In the previous post, I told you that, along with all of your other hats, your going to need to don a marketing cap. Goody. Sounds like fun.
Let’s start with a few cliches: You are an artist. You make or do things. There are many artists, but only one you. You are unique.
You. Three little letters that means something different for everyone on the planet. My version of you is very different to your version of you.
Therefore what you want to do is not yell about what you’ve made (your book, your song, your movie, etc) rather you want people to know about who made them. Why? Because your not going to stop at one book or one song, are you? Of course not! Your not a one-hit wonder who’ll abandon the audience because it all got too hard. You are in it for the long haul.
How much time and energy have you invested in just making your book, eh? How many brain cells have you lost due to frustration? How many late nights, juggling work and family and other commitments? What sacrifices have you made?
And what do you have at the end of it? Your masterpiece, that’s what, crafted and honed and bludgeoned into just the right shape according to the requirements of one person:
That’s right: YOU!
You made it, you own it, it is part of you. Thus, part of your marketing should involve, you guessed right, you. For some people, talking about themselves is natural. For others, myself included, it’s uncomfortable. I don’t want to talk about myself. I’m a very private person.
Whoops! Did you see that? By revealing that I’m a private person, I’ve just revealed something personal and important about myself.
That was easy, wasn’t it? Accidental, more like it, but still you get the point. Even though you may not wish to divulge personal, private, confidential information – and rightly so – the audience is hungry for the stuff. No, they don’t want your credit card details, nor do they want to know what brand of toothpaste you use.
What they wish to know is the human side of you. What are you? Why are you? Where are you? What are the major influences in your life? How did you decide to bite the bullet and publish your work? Are you a professional or an amateur? Are you signed up or indie? What values do you maintain?
Why should I, as a member of your potential audience, look at you over the artist who is standing beside you? What attracts me and, just as importantly, what will repulse me? Can I, as another fellow human being living on the same Earth and breathing the same air, relate to you?
Here we might talk about branding, establishing a consistency to identify you among everyone else.
You are the brand. You aren’t a corporation, you are a human and, as a human with free-will, artistic talent and brain to suit, you make stuff – not the other way around. You are more than the collective sum of your works. If anything, they are products of your brain and body working in collaboration.
The question, then, is how do you brand ‘you’?
I drew a little logo and a handle of “Jeztyr” to help out, but that isn’t me, is it? It’s not even a representation of me. You couldn’t look at that little jester with his bangly baubles and goofy grin and go, “Yep, I know exactly what he’s on about”. So why did I bother?
While the logo and moniker isn’t a representation, it’s not my face or something distinctive that I’ve done, it is distinctive enough such that putting it on a work or in a blog post lets the user know that this is not something arbitrary, some auto-generated slop or corporate sponsored material, rather it has being created by a person.
On one piece, it’s a little picture or a word. On two or three, a pattern emerges. After a while, people will dig, by implication, what I’m about. This is an interesting way of doing things since I am showing you, rather than telling you.
If I slap it on just about everything I do, then, like a signature, the collective usage defines the brand. This weblog, my YouTube channel, on the back of books, anywhere that appropriately defines something about me. Just be careful not to overdo it.
You can take this approach, too. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a logo. Your name should be good enough if it isn’t something too common like John Smith. If it is, don’t despair. Grab a guy who knows marketing and ask what they can do. After all, even if your name is John Smith, you will want to differentiate you, John Smith, from the John Smith standing next to you. Perhaps stylize the letters, or make something out of the J.S.
Make it unique and run with it.
Of course, there’s a more to all of this branding stuff than making props. Props are cool and all, but consider this: What says ‘you’ more than you? Nothing, right? So why not, when you’re making your stuff, when you’re writing or painting or composing, why not stick a little of you inside there, too?
How? More of that in the next post.
P.S. That’s not me in the picture up there. That was at the Royal Melbourne Show. If you are the dude in the pic, my thanks for the use of your mug.