In six months of business as a independent publisher, I’ve learned quite a few valuable lessons. I’d like to share TWO of them today. If you’ve been in the game for a while, you might already be familiar with them, but they bear repeating.
1. If you refuse to build an online media presence, you’re missing out on a powerful, FREE publicity tool. Publicists are EXPENSIVE and a lot of them won’t or can’t place a ROI (Return On Investement) for their services. One publicity firm I interviewed wanted to charge me almost $400 to write ONE press release (sending it out was extra). That charge did not include follow-up with the media outlets they intended to mail the press release to. It’s possible that some of them might have hit. It’s more likely that not a lot of them would have.
What if you created your own press release, called it a “media release,” and interested the local media in you by pitching yourself as a story idea? What if you used a website like this one to build relationships with tweeting media instead? Cost? $0 and instead of shooting randomly, you now have several targeted messages to very specific people who will recognize you instead of put you in a slush pile. (Big ups to Starr Hall for the tip)
There are people I know who aren’t on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, you name it. If they own a business, I hear them talk about getting their name “out there.” I found my favorite place for pizza through word-of-mouth. When I wanted to check out their menu, I didn’t call, and I didn’t drive over there. I googled them. You can market your business without the internet. You can also climb Mount Everest with a fork. Why do it the extra hard way?
2. Selling yourself is selling yourself short. My wife and I used to be in an MLM (Multi-Level Marketing) business (if you’re in one, no offense!). To be successful at an MLM — at least the one we were in — you always have to be in selling mode. You’re advised to go to your “warm market” (friends, relatives, associates, coworkers) first. Then, once you’ve gotten them on your team, you help them get people they know (but you don’t) on their team, thereby building yours. The problem is that if you’re selling and no one’s buying, you may become known as the “guy/girl who’s hawking that [insert product or service]” and people you swear you were tight with may end up avoiding your calls. This happened to both me and my wife.
I know people who sell their stuff nonstop. They’re annoying. I block them from my feed on Facebook. I don’t click on their Twitter links when I do see them. The truth is that, to a lot of companies, you’re nothing but a number with a dollar sign behind it. But nobody likes to feel or be treated that way. My philosophy is in line with that I’ve heard from a number of successful professionals, including the blueprint for how to live a successful life (the teachings of Jesus Christ): Make it a point to give more than what you get. You’ll be surprised at your ROI 🙂