May
08

Self Promotion is Necessary

Creating a buzz and a following for your work requires that you invest time and effort into doing some self promoting. While I am sure your artistry is first class, who will know if you don’t make it available to as many as possible to see, hear or read? I can’t tell you how many of the clients I have worked with who have literally decades of experience as artists, yet who do not have an online presence. These days anyone interested in you or your business will likely head straight for your web site, so you have to have one. Self Promotion is as important as your artistry.

Not only will your website attract future clients, audience members, buyers, donors or anyone else you seek with instant information and credibility, but it will also provide a critical first step to attracting press, broadcasts, and trade or industry news coverage. Case in point, a client of mine was recently reviewed by Chicago Tribune critic Howard Reich, The review turned out OK, but his name was misspelled and his band name not even mentioned in the article- a band he has had for over twenty years. Why? Well most likely because Howard could not find him on the web because he does not have (yet) a web presence. This particular individual learned quickly first hand, and in spades, the value of the web site he is currently investing in and building.

Essentials you need in your Web Site
Maintain an up-to-date site with a compelling home page. Your opening page should welcome visitors and clearly explain to your audience what business your in, reflect the personality you professionally wish to convey, and showcase whatever you produce.

Create an online media kit that gives customers and journalists alike the chance to learn behind-the-scenes facts and stories about you to supplement what’s on your home page. (The term “kit,” by the way, comes from the print version that traditionally collects all press material into a folder or binder, which is mailed or hand-delivered as a packet.)

An online media kit not only saves you that delivery cost, but also lets users choose exactly which documents to download. You don’t have to guess what a reporter wants or overload the media with materials. Electronic media kits are efficient and cost-effective. They also can expand or shrink to fit your pace of growth, business development, and resources.

Media Kit Essentials
If you’re starting from scratch, keep it simple. You can always upgrade and add more later.

Typically, media kits cover these four basic areas:

* An overview or short biography about your business, if you have one.

* A clear, concise summary of the products and services you offer for sale.

* One or more current press releases. If you need to learn how to write one click here. Make sure these are always up-to-date, so you aren’t still announcing news from 2005 when it’s 2008.

* Professional credits which include your title, bio and photo, and some personal data if you would like. If you have employees, include those bios and photos too.

Tips
*Add a link navigation tag to your web site that says Press or Media to easily find these documents on your site.

*Format your documents using software that works on multiple platforms and is user-friendly. That way, anyone with any computer system and web access will have no trouble downloading the kit. Many marketers also rely on the Portable Document Format (PDF) developed by Adobe Systems. Learn how to quickly convert Microsoft Office documents to PDFs.

*Make sure your media kit has a consistent look and feel that reflects your image and brand.

Website Development
I highly recommend shopping around online for a web site developer that is large enough to offer a full range of services and also cost effective. When I did my own research, to decide who to use to build my sites, I looked at a large range of developers- both high end and dirt cheap- and decided I was better off being the creative force behind the development of my site and saving money doing it. So I opted for a low cost provider, but one who offers every imaginable service and feature I could ever want on my websites. Their name is Heritage Web Solutions and you can get a website built for as little as $199.00 to start. Monthly hosting with them starts around $10.00 a month.

I did all the design work for my sites and they simply executed. It was some work getting them to do what I asked, but the price made it all worth it. ( However, the flash elements I use in my site do cost extra.)

By developing a web presence and offering clear marketing messages about you and the products and services you provide, along with a few interesting stories, testimonials, or articles to illustrate who you are and why you should be remembered, you are setting yourself up to attract both customers and media, not to mention at the lowest cost possible. I remember the days when the only way to reach your audience was through direct mail. I use to mail tens of thousands of postcards out at .20 cents apiece spending thousands to promote my work!

Now the world can become familiar with you and your gifts in life for next to nothing, but only if you do the work to make your presence known…

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