Recently, I posted an entry about Veterans Day. Almost immediately afterwards, I noticed several other people had written about the same topic. After reading all of them, I decided that mine was the best I’d seen. And, then I got pissed. I got pissed because I felt my concept was better, my writing was better, my presentation was better; hell, I thought everything about my post was better than anything else I read that day and, while I can’t seem to break 100 views on regular basis, at least two of the pieces I read were by bloggers who rack up as many views in an hour as I do in a day. If that’s not bad enough, it seems like everyone their brother is writing something these days. It’s no wonder I can’t get heard, I thought, these nimrods are saturating the market and making it tough for people who want to actually write for a living (as opposed to speaking or pimping their pet cause). It’s enough to drive a fellow to drink. So, excuse me while I get another cup of coffee.
Today, my friend and brother-from-another-mother (seriously, people think we’re brothers all the time) Hugh Hollowell said on Facebook and Twitter “I am a good writer. I am a better speaker. I am a horrible marketer.” To which I responded that he had just described me to a tee. I’m a sucky marketer because what I’m marketing is me and, in that twisted maze I call a brain, self-promotion equals bragging and I was raised never to brag about myself. I have got to find a way around that.
There are some bloggers out there who, like I said, are racking up some impressive numbers. They aren’t better writers than me, they aren’t smarter than me and their ideas aren’t better than mine. So, why are they doing so much better than me? There are several reasons, but the one that applies here is these folks aren’t shy about promoting themselves and their work. Take Mark Sandlin, for example. The author of the popular blog The God Article posted a link on Facebook to his War on Christmas? article recently with this description:
“I never, ever, EVER thought I’d ever find myself thanking Sarah Palin, but her recent re-boot of the “War on Christmas” campaign gives me a reason to share the ONE piece I’ve ever written that can actually be called “award-winning”.
The man is proud of this, as he should be. Not only was it picked by the Huffington Post, it won an ACP Award of Excellence for best seasonal article. While I’d be thrilled if that happened to me, actually telling you about it would cause paralyzing angst and it’s highly likely that I’d never say a word about it. Online, anyway; my family and friends wouldn’t be able to stand me because I’d never shut up.
Yeah, marketing sucks. But, here’s the thing: if folks don’t know you’re out there, you can’t be invited to join the conversation. And, how do people find out about you?Marketing. Now, if I just find a way to do it without making my head explode.