I love being an artist-entrepreneur. Being paid to be creative is the best career in the world, right? I love everything about it.
Self-promotion is something that a lot of creative entrepreneurs struggle with. I certainly empathize. I work in marketing (when not following creative pursuits), and I still feel uncomfortable trying to promote myself or my work. It’s not easy, especially if you grew up with the idea that bragging is bad and being humble all of the time is a virtue.
Bragging is still in poor taste, and it’s good to hold onto a sense of humility, but you can’t do that at the expense of confidence in both who you are and where your talents lie. If you don’t stand up and say “I’m talented. I’m a professional. And I can do this!”, then you can’t expect other people to believe it.
Self-promotion is the act of telling people who you are and what you do. It’s getting on Facebook and Twitter and Youtube, it’s setting up a website with a blog, and it’s getting business cards printed. And then, once you have everything together, it’s using those tools to share your talents and tell people why they should pay attention to what you’re doing. It’s telling complete strangers about why your work matters.
Everyone develops their own style of promoting themselves. You’ll develop your own style as you go along, as you learn what your audience (followers) respond to and what you’re comfortable with. In the mean time, see what other performing artists are doing. Borrow some of their promotion methods. Be on the lookout for new things to try. If something works, great! If it doesn’t, let it go and move on to the next idea. There are very few wrong ways to reach out to your audience; the most important thing is that you are out there, interacting, every day.
Finally, don’t be afraid to have fun with it. Self-promotion isn’t meant to be something unpleasant. If you’re one of those people who struggle with it, the best way to get over that is to keep at it, and make it fun, for both yourself and for your followers. Post trivia questions, share videos and articles, interact, and build a community of fans.Once you get used to promoting yourself, you’ll find that it’s something to look forward to each day.