My Book Marketing Manifesto
I’ve spent the past few years not taking my own marketing advice.
I’ve posted new content to my blog sporadically if at all. I’ve published stuff and then deleted it because the lack of response made me anxious.
This summer has been different.
I’m teaching a content marketing workshop at HippoCamp in August, and I don’t want to give people advice that I’m not taking. So this summer, I'm taking my own content marketing more seriously. I've resolved to blog at least once a week (not just when I felt like it) and to show up on social media and have actual conversations.
My inner editor balks at this admission: You call your blog posts “content marketing,” which insinuates that you’re marketing to people right now. People are going to see right through you. You’re not authentic. You’re just a shill.
Maybe some people will be turned off by the M-word. And yes, the content marketing workshop has been a catalyst for my blogging more often. But it’s not the only catalyst. I feel an increasing urgency to push my words out into the world. As Cheryl Strayed says in “Write Like a Motherfucker:”
"I’d let go of all the grandiose ideas I’d once had about myself and my writing—so talented! so young! I’d stopped being grandiose. I’d lowered myself to the notion that the absolute only thing that mattered was getting that extra beating heart out of my chest."
I’ve spent the past five years with my book in gestation and now I’m full to bursting. I NEED TO WRITE. I don’t always know what to write about. But I sit down with a pen and notebook and write anyway, and then I type it up and share it with the world. And sometimes people respond and more often they don’t and I care but I don’t stop posting, because I need to give this everything I’ve got.
I need to ease this book’s delivery into the world by sharing my voice and finding my tribe.
(Maybe I’m nesting?)
In a way, I’ve already found my tribe. I’ve been studying other writers’ essays and blog posts and social media updates. I picture us working alone but together, celebrating each other’s successes and lifting each other up when one of us is feeling low. It's because of these writers’ dispatches that my heart hums like a tuning fork, and I have to pause at the end of each paragraph because my brain is scream-purring:
Some writers get thousands of likes. Some are lucky to get a comment or two. The presence or lack of these external validators doesn’t prevent their work from resonating with me.
I don't know how my own writing will ripple out into the world. I can't gauge my own success on comments and likes and blog traffic. But I do have to keep writing, and keep posting, and keep sharing.
I thought doing more “content marketing” would challenge me.
I thought it would be hard. Instead it’s freed me up to create more and better work. Not just more blog posts, but also essays and photographs and chapters of my book.
The phrase "content marketing" may not resonate with some writers. But it's resonating with me. "Content," after all, is just a way to describe the stuff we create. And "marketing" is just another word for sharing that stuff.
So screw my inner editor. I hereby declare the rest of 2016 to be my Great Content Marketing Experiment. Maybe I’ll make a podcast? Or shoot some video? How many different tools can I use to tell my story? How many different ways can I share my own intimate dispatches with the world?
What’s going on in your life lately? Share a dispatch with me.