It’s been a week since I launched Work / Art / Play – an online class for artists and illustrators to help them find their footing in this big bad digital world; and the response has been amazing. I’ve gotten so many responses from artists and illustrators who took the time to send me an email, telling me how this has been what they’ve been looking for (and why the heck was I keeping it from them for so long!) So thank you readers – I’m touched beyond belief, and can’t wait to start!
One of the core messages in my upcoming class was that it’s time to do things differently. And that means it’s not just about up-ending the competition. It’s not about tweeting your fingers off every hour of everyday with news about that same new painting, or sending in that fourth application to an illustration annual. It’s more than that and I’m going to lay down 3 harmful myths about self-promotion and why it’s time you did things differently.
Myth #1: Social media is key to making sales, getting clients, etc!
No it’s not.
Tweeting about your offerings 24/7 into the wide open world is not going to cut it. You might trigger a response (if you’re lucky someone notable stumbles onto your tweet) but for the most part it’s like shouting into a barrel and hoping for a response. Social media is merely an amplifier for your marketing efforts and is a way to connect with others on an informal level; but it’s not the whole picture (unless it is, and if it is, then you’re in trouble).
Handy hint: Stop sending pitches through Twitter or Facebook – it’s unprofessional and lazy. Plus, it’s easily forgettable compared to an email.
Myth #2: Postcards: the more the better. I need a fancy logo and name card that people will remember before I promote myself.
This is a misguided effort at best, and a time-staller at worst. Sure, creating the best name card so that people will remember you is a noble effort – but ultimately people will remember the person, not a name on a card. Even if it was printed with gold leaf on a scratch-and-sniff card.
Handy hint: As long as your name card is legible and carries an example of your work or your message, it’s time to hustle!
Myth #3: Emails don’t cost a thing. I’m just going to send one to everyone I know with a blind carbon copy (Bcc).
Again. This is just lazy, and just like shooting fish in a barrel. Would you send out a mass cover letter and a generic resume in hopes of landing a job? If that’s what you’ve been doing (no, no, no) then it’s time you stopped and put a little more effort into putting yourself out there.
Handy hint: Use names if possible. Most of the time you can do a search and you’ll find the person you want to reach, and avoid the possibility of being binned.
The biggest takeaway from all this, is how artists and illustrators need to stop putting their hopes on others, and take concrete steps to claim responsibility for their actions. So many marketing strategies out there hinges on other people’s responses instead of how you can deliver your message and story better.
And how did I know all of this? Because I’ve been on the receiving end of the above strategies. Frankly, after 6 years and hundreds of emails, it’s getting a little ridiculous, to the point where it has become a personal pain point, rather than something to be tolerated. Things can be better. You can do better.
So if you think I’m going to be advocating that you send in more postcard mailings, or take a spread in that fifth illustration annual, or to put up your portfolio up on that illustration portfolio site – I’m not. These may work for some, but ultimately it leaves too much to chance. Remember, it’s not about out-doing your peers, it’s about doing things differently in order to succeed.
And this is just a small part of what I’ll be focusing on in Work / Art / Play. If you’ve been doing things the same way without much to show for it, do yourself a favor and check it out – it might just change the way you look at your work and your business. Enrollment ends on 8th September 2013, and class begins 16th September.
SHARE WITH US:
Although I’ve laid out the points above, I know that there’s always an angle that I’m missing, an opinion that I’ve not heard. So I’m curious to hear from you – have you used the above strategies and has it worked for you? Tell me your findings in the comments below!
And if you haven’t signed up for the mailing list yet – do join in! You’ll get a weekly newsletter and special members-only updates with ideas, tips and advice on how to spread your wings no matter if you’re an artist or illustrator (or both!)
[Illustration by Susanne Low]