10 Ways to Get Free Exposure for your Design Business in 2014

10 Ways to Get Free Exposure for your Design Business in 2014

You probably know that getting exposure for your design business is important. Get it right and enjoy interesting projects, respect from your peers and more money. Get it wrong and your work can be draining and difficult.

So how do you get exposure for your design business? It takes a little work but the rewards can be huge.

Here's 10 easy ways you can get free exposure for your design business in 2014.

Give away a massively valuable free good

It's no secret that people love free stuff. Creating a useful free good can earn you a lot of attention. Plus, the work you put in now can pay off for months or years to come.

There's two secrets to creating a successful free good:

  • Be sure it's well made. People will assume your free good reflects the general quality of your work. You should put as much time and care into a free good as any paid work you do.
  • Make sure you align it with the work you want to do. Create a free good that reflects the kind of work you want to do. For example, if you want to attract more branding work it would make sense to publish an ebook on branding. It wouldn't make sense to release a photo retouching kit.

Be sure to get maximum leverage from your free good.

Make it easy to share using social buttons. Post it on Dribbble, Behance, and any other appropriate sites.

Want an easy way to share a free good? Apply to release a free good on Creative Market here.

Write a guest blog post

Getting exposure for your business is all about getting more qualified eyes on the work you're doing. Guest posting on popular blogs is one of the most effective ways to get exposure.

Guest posting is useful because it gives you access to a large audience. It also gives people a chance to get to know you and builds your credibility.

Before you pitch your guest post do a little research. Find out what kinds of posts are most popular on the blog you choose.

Lastly, be sure to follow any guidelines they post.

Tip: Be sure that you're guest posting on sites your clients read. For example, writing an article for a graphic design tutorial site might not be very effective if you're trying to get jobs doing design for retail stores.

Create a blog

Creating a blog is one of the most effective ways to get exposure and built your brand.

Your blog gives you a chance to share you work in a more meaningful way. You can share your process, your knowledge and your passion.

Before you decide to create a blog be sure you have the time to do it right. Creating a blog and then never updating it (or writing half baked posts) is worse than having no blog at all.

Need a Wordpress theme for your blog? Check out all the great themes on Creative Market here.

Write a book

Want to shoot your credibility through the roof and become an authority in your field?

Writing a book is a powerful way to establish yourself as an authority in your field. With the rise of platforms like Amazon Kindle and the Barnes and Noble NOOK it's easier than ever to publish your book.

Writing an eBook is easier than you think. Unlike printed books the average length for an eBook runs 10,000 - 15,000 words.

Best of all, when your talking to prospects about a certain aspect of design you can literally say you wrote the book on it.

Leverage Design Galleries

Sharing your work on design galleries is another way to share your work with a larger audience. Plus, it's a great way to network with other talented designers.

Here's some popular sites to share your work:

  • Dribbble: An invite only site packed with talented designers. The best way to get an invite is to sign up, link to your work and be an active part of the community.
  • Behance: The largest platform for sharing creative work. You can sign up for a free account with Behance for free.
  • Flickr: Although not technically a design site is used by many designers to get their work in front of a larger audience.

Create a Webinar

Host a webinar related to your specific design niche.

When you host a webinar you establish credibility and give people the opportunity to feel like they personally know you. And you probably know, people do business with people they know and trust.

Plus, once you've created your webinar you can repurpose the material into an opt-in offer for your websites newsletter, share it as a series of You Tube videos, and use it in your sales funnel to generate new leads.

Not sure how to host a webinar? You can host a webinar with GoToMeeting using their 30 day free trial.

If you need some templates for your presentation there's some fantastic ones from various designers on Creative Market. Check them out here.

Partner with other designers

Do you have any design heroes you'd love to partner with? What if you could work with them on a project?

Working with influential designers in your field is a great way to get exposure, build credibility and meet your heroes.

Research your favorite designers, see what kinds of projects they're working on. Offer to do the less glorious part of the work. Most well known designers are busy. They'll welcome the help and you get your name on the bill with a well known designer.

Create a compelling story

Sad but true. Many designers tend to neglect their own site. Potential clients are making huge judgments based on what they see when they first land on your site. Be sure you're telling a compelling story through your sites design, content and client work.

Be unique, let your quirks shine. It makes you easy to remember and endearing. Be sure you have a fantastic photo. It's well known in the marketing industry that a photo can do a majority of the selling.

Don't use the selfie you took on your iPhone for your About page photo.

Initiate a side project

Side projects are fantastic ways to generate buzz about your work.

The best part is you can do something as quirky and unique as you want. Here's a few examples of great side projects to inspire you:

When You're a Stranger - Hoodzpah Art and Graphics

LostType - Riley Cran and Tyler Galpin

Petternify - Sacha Greif

Sell your goods

I can personally attest to the exposure you can get by selling goods on a site like Creative Market.

Selling your goods not only generates some extra income, it also puts your work in front of customers that like your work. Best of all, it prequalifies your audience because people that are willing to buy your work somewhere like Creative Market are more likely to actually pay a designer to do work.


How do you get free exposure for your business?

These are just a few ways you can get free exposure for your design business.

What about you? Have any of these strategies worked for you? What other strategies have you used to get exposure?

Dustin Lee is the owner of RetroSupply. RetroSupply offers design goods that make it easy to add authentic retro details to your projects. Check out his shop here.

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  1. friskweb

    Great post, Dustin, very valuable, thanks! Is the last link (to your shop) correct? It goes to Riley's website.

  2. Laura Varon

    This is very good! The first tip, especially, is true of all businesses: you should put as much care into what you give away as to what you sell. You never know what's going to drive people to your business, and every first contact is a valuable opportunity to harness their interest in the long run.

  3. Paul Bonnici

    An excellent and valuable article. :) I wrote a paper in '98 about how to use the WWW to get clients and generate sales. the freebie was an important part of the process. It must be something relevant, usable and have some value. Sadly, I still see today many sites that try to hook visitors with a freebie that is simply junk they cannot sell! The model used here at CM is brilliant IMHO. A one week giveaway of a half dozen items I believe generates a loyal customer base. I sure know it worked with me! :D But that is only one part of what needs to be done, as this article rightly points out!

    I've pinned this and retweeted & posted it. Kudos all, and many thinks for the many great people here. It's becoming a nice big community. I like that. :)

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