I don't watch scary movies anymore, but I could compare my old ways of doing business to those "brilliant" (clears throat) works in cinematic history, like Nightmare on Elm Street or The Shining…you get the picture.
It always comes back to real estate. Location, location, location. The bad keeps coming back if you don't change where you are at! The victims of these characters made dumb mistakes, and kept on making them until their number was up.
In this article you will find:
• How Media Kits and package pricing
help freelance designers attract rates they deserve.
• Designer Homework: Five Easy Steps to Designing a Media Kit
My BIG Mistake
I had been working without a pricing guide for 12 years and got away with it since I only charged an hourly rate. But, something pretty eye opening started to happen.
I started to loose money!
My month to month client had hired me at an hourly rate. At first, it was a great project because there was a learning curve and the money was good. Then, about a year or more into our contract, I started noticing a whopping 50% decrease in profit. What actually wound up happening, is that I was able to design faster, but still deliver the same high quality product. Getting faster on a bread and butter account can be a silent killer.
I made the switch to flat rate pricing for each cover, renegotiated the new rate with my client and saw my profits return to what they were. I have to admit, it was hard to design without feeling like I had to set the timer each time, but I don't miss that at all now!
Five Easy Steps to Designing a Media Kit
If you are asking yourself what a media kit is and why you need one, the answer is this: A media kit is package pricing on steroids. The style you choose should include pricing, detailed descriptions about what is expected from the client and other fine print regarding my studio. Professionalism, self respect and the desire to stand out from the not-so-serious designers is why I highly recommend this marketing tool. And stand out you will, because I have been looking online to see how many other designers have media kits and the number is VERY small. Only high-end designers and some experienced bloggers offer a media kit, in downloadable PDF format, so if they use this to command the fees they do, so should you.
If you want to be a guest blogger on a high profile website, then having one of these will definitely increase your chances of landing this type of opportunity. (P.S. I am here to help!)
Look for Virtual Mentors
Find other designers that offer similar services, basically, your competition.
I love using pinterest for this. Type in different key words, separately, for what type of design you offer and start surfing. Look for pins that Start with How to…. or The Ten Simple Steps to Building your Blog. These are usually clean designs with a solid color and clear message. Stylized desk backgrounds are very popular now, but if you want to stand out from the crowd, come up with an original pin design. Brand the style of pin and keep it consistent each time.
Step 1 |
Make a list of the top 5 professionals with styles you connect with and strategies that you can use in your own business. (Do not COPY anything, just use this for inspiration and brainstorming for the structure that works for YOU.) This is the all important research page and will be your jumping off point for a successful Media Kit. My business plan and package pricing came to life with my own business needs, mixed with what is working for other creative solopreneurs, along with other styles that inspired me. This process was the beginning of the specifics of my offerings, pricing and timelines. If you want to offer one more package, make another column.
Step 2 |
Create a 3 column, digital document listing what services you provide.
Start with the basics in column 1, then include more or different offerings in column 2, and lastly create a column that usually combines 1 & 2 (which is what I did). You can add special services that are unique to your company in your Introductory paragraph and then list them in the appropriate package. Spotlighting your unique skills up front, shows exactly how you stand out from the competition.
Step 3 |
Getting the above list out of the way first will help you write your introduction, index or table of contents with package titles, and the "meet ____" title and body copy.
By writing the second page of your kit (the first page is your beautiful cover, artfully designed in your signature style, with your logo front and center) you will craft the perfect wording to plug into your perfect design.
Step 4 |
The next three or four pages will be your package pages.
Create package names that fit the brand of your business. I love subtle plays on words, so I took the opportunity to use references to birds, since there is a bird in my name and logo. Steer away from too much cheesiness, unless of course it fits your brand, then go right ahead!
Write a paragraph for each bundle that describes why that particular package is for your target audience. Follow my Media Kit for other important information like pricing, timelines, fine print and label certain packages with "Most Popular" and "Best Value" to peak the interest of your audience. Create details for your sidebar(s) for secondary information.
Step 5 |
Now let the fun begin! Design your media kit to be consistent with your brand’s look and feel. Include professional images of your office space, you talking to clients, working at your desk and even styled shots of your collateral pieces, like your business card. By trial and error, find out which one fits best and where.
Professional photography is worth the investment, but sometimes the money is just not in the budget. I researched hiring photographers, but could not afford one…right now.
As I was designing my own kit, I found what types of images I needed and where I needed them to go in my template. I "hired" my 12 year old daughter to take photos of me with my Android. I had no choice. So, being the homeschooling mom that I am, I saw it as an opportunity to teach her photography. I coached her on angles, told her to tell me if my hair needed to go forward or backward and of course, lighting. I was stunned with the results. Afterward she felt proud of what she accomplished and I was thankful to have photos to use. As a designer, I am always aware of a plan b. Thank goodness this plan b worked and there was no need to move onto plan c.
If you need a format to follow for the layout, I would recommend checking out this article on grids and how to use one for this kit. If you are familiar with grids, then go for it!
I always design my cover first.
This helps me develop the look I am after for the entire document. Including your logo, a great professional image of you at work and the title, will be the perfect combination. Short and sweet.
When I was designing my website, I created custom icons and was happy to see how nicely they fit into the media kit. Be sure to add in special touches like this, to make for a personal and professional marketing tool. In the end, you will be proud that you took the time to communicate all the wonderful details in a stylish way.
What did you discover during this process? Please let me know in the comments below.