In this post I'm goint to share how I've collaborated with "bigger" creators and companies over the last year with Craftsman Creative.
I put "bigger" in quotation marks because a) we're all just people, no one is actually bigger or better than anyone else, and b) I'm referencing the size of their audience or reach or revenue, rather than anything about them as a creator.
Collaboration is one of the best ways to fuel the growth of your business and your social profiles. One collaboration can do more for your awareness and engagement than months of "posting in the dark" - creating posts that get seen by a few dozen people, and zero likes or clicks.
Most creators "fail" at this because they think that it's not possible, or have a bad system that results in a lot of "no"s, but with this system you'll start seeing much more "yes"s and be able to supercharge your creative efforts online.
"If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself." ~Henry Ford
Do Something Impressive
My creator journey started with a book project that I wrote in public. I piggy-backed on the newly announced #Tweet100 challenge by Jay Clouse:
Five days after his tweet I started writing my book in public, using the #Tweet100 hashtag to get more exposure. Think of this as collaboration but without needing the other creator's permission!
Two things happened with that approach:
- I got the attention of other creators who were doing the same challenge
- I had a mechanism to keep me accountable to showing up every day and doing creative work
How you can use it: Hopping onto challenges like #Tweet100 or #Inktober (coming up next month on Instagram) is a way to join a community of similar creators and get more exposure for your creative work.
Show up every day, interact with others (comment, DM, share their work, etc) and you'll start connecting with others on the same path as you.
To take it one step further, go above and beyond what everyone else is doing to stand out:
- instead of just tweeting every day, I was writing chapters of my book
- instead of just drawing every day, Hayley Barry designed and then printed her work every day last year for Inktober
You don't always need permission to join in on a challenge or to participate in a community, and benefit from the clout and exposure the other creator(s) bring to the situation. It's an easy place to start.
Give Value First
Too many creators reach out to people with an ask, rather than a give.
Every week I get a DM or an email that start with "here's what I'd like from you..."
Here's the thing, I'm busy, and I'm not even that big a creator! I go out of my way to make time to respond to people who are asking questions, or are offering to help me and my business in some way.
But when it's all about them, from the beginning of a cold email or a DM, sorry, I don't have time for that.
It's a simple mindset shift that makes ALL the difference.
When you're thinking about reaching out to other creators, do these two things:
- Start a relationship with them independent of any "ask". Find common interests, ask them about or compliment a recent post, be a fan and supporter first.
- When you do ask, make it about them. Show them how your idea will help them reach their goals for their business, and only talk about that in your initial ask.
When you look at my podcast, for example, you'll see a ton of creators with 10k, 50k, even 150k+ size audiences. How? Because I became friends with them long before I asked them to come on the podcast.
Then, when I made the ask, I made it about them! "Come on the podcast and we'll go deep into something you're super passionate about as a creator, and I'll give you 3 video snippets that you can share with your audience."
Easy ask = easy yes.
Do All Of The Work
When you're starting out especially you need to make it as easy as possible for the other creator to say Yes!
One of the easiest ways to do that is to use this phrase: "and I'll do everything!"
When I'm finally able to share the project I've been working on, you'll see what I mean. I'm handling all of the technical and creative work between myself and my virtual assistant. The partner just has to show up. That's it.
Yes, even though I spend weeks at a time producing movies, have an online course business, and am trying to make a full-time income from being a creative entrepreneur through my book, courses, and coaching, I still include "and I'll do all of the work!"
It's that important. When you become the "bigger" creator, you can demand that the other person take a share of the load, but until then, approach the collaboration in this way.
Use these three principles the next time you approach a creator for a collaboration and see how it effects the outcome.
NEW THIS WEEK:
You Are The Media is a Thursday AM newsletter from Mark Masters that will help you build a loyal audience so you become the leading voice to others and they'll never want to leave you. Check out recent issues here.
I recorded an episode of The Clueless Entrepreneur with Lindo Msane over the summer and it is finally out! We talked about how to create your first online course as well as other principles I use as a creative entrepreneur.
A lovely bit of inspiration from Arvid Kahl in this tweet:
That is now a daily reminder on my desktop:
That's it for this week!
PS - Craftsman Creative is a "choose your own adventure" type deal, so there are a few paths you can take from here:
- Check out the different topics on the blog and head down a rabbit hole of what you need most in your business right now.
- Learn how to build a six-figure creative business with my book, Craftsman Creative
- Join the Society of Independent Creators, a new online community for supporting, teaching, and even investing in each other's creative projects.