Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fortune's Smile

John Dryden, poet, literary critic and playwright said,
"Fortune befriends the bold."

I say, "Those who show up, and keep showing up, get the gig." It is almost a certainty that you will not be star material when you begin your journey of following your truth, but if you do the work, and keep at it, regardless of critics, one day, you'll get the gig of your dreams. The odds are in your favor. Those who do not have the conviction of their dreams give up and people who are in a position to select you and your work will do so if they continually hear of your efforts. One way to hear of your efforts is by telling them. Sounds simple but most creative folks seems shy about sharing their successes.

The other day I sent out the monthly Votre Vray newsletter and the key question I asked was what issues keep the recipients up at night. The number one response was marketing and an interesting note upon that is many artists stated they felt they didn't have a budget to do it at all and wanted to barter with marketing professionals to receive help with promotion of their work.

What should marketing cost?
That depends upon how much you value the service. One of the coaches I interviewed charges $5000 for 90 days of one-on-one assistance to bring an artist into global notice. If you told a CEO of a business company that was your fee they'd laugh because it is too low for what their market realizes is an essential step. However, when artists hear the figure they hang their heads, say, "I cannot afford that," and give up. Why? Because they don't value the service and haven't learned to look at the possible ROI (Return on Investment) for the money.

Guerrilla Marketing (or What can you do with little to no budget?)
  • Get magnetic signs for your vehicle that promote your art
  • Hang a banner that promotes your show or event.
  • Give away T-shirts or gift bags that promote your work.
  • Align yourself with someone more high-profile who will talk about you and your work.
  • Join a networking organization.
  • Print post cards of your work -- much like a business card -- and send them to people you wish were buying from you as an introduction.
  • Do what Ariel Gore, author of Become a Famous Writer Before You're Dead, did when she found out an out-of-town event had not promoted her appearance: stand on a street corner in a gorilla mask with a sign waving at people the day of your show!
  • Show up at open mics, mixers and other social events and meet the person in charge. Tell them who you are, what you do and ASK, "What can I do to help promote your work?" If people know you're willing to be a team player, you may wind up with a new promoter via good karma.
These are just the beginnings. The possibilities are endless. If you haven't read Gore's book (listed above), do so. Also read, Self-Promotion for the Creative Person by Lee Silber (who incidentally has a fantastic website that you can't afford NOT to browse and learn from). Then there are PR heroes who can help, like Peter Shankman, author of Can We Do That? and founder of Help a Reporter Out. (If you don't know HARO, the world doesn't know you -- and you probably weren't interviewed for Votre Vray Creative Women either. Seriously, Peter rocks!)

What does Mel do?
Well, more marketing, PR and networking that I do creating, until I have all my ducks in a row. Here are my top ten items that I do on a regular (daily or weekly) basis:
  1. My primary business focus is helping others follow their dreams (because in doing so, I get to follow mine and make good karma).
  2. I have several websites and this blog that are updated regularly because each update is one more thing someone who Googles my name will find out about my work and the work of those I aim to help.
  3. I am a member of several social media groups including Help a Reporter Out and I answer my own e-mail daily.
  4. I have a e-newsletter that goes out to friends of Votre Vray each month and always ask those I meet if I can add them to my newsletter list.
  5. I am a member of a local networking group and am always learning what they do to promote themselves, then coming home and implementing what I can from what they taught me.
  6. I am associated with other local high profile organizations including the Metropolitan Arts Council and the yW Empowerment Center, both who are supporting Shout: Kiss My Art! and are willing to e-mail, write and promote our co-ventures for free.
  7. I ask everyone I speak with, "Who do you know who can benefit from what I do because I really want to help promote living the creative life?"
  8. I give away T-shirts and gift bags in conjunction with other creative people who are marketing their services.
  9. I ask questions like, "May I promote your work for free on my blog?" and then do it.
  10. I am planning at least six to eight months in advance what my project deadlines are and share these with those who can most benefit from those details.
In other words, I don't create my art 40 hours a week and spend one marketing. One artist told me it should be at least a 60/40 split, with the higher concentration on marketing until you're reached your goals.

I will continue writing about marketing in future weeks, but until then, I've got some networking to do of my own.

Until then, keep creating!

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