Does ‘self-promotion’ fill you with dread and disgust?
You’re not alone. I call it the ‘S-word.’ How do you feel about the ‘M-word,’ Marketing?
For some of us, S & M is Torture. In addition to making the stuff we make, we creatives must promote and market ourselves. Build a brand. A presence. A platform.
I do marketing all day long at my day job. It’s easy to develop messaging and websites and campaigns for others. The challenge is to apply the same energy to one’s own work.
It’s hard to stand up in public and proclaim: here I am! This schtuff is freakin’ aweSOME! But if we cannot manage to do exactly that, we’ll be poor, obscure and miserable. Wah! We must embrace it.
Still. Is there another paradigm? At least different words for it, words to inspire us. Words that won’t remind us of some sleazy guy shilling cheap products we don’t need on late night TV.
My Big Dream is to make a living from work I love most: stories, art, music. The vision is to Feed the Spark – embody my creative gifts and encourage others to do the same. Which will totally require S & M. Otherwise, how will anybody know?
About a month ago, I dove in. Built a massive spreadsheet of strategies and promotional tasks. Stayed up past midnight, built this website, I could do it, even with a day job. All this intense S & M effort would surely pan out!
Then I got some very negative feedback on an outreach plan I’d thought was fresh, original and exciting. Turns out I’d been so focused on what I needed and wanted (to sell books & stuff), that I hadn’t fully considered my audience and their needs and wants. Duh! Crash! Boom. Slump. The search for a new way to do S & M felt about as impossible as finding the Holy Grail.
I took a break. Got some sleep, fed my spark. I went for a long walk and sang my lungs out in the woods. A message came: Radical Trust. What does it mean? Not a huge shift, but a fresh way of looking at it.
I’ll still do the same things: make stories, art and songs, and work hard to make them shine. I’ll TRUST that I will know when and how to release them, like seeds from a dandelion, in ways that are authentic, natural and even joyful.
Seeds need help — wind or breath — to scatter through the world. People! Social networking is one skill to get that wind going, the kind of wind that can blow up your skirt. I hope that’s what my S & M efforts will feel like: blowing on a dandelion. Poof! I’ll trust that an audience WILL FIND THEM.
Think it’ll work? How do you get inspired to do the S-word?