Creative freelancers may like to think they’re special. But we are just like accountants, lawyers and architects. You can be the most talented award-winning creative in Scotland and yet, like anyone else who provides a service for a living, you still need to market your business.

And unlike widget manufacturers we can’t stack words, images or websites on a shelf and use in-store promotions to sell them. We have to market our business, which often means marketing ourselves. For those of us brought up to ‘stop showing off’ here are my top tips for marketing a creative business:

  1. Work on getting work in 3-months time. There’s a time lag between marketing and winning work. You may be too busy now but when the work dries up and you do have time for marketing, your efforts won’t produce immediate results. Spend an hour every day following up enquiries, pitching or submitting proposals, asking for referrals, writing a blog post etc. Get into the habit – do you know where your work is coming from in 3 months’ time?
  2. Get your 5-a-day. Yes, I do work on public health improvement campaigns ( was one of mine). I believe you need to keep yourself regular. Social media is about consistency – being regular, even if you can only manage 5 minutes a day. Whatever site you favour – Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook – being a regular user, little and often, is more effective. Nothing is sadder to see than a Twitter page last updated a year ago.
  3. Have a plan, even if your plan is to ‘make a plan’. Decide where you want to be and work out how to get there. What is realistic and achievable? As simple as a campaign to get back in touch with clients you did work for six months ago – getting repeat business is easier than winning new clients.