Welcome to part 2 of The Creative Professionals Guide to Marketing series. In part one I covered why we need to market ourselves, and what the eight key elements of a comprehensive strategy are. Today I’m going to talk about how to select the tools that suit your personality and communication style best.
Marketing is a bit like working out. If you enjoy something, and are relatively good it, you’re more likely to stick with it. And because success breeds confidence, once you’re up and running in one area, you’re more likely to give something a whirl that you’re not so good at (or even scares you half to death!). The first step to building a marketing strategy that resonates with your ideal clients is to identify your strengths, so let’s start there. Ready?
In my experience, our communications strengths tend to fall into three broad categories. They are:
- Visual communication
- Social skills
Now I know you’re a multi-talented bunch and you’re probably skilled in more than one of these areas, but what’s your gut instinct about your #1 talent? Don’t worry if you’re not as good at it as you’d like. Just identify which strength resonates with you most. In this post I’ll cover marketing strategies that are perfect for writers. In the next installment (part 3 )I’ll talk about tools that work for visual types and in the final installment (part 4), we’ll cover tools for social types. Sound good?
Let’s jump in with category number one : Writing
As Nathanial Hawthorne said, “easy reading is damn hard writing”. Never a truer word was uttered! For better or worse, I have chosen writing to be my primary way to share content that I hope is helpful, informative and inspirational. Yes, some blood, sweat and tears have been shed in the process, but here are just a few reasons that make the effort worth it:
- You become a published author as soon as you create your first post
- You build your credibility as an expert
- Establishing a unique brand voice helps you stand out from the crowd
- You build the know, like and trust factor with your audience
The first step is to create content that inspires, educates or entertains your ideal clients (which is a whole series unto itself). Now let’s talk about how you’re going to get that content out there. These are 5 ways that work for me:
1) Newsletter or blog
I love newsletters! Yes, it takes time and effort to develop good quality content, but it’s a great way to share your expertise and build a relationship with your audience and grow your list (meaning, people who have given you permission to market to them). It is my promise to you that, in time, the trust and goodwill that you build WILL translate into paying clients. A newsletter is easy to share, is a great list-building tool and the traffic that goes to your website boosts your SEO rating.
PitchTip: Add visuals. People will absolutely read more when there’s an accompanying image or two.
2) Article marketing
Unless you have a huge list (and even if you do), chances are you could benefit from more exposure. There are several article marketing services (I used www.submityourarticle.com) that will distribute your content to all the other article marketing platforms, dramatically increasing your exposure. It is a subscription service, but a monthly investment that’s well worth it.
PitchTip: Google likes original content, so adapt your article slightly.
3) Guest blogging
Guest blogging serves a couple of key purposes: (1) blogs or industry associations that have a larger audience increase your exposure (2) you benefit from being associated with them (3) you get feedback on what is of value to their/your audience. I regularly write original posts for Freelancers Union and always connect with new people as a result.
PitchTip: If you decide to reach out to bloggers or industry associations, come prepared. Pitch them 3 really great ideas for posts and make it easy for them to say ‘yes’
4) Social media
LinkedIn and Twitter are both places where people look for and share this kind of content. I also post on my Facebook business page, Google + and American Express Open Forum
PitchTip: don’t post the same content to all platforms at the same time. Stagger them and switch up the accompanying image and subject.
5) On-line media platforms
My friend, public speaking coach, Katie Karlowitz recently introduced me to Umano. Have you heard of it? It’s a fantastic platform that allows you to download and listen to when you’re working out, driving, cooking etc. Katie clocked more than 3,000 listens of her 2 minute podcase within 2 days of posting!
PitchTip: when you get an opportunity like this, jump on it (even if it’s new territory and scares you). You will figure it out!
These are just a few tried and tested tools that work for me. Play around and see what works for you. The most important thing is to start with great content, and get one area going consistently. When you feel you’ve got that licked, branch out and try a new tool. Most importantly, have fun with it!
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Leave a comment below and share a challenge or triumphs. When we share, we grow!