No matter what you make, there are two parts to creating. The first part is the making - whether it's photography or art or writing or illustrating, you make your art. That's the fun bit. The second part? Not so much - it's getting our work in front of people. Somone needs to see our work. The RIGHT people need to see our work.
makers gotta make
makers gotta market
The old way of thinking is that if you just are good enough, someone will notice. The old way of thinking is that marketing is at best all about duty - and at worst? Icky. Maybe even bordering on smarmy. "Look at me, look at me, look at me".
No wonder as creatives we shy away from it!
But people need to see out work. How to do it in a world of social media and branding and shares and likes? How to do it in a way that is elegant and authentic?
Enter Melanie Biehle of Inward Facing Girl. If you don't know her, you should.
I love her tagline:
Creative Strategist and Storyteller | Sharer of Cool Things.
It's that first part of her tagline that I'll be exploring today.
I am curious about how she works with creative people and businesses who need to learn how to sell their work, services, or products in a way that's genuine and effective.
You have all these marketing skills and talents and could have worked with many different types of clients - why creatives and artists?
For so many reasons. Because I am one. Because they're my favorite people to spend time with. Because so many people involved in creative businesses don't understand marketing. They have an extremely negative association with the word and they feel uncomfortable promoting their own work. Since I've spent time on both sides of the table, as a creative and as a marketer, I have a unique 360 degree point-of-view of the creative marketing process and understand both sides of the story.
You talk about content strategy and brand development for creatives. For the regular person, how do you define each of those?
In the most basic terms, content strategy is a structure for sharing information about yourself, what you do, and what you sell in a well-planned, intentional way with a specific end goal in mind - you want people to buy your stuff. Or at least be curious enough to want to know more.
Before you plan your content strategy, you have to know who you are as a brand. Brand development is the process of exploring what you stand for, how you perceive your business, and how you want others to see you. How do you want people to feel about you and your creative work, services, or products? Who are you trying to connect with and why would they want to connect with you? These are some of the questions that we answer during a brand development session.
What difference can an effective content strategy make for a creative person?
As we both know, sometimes creative people need a little bit of structure. :) Having a mapped out method of sharing your work and yourself with the right people at the right time in the right way can be invaluable. If the marketing part is planned out in a painless, effective way, it allows you to relax and use your energy to create more of the work that you love.
Creatives sometimes shy away from the marketing side of things. You know what it's like, we're all comfortable doing what we know. Marketing and promotion? Crickets.... How do you make it palatable and doable?
I think this is one of the ways that my weird mix of creative work and marketing help me. A lot of creative people have a physical reaction to the word "marketing," and it's not an overwhelming love or joy. They see marketing as annoying at best, sleazy and gross at worst.
Then there's the creative self-doubt phenomenon, "Who's going to want to buy this, anyway? It's not that good." So when you take someone who isn't always sure about their work, even if it's amazing, and they feel bad or weird about trying to sell it...well...yikes.
And this is where I come in to deprogram you. You have to think about marketing as having a conversation with people that you like that are going to like you back. That's scary too sometimes, but not as scary as trying to promote yourself and your work to people who don't care.
Let's say I'm a photographer and I'm coming to you for content strategy and brand development. After we work together, what's one new thing that I'll walk away with knowing and doing?
You'll have a unique branding and marketing strategy that's inherently authentic and effective because of the way that it's built - one part what you know and what's important to you + one part my knowledge and marketing experience -, and you'll know how to execute it.
This I love: "think about marketing as having a conversation with people that you like that are going to like you back". For the longest time I thought that marketing was synonymous with advertising - like placing ads and trying to convince people to buty. But thinking about it as a conversation with people who are going to like me back is a revelation. It certainly takes the pressure off!
How have you got your work in front of people? What has worked and what hasn't? As a creative, what do you think about marketing?