Keeping clients happy in the collaborative economy

multi-tool.jpgWhen I started out as a freelance photographer, that’s all I was thinking of doing, and clients didn’t expect me to offer more. I was a sole practitioner, offering a specific, in-demand service and that worked well for me and my clients.

But much as I love the art and craft of photographing people at events, or observing and documenting groups learning and networking at conferences or creating thoughtful portraits of professionals, clients today need – and expect – more.

Much – maybe everything – has changed about how companies communicate over the past fifteen years. The technology is different, the channels for publishing and sharing content are different, the ways in which content is created and shared is different, the speed and frequency at which content is expected to be produced and distributed has accelerated, and clients today need their creative suppliers to be able to respond to all of these changes, quickly.

The average product marketer, comms director, event manager or conference planner today has to feed content to a dozen different channels from social media to micro-sites, advertising, social media and emailer campaigns all while maintaining and developing a brand their target audiences can recognize and love.

The band’s back together again

Perhaps the biggest change has been the explosive growth in the collaborative economy, in which independent gig workers and freelancers come together for projects and share and grow each other’s business through a web of interrelated referrals and service offerings – and there is more work than ever thanks to the never-ending maw of the internet that creates a constant demand for images, video, graphic design, graphic notation for illustrating ideas produced in a workshop or at a conference, written content and more.

This demand for more services has been a stimulus for growth for my way of doing business, and over the years, I grew and expanded on my main offering to satisfy the needs of my clients as a way of rewarding and maintaining their loyalty.

And it’s provided me with a chance to learn new skills, and stay relevant in a competitive space where there is always a new up and comer, right behind me willing to do what I do for close to nothing.

Photography, videography, podcast production, & more

Today I am happy to be able to offer videography through curated collaborations with skilled directors and videographers I regularly work with; photobooths for events and parties through my side hustle at LePartybooth.com; design and podcast production in collaboration with Media Mercantile; as well as copywriting and content creation.  (I even wrote a book about freelancing based on everything I’ve learned living it over the past fifteen years, Gigonomics: A Field Guide for Freelancers in the Gig Economy ).

By offering a wider range of services, my clients are able to find what they need for the event and conference needs, and I am able to grow and develop new client relationships.

While some event managers and communications coordinators may prefer to work with different teams of vendors, I’ve found that most find it more efficient and satisfying to have one main supplier who can handle the full range of their content creation and coverage needs. This keeps things simpler from a project management perspective, and it is more efficient, as my team and I are able to leverage our learning and understanding of a client’s brand, company, culture and industry across related projects.

Adapting to rapid technological and cultural change is a necessary skillset for freelance content creators in today’s gig economy. Luckily, it’s also a fun way to keep learning and stay on top of your field. Developing and building a professional team of talented freelancers who fill out your offering to provide clients with the full suite of services they need to help them complete their mandate is increasingly becoming the new normal for the kind of work I am doing these day. The projects are bigger and more  complex with more moving parts to coordinate, but the end results are often even more satisfying than just sending out a link to an online gallery. Creative services like the ones I manage and offer are an integral part of what many clients need to deliver on to satisfy their own internal and external clients. Having the support of a curated collection of people who’ve worked together, who can be trusted to deliver quality service on time and within budget is a precious commodity and one I’m proud to be able to provide my clients.

Got a project you’re working on now you need some creative support on? Let’s connect.