As any creative knows, self-promotion is hard. Really, really hard. And most likely you signed up for your creative job specifically for the creative part, not necessarily realizing that self-promotion is a part and parcel of that job. I know I did – rather, I thought I knew about the challenges of the promo aspect, but the reality, as they say, has a way of sneaking up on you.
While being excited to share your work with the world is understandable – it’s a product of hard work you’re proud of, after all – it’s easy to lose yourself in the promotional whirl. I can think of nothing worse than to inadvertently cross the fine line from sharing your excitement to unsolicited pestering. In fact, I dread it. Like author Delilah S. Dawson says about self-promo:
“…[I]f you do certain annoying behaviors, you’re shooting yourself in the foot and actively repelling people instead of interesting them.”
The equation often feels impossible. I have marketing needs and goals. I need to get out certain information like holiday schedules or rising shipping costs. I also want to let people know about new arrivals in my shop, like the breast cancer awareness items I made in 2014. Achieving those needs and goals seems opposed to the way I want to promote my business, though. I fear becoming yet another spammer, barging uninvited into other peoples’ spaces with my Exciting!! opportunity to purchase my new Exciting!! thing right at this Exciting!! moment. Also, I can’t have my blog to turn into a boring, soulless infomercial channel; I couldn’t stand that myself.
How much should you be talking abot your business, then? There are various rules of thumb with proportions like 4-1-1, 6-3-1 or 5-3-2:
- 50-75 % signal-boosting other people’s content / curated content
- 30-15 % original content created by you / owned content
- 20-15 % sales-related content / promotional (or, in one version, personal status updates)
Or, more simply, there’s the 80-20 rule:
- 80 % curated content
- 20 % owned content
Short, informative explanations of these ratios (and more) can be found by Kevan Lee on Buffer.
To see how I was doing, I pulled some statistics. From mid-2013 to the end of 2015, I’ve written 267 posts here. 18 were in my business promotions / notifications category (Ahem, Ahem), which amounts to under 7 % of all posts.
On the basis of these numbers, I could increase my self-promo posting. I have, in fact, been thinking of writing the stories of how some of my items came to be, from the idea to design to prototypes and making the final products. They take a lot of time and effort, though, so before deciding, I need to have some idea of whether it’s worth spending that time writing or whether it would be better to design and sew instead.
What do you think – too much or too little as it is? More pictures? More text? Or more of the general Behind the Scenes posts on running a small creative business? Let me know what interests you!