For Inside the Publishing World Today, I am hosting a guest post about marketing. Ron Gavalik is the author of the book, Financial Success for Creative Professionals. He uses his skills at communications and advice from his new book to provide a great "heads-up" for authors. For more information about his book click here.
And now, Ron...
Throughout civilized human history, creative minds of every type were comforted by the knowledge that if a publisher, producer, or gallery accepted their work, they’d receive financial support in the form of advanced payments and promotional initiatives. In essence, after years of struggle, rejection, and torment, the creator was chosen by an elite group of tycoons to be idolized above others. In return, he or she wasn’t asked to perform any kind of true marketing efforts, aside from public appearances.
In today’s business world, that’s rarely the case.
The influx of creative small businesses and indie creators has diluted the arts and entertainment markets. That shift in business has forced creative talents to perform their own marketing initiatives to achieve success. Some creative professionals believe this to be an unfair burden. Others herald it as an opportunity to have more control. No matter how you view the circumstances, it’s a reality that must be understood.
It’s astonishing how many talented writers, artists, and performers pour passion and professionalism into their creative endeavors, but then practice marketing initiatives like an amateur. It’s the equivalent of buying a $500 pool stick, but never practicing the game. When it comes time to prove your skills, that shiny pool stick is only as effective as the player who wields it. In other words, it’s simply not enough to have a fantastic creative product. You must know how to market that product to mass audiences to win the game.
To ensure creative success in today’s market, there are a number of steps that must be completed. Let’s briefly explore each of them.
Understand the truth about marketing artistic creations. So many people believe marketing is subjective, much like abstract painting or poetry. It isn’t. Marketing is really about the science of consumer psychology. You must reach the correct audiences to maximize exposure of your work, draw in potential fans, and then drive revenue. When you truly understand the fundamental theory about generating mass awareness of your creative experiences and know how to shape the perception of your work, it’s hundreds of times easier to get noticed and achieve success.
Build your marketing structure. Before an artistic talent can sell work to a base of potential consumers, you must first build your marketing structure. That includes a comprehensive website (not just a simple blog), a strong social media presence, and a uniquely branded market position. You must also use mass communications vehicles (email newsletters, for example) to build relationships with your future fans. No one, and I mean no one will buy a book, portrait, MP3, or any kind of creation without having achieved emotional investment in the creator and your products.
Take advantage of media marketing opportunities. The meat of any marketing initiative must include interacting with potential fans. This is referred to as shaking hands and relationship building. Use the power of the web to connect with hundreds of thousands of consumers through social media, the news media, and personal print media. Using these techniques provides consumers an easy path to personally identify with your artistic creations and then become emotionally invested. This is sometimes referred to as the “warm fuzzies.”
Once the warm fuzzies are achieved, your potential fans are empowered with the knowledge that purchasing your work will benefit them in some way. Remember, your creative efforts are meant to enhance the lives of others. When a potential fan personally identifies with your creation and they’re given a clear path to enjoy the experience, it’s like taking candy from a baby.
Diversify your income from multiple venues. Success is never achieved by selling one product in one location. That’s one of the biggest mistakes made by indie authors, artists, and performers. Your creations must sell in multiple locations to reach the maximum number of targeted consumers that identify with your style. It’s also paramount that each creator offers several products and accessory items for sale, such as t-shirts or bookmarks.
For example: an indie author with a book released must ensure it’s selling in each possible retail location. Sure, Amazon may have 60% or more of the book buying public, but that doesn’t mean you ignore the other 40% that shops on lesser-known retailers. Furthermore, offering accessories increases revenue and provides depth that large publishers always provide for intellectual property and indies usually lack.
Ron Gavalik’s Bio:
Ron Gavalik is the author of Financial Success for Creative Professionals and has over 20 years of celebrated experience in corporate and creative marketing. This former Director of Communications has assisted private, nonprofit, and artistic organizations achieve success through grassroots experience marketing initiatives. Gavalik is currently the Publisher for Grit City Publications and creator of the innovative Emotobooks fiction medium. He holds a B.S. in Marketing Communications from Point Park University and an M.A. in Writing from Seton Hill University. His work in the arts has shaped success for countless creative professionals who seek financial independence.