By Laura Fredericks, for Edwardsturm.com.
The market for creative work and the audiences for pursuits as varied as dance, writing, visual arts, and film has grown exponentially in the past few years. The breakneck pace of technological innovation, rise of social media, and constant contact online has led to videos, articles, and pictures regularly reaching thousands, or even millions, of viewers and readers. There is no doubt that this is a wonderful thing for creatives hoping to share their work with the world – but it’s also incredibly overwhelming. If you share one video, one picture of your art, or one piece of writing, how will you make it stand out from the crowd? How will you reach that perfect audience of people who would not only be interested in your work, but is actively looking for something just like it? The answer, of course, is effective marketing.
For too long, we’ve all been told that creative people are not good marketers. We’re supposed to be too flighty, with our heads in the clouds and our hearts on our sleeves. We can’t take criticism of our work, we don’t want to put on our “salesman” hats, and we don’t have the backbones or the brains to rationally approach the work necessary to effectively build our brands. Right?
Wrong. It’s time to embrace your creativity instead of rejecting it. Instead of letting the left-brained business people of the world tell you all the ways you’re not good enough, learn to use your creative spirit as your marketing superpower. While there are many more than just four, the strengths listed below give reason as to why creatives can be marketing superheroes.
Out of the Box Thinking
The first marketing strength of creative people comes from the very meaning of the word creative. Creativity relies on the ability to think of new and different ways to solve problems, thinking outside of the box and coming up with innovative solutions. Doesn’t that sound like something a marketer should be able to do? If Facebook ads, Twitter campaigns, and a weekly newsletter aren’t moving the needle for you, you are far more likely to come up with an innovative marketing idea than a so-called-rational non-creative thinker. Maybe you will create themed flash drives with your content pre-loaded onto them for your loyal followers. Maybe you will take your murder mystery about killers on a golf course to pro-shops nationwide. I don’t know what you will do because you’re unpredictable, innovative, and creative and will come up with solutions that others could never dream of. This type of out of the box thinking leads to exciting marketing campaigns, and is a key strength for creative people.
Harvey Weinstein discussing how his marketing team does exceptionally well due to its creativity
Relating to Your Audience
Almost all creative pursuits involve an audience of some kind. If you’re a musician, you rely on people listening to your music and feeling a connection with something in it. If you’ve created a work of art, your joy and success will often improve with each person who sees and relates to your work. The ability that you have to forge true connections with an audience is possibly the most powerful tool you have in your creative marketing toolkit. You already know who your audience is, because you’ve seen them and spoken with them at gigs, shows, book signings, and workshops. You’ve seen what parts of your work they connect to, and what drives them to keep listening or watching or experiencing your art. This is often the hardest thing that marketers face- knowing who the audience is and what they want. Because you already know this, you’re way ahead of the game! You have a very specific target market of people who will most closely connect with you and your work. These people share your ideas, your way of speaking, and often many of your interests. Having a target audience allows you to focus your efforts and your message, and consistently connect with the people who will gain the most from your work.
Promoting your business can feel like intruding, and often brings up fears of rejection. It’s challenging to share your message without feeling like a cheesy car salesman. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can share your knowledge, personal story, and your work with the world without coming off as pushy or fake. You just need to connect in an authentic way. Connecting authentically essentially means sharing your story with people who want to hear it. Simply put, being authentic means staying true to who you are, what you do and who you serve.This creates value and benefits for your audience as well as improving your business as an artist.
Like it or not, people in creative industries meet with a lot of rejection in the context of their work. People in non-creative jobs of course deal with rejection as well, but usually not on the grand, ego smashing scale of dancers, musicians, or authors. Instead of getting down about the constant stream of no’s, if you’re putting yourself out there, realize that you can actually have your strength built up by learning to handle anything that life could throw at you. Not all marketing campaigns are going to work, and the world of Internet sales and marketing is far from being all hearts and rainbows. You may need to get a little creative with your marketing strategies, but that’s one of your strengths! Artists, more than others, are forced to develop a thick skin and a little humor, letting them take things with a grain of salt, while also allowing them to see which things are working and which are not.
Lots of Content!
Other marketing professionals are on a constant search for great content to share with their online audiences. If you were a financial planner, dentist, or tax attorney that wanted to have a presence online, you would struggle to find relevant content to interest your audience and keep them coming back. But dancers, artists, authors, musicians, and other creative people don’t have that problem. You already have engaging work that people love! You know where to find your inspiration, and that can translate into wonderful marketing campaigns. Creative pursuits lead to exciting sensory representations that your audience will love to experience. Besides your work, you can show behind-the-scenes pictures, give updates as you work on a new piece, or talk about how you got to where you are. All of this is much more interesting than someone pointing out on Twitter that “tax season is coming.”
Passion for your Art
The last reason is fairly obvious, but it’s also important. If you got into a creative profession, you probably did it because of a passion for your art. Most creative jobs start out with smaller salaries, and it’s an incredibly tough way to make a lot of money. But you’re not motivated by money. Your interest in your art extends to everything you do, and your passion shines through in conversations online and off. That passion will show to your audience, and will keep you going strong when things are tough. This will make your marketing more relevant, more consistent, and ultimately more effective. When you are online as a chore, or simply to push a product, people can tell. In our oh-so-connected age, everyone is an expert on advertising, and how to avoid it. The more real, honest, and helpful you are with your audience, the more people will trust you and want to connect with you. Show them your passion!
So don’t let anyone tell you that creative people aren’t good at marketing. Go out and show them what you can do, and let us know in the comments why you think your creativity is a marketing superpower!