Don’t Miss Out on Brand Gigs: Why You Need To Update Your Storyhunter Portfolio
New year, new us, new you?
"Freelancers think it's a waste of their time. They're like, 'I'm already updating my website, YouTube, and Vimeo. I don't have the time to sit here and update my portfolio on Storyhunter,'' said Lena, Storyhunter's head of operations.
Throw this mindset out the door, and let us re-introduce ourselves. This year we are completely changing how we showcase freelancer profiles, both internally and externally. We are updating our algorithm to bring your better client matches, and we are working on ways to get you discovered on Google through organic search results. But, for all of this to work, we need you to build your Storyhunter portfolios.
Read on to learn why updating your portfolio now - think of your profile as your business card to the world - will get you more exposure on and off platform. We chatted with Lena and Head of Product Max Schwartz to get you all the information you need to make this year the best yet.
The major reason you need to update your portfolio is…
Freelancer search results pages. It’s also called location pages. We’ve introduced a brand new search logic and creative-focused design. These pages are optimized for clients searching for creative solutions around the globe.
One of the biggest changes this year is the new search feature. Prospective clients can find creatives using a combination of service and location (the location could be city, region, or country). If you were to search for documentary DPs in England, for example, you’d get a different result than if you were to search for documentary DPs in London.
Only the 20 best results will show up per page, offering potential exposure to new clients outside of the Storyhunter network. You can now get contacted by a client who found you through our Start a Project button on your public profile page. Getting additional exposure and meeting clients just got a lot easier.
So, how can you give your portfolio the best chance to be listed within the 20 search results? Invest time in populating a badass portfolio, one focused on quality not quantity. Additionally, make sure to add work samples that back up your main service to the top of your portfolio, list all your skills and categories, and detail the latest and greatest equipment you own.
“We want to put our best profiles out there,” Max, our head of product, said. “The problem is that some of our best creators have not invested the time in fully building out their profiles to the point that an outsider would get a full picture of why they are great. Moving forward, you'll see a new paradigm of what Storyhunter prioritizes as a good result.”
What portfolio changes should you make today?
We are not only going to share the specific improvements you can make to your portfolio but also why, from a backend perspective, it’ll help you get ahead on Storyhunter.
What: Upload relevant work samples
Why: There are freelancers who list a plethora of services on their profile, but Max says, “it doesn’t help buyers understand what it is you do at a professional level if you list 20 different services but you don’t support these services with work samples.”
The product team decided to take on a more visual approach for the location pages, which includes narrowing the services down and showcasing the top three things you know the most about. Your top services are based on the work samples you’ve uploaded and the services you’ve been rated for.
Lena says it’s about quality not quantity. ““We need to see everything you can do in its best and most recent form. If you’re someone who shoots music videos, branded content videos, and portrait photography, we want to see your best example of each one. Think of your profile as a billboard for your services and abilities—the more you show us what you can do the more we have to show off to clients.”
In the spring, we’re building a “Content Feed” where clients can see a constant stream of outstanding content. Max says it’s a backdoor way of promoting freelancers: “A client can look at the feed and think, ‘Oh, wow. This is amazing, this freelancer did this? Maybe we should book them for a project.”
What: Tag your work samples
Why: When adding your work samples, make sure to tag them so we know what the video is about.
“Ultimately, small differences in average review rating is going to be less of a determining factor in terms of how you get matched. It’s more about the experience you have,” Max said. “A lot of that comes down to fully tagging your work experience in order to help make a more refined match. The current way most marketplaces communicate basically boils down to ‘Do you want a 4.5 star DP in San Francisco for $400 or do you want a 4.7 for $410?’; to me this is antiquated thinking that goes against everything we know to be true about what makes a good match in the creative field. What buyers will begin to see is a more holistic impression when comparing creators – although that requires us to get as much info from the creators’ work samples as possible in order to communicate these nuances and topic expertise to the buyers.”
If you’ve spent time, for example, covering wildlife conservation and tag your videos accordingly, the team can then match you with a client looking for a freelancer with that particular experience. In this case, rather than ratings, your niche experience will play a bigger role in landing you your next gig.
What: Update your technical specs and skills
Why: There are many things to keep updated on your profile, including the services you offer, equipment list, and home location.
Firstly, check out the new services we added (Metaverse designers, VR/AR creators, on-camera talent, wardrobe stylists) and update your profile accordingly. Our algorithm looks for a direct service match for postings, so keeping your services up-to-date is crucial.
Secondly, clients have specific equipment needs. Make sure you mention what you own and update the information as needed. And if a client asks you to bring your equipment to a shoot, add the cost of wear and tear into your budget.
We’ve also refined our notification system: Now, it can find potential matches by understanding equipment needs. We will expand our equipment list over the next couple of months and let users know so that you can add and tag your equipment accordingly.
Thirdly, don’t forget to update your home location because we don’t always leverage your “last seen” location. The “last seen” is more of an indication of how active you are on the platform.
What: Specify your niche interests under the “topic lists” on your portfolio
Why: Creatives are interested in covering stories they are passionate about, and clients gravitate toward freelancers who have a connection to or experience in covering the subject of the story they want to share. It’s one of the core deciding factors for clients. Given this, the product team is working on an update to match freelancers with stories based on interest. But to make those matches, you need to fill out your profile.
What: Write a bio to remember
Why: Many portfolios have empty bios and it’s a missed opportunity. An engaging bio gives clients a chance to get to know you more personally.
“This bio needs to be off the charts,” Lena said. “It needs to be written in the freelancer's voice. And we should be starting with, if you were to meet this client in person and sell yourself, what are the first three things you would say? Have you won an Emmy? Okay, lead with that. Also, give me one to two sentences on what you’re an expert at, such as underwater filmmaking.”
An amazing bio will help get you on our new and improved location pages and it allows you to match you with new opportunities.
What: Upload embeddable videos and thumbnails
Why: The first thing a client will see on your portfolio are the embeddable videos. If the video is not embeddable, it won’t show up on the top carousel. The videos have a customizable thumbnail. The image gives clients an idea of what your video is about and helps them decide if they want to watch it. Ninety percent of the best-performing videos have custom thumbnails, according to Google. So, make sure to upload thumbnails so clients are compelled to watch your videos.
We look at: Do you have work samples and thumbnails to those work samples? “We’ve seen empty profile pages –- it's an eyesore,” Max said, “I could make an aesthetic argument for why you should visually build out your profile and why I think it'll be more attractive to buyers but now I can also make a functional argument: we are prioritizing people with built out profiles with thumbnails and work samples.”
We’re here to help you level up
The Storyhunter team is working to make a better product for you. “It’s not as much of a zero-sum game as sometimes it's perceived: ‘We’re on the side of the buyers and not the sellers’ or vice versa. It’s actually more like, ‘how can we make these matches better?’ When we make good matches, everybody wins.” Max said.
At Storyhunter, we want freelancers to get enough work on the platform to feel confident to leave their full-time jobs and launch successful freelance businesses.
Lena, who’s been helping freelancers and clients connect for the past six years at Storyhunter, says she wants to show talent in their best light. “Our freelancers deserve the world in terms of how hard they work, how impressive what they do is, and I'd like everyone to get the chance to level up. I want us to be in a position where a really talented DP is able to book some incredible work on Storyhunter, which allows them to update their gear, create a production company and then become so successful that their life changes.”
Looking Ahead: More product-backed reasons to update, update, update
The location pages are up and running. But we have more in store, including the ability for clients to book creatives directly with one click on Storyhunter. But it doesn’t end there. The ultimate goal, Max says, is to give creatives a “Book Me on Storyhunter” widget, which they can add to their websites.
Next up: We’re overhauling SELECT, a service where we collaborate with elite creatives to execute brand marketing campaigns. Say goodbye to SELECT postings: We are now building SELECT around an earned badge system.
But it all comes back to updating your portfolio. You need to upload your work samples so Lena, who looks through each profile to determine matches (in addition to the algorithm), can make an assessment and confidently recommend you to clients.
Location pages, the ability for clients to book freelancers directly, a “Book Me” widget, and a brand new SELECT service, all in all, Lena says to get excited about all the changes coming your way. “For years, we have not been able to showcase our freelancers through our website directly. It's always been through social media channels, and this will basically be the first time all of our efforts are about empowering them, showcasing them, and setting up their profiles so they are seen in the best light. This is very, very exciting.”