I’ve been thinking of writing a marketing post for a while now. With all of the information floating around the internet, it’s hard to think of how I could write something different from what’s already been written. Some of these concepts won’t be completely new to most of you, but hopefully I touch on them in a way that inspires you to do more with them.
A lot of marketing resources focus on telling what you need to post, what NOT to post, and how often. I consider that the basic mechanics of marketing: finding and sharing valuable information in a way that doesn’t spam or turn off your audience. This is extremely important in building a reputation and a following. But marketing is more than just mechanics. Successful marketing builds relationships and a sense of community.
You may have noticed I started this post with a well-known quote from one of my favorite authors.You may also be wondering what the heck it has to do with marketing. Don’t worry, I’ll explain. Those of you who are familiar with the writing community may already have a sense of where I’m heading with this. In an industry that thrives on reviews, referrals, and retweets, it’s easy to see how each one of us has an important part to play that benefits the community as a whole. Today I’d like to look dig deeper into how we can benefit both individually and as a community from the Three Musketeers’ mantra.
Be Aware: One For All
When we’re all trying to make it in our individual rat race, it’s so easy to be solely focused on the chaos and stress in our own lives. Whether we’re stay-at-home moms/dads, have full-time day jobs, are continuing education, or any combination of a million things, we all have daily responsibilities to juggle that get in the way of what we really want to do: write.
For some, a strict schedule is key to accomplishing daily tasks. For others, we fly by the seat of our pants hoping to make through another day. We are from all walks of life, but one thing is common to all of us: most of us struggle to stay on top of whatever it is that we do on a daily basis. That struggle may come in a variety of ways, for example, neglected housework, missing deadlines, letting our kids watch too much TV so we can finally have a second to finish a blog post or, heaven forbid, pee alone. (You thought I was going to be all serious and feel-y the whole time didn’t you.) If you’re anything like me, you have a thousand things to accomplish everyday. Some days go really well; you may not get through everything, but you knock a heck of a lot of stuff off your To-do list. Other days you’re crying over the $.99 box of mac and cheese that you’d rather die than eat, but it’s the only thing your kids will eat without complaining that the food tastes like garbage or looks like worms, having barely had the time to check your emails or finish that TPS report.
Anyway, my point is, we need to be aware of others. Behind each smiling avi is a human being working really hard to make it through the daily grind, and even harder to find time and inspiration to write. If we look outside of our own chaos, and make time to support others, we increase our circle, our network, our own support system. When someone reaches out for help, try to find time to offer your skills and talents to help them succeed. Sacrifice a sliver of what little spare time you might have to build relationships and help others. By doing so, you’ll organically create your own network of support.
Simply put: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Share: All For One
I’m always in awe of the amazing support and excitement writers have for each other. Every time I see a pub announcement, cover reveal, or release day post I can’t help but get caught up in the buzz and congratulatory parade of confetti cannons and cupcake showers. If we take time to spread the word about our fellow writers, they will be there to support us in return.
Sharing requires us to, first, be aware of what is going on around us, and, second, help spread the word. There are so many ways to do this, some taking mere seconds (for example, retweets, a like, favorite, or +1), others require more time (replying, commenting, reading a link), to even more time (reading and reviewing a book). We should try to reach out in as many ways possible (keeping in mind our varying schedules allow for different participation). If we support our community, the community will be there to support us. A recent post on YAtopia has a great list of ideas on How to Help Authors You Love.
Stick It To The Man: United We Stand, Divided We Fall.
Recently there has been major uproar over changes to platforms such as Facebook Pages and the ever-loved/hated Amazon. Now we can whine and complain about “how life isn’t fair,” or “how dare they try to mathematically calculate what is important to me and my viewers” or we can suck it up and beat the system.
Now, I’m a numbers person, so I try to follow all of the crazy behind-the-scenes algorithm stuff. I came across this article last week regarding Facebook metrics and Amazon algorithms. Seriously, go read it right now. I’ll wait. All done? Good. Anyone surprised? Anything sound crazy difficult or totally unmanageable? NO. In fact, a lot of it suggests you do the easy stuff that takes seconds. Like. Comment. Share. Not only Faceboook, but Amazon too! LIKE STUFF. SHARE STUFF. COMMENT. Even if it’s as little as a smiley face emoticon or a heart symbolic of your undying love for that post. THEN it will be deemed by the power of the almighty algorithm gods as IMPORTANT.
Small tangent: I met one of my favorite writer friends, Tammy Farrell, this way. I don’t remember exactly how it all started, but apparently she was Tweeting some really cool stuff. And, apparently, I was favorite-ing her posts like crazy. Like favorites on ALL THE POSTS. That’s what she remembers about meeting me. I was the crazy favorite person, and thank goodness she didn’t block me right then and there, because we’ve become great friends, and I will favorite her until I die because she is AMAZING. (Seriously, go check out her website and read her books. You’ll be favorite-ing her, too.)
So now you can see how the Three Musketeers got it right. You as one can make all the difference to a lot of people. And in turn, those people will be there to support you. If we have an understanding of HOW we can best support each other in a world of changing algorithms and values of “like,” everybody wins.
Now, go forth and stick it to the man.