In the last year, I have been on a journey of learning how to market my personal brand. It has been interesting and challenging, especially as I don't usually have as much time to devote to it as I would like.
Even though I have been a musician for, well, my whole life, and even though I took music in college, most of my business experience has been in fields not related to being an artist. When I went through Red Deer College, their business track was still separate from their other tracks, and I chose Composition. (Thankfully, they have since remedied that, and ALL music students now take a business class, which is as it should be.)
What bits and pieces I have picked up over the years for how to market myself (which eventually grew to include being a designer and author), and the changes implemented, were gained haphazardly and in pieces, without much rhyme nor reason behind them. Okay, so I needed a musician's website. I got one in 2010. Now what? I already had a family blog, which I maintained regularly, and maintaining a separate, "music-only" blog was a lot of work. In fact, by that time, I think I had four blogs on the go that were aimed at each of my different ventures, and the only one I could seem to update with any regularity (or garner much following on) was my personal, family blog. There was just too much to do!
And I needed a Facebook page, apparently. So I got one to go with every blog, plus one more for my Young Living business. Whew! That's a lot of work, too! (I still have all of those. I am seriously thinking of paring down.)
Last year, as I finally reached the lesson in Holly Lisle's "How to Think Sideways - Novel-Writing Course" about building your author platform, I realized that I was spread way too thin to actually have any time at all left to do what I really want to do to earn a living--namely, write books, music, and knitting patterns. So after thinking long and hard, I decided that all of those things were part of me, the creative me, and all of those things (plus my family blog, which I love, and other people seemed to like to read) could live and breathe in the same space on the web, just like they do in my head.
On any given day, I will spend time:
- working on the revision or formatting of my upcoming story
- thinking about and/or writing my next novel
- thinking about and/or working on my next knitting design
- thinking about and/or writing a song or arranging music I have already written
- putting in volunteer hours for Heart4Children Canada
Now, granted, I only have SO much time. So those things do NOT all happen on the same day (or rarely.) Usually, 3-4 of those happen on any given day, and I try to make sure that all of them happen every single week.
So, that is why I redesigned my web presence last summer and created the new, improved www.talenwinters.com. Now, instead of maintaining nearly a dozen sites (plus associated social media) really, really poorly, I figured I would have a shot at doing a handful of things well, or at least better than I had been. So far, that's been working out pretty well, but there is still room for improvement.
It was also thanks to Holly Lisle that I started using Twitter for the first time ever. I kinda had to be dragged kicking and screaming, because I already had enough things taking up my time. And honestly, some days I wondered if the time invested in building a Twitter following would be worth it and pay off in the end.
But! It was because of someone's post on Twitter that I found the awesome website of Kristen Lamb, and started following her blog. Not to mention, I really have met some very cool and interesting people on Twitter, and have even met other musical theatre composers (which, strangely, there are not a lot of in the Peace Country!) Kristen Lamb's passion is to teach other writers how to succeed, and a good part of what she teaches is the effective use of social media.
I have lapped it up, in the small bites I have had the time to chew on it.