Marketing is something that many find to be a challenge, especially when they don’t really know what marketing is, let alone how to do it, or if they’re doing it at all.
Understand this: if you’re online, you’re marketing something. Generally, the thing you’re marketing is you. (We’ll talk about branding at a different time.)
Let’s take me as an obvious example.
I wrote a column called Bolts & Nuts over at my site, ComixTribe. I also currently write The Proving Grounds at the same site. Bolts & Nuts is about creating a comic, and The Proving Grounds has me editing scripts. Both of these columns showcase my knowledge of comics. Both columns bring me work in one form or another, such as The Daily Dose.
I’m also a moderator at Digital Webbing, a site for comic creators. (Really, if you’re not at DW, you should be. Lots of creators come through there, both young guns and old hats. There’s a lot to learn there.) Being a moderator, I interact with a lot of the people there.
Along with the books that ComixTribe publishes, I have a decent amount of visibility. It could definitely be higher. If I weren’t constantly working on one thing or another, I could be more visible. My current level of visibility brings me a steady stream of inquiries about my rates, though, and maintaining that level of visibility is another job in itself.
All of that, though, is marketing. If a search is done on me, what you’ll find is that I do a lot of writing and thinking about comics, have written a few, have edited a lot, and that I’m pretty direct in my dealings with people. I’m definitely opinionated, I don’t pull punches, I’m a straight shooter, and don’t say things I don’t mean. Because of that, creators know when they hire me, I’m not busting their chops to be spiteful, but because I want the work to be as good as they can make it, and when I say I like something, there’s no reason to doubt my word.
Marketing yourself is the easiest thing to do, because you do it with every interaction. Are you really a jerk? That’ll show up in most of your interactions. Funny? Capable? Approachable? All of that will show up in your interactions. All of that (and more) will inform potential clients as to whether or not they want to work with you.
So, really, relax about marketing yourself. You do it all the time. We’ll talk about exactly what it is you’re marketing—your brand—at a different time.