Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Is Marketing Work, Play, or Both?

Dave Heumann gave me a solid compliment on Google+, pertaining to what I post and how it effects marketing. It was something I had scratched the surface of, but had not verbalized as well as he did.Dave wrote: “I think you strike a good balance between posts that are more conversational/social and ones that are geared more towards getting your ideas and writing out there.”
I've seen this—I don't want to say “often”—but enough to make it stick in my mind. Writers, photographers, musicians, artists. Some of them have a tendency to use social networks entirely socially, talking about their lives, their day, their family; or to use social networks entirely for their work, only  for self promotion.      
This post is a warning to anyone who falls exclusively into one or the other category.
Are you a social poster?
Are you a work poster?
It's a trick question. The right answer is “I am both!”
There's an advantage to each. Both have their own purpose. Both are forms of marketing, but each in very different ways.
A social poster has the advantage of getting to know people. A social poster can make friends by sharing interesting posts pertaining to their lives, or life in general. By commenting on other peoples' posts, social posters can further the bond created through interaction.
A work poster has the advantage of getting his work out there, letting people know he's A) a writer and B) has a book for sale. A work poster makes his work visible. “I'm here, come and get me!” Readers can only buy what they know is there, and a work poster puts the work in their hands via links.
A work poster, who isn't already famous, yet relies only on word of mouth and name recognition to carry him, and so ignores social interaction, isn't going very far. He links to his novel and says “read this”. He's got a great engine, but no gas in the tank, and the spark plugs are in backwards.
There's nothing personal or interactive about plugging your latest book or blog, and so there's no reason for anyone to click your links. Many potential readers will ignore a passive work poster, hiding them from their feeds.
Then there's the writer who interacts socially all day long, but never mentions their book or blog. Their friends would likely buy their book, or read their blog, if only they knew about it.
People are busy, it's not enough to tell someone once about your book or blog and be done with it. Marketing through a social network requires a bit of both social interaction and link dropping.
Interaction is vital to internet marketing. If you're not already famous and have your own inertia, and don't have gobs of money to pay someone else to market your work for you, there's really only one thing you can do. You've got to meet people.
You can sell a book more easily to someone who recognizes your name than to someone who has never heard of you before. Call it building name recognition, call it buliding brand, it all boils down to the same thing.
Marketing this way is slow exposure. It's a recognition of peoples' lives. We're all busy, even if what we're doing isn't important in the grand scheme of things, so understand that people may not see your post every day, or they may see it but not have the time to click on it, or not be ready to buy it—yet.
Keep it coming. Just like you need a long exposure to capture the stars at night, you need a long exposure to capture a reader's attention. It takes consistency, but not force.
We writers have to marry the two approaches. We have to show interest in something other than ourselves, and still give others an opportunity to be interested in us.
Only posting socially, your writing gets buried and goes unheard of and unnoticed.
Only posting work, no one relates to what you're doing. No one cares.
Do 'em both. 
Author J.R. NOva


  1. Fun post~I have to say that marketing is one of the fun parts of being a writer. Even all social-media forms too!