Marketing your craft business is a bit like New Year's resolutions, essential but a pain in the butt. However, Margot Potter, author of "The Fine Art Of Shameless Self Promotion," offers an alternative to this standard take on marketing and branding. Margot inspires creatives to apply the same amount of craftsmanship to promoting themselves and their business as they do to their work. We asked the author and popular jewelry designer a few questions about how even those averse to self-marketing can find passion and integrity in this essential aspect of craft business.
I think the hardest thing for many people, especially women, is promoting themselves. They feel awkward and strange about it. But if we don't toot our horn, bang our drum and let other people know what we do, our message will get lost in that vast sea of other people doing similar things. If you're going to throw a party, you need to send out invitations or you can't be shocked when no one shows up. That's what the book is about, showing you how to do the PR and marketing in a way that is conversational and fun and invites people to your party.
What are some common mistakes creatives make when branding themselves or their craft business?
I think the biggest mistake is being apologetic about promotion. Also, having fuzzy or unclear branding. If you don't know who you are, what you do and why you're doing it, how is anyone else going to know?
In the book I talk about your packaging, like a product on a shelf. If you don't present yourself in a way that's intriguing, who is going to care? It's like being the world's tastiest chocolate bar in a plain brown wrapper. Are people going to pick it up because it might be tasty, or are they going to pick up something that boldly reflects what's on the inside?
You absolutely have to have a website/blog, social networking presence, logo and a strong message. You have to put yourself out there in a way that clearly articulates the core of who you are, what you do and why it matters. Everything you do should be a professional reflection of your brand, and even the smallest things like a poorly designed business card or inappropriate Facebook photos say something about you. Put your best foot forward, always. I will help you do that with the exercises in the book.
What do you wish you knew about marketing your creative work when you first started?
Mostly, I wish I'd have asked to be valued more when I was first starting out — I'm getting much better at valuing myself and my work. People will gladly pay you in glitter or pennies if you let them, and you may have to walk away from opportunities if they're not serving your bottom line. It's an organic thing, ever shifting and changing, but that's what makes working for yourself such a wild and wonderful adventure!
Image credits (from top): All images via Margot Potter