This is part two of my conversation with visual storytelling expert Jude Charles. If you haven’t yet listened to part one, go back and check that out first.
“As a freelancer in 2023, it is no longer an option whether or not you tell stories, it is imperative for you to tell stories.”
In this episode, Jude shares more tips and examples of how visual storytelling can build trust with clients, and we dive into the practicalities of using video to market ourselves.
Get bonus clips and tips in the 15 Minute Freelancer newsletter: 15minutefreelancer.substack.com
Mentioned in this episode:
Dramatic Demonstration: https://judecharles.co/book
Say hi to Louise:
Louise Shanahan is a freelance health and medical copywriter. She's on a mission to help others build a freelance business that feels easy and works for them – in regular snack-sized bites.
LinkedIn: Louise Shanahan
Support the podcast! If you find this episode helpful and you'd like to show your appreciation, consider leaving a tip over at ko-fi.com/15minutefreelancer. Donations help cover the cost of running the podcast and are very much appreciated.
Hi, everyone, Louise here. This is part two of my conversation with Jude Charles so if you haven't yet listened to part one, I highly recommend you go back to the previous episode and check that out. In that episode, we covered the power of storytelling, visual cues, how Jude turns autobiographies into video documentaries, and what we can learn from that when it comes to telling our own stories to attract clients. In this episode, part two, we’re going to dive into the practicalities of using video to market ourselves. Enjoy!
Welcome to 15 Minute Freelancer, your snack-size guide to being your own boss and building a business that works for you. I'm your host, Louise Shanahan. I'm a freelance health copywriter and on this podcast, I take you behind the scenes, so you can borrow from what's worked and what hasn't as you grow your own freelance business. We'll also have some practical tips and tactics from special guests along the way, so you can skip a few steps on your own freelancing journey. So without further ado, let's get started with today's episode. If you enjoy it, hit follow so you don't miss the next one.
Louise: And I guess the nice thing about video is that it's got that real personal touch, it's much more intimate, isn't it? You know, writing is great if you are a great writer and obviously we have lots of copywriters listening to this, but video can add an extra layer can’t it where people actually see who you are?
Jude: Yeah, video has three layers. It's the video, the visual form, the person sees you, they see your facial reactions, they see your excitement, your passion. But then it's the audio, and that audio also allows them to hear you, to experience you. And then there is the written form, I still believe writing is still very important, words are important. But what video allows you to do is have all three together, and it becomes this experience that goes beyond. I don't think you should just sit in front of a camera and talk, I think you should actually show behind the scenes of your business, how are you able to do what you do. You should show a live illustration in case what you're doing is so niched, that someone may not understand, it may go over their head, give them an example, show them what it could look like. You notice I did that in the very beginning here, where I talked about a book. Everybody knows what a book is, or has read a biography. They may not understand what it means to create a documentary for entrepreneurs, or what that looks like, that's fairly new. But if you've ever read a book, you understand that analogy, that connection of it's like this, it's like this other thing. And that's what I also think that you should do in your videos is show them a live illustration of what it's like. Really quick, I worked with an interior design firm and one of the interior designers said “construction is like a puzzle”, just that simple line. Now, if you think about interior design, or even just remodelling a home, you think of, oh before it looked ugly, and now it just looks beautiful there's all these nice designs in it. But construction is like a puzzle. Instantly I said to the client, hey, can we get a puzzle, and have the team working on putting this puzzle together? That 90 seconds of having the team put this puzzle together, which the puzzle ended up being a home that they actually they had actually remodelled, it illustrates the point that construction is like a puzzle. And it goes beyond just oh, we're interior designers that can help you through the construction process, to we understand what it's like to try to put in the right pieces in the right places.
L: Yeah, so it's kind of thinking about visual storytelling, using cues as a kind of hook or something sticky that will remain in people's mind and help them think about what you do and associate it with that. And we can do that when we're telling stories, whether on video or in writing, can't we. You mentioned that your specialty is documentaries, I think that that might feel a little bit intimidating or daunting for people who don't typically create videos much themselves. I'm wondering if you could tell us a bit more about how freelancers could think about doing that to attract clients in their own businesses?
J: If you are a freelancer, and let's take something like Instagram, maybe you promote yourself on Instagram. To me, I look for five different ways to visually tell a story. There's behind the scenes, live illustration, social proof, unique mechanism and transformation. These five things are always five things that I look for visually, to tell a story. So if you're a freelance copywriter and you're promoting yourself on Instagram, don't just tell me this is how you write a headline, or don't just tell me this is why you need to show before and after pictures. Walk me through that. Walk me through an example on your cell phone, nothing fancy, just walk me through an example of how you may have done it for your client. Film the screenshots or film your laptop screen showing this is what we were working with before, this is what we were working on after, and then these are the results of that. It takes you from just being this person that writes copy to being an expert. So that's one visual way to do it, that's behind the scenes a little bit.
But another way is social proof. I think the beauty of this day and age, as we're recording this at the end of 2022 going into 2023, the beauty is we have so much technology and digital ways to capture video. And even if you're working remotely with your clients, ask them to do a video testimonial through Zoom. Record it, it doesn't have to be fancy, but what it does is it gives you an opportunity to now instead of a written testimonial, you have a visual testimonial and you have your client who's showing their excitement of working with you. So that's the second way, just the social proof of getting your clients on video.
Now a third way is going back to the social proof idea, the testimonial. Let's just say your client doesn't want to do video. They're intimidated a little bit, you can still do a Zoom audio, we're recording this podcast today through audio. I would then take the two ideas I just gave, which is the before and after of how you worked with this client, the visuals of how you made their project better, but then that audio should be playing in the background as well of the client talking about how you made the project better. These things, it makes it more engaging and it helps the person that's thinking about hiring you to understand what it is that you're really talking about beyond words, what it is that you're talking about that helps you stand out. Again, if you just take the one simple platform of Instagram, and you do that on Instagram as a reel, that helps to help you stand out. But you can also do this on LinkedIn, if you're a B2B freelancer and the platform you use is LinkedIn, the same rules apply. I just think it's really important to visually show what you're talking about, visually represent it. So behind the scenes, how do you bring someone behind the scenes of your business, live illustration and analogy. Actually, really quick, I'm gonna give this example of an analogy with live illustration how I've done it in my business. When I speak, I use this Jenga set. Now, Jenga is pretty popular, people have played Jenga, but there's a concept I talk about with removing things from your life and I use the Jenga set to remove things. Then on the blocks I have written in words, like spending too much time on social media, or thinking about redoing your website, or not actually working. I talk about removing these things and then I throw those pieces into the audience because I say to them, who needs to stop spending so much time on social media, and someone will raise their hand and I throw them a piece and I was like, this is your reminder to stop spending so much time on social media. It's a live illustration, I don't have to do that go above and beyond, but it makes it visual now. In the same way that I've tried to make the white shoes visual in person, I tried to make this Jenga set visual in person. I wanted to give that because I think yes, we can do this on social media but I honestly think you do this in person. Even if you're through Zoom, if you're working remotely with your client, you could do it in person, I'm sorry, in person, but through Zoom one on one. But anyways, behind the scenes, live illustration, social proof, unique mechanism, what is it that makes you unique in the way that you work. What is your process, what is your system, and then bring that to life visually.
And then finally, transformation, which is before and after. But I also like to think about what does life look like after. I've heard of a fitness coach who only coaches women who are 40 and older. She received this picture, this text message with a picture and the picture was of an empty aeroplane. And the client put in this text message, she said, this is the first time in my life I'm getting on an aeroplane, reminder she's over 40 years old, I'm getting on an aeroplane and I haven't had to ask for a seatbelt extension. Life after for this woman looks dramatically different. And so again, that's a visual reference, now this fitness coach can use that empty aeroplane to tell this story, to bring meaning to an empty aeroplane. So behind the scenes, live illustration, social proof, unique mechanism, and transformation. As an entrepreneur, as a freelancer, in 2023 it is no longer an option whether or not you tell stories, it is imperative for you to tell stories. If you're looking to grow your business and you love what you do, but you want to attract more clients, the right kind of clients, visually tell your story, visually bring to life what makes you unique and different. Spend the time on that and that will transform not only the way you show up, but the way you the way you are as a freelancer.
L: Yeah, that's a great framework. You mentioned about having clients participate in some of this and how powerful it can be if the client is telling the story on your behalf as well. I know that some people will maybe find it a bit tricky to even ask for testimonials in written form and the thought of asking your clients to get on camera with you might be a bit daunting as well. Have you got any tips for how we can encourage clients to participate?
J: Two really quick tips. The first one is you just make it a part of your process. For me when I work with clients, in the very beginning I will say to them as part of this contract I'm going to ask you for testimonial, not just at the end of the project but at different milestones. So I happen to have three to four milestones within a project when we're working together and I'll ask them for testimonial each time. So that makes it a part of the process that makes it easier. But let's just say you want to go back in time to old clients you've worked with, incentivise them, send them a gift and tell them authentically and transparently, hey, I'm looking to grow my business, part of that is doing testimonials, I can make this really simple and easy for you, I can send you the questions in advance, but I would love, love, love to get you on camera talking about the experience. But the gift that you sent in advance incentivises them to want to do it. Those are two really quick that I think will help. Making it easier, like the second one I mentioned, making it easier, incentivising them by giving them a gift, but also just explaining this is what's going to help me grow my business.
L: Yeah, and people love to help, don't they?
J: Yeah, and they understand that as a business owner themselves, or as someone who's working in the executive level, they understand this is what it takes to grow a business. Why not, why wouldn't I want to help this person that helped me get a result.
L: And of course, it's extra publicity for their business, too, isn't it?
J: Yep, absolutely.
L: So of course, creating the videos is only half of the task, isn't it? The other half is making sure that people actually see the video. I wonder if you've got any tips for how people should share and actually use the videos that they make. Do you think it's better to put something on your website, is it something to share with clients, is it something to share on social media, maybe a bit of all of those?
J: It is definitely all of those. I believe there are 70 different ways to leverage one video. And it is daunting to think about it, to think about there's 70 different ways. But to make it easy, start with a checklist. Maybe week one, you put it on your website, week two, you put it on your Facebook, week three, you put it on LinkedIn. I think you can simplify the process, but you have a process for utilising this asset that you now have that can make you money. I like to think of stories and videos as assets. If you think about it in the form of real estate, you have this asset, it's making you money, it let's say you're hypothetically putting it on Airbnb, you have multiple properties, it's making you money while you're not there. Well, these videos can help make money. When someone's searching for you or thinking about working with you, they can now go and look at this content, these videos that tell your story, and it now becomes an asset that helps you to make money.
So it's a checklist, there's your website, there's social media, there is even an email sequence. Let's just say you have a nurturing sequence for your clients, like someone that may reach out and want to work with you and you put them through a nurturing sequence, that's another way. Maybe even on a lead magnet, you add a link to the video in a lead magnet that you may be sharing. So there's all these different ways but I absolutely think once you have the asset created, start a checklist. Maybe you don't need to start with 70, but start with 10, there are absolutely 10 different ways that today, if you have video already, that you can go ahead and start using it. I think the biggest thing is definitely sharing the stories, sharing the videos. It's not enough for it to just sit there but people need to see it.
L: Yeah, get your money's worth out of it. The options are endless, aren't they? Thank you so much for all those ideas. And thank you, Jude, I think we probably need to wrap it up there or we'll end up having to go into a part three. I really appreciate you taking the time to share it your approach to visual storytelling and video making with us, I can't wait to see what our listeners create. If people want to ask you any questions or take a look at your work, where is the best place for them to find you?
J: Judecharles.co, that is where you can find the newsletter. I also wrote a book called Dramatic Demonstration that talks about these five forms of doing video, the five that I mentioned earlier in the podcast. But judecharles.co, that's where you can find everything, all the resources in order to be able to grow your business and more importantly tell your story. If you're looking to stand out and you are maybe even struggling a little bit to consistently get clients, tell your story. Tell stories in general, but tell your story as well.
L: Thank you so much, Jude, that's lovely. And thanks, everybody for listening. Until next time, happy freelancing.
If you've enjoyed this episode of 15 Minute Freelancer, please consider leaving a review or sharing it with a freelance friend. Hit subscribe or follow so you don't miss the next one and remember, you get even more bonus content when you sign up for the 15 Minute Freelancer newsletter. All the links are in the show notes and at 15minutefreelancer.com Thanks and until next time, happy freelancing.