Is Marketing Work, Play, or Both?

Dave Heumann gave me a solid compliment on Google+, pertaining to what I post and how it effects marketing. It was something I had scratched the surface of, but had not verbalized as well as he did.

Dave wrote: “I think you strike a good balance between posts that are more conversational/social and ones that are geared more towards getting your ideas and writing out there.”

I've seen this—I don't want to say “often”—but enough to make it stick in my mind. Writers, photographers, musicians, artists. Some of them have a tendency to use social networks entirely socially, talking about their lives, their day, their family; or to use social networks entirely for their work, only  for self promotion.

This post is a warning to anyone who falls exclusively into one or the other category.

Are you a social poster?

Are you a work poster?

It's a trick question. The right answer is “I am both!”

There's an advantage to each. Both have their own purpose. Both are forms of marketing, but each in very different ways.

A social poster has the advantage of getting to know people. A social poster can make friends by sharing interesting posts pertaining to their lives, or life in general. By commenting on other peoples' posts, social posters can further the bond created through interaction.

A work poster has the advantage of getting his work out there, letting people know he's A) a writer and B) has a book for sale. A work poster makes his work visible. “I'm here, come and get me!” Readers can only buy what they know is there, and a work poster puts the work in their hands via links.

A work poster, who isn't already famous, yet relies only on word of mouth and name recognition to carry him, and so ignores social interaction, isn't going very far. He links to his novel and says “read this”. He's got a great engine, but no gas in the tank, and the spark plugs are in backwards. 

There's nothing personal or interactive about plugging your latest book or blog, and so there's no reason for anyone to click your links. Many potential readers will ignore a passive work poster, hiding them from their feeds.

Then there's the writer who interacts socially all day long, but never mentions their book or blog. Their friends would likely buy their book, or read their blog, if only they knew about it. 

People are busy, it's not enough to tell someone once about your book or blog and be done with it. Marketing through a social network requires a bit of both social interaction and link dropping.

Interaction is vital to internet marketing. If you're not already famous and have your own inertia, and don't have gobs of money to pay someone else to market your work for you, there's really only one thing you can do. You've got to meet people. 

You can sell a book more easily to someone who recognizes your name than to someone who has never heard of you before. Call it building name recognition, call it buliding brand, it all boils down to the same thing.

Marketing this way is slow exposure. It's a recognition of peoples' lives. We're all busy, even if what we're doing isn't important in the grand scheme of things, so understand that people may not see your post every day, or they may see it but not have the time to click on it, or not be ready to buy it—yet.

Keep it coming. Just like you need a long exposure to capture the stars at night, you need a long exposure to capture a reader's attention. It takes consistency, but not force.

We writers have to marry the two approaches. We have to show interest in something other than ourselves, and still give others an opportunity to be interested in us.


Only posting socially, your writing gets buried and goes unheard of and unnoticed.


Only posting work, no one relates to what you're doing. No one cares.

Do 'em both.

Posted in , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. RSS feed for this post.

19 Responses to Is Marketing Work, Play, or Both?

  1. Fantastic post. Wow. Gonna have to share on my wall. Not sure I could have said it better myself. I do keep saying this a lot. Thanks for posting to the group so I could read and share this.

    1. You're welcome, Tasha, and thanks for helping me out on the marketing front ;)

  2. This is such a tricky concept for me as an unknown writer. Thanks for the insights and encouragement to continue my blog!

  3. J.R., Dave is right; you do strike a good balance in your posts between conversational/social and business. And this is as it should be, MUST be.
    A brief synopsis on what I’ve learned from a writer friend who has published two books with Simon and Schuster… platform building is imperative to success. Some call it “building a tribe.” But I’ve noticed that some who have published independently still don’t get the concept. (I’m not talking about you, because you do seem to get it.) I’m talking about those who are decent writers but not so good at tribe-building. Because, for one thing, tribe-building takes an incredible amount of work, and some don’t invest the time and effort it takes to assemble a core group of readers/commenters
    (anywhere from 15 to 20 regulars) I’ve heard. Even the well-knowns need to reciprocate on comments and “return the love.”
    Maybe when we become Stephen King this won’t be necessary, but for now, I’m sticking with the game plan, as best I can. As for work and play, balance is needed. A little conversation, and maybe a little more work is needed. I tweeted this BTW.

    1. Thanks very much, Debra. I agree, and I'm glad I'm at least moving in the right direction :)

  4. Very true. Hard-selling is such a turn off for me, a run the other way scenario. I find it tricky though, as the more I socialize and work the more authors I meet who I want to read and then end up buying from.

    I'm so far behind in my reading I don't even want to admit how far behind I am in writing now. But know I'll get ahead some day...

    Thanks for the advice!

    1. I met a guy once who added me and he chatted me up and as soon as he was done asking me about the weather and my health he hit me with his book. then he did this two other days following, and after it was clear I wasn't interested, he never spoke to me again. I don't ever want to stoop that low....

    2. I HATE it when people do that! (and I wonder if it's the same guy I'm thinking of...) Anyone who comes out and says - Hey, go Like my page, within five minutes of meeting them is on my creep list. :)

  5. Striking a balance is very important but in the end you have to be genuine. If you fake an interest in people it shows, interact but without a hidden agenda, I feel just being yourself and treating others as friends forges lasting and meaningful bonds. Good post

  6. Fantastic post, JR! Such good advice for all of us out here. We need to strike the balance.
    Blessings to you!

    1. Thanks, Martha! Read Debra's comment, too! That was a great summary of awesome ;)

  7. I struggle with this all the time. I'd love to write more social posts on the website, but I feel like I'm so immersed in my writing projects that I don't have much to say beyond what I'm working on at present. Maybe after this book is done I'll take a little break. Except for who am I kidding? It'll be full steam onto the next project!

    1. Honestly, I don't think that's a bad thing. Write great books. There are plenty of people who think the best marketing strategy is your next story.

      So how much did I contradict my own post? lol

  8. Great post J.R., Striking balance in everything is how to get what we need and want out this life.

  9. very well written and useful :)

  10. Great post about yoga, J.R. I've been a student of yoga for 10 plus years. I incorporate yoga in every part of my life (or I try to!) Love it. Breathwork is so important -- people literally forget to breathe and it's so cleansing and detoxifying. (PS - thanks for your nice comment on my blog!)

  11. Gosh, that's a good post. I err towards the social poster, you're not as a risk are you? Push yourself too much and you'll be struck off forthwith and bang goes a potential sale. But yes, the line about your friends would probably read your blog if only they knew it were there, kind of hit home.
    That said, marketing yourself is easier said than done. I used to work in PR for charity and found it easy to promote those projects I felt so passionate about. Somehow when it's yourself, however passionately you believe in what you're writing, it just feels a bit excruciating.
    You're right, of course, a balance is needed and confidence that you have a right to push your own work now and again.


Powered by Blogger.


Swedish Greys - a WordPress theme from Nordic Themepark. Converted by