Whether you are selling a product, promoting a business, trying to find a new job, or building your own brand, you need to know how to promote these days. The rules have changed. No longer can we advertise directly — look at all the resumes listed on Monster and the millions of websites out there — we have to show that what we do is unique and valuable.
Advertising has a bad name these days. Probably because, as children, many of us were force-fed inane commercials while waiting for our favorite inane TV shows to come back on. Then, on the internet we waited again while the intro movie played, and now we wait through the commercials in front of our online video content.
For this reason, I think that real content is now the king of promotion. Yes, it is slow, because you are building your audience by providing them with content that is valuable to them.
How do we go about building our presence online? I thought I might list a few of the more effective vehicles that I have discovered here.
When I started my own efforts a few years ago, I started with the idea that I needed to put out as much information on the web as I could. What’s more, I had to “control” that information as much as possible. I started out promoting my artwork because that was my focus at the time. I submitted my imagery to as many places as possible.
Fast-forward a few years. I had moved to California and my focus was shifting every day, it seemed. I couldn’t decide on one, so I decided to create what I called a “constellation” of websites, each site reflected one of my interests at the time. I have since given up most of these websites, but a few remain: my art site, my design site, my book’s site, and my personal site.
Next, I discovered blogging. As I was writing a great deal, this seemed an ideal way to instantly publish my ideas. In fact, I published my book in a blog for a full year as I wrote it. But the blogs multiplied, and soon I was overloaded.
My interest in multimedia and publishing led me to publishing my seminars and articles in audio and visual format. At this point, I started to see that I needed a clone of myself, or a way to lessen my workload. I was spending all my time in self-promotion. An escapee from YouTube restrictions, I found ways to cross-distribute my content.
So here are my tips to promoting yourself through content online. Be advised that this can take a great deal of time. I add people slowly to my free newsletter on creativity as it is a totally opt-in service, and I don’t like spam anymore than anyone else. Where I have a presence, I have included my link to show you how I am using these services.
- If you are a business, spend your money here on the best design you can get.
- If you are a personality, or want to be, get a website with a domain name the same as your name: i.e. www.aliyahmarr.com
- If you aren’t a personality or business, skip the website, don’t pass go, don’t collect $100, and get a blog instead.
- A must for anyone who can write and has something to say.
- Choose a niche, not something too broad. Hey, there’s a guy in NYC who blogs about the junk food he eats (don’t laugh, he makes money on his blog)
- You must update your blog at least every week.
- The blog can be fed into your website as a way to update content. See my site FreshAsylum to see this feature in action.
- I recommend WordPress.com for the beauty of its templates. The service does have a few quirks though.
- This can be connected to your blog, meaning your blog can feed the newsletter. The feed can be set to deliver whenever you post to your blog.
- Do not spam people, don’t buy lists. Add people only when they know what they are getting.
- Target your newsletter’s content to your topic and to the personal brand you are creating. What is your expertise?
- Facebook: seems to be where everyone is, I have a presence there, but I focus on professional networking instead.
- LinkedIn: great place to professionally network. The reason why this works is because it is more restricted, therefore you really have to know the people you link to.
- MySpace: discredited, don’t bother unless you are a musician.
- Twitter: another way to promote your expertise or brand. Check out TweetDeck to manage your tweets.
- YouTube; be aware that there are restrictions on size, length, etc.
- Other video services are available, however you will want a video editor, and you will need to tweak it to take audio format.
- ITunes: what can I say, it’s great.
So where is my personal promotion campaign these days? As of today if you Google my name thus, “Aliyah Marr,” you get over 1300 actual links to my work online.
My name is linked with certain concepts and keywords (such as “creativity” and “innovation”) not because I have created a SEO campaign, but because of the relavant content linked with my name on diverse online URLs. While some of this content was created by me, other content was not (see Renderosity interview).
Your content registers as relevant with search engines when it comes from domains you don’t own. People get hung up on SEO, but ultimately, the spiders are just robots to help people find you. People who read your content create buzz when they know what you offer, and want what you offer. First you have to prove your worth by offering free, relevant and targeted content.
The best part of (almost) all of these services: they are free to use. Just count on putting in a lot of sweat equity and make sure that you always give value first, and have no expectations on any one venture. The results come from the net result of all your efforts, and that may take a while, depending on who or what you are promoting.
Copyright 2009 Aliyah Marr
(If you need help managing/publishing your content or your brand — personal or otherwise — feel free to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Free newsletter on personal development and creativity (subscribe under the image of the book):