The Humility of the Artist

I was reading Seth Godin’s blog post this morning and it profoundly hit the nail on the head. Here’s what he said,

It seems arrogant to say, “perhaps this isn’t for you.”

When the critic pans your work, or the prospect hears your offer but doesn’t buy, the artist responds, “that’s okay, it’s not for you.” She doesn’t wheedle or flip-flop or go into high pressure mode. She treats different people differently, understands that she is working to delight the weird, not please the masses, and walks away.

Isn’t that arrogant?

No. It’s arrogant to assume that you’ve made something so extraordinary that everyone everywhere should embrace it. Our best work can’t possibly appeal to the average masses, only our average work can.

Finding the humility to happily walk away from those that don’t get it unlocks our ability to do great work.

Knowing who you are and where you are going is branding. That is the brand, whether the brand is you, a product or service. Being confident in allowing your brand to be itself is not arrogantit is strategic. We must be artists, creators, innovators; we are all original.

I asked a client (singer/songwriter) the other day in a session, “Who was Michael Jackson like?” “What about Prince? Or Miles Davis?” The answer, obviously was no one. They were confident in being themselves and they created forms of music that no one before them had created. We don’t really consider musicians who followed in their footsteps to be legends. Being legendary requires being unique, different. It required these artists to be themselves, not attempting to please everyone, but pushing to have personal integrity and originality in their work.

Michael Jackson Prince Miles DavisNo one can be you. There is no competition to you. When you choose to be yourself and stay focused on a clear path, you don’t really compete with anyone. You now have something unique. Now all you have to do is market, effectively tell your story to a specific demographic. Branding and marketing…defining who you are, where you are going, and sharing that story effectively. 

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Should I Be on Facebook?

One of the first things people ask me when they find out what I do is, “so, should I be on (insert any social media platform)?” Small businesses, rockstars, CEOs are all confused about the same thing…what social media platforms should they be using.

social-media-tool-boxSocial media platforms are like tools in a toolbox. They are all beneficial at different times and for different outcomes. Once you come to grips with you are (your brand) and where you are going it makes the decision a bit easier in choosing what to use.

The first step is education. Find out what each tool does. What is Facebook good at? What type of people can you reach through it? What about Instagram? Do people still use Twitter and if so, how? Now think about your target demographic…which platforms will they potentially be engaging?

The second step is being social. Remember, “SOCIAL” media platforms are supposed to be social. Don’t just have one-sided conversations with random folks who are logged in. Engage. Ask questions. Respond. LIKE what they are doing.

Third, be consistent. Not only be consistent in the time you use to engage, but be consistent to your brand…don’t try to be someone you’re not.

The last thing to remember is to not get stuck. Be open to try new platforms. When it comes to technology, what worked last year, may not be the most effective this year.

Good luck and happy engaging.

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What Does the Fox Say?

Love what Seth Godin had to say about the newest viral music video on YouTube.

The viral music video of the moment is right here.

The question for the marketer, music or otherwise, isn’t, “what are the hooks and tricks I use to go viral?” No, the question is, “is it worth it?”

What does the fox say has the hooks and tricks in abundance. It has Archie McPhee animal costumes, nonsense words, just the right sort of production values, superfluous subtitles, appropriate silliness. It would probably help the cause to add spurious nudity, but give them points for getting the rest of it right.

To what end?

If your work goes viral, if it gets seen by tens of millions of people, sure you can profit from that. But most of the time, it won’t. Most of the time, you’ll aim to delight the masses and you’ll fail.

I’m glad that some people are busy trying to entertain us in a silly way now and then. But it doesn’t have to be you doing the entertaining–the odds are stacked against you.

So much easier to aim for the smallest possible audience, not the largest, to build long-term value among a trusted, delighted tribe, to create work that matters and stands the test of time.

“Baby bump bump bay dum.”

4 Common Misunderstandings About Content Marketing

Sure, you know about content marketing—but do you really know about content marketing? I found this great list at Zemanta this morning. Clients always think creating content is a no-brainer, but you need to be strategic and consider a few things.

Do you think content marketing is the same as blogging, for example? (It’s not.) Does launching a content marketing strategy seem either too easy or too hard? (It shouldn’t.) The truth is, most companies today are still a little fuzzy on what exactly content marketing means.

So to help you clarify your understanding, here’s a look at four of the most common content marketing misunderstandings!

1. Content Marketing = Blogging

2. Creating Content Is Easy—We’ll Just Throw Something Together

3. Creating Content Is Hard—We Have Nothing to Say

4. Content Marketing Means Losing Money

READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE…YOU WON’T REGRET IT!

Social Media Isn’t Dead…It’s Boring

I just recently finished reading an advance copy of The Impact Equation by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith. This isn’t a book about social media. It’s about how to improve your goals, have better ideas, get those spread across a platform of value, and build a human network that matters. I highly recommend it.

In a recent blog post by Chris Brogan, he made the statement, social media isn’t dead, it’s just boring. I’ve said it before, but branding and marketing is storytelling. Part of the reason social media has got boring is because there is less storytelling and more yelling. The difference between yelling at your audience by saying “buy this now” and sharing a peice of your story by telling them how excited you are and how hard you’ve worked and how innovative and life-changing the same product can be is like night and day.

Here’s a snippet from Chris’ article:

The strategies around and behind The Impact Equation boil down to 5 Cs.

COMMUNICATION

If you can’t convey your ideas in a way that stands out (Contrast), that are simple (Articulation), and that resonate with an audience (Echo), the game is over before you begin. So, The Impact Equation is a book about communication.

CONTENT

If you don’t start building a platform of value around ideas that are easy to share (Reach), those ideas won’t get around and get a lot of attention (Exposure). The Impact Equation is a book that talks about how to tell bigger stories.

COMMUNITY

Where people have the most ground to make up is in nurturing a network of people who care about what you choose to share. Without relationship-minded effort (Trust and Echo), you won’t likely get beyond capturing people’s attention for a little while. Meaning, people won’t be inclined to share. The Impact Equation is definitely a book about community.

COMMERCE

We don’t write much about how to make money in this book. Both Julien and I have been successful in our businesses, and we’ve both helped other companies succeed with a lot of the tactics and strategies covered in this book. But this is a book about business and leadership and value-generation and extraction. Make no mistake, The Impact Equation is a book about commerce.

CUSTOMER SERVICE

I believe in the principle of Service Craftsmanship, that service begins before a prospect has even become a customer. We talk a lot about how to nurture relationships (Trust) and how that sets you apart from people who don’t treat every touchpoint as a chance for service excellence (Contrast). There’s also the realization that if we treat people the way we want to be treated (Echo), we will earn more of an opportunity to serve. The Impact Equation is most definitely a book about customer service.

 

Read the rest of the article HERE.

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If Facebook is Lucky Charms…Instagram is Just the Marshmallows

If Facebook is Lucky Charms…Instagram is just the marshmallows. That’s the breakfast-themed wisdom laid down by the filmmaker, Casey Neistat in his charming and informative guide to not sucking so bad on Instagram. It’s not the pictures that really matter, it’s the documentation of life that really intrigues folks. Thanks to Mashable for sharing this video.

Pinterest…yes please.

I don’t know why, but I am becoming more and more intrigued with Pinterest. Yes, I know small businesses and brands are using it to promote themselves. Yes, I know housewives and moms find it to be an stimulating world of new ideas. I think I just like it because…well, I’m very visual. I think that is why everyone else seems to like it so much. I am drawn to the colors, the ideas, the inspiring words and even the cute pictures of babies wrapped in soft blankets.

The rules to Pinterest are changing rapidly as they figure out how to tame the monster. However, the simple fact that most of us are easily hooked by pretty pictures will undoubtably make this a haven for social exchange.

Follow me on Pinterest.

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