. They need to eat too.

    With that said, I agree with E's comment about the author's use of "With that said."

  3. E
    November 7, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Constructive criticism : Don't say "with that said" so many times in the article.