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Apr 04

The Most Common Mistake

Don't expect a large turnout at your party if you don't invite people in advance. Paris cafe, empty tables. Photography by Glen Green - GlenGreenPhotography.com - Creative Commons: Attribution, Non-Commercial

Don’t expect a large turnout at your party if you don’t invite people in advance.
Photo by Glen Green (Click the photo for a larger version)

I have associates, colleagues and friends who are producers and publishers of media ranging from books to music to photographs and movies. These creators have worked hard to make something interesting and worthwhile.

More often than not, these inventors are composing their works on their own dime and they don’t have deep pockets. And yet, time and again, I see the same mistake that so often keeps these works from getting the recognition that they deserve: they fail to take advantage of content and social media marketing in a timely fashion.

Companies have budgets to set aside to market themselves (or they don’t usually last long.) But that is seldom the case for an entrepreneur who frequently have to sink their own money into the projects and have little to spare.

But what these creators may lack in money, they can make up with content and a little bit of time.  That content and time can translate directly into publicity.

When I raise this opportunity to these media creators, I usually hear that they’ll do the marketing once the work is done. This is a mistake. This is roughly analogous to a movie studio not releasing a trailer until after the movie is already released to the theaters.

Instead, I advocate building your audience in advance and in tandem with the creation of your work and by leveraging the very work that is being created. This must be done early in the process because what an entrepreneur lacks in finances, they must make up for with time. (And even with money, audiences and reputation aren’t created with the flick of a switch.)

For example, If you’re writing a book on digital media that you hope to publish in say, a year’s time, consider some of the following tactics, all of which could be executed while writing the book by devoting a few hours each week:

  • Build a Twitter following now: connect with your target audience and like minded experts. Foster relationships, and share your knowledge on your book’s subject. Share key quotes from your book. 
  • Connect with other authors on the subject through their blogs or other media. Leave comments and thoughts on their posts. This can easily have the added side effect of expanding ideas within your own work. When your book is ready, you’ll likely find a group of peers who are entirely happy to promote, review and share your work.
  • Start a Facebook page – again: like Twitter (and the like), start to establish your expertise and gain a following.
  • Update your LinkedIn profile. Let people know that you’re writing, share excerpts, elicit feedback, join associated groups, communicate and connect.
  • Write your own blog. Share stories on the process of writing, tell fun anecdotes, give advice on your subject of interest, etc.

The list can easily go on, but what’s more important here than providing some checklist of tactics, is to convey the strategy of engaging early with your audience. If you wait until you’ve finished that book, movie, or album and expect to have an audience of 100,000 Twitter followers instantly ready to buy your work, you’ll find it is going to be a long haul. What’s more: once your work is done, one is often exhausted, having spent a the majority of the enthusiasm at the time of creation. Instead, the work is done and in lieu of riding the momentum of an existing audience to greater heights, the author is confronted with starting the long road of publicity. – All the while their work is growing stale and unrecognized.

The time to start publicizing your efforts is now.

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