When it comes to publishing stuff online, especially when you're not doing it for money, some people seem to think that you should create only the things you want to create, that the work you do you do for yourself. And while that's true, at least to some extent, if it were entirely true, why publish at all? Why not just keep it to yourself, and please only yourself? Because having other people enjoy what you have made, and have it sufficiently valuable to devote some attention to it, is immensely rewarding and validating.

The trick, then, is to bring my stuff to the attention of people, who may decide to pay me with some of that attention, and I am really bad at that. I have a long-standing aversion to anything that smacks of marketing. "If the stuff's any good, people will find it without me telling them how good it is."1 And then, listening to Tim Ferriss on The Longform Podcast I heard him say:

Just because you promote your stuff does not make your material bad. They're not mutually exclusive.

I paused the playback, got out my notebook and pencil, rewound to make sure I had heard right, and wrote it down.

I'm still not sure I actually believe that in my heart of hearts, but that attitude certainly has not hurt Tim Ferriss, and it makes me want to try a bit more self-promotion.

Why?

My various web presences are never going to provide me with anything resembling a living. They are, however, a combination shop window and calling card. They show what I do, and therefore what I could do for a paying client. And just as a shop window is useless when the lights are out, and a calling card does no good sat in my wallet, I need to promote -- not market -- my web presences.

Exactly how remains unknown, for now. I like email newsletters, and always tell clients to use them, make it easy to sign up, watch the stats, and tweak as you go. But I'm not currently doing as much of that as I should. So that's probably first.

Then there's the whole question of web presences. Am I my own brand? Or is each of my different presences a different brand? This has become a more important question recently as I have gone back to working as a freelance. I need to explain what I can do for people, and there are actually quite a lot of different things I do that come under the general heading of communication. So, perhaps they all ought to be visible in one general place online? That is a solution I'm leaning to, although I am not sure exactly how to make it happen.

Enough, for now. I need actually to get going and do something. Actually, that's a fib; one of my presences has already done something to get started.


  1. And I have a long-standing desire to rid myself of this notion, to whit: Rewarding Good Work, Marketing 101 and It's Marketing, but Not as I Know It 

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