I’ve been asked to create an EDU on this topic. I’m in no way a creative writer or graphic designer so take what I say with a grain of salt and feel free to come up with your own methodology that fits your style. Craigslist is a free online advertising medium that has paid huge dividends for me. First, you have to get over the stigma of being a “Craigslist photographer”. CL is often viewed as a place where bottom feeders go scrapping for the best deal and cheap no-talent guys with cameras try to land wedding gigs for $100. This is all true. However there are also many people who search CL for an affordable photographer and are willing to pay decent rates when they fine one. I’m one of the more expensive CL photographers in my area but I’ve booked over $20k in weddings this year thanks to CL so I’m laughing all the way to the bank. This EDU is how I advertise. Your results may vary. Ok, first you have to be a decent photographer. This goes without saying. You may land some gigs by simply being cheap but you have to show and demonstrate talent if you’re going to continue to get gigs. So, if you don’t already have a CL account, sign up. It’s free. You’ll need to give them your email address. I use two different email addresses. I’ll tell you why later. Next, you need an online photo hosting site that lets you link html code. This is important. It’s how you get your photos displayed on your ad. I use Photobucket. There are other hosting sites out there. Now you’re ready to create your ad. I use Photoshop to create several different montages of photos that display some of my work. Others use single photos. I like the idea of a montage because you can display more of your work. Here is a sample of one of my montages. Note that I have my name on the montage. I think this is important for branding your image but it’s not necessary. If you don’t want to learn how to create a montage in PS, you can simply use single photos that show your work. Now that you have a montage or selection of images, write your ad copy. I usually write several and rotate them so as not to get stale. I like to keep my copy short and to the point. I use words like “Affordable” “Professional” “Experienced” in my copy. Do whatever works for you but don’t get too wordy. I’ve seen some ads that make my head hurt from all the words. Don’t be that guy. The whole point of an ad is to drive people to your website not educate them on the finer points of your journalistic style of natural light photography. Now you’re ready to publish your ads. Go to CL. Look for “services” on the main page. Click on the “creative” or “event” link. This will take you all the other guys who post their ads. Read a few and get an idea of your competition. Strive to be better copywriters than them. Once you’ve clicked on the link, you’ll see a [post] icon in the upper right hand corner. Click on it and it takes you to the category page. Select the proper category you want your ad in. I post in the “creative” and “event” sections. This is where having two email addresses comes in handy. CL will only let you post two ads in a 24 hour period. Sometimes I don’t have time to wait so I’ll post an ad the next day before my 24 hours is up by simply signing in under my second email address. Click on the category you want to post in. Under “posting title” be creative and enter something like ***Professional Photography at affordable pricing***. Mix it up a bit so that you don’t use the same boring title every day. In the “specific location” box, you can put your town or the region. I like to put the region I work in. Next, in the “reply to” it will have your email address. You have the choice of showing it, hiding it or anonymizing (is that even a word?) your email address. I use the “hide” button so that I don’t get spammed by bots. Spamming is rampart in CL world. Hiding your email address is the only way I know of to prevent it. If you choose to hide your email address, you will need to have some way for people to contact you when they read your ad. I do this by posting my website address as a click thru in the body of the ad. To do this, you have to write out the http://www.yourwebsite.com otherwise it won’t show up as a clickable link. Obviously you need to have your contact information in your website. Next copy and paste the ad you created in the “posting description” box. I keep several ads in MSword so that I can simply copy and paste. I also keep my html links there as well. Saves a lot of time. However, remember what I said about keeping your ads fresh. Write some clever copy from time to time. I recently wrote an ad that said “Professional Photography-New and improved! Tastes great too!!” just for shits and giggles. To add photos, either the montages you created or individual photos, go to your photo hosting site and copy and paste the html code, not the img tags. Img tags won’t show up on CL. You can basically post as many pics as you want but keep it reasonable. You don’t want to overwhelm your potential clients with too much drivel. Again, the point is to get them to go to your website. Once you’re done, hit “enter”. This takes you to the final page where you have to enter the code they give you. It’s pretty self-explanatory. Assuming you entered the code correctly you’re done. CL will send you an email that tells you that your ad will be posted shortly and gives you a link if you need to edit or delete your ad. That’s it. Do this a few times a week and assuming you have some modicum of talent, wait for the clients to start calling and the big bucks to start rolling in! Good luck!