Fiverr: A Guide to Hiring Media Freelancers for your Video Marketing Strategies
Fiverr's reputation is varied depending on who you are. Lots of people have tried it and got burned while others have found much success as a buyer or seller. I have been on both ends and have been using the platform for almost 4 years now. The information in this post is directed towards business owners or entrepreneurs developing a brand who could use fiverr to hire media producers remotely but if your thinking about selling on fiverr, these tips can give you some insight on how the platform works, what you can expect to run into and some tips to stand out and make more money and better products.
It orginally started as a place online that people could buy and sell digital services for $5. To be honest I never understood how useful it could have been but quickly they altered the system to have varying prices depending on the seller and the service.
I actually stumbled across the site to pay for Soundcloud reposts in 2015. Don't shame me, it was a practice I stopped early in my 'musical career'. But around the time I started freelance video work full time I found all the other possibilities fiverr had to offer. You can hire anything from SEO specialists, animators, writers, designers, video editors, voice actors, music composers worldwide & remotely. The list goes on. Mainly I hired Voice Over artists and still do to this day through fiverr. (if your a Voice Over Actor or Motion Designer and you don't have a sellers account you are significantly missing out on an abundance of easy, fast money)
Around 2017 I started selling custom motion graphics on the platform and have a feeling my experience was not the normal path fellow freelancers experienced. The first month I might have been hired 3 or 4 times and got 5 star reviews (cause duh, its me were talking about) and that second month my gig exploded! The app on my phone was constantly getting requests and messages from all over the world at all hours of the day. It was partially due to my price being low and my turn around time being rather fast but if you have worked with me you know thats the way I work. After a couple quick messages and a surge of quality reviews, the algorithm pushed my gig to the top of the search query and it stayed there for a couple weeks.
After the first 4 months I had reeled in around $500 for doing little 10 second kinetic typography (animated text) animations here and there and occasionally some more intense mini explainer videos with music. Eventually I got tired of the rat race of jumping on to my laptop the moment a message came through to lock in the sale and get the designs in order to animate.
But I'm not here to 'flex', the purpose of this article is to show how Fiverr can provide you value, some do's and don'ts as well as how to use it to get custom content produced for your brand or business.
If your looking to use Fiverr as a way to get cheap media done for your business your in the right mindset. If your looking to use it to replace your video marketing staff you might be able to find a provider that can fill parts of that gap but remote work through platforms like Fiverr & Upwork will never replace or come close to having a local professional be apart of your team or business. But I will show you how to make the most of it.
The information in this post will help you in your media journey and understand the best way to navigate the platform and interact with its providers. All this coming from someone who has been on both sides you can get a unique perspective and it can help understand why things are set up the way they are on the site.
First off figure out your goals you want your media to help you accomplish, keep them realistic and leave room for compromise because on a plaftorm like this neither you nor the provider have leverage. Secondly, experiment. Develop a couple short form video ideas that can be executed with video clips, graphics or photos you already have. Find a seller who's work resembles the quality your going for. The sign of a good animator/motion designer is the ability to be resourceful with limited resources, their use of color, shapes and movement. The signs of a good editor is whether or not you notice cuts in the video. If the whole video flows with pacing to match the mood and you stay glued to the screen, you got a good editor. If you get let down by the product of the first seller try giving the same task to someone else in your price range until you find someone who can create something that resembles what you were hoping for. It will never be perfect but when you find the seller that can come close enough and is able to replicate that quality on their second gig from you, you might have your partner. Also there will be people that live on their fiverr account and message you back relatively quick but not everyone will be like that. If generally they get back to you within a 6 -12 hour period and is showing progress with the project everytime they communicate that is a sign of excellence. After a quick run through of what not to do, we will review some strategies for easy, cheap and consistent media development using fiverr.
Heres a couple things not to do:
1. Do not ask for spec work: "We want to see that you can do this type of work before we hire you".
This statement has been driving me up a wall my entire career since broadcasting school. Its a common misnomer that corporate types are infamous for: that if you don't have something similar to what they want in your portfolio, it means your incapable of producing it. It comes from needing a shoe in success. Remember guys/gals, its Fiverr, your paying $45 for a video clip that would probably cost at minimum $500 from a production studio in town. Also it is a platform based on trade of services for money, don't deviate from this format. Its annoying and rude even if you do have the best of intentions.
2. Do not buy a gig before messaging:
Always message the seller first before buying a gig. Your parameters and criteria for what you need might not fit so snuggly in the box of what they are offering for that price point. PLUS: sometimes what you need isn't that much and often you can get a custom quote via messaging that would be cheaper than if you bought the gig outright. Also when you buy a gig, your money gets secured even if the seller chooses not to work on the project. So it could be days before you notice the work isn't being done and then you'll have to open a dispute to get a refund initiated. Trust me, its more beneficial for you to message before buying and its more beneficial for the seller as well.
3. Do not constantly request Revisions when your limit has been reached.
Usually in the breakdown of a gig you will be alotted a certain amount of revisions. My first piece of advice on that is don't use them frivolously. Some people take revisions way more serious than I do and once your done, your stonewalled for more money. When you get a draft of your project, review it several times and take some time to walk away from it and think about it. After a while of reviewing it and taking notes, give the most thorough critique you can. Because chances are if you find everything wrong with the video in the first go around and deliver that in one message rather than staggered messages over a 3 hour period, the seller will be more glad that he didn't get started with fixes on the first message only to realize you wanted more changed while their rendering the second draft.
And when you have used up the amount of revisions and still need changes it would be courteous to at least let them know you are aware your over the limit but simply state what you would like fixed. Based on the request its possible the seller will fix it without charging or maybe they'll offer an add on for additional revisions. But this type of interaction with a seller can really put you on their favorites list and get higher priority in the future when they're swamped but know you will take good care of them.
4. Do not promise continued work: "We're going to need a ton of this so if you do well, we'll hire you again"
I have a handful of clients who years ago I worked with and after producing content for them, they casually dropped this line and we've been working together ever since. But I could not tell you how many times people have come at me with this statement straight out of the gate and not even been able to follow up on a meeting. There is nothing wrong with saying this to a freelancer you work with, but opening with it is a bit of red flag for two reason. 1. We've heard it a ton of times before as an opener and they were the flakiest people you'll meet. 2. Your making a bold claim, that even if we gave you the Godfather on a golden platter, you might not be able to keep that promise if your boss decided to change his mind about their entire media strategy. Its better to approach humbly and directly without fluff or any sort of promises. Take it one step at a time and develop a relationship first.
Things to Know:
1. Seller Shopping (not everybody is a jack of all trades)
Something to keep in mind when looking for a gig provider is some people are specialists and can only do one thing well, while others are multi-faceted. For instance a seller might be phenomenal with Photoshop and editing photos but is incapable of creating designs from scratch, or A video edtior who is great with final cut or adobe premiere but isn't very efficient with after effects or animating.
Sellers who are multi-faceted will be more valuable to you for many reasons but mainly that you can streamline your work through fewer people or possibly even just one seller depending on the work your having done. Someone who is a a team player, good with communication. efficient in their craft and has many different skills is alot better to have in your pocket rather than having a disconnected group of sellers who vary in professionalism, communication in skill. One stop shop in my opinion is going to reap more benefits, possibly save you money and stress.
They have ranked sellers as well (Level One, Level Two and Top Rated) to give you an idea of how trustworthy, attentive and skilled a seller is. Any sellers in this ranking are people who communicate quickly and constantly, receive a good stream of gigs through the site and complete them without disputes, these sellers can be pricer but they are verified and a safer bet. When working with new sellers that aren't ranked just look for people with plenty of good reviews.
2. Limits of Communication: (Fiverr platform only, kind of, just dont get caught)
One of the big pitfalls of platforms like fiverr and upwork is the limitations of communication. Technically you are only allowed to conduct business on the platform so exchanging emails or phone numbers can get you flagged. (You will definitely get a Big Brother vibe if you start typing phone numbers or email adresses in the messenger it will flag it before you even finish typing the correspondence) Just in the same, providing paypal information or talking about alternate payment methods in correspondence can get you in trouble on the platform as well. If you want to play the game, play by the rules. There are instances where I have had to take business off of the platform and do it privately via email or skype but it wasn't to escape the commission fees entirely, it was due to the project being too complex and too expensive that we needed real time communication so that my customer could get the best product possible for the price tag they were paying. Truly this is a last resort.
When creating a dynamic multi-media project sometimes typing isn't enough. There are some ideas that need to be fleshed out in real time communication and the limited messaging system can hinder an idea from being completely realized between a provider and a customer. Not to mention how easily it is to misread a message as passive aggressive or disgruntled when it comes to cultural difference, whether its a yankee and a southerner misunderstanding demeanor or an american and someone working from India or Africa getting lost in translation.
The only advice I can say is if you want to stay in good standing with the powers that be, but need to communicate outside of the platform, send a zoom meeting URL can work. The system wont catch it as elusive tactics of cheating the platform but you should continue doing the project on the platform after that communication is complete off site.
3. Commercial Licensing and Broadcasting Rights
This whole post is in the context of using fiverr to create marketing content so this part applies the most to you. A Commercial license needs to be purchased as an add on if you intend on using the material purchased from the service provider as a way to market yourself or your brand commercially (too make money). Full Broadcast rights is to be purchased if you are going to use your content on a paid platform like Facebook Ads, TV or Radio. I do not believe you need both so only pick the one that matches your intended use, also to be frank I am unaware of the ramifications for using the content for these purposes without purchasing either of these licenses. The likelihood of being caught not using these licenses is extremely low but you never know when things go viral so its always best to play it safe and also its supporting fellow entrepreneurs when you buy these additional services. Some providers, like myself, include these licenses free of charge in our pricing so if you can find someone who does that as well your making out like a bandit.
Much like Upwork, again, Fiverr takes 20% of the full price from the provider. This is the reason why the platform is free to use and also can explain why some people charge the way they do. Please always keep this commission fee in mind when looking at pricing or negotiating with a seller. 20% is steep and the bigger the job, the bigger the provider feels that hit to their wallet, try to be empathetic.
Easy, Cheap Strategies for Content:
There is going to be two factions of you when it comes to the strategies. People who have some source material (ie. video clips, graphics or designs and photos) and those who have none. If you have a logo and a couple decent photos I'm putting you in the "None" category. But fret not, I have a blog post about how to create video content without hiring a videographer if its out of your budget or your feeling crafty, if thats too much still, there are some options for you below.
Started at the Bottom:
For everyone who has little to no source material your in the right place. If you want animated content for your social media or website, hire a designer on fiverr then use those designs to hire an animator/editor to turn them into video content. If you wish you had a videographer to film contextual content for your website or product, hire a remote videographer to get actors who make that content or mail them your product to do high quality products video clips (yes, I have come across people who do this) might be more expensive than the other options are but its probably cheaper than hiring a local professional. That doesn't work? Try Pixabay.com , they have plenty of photos and videos that are completely free and best of all: Free for commercial use. Yeah, I didn't stutter, free commercial license. Their library is somewhat limited but it gets better every couple weeks so if you need something more contextual purchase some low resolution stock footage from Shutterstock, Vimeo or your preferred stock website. HD and Higher Resolution clips with licensing can be exorbitantly expensive, especially when you need several to edit together. Your new remote editor can take the clips you have purchased and if they're good enough they can tell a whole story. Get a voice over artist on fiverr while your at it and send the editor the mp3 recording of the VO (voice over) and you just produced an entire commercial remotely.
(on low res stock footage) People constantly think they need high resolution videos but often the aspects of the video that are aesthetically pleasing isn't the pixel count but more about color rendition, bit rate of the recordings and lighting techniques. So getting by with some 720p stock clips to save some extra cash is ideal and with the amount of compression social media platforms use, no one should notice but I wouldn't advise thinking the same way when it comes to youtube or any platform that is more likely to be viewed via Desktop. Anything lower than 720p would also not be advised also.
The easiest way to get polished content that fits your brand through Fiverr is when you have something to work with. Some good video clips can go a long way. Not all videographers are editors, or good editors anyway and if you have gotten pretty good with taking videos on your phone your a step ahead and can utilize those clips to be edited together with some nice motion graphics and royalty free music. Its astounding how some good edits, kinetic typography and music can take a bland clip and turn it into a mini-advertisement to run as a sponsored post on Facebook or Instagram.
Now if you only have photos don't try to do the same thing you would do with the video clips. If you can find someone that is decent at Adobe Cloud Suite ,photos can be a gold mine. If youre promoting a product have your gig seller photo shop your material to turn them into animations or add more depth by replacing the background from the photos with something fun and keep the focus on the subject. The last thing you want to do with your photos in this instance is turn them into a moving slide show. Photos in this aspect don't work like video edits, its too easy to come across cheap or cheesy unless you have someone very creative.
In all honesty designs might be more resourceful in this strategy than photos. You might have to find someone who just doesn't edit but can also animate well enough. With a little bit of photoshop skills and after effect know-how you would be blown away with how in depth a seller can take your graphic designs from your website and turn them into full blown cartoons to demonstrate your branding or business.
I hope these tips and ideas will be helpful in your remote hiring journey and will try to make future posts about processes like this on similar platforms. If you’re interested in hiring a video professional check out the Animist Portfolio and feel free to reach out and e-mail if you have any questions about hiring for video content creation.