You’re not the only artist in that boat. Let’s take a look at some of the common roots of beginner’s cold feet:
Instead of seeing marketing as teetering on a tight rope between success and failure, I encourage artists to be excited about the process. Playing around with images, copy, colors, and design can actually be a fun, almost a “guilty pleasure” exercise. Who are you, and what makes you awesome? What do others need and appreciate you for? These are the questions that lie at the heart of marketing – not make-it-or-break-it copy or typography woes. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.
Once you have a campaign or two under your belt, the novelty will wear off. I know it seems daunting now, but an email or print campaign is more like a Facebook poke than a sit-down meeting. Creatives are used to it, the vast majority is completely comfortable with it, and I promise you will be too.
No creative looks at campaigns through a microscope. Joe Creative will have eight browser tabs open, a cup of coffee in one hand and an iPhone pressed against his ear with his shoulder. Yes, newsletters can turn heads, but the average creative won’t notice that the background is eggshell instead of white, or that you signed “take care” instead of “regards.” It’s always wise to release polished marketing materials, but don’t sweat the small stuff too much – creatives won’t either.
Finding a good, collaborative fit matters more than floating everyone’s boat. If someone doesn’t like your work, you can safely assume that having their project’s imagery in your hands would be a train wreck. Every artist’s work is better suited to some applications than others. Don’t take it personally if someone can’t use what you’re offering. It’s equally probable that your work will win new fans.
I hear this a lot from artists – they see each others’ campaigns and think, “Wow, now there’s a real professional. Compared to him or her, I’m an amateur. These creatives won’t realize they’re out of my league until it’s too late.” But most artists are far more capable than they realize. Talk to a marketing consultant if you’re unsure whether your business is up to snuff, but don’t let your insecurities immobilize you.
You will – making a marketing boo-boo is inevitable, but you’ll survive. And that’s the clincher: the only guaranteed way to fail is to not market at all. It’s okay to have anxieties but tuck them away. When it’s time to market, taking those first tentative steps into the ring is the only sure-fire start to professional success. Good luck!
Melissa Pang was Agency Access' copywriter, with several years under her belt working with artists at FoundFolios and The ADBASE Group. Melissa loves a good adverb, keeps one eye (or two) on the advertising industry and has a soft spot for illustration.
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