Self-Promotion sounds like a dirty word to some people. I know many who have a livelihood that depends on marketing, yet they resist it.
But if you look at all of the people who have found success without the backing of a big company or a trust fund left by a wealthy uncle, you’ll find that self-promotion was a necessary piece of the puzzle.
When my husband, Drew, was in his twenties, he had a habit that drove his surfer buddies crazy; he would carry his art portfolio with him everywhere he went.
Drew had no one to rely on but himself, and survival meant getting new art commissions, which required self-promotion.
And though Drew’s job as an artist was the envy of many of his friends, they were annoyed by his “self promotion.”
When they would go to a beach party, Drew would arrive with a six-pack of beer under one arm and his big, black portfolio book under the other. Inevitably, amongst the drunk dancing and youthful debauchery, a small crowd of people would gather around as Drew flipped the pages of his big black book.
His friends taunted him, calling him “Promo Drew.”
Drew would defend himself; “Hey, if I don’t promote myself, who will?”
The answer is, nobody really cares about your success but you, and maybe your mother.
But, with the ease of the internet, we hold the world literally in our hands. We can tell and sell anything online, and if we are really good at marketing ourselves, we can attract fans from all over the world.
The good news about this is that we have a lot of control over the marketing of our work.
The bad news is that we have to do the work! And yes, it’s work that pulls you away from your REAL work. (writing, painting, creating…)
Don’t feel overwhelmed about the fact that there are a million ways to market online and in person.
You don’t have to do everything all at once, now. Just choose one method to implement at a time. Learn how to do it well, spend time on it, and once you feel you can do it in your sleep, then add another tool, and repeat.
Remember that consistency is key. If you decide that making videos is a good place to start, make a dozen or more. The best thing to do is make a video regularly, say once a week, for at least a year. Over time you’ll start to gain a viewership, and you’ll eventually see the marketing value of it. But you have to be patient, because the value of it doesn’t always show up right away.
Below is a short list of Self-Promotion and Marketing Methods you can implement now:
- Website – Have a website that makes it clear what you do. Then make sure you are picked up by search engines so that people looking for what you have online can find you (get educated on Search EngingeOptimiation – SEO – which will help you get picked up by search engines).
- Video – Posting online videos of you working, or of your product, whatever you’re selling, can be very effective. People want to buy from people they know – and if they watch you on a video, they feel like they know you.
- Social Media – Connect with like-minded people and find your fans through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and a handful of other sites for social networking. (Read this article by Lori McNee: “Selling art on Facebook: A success Story.”
- Newsletters – Build up a list of friends, family and fans and, with their permission, send out a quarterly or monthly newsletter with news of what you’re working on. Keep it interesting enough so they read it.
- Press Releases – Learn how to send press releases to the media when you have something to announce. List it online on websites like PRLOG.COM and other press release sites, so that there is a permanent record online. (Also, Say Yes to all Opportunities with the Media!)
- Business Cards – This is the most simple, cost effective method of self-promotion. Hand your business cards to people you meet, and make sure they know what you do and that you’re available should they need what you have! Never leave home without them.
- Networking – Get out of your office and meet people in the flesh! Go to trade shows, networking events and charity events. Some of the best deals we’ve ever made were with people that we’ve met at events. People like to do business with people they know.
- Trade Show Exhibits – This ties in with networking, but gives you an added exposure factor by setting up a booth showing your art or products at relevant trade shows. Every industry has numerous trade shows that you can attend.
- Teach a Class – Give something of value to your local community, show off your knowledge, and gain a few new customers this way. If you are a webmaster, give a two hour class on SEO or how to set up a website. If you’re an artist, give art classes. Share your expertise, and you’ll become known as the expert in your field.
- Volunteer at a Networking Event – This is actually quite effective. If you volunteer to help greet people at an event, you’ll inevitably meet everyone there. Help clean up after the event, and most likely you’ll be rubbing elbows with the movers and shakers (the leaders are always the ones making events happen – and they’re the ones helping in the clean up).
- Join a Meet-Up Group – There are numerous meet-ups or groups that get together on a regular basis on many different topics. Go to Meetup.com, type in something you’re interested in (i.e. “social media” or “business” or “writing”) and your zip code, and you’ll find many options. This will expose you to new things to learn as well as new people that can lead you to opportunities.
I hope this list has given you some good ideas on how to get the word out. What other ways to you promote yourself? Please, share in the comments!
As always, thanks for reading. I’m glad you’re here!
*Photo credit goes to Graham “logo” Smith of ImJustCreative.com, a guy who understands the greatness of Creative Commons license!