Marketing Like a Motherfucker

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Photo Credit: Me

I realize this story won’t make the front page, most likely due to my choice of title (specifically, motherfucker) but I accepted a long time ago I’m just not front page material, and that’s okay.

I still have hope and my hope is 2018 will be my year. This is my year, baby! Enthusiasm helps.

Many moons ago I abandoned the possibility those how- to articles and do these five things listicles I read were worth anything.

You graduated college and immediately built a start-up that made billions in its first fiscal period by doing those five things? Holy shit! How do I make $18,000,000 overnight by designing an app that helps people be better people based off someone else’s standards? Do tell, please?

I abandoned these random fairy tales of the inter-webs for two reasons. First, because it’s stupid bullshit. Second, because unlike those money hungry bastards I make money so I’m able to create. I don’t create to make money.

I’m greedy in the sense I want the whole entire world to read my stories and view my artwork, and in order to reach my goal of reaching more people it’s become clear to me I need two things. First, money so I can afford to create. Second, I need to market like a motherfucker in order to make money and get my work out there.

I set this goal because I had a conditioned logic I’m not a marketer. I’m a creator, but what I discovered is many similarities in both roles.

I’ve read several books over the past months to educate myself on ideas. I know, I know, the internet claims if I read books I’ll suffer from resourceful, credible and thoroughly researched knowledge. I’m a rebel.

Let’s start with a list of the books I chose to read and then move on to what I’ve learned. I’ll provide book links but I always promote checking at your local library first (says the girl with extreme book purchasing issues).

Why We Work- Barry Schwartz

Scratch- Manjula Martin

How to Make a Living as a Writer and How to Write Short Stories And Use Them to Further Your Writing Career- James Scott Bell (James, if you’re reading this I’m a huge fan of your work, sir!)

The Anti 9 to 5 Guide- Michelle Goodman

Design it Yourself- created by the students and faculty of the Maryland Institute College of Art, edited by Ellen Lupton

Art Inc- Lisa Congdon

What I learned (with links and photos provided).

Keep it simple

I was totally not doing this. I had my work and goals spread out all over the place and that can be confusing and become time consuming for those that are interested in my creative endeavors.

I streamlined it all in one place on the platform where I have my largest group of followers. I’m also able to include links to outside sites where people can support my work.

Design it Yourself pointed out the value of using the the same profile picture and cover photo across all social media outlets. People will immediately know they’ve found the right place.

Catchy slogans

“It’s been said that literature, art and music can heal the world. I suck at creating music. “— Me

Catchy logos

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Collaboration with Jim Reeves
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Credit: Jim Reeves

Being clear about your goals

Don’t be, because although you have a phat-giant ass-awesome goal you’re working toward the small goals are going to change along the way.

Such as, my ultimate goal is to get set-up so I can create all the time. I want to be able to spend 50% of my work day focused on writing and 50% of my work day focused on art. That’s my dream, but I can’t pull funding out of my ass to make it happen. This is where marketing comes in.

I have a list of small goals to obtain in hopes of getting there. Some have check marks next to them and some have stab marks from my pencil because they didn’t work out so well.

I learned lots of cool shit by accident

Design it Yourself taught me I could be doing a lot more with what I have. For instance, I discovered I already have what I need to at least get started with binding books, making prints, advertising, creating marketing materials and so on. I was able to come up with a long list of fresh ideas to keep things spicy.

Document everything

If people are going to support my work by reading my stories, sharing my stuff on their social media or pledging their patronage I need to work for it and by documenting and openly sharing people may be more inclined to do so. I particularly love this concept because people will become a part of my endeavors and I dig the idea of being personable.

Social Media like a motherfucker

I’d previously read in articles about how impossible it is to be on every social media site and that you should either,

A. Chose two platforms and stick to those two

B. Use an app to post regular updates for you

In Art Inc., Lisa Congdon focuses an entire chapter on social media and why it’s so important for you to do it personally. She goes on to explain that people are different and tend to lean more toward certain platforms. In order to increase your audience and build a strong rapport it’s best to be on all of them. She also states that posting twice a day on each platform is a must. “One personal post and one marketing post.”

Free advertising

Lisa also discusses the value of free marketing with a couple of simple tips.

A. Collaborate with other creatives and swap promos. I’ll share your work if you share mine.

B. Your email signature is free advertising but be sure to include every link as not to sell yourself short. Again, people tend to lean towards platforms they prefer.

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Ridiculously huge, I know. Borderline unnecessary? Maybe, but free advertising is free advertising. It’s all there.

Blog- Handmade Shop- Facebook- Twitter- Pinterest- Instagram- Tumblr- Bio and Home

Yeah, I know and I’ve been taking the time to personally post on each one every day.

#diehard

Newsletters

I’m not going to lie. Please don’t be offended. If I were to sign up and read every writer’s newsletter who I enjoy reading I wouldn’t have time for anything else. The internet has us convinced we can’t make money as a creative without having an email list but here’s the thing; if I don’t have time to read yours then I don’t expect you to have time to read mine.

I took the ol’ newsletter out for a spin for a while and of the almost 9,000 inboxes it reached I was lucky if there were twenty clicks to open it. I’m sure it’s different for everyone but I’d rather figure out a way to reach the largest audience I possibly can and a newsletter just ain’t doing it for me. Perhaps it’s time better spent on social media.

Fair trades and free shit

Can’t afford a piece of my art that you really love? How about a free print in exchange for sharing my link on your social media?

Did you know that patrons at the $5 per month tier receive a book from my personal home library collection? This is huge for me because my books are my treasures yet I feel super giddy to share them with others. I love books so much I even sticky tab the pages of sentences I want to remember forever.

#nojoke

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I love to send personalized handmade postcards to people who support my work. By support I mean read my stories, follow my art-capades, share my stuff on your social media, stuff coffee money in my tip jar or are a member of my Patreon. Would you like a post card? Just send me an email or reach out to me via a private message on any of my social media and I’ll send one your way!

A part of marketing is swag and people love free stuff. I put a great deal of thought into what I enjoy making that won’t break my budget on materials or postage by offering it for free.

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Duck Tape wallet, anyone?

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How about a set of bookmarks?

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Do the research

Here’s the thing, until you get to that point where your start-up makes billions in its first quarter or you develop that ‘you suck- be better’ app that makes every other technology stock crash you’re going to have to put some money out in order to lift off.

I spent two days researching Etsy and Amazon to see which would be a better fit and possibly a greater than passive income for me. I had an Etsy shop I recently closed in exchange for an Amazon Handmade shop. I even splurged on the extra six month promotional kit. After doing the research and comparisons I felt Amazon was a better choice for me. I may lose my ass. It’s a risk but it’s also trial and error as with anything in life.

Press Kits

FML I’m just not worthy of press announcements yet but if I were they would be kick-ass creative and funny.

Be available

I’m a person and I present myself as one. I’m not a brand. I’m not content. I’m Erika, and if you’re familiar with me then you know I have no shame and I write openly and with honesty. It means I also need to be on my game wherever I go.

I need to be taking pictures, videos and write everything down. There’s ideas everywhere and from my experience I’m just not capable of shutting that off.

Like uploading that photo to Instagram of the world’s largest popcorn ball in Sac City, or the Facebook status about how I woke up this morning to 45 degrees and rain and now it’s 11 degrees and a blizzard, or print screening the text message my husband sent me threatening to come home from work dressed in a frog costume and sharing it on Tumblr.

Not to mention if you reach out to me, I’ll reach right back.

Getting started

I’ve been steadily putting these pieces together for the past six weeks and I feel good and confident. It’s going to take an immense amount of commitment and hard work on my part because this is my year, you know?

Ready- Set- Go.

Wanna jump this train? Here’s how, and why you should:

Just wanna follow along? That’s cool too:

Newspaper reporter in Eastern Iowa. The views expressed are mine alone.

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