PROMOTION ON A TIME BUDGET
by Terry Freedman
Spending a few hours a day promoting yourself is a great idea - if you've got a few hours, that is! Terry Freedman looks at some options.
If you read the newsletters and magazines, you'll probably come to the same conclusion as I did - that there are two kinds of writers: those with loads of time but not much money, and those with pots of money but not much time. The first group spends a large proportion of their waking lives finding new, ingenious, and most of all free ways of promoting themselves. The others pay someone else vast sums of money to build their website, generate publicity and so on.
However, there is a third group - one that almost certainly comprises the vast majority of freelancers: those with full-time family or job commitments who don't have enough money to throw at promotion, yet also do not have much time to spend on it themselves. If that sounds like you, read on! Here are a few pointers that will help.
Do some promotional activity every day, no matter how little. Remember: the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. In five minutes you can rewrite your email signature, email a new contact, add a link to your website .It's best to designate a minimum amount of time each day or week, rather than be so ambitious that you fail to meet your target - and glide into a slough of despondency.
Always carry a notebook or, better yet, a Palm Pilot or similar device. The idea for this article was jotted down while I was waiting at traffic lights! It could just have easily been a promotional killer idea.
Broaden your view of self-promotion. To me, anything that keeps me focused on keeping my profile high counts, whether it is posting messages to bulletin boards or drawing up a list of potential reviewers for my latest book.
Subscribe to several writers' lists. You'll be told that it's important to contribute to lists, to get your name seen, which is true. But scanning all the messages and signatures, is equally important because you may discover a gem of a website or make a useful new contact. You can achieve quite a lot in 15 minutes, believe it or not.
If you have your own website, find out who links to it, and send them an email to thank them and tell them of future plans or projects. (You can find these links in several search engines in the Advanced Search section.)
Filter all email. If you have a website, have different email addresses or subject headers for different purposes. You can then set up your email client to filter incoming messages into different folders, which gives you the choice of not looking at whole categories of messages until you have more time.
By the same token, you can set up auto-responders to deal with requests for information. For example, why not make a sample chapter of your book available from www.fastfacts.net? This will be available to people 24 hours a day, without your having to spend any time at all once you have set it up in the first place.
Set up email templates that you can use, with the minimum amount of customization, for different people. For example, whenever I mention someone's book or website in my newsletter, I send them a standard email message that takes me less than a minute to personalize.
If you're "time-poor", you can still promote yourself effectively - as long as you make every minute count!
Terry Freedman has written over 500 articles and several books. He also edits a free monthly newsletter.
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