Marketing Makes Me Nauseous

Some people are natural self-promoters. They are really good at it- good sales people, and they can make a reasonable and rational argument for just about anything. I am terrible at this.

While I am an attorney, my ability to make an argument or choose a side is not one that is filled by exclamation points and adjectives describing how I will fulfill your every dream. Instead, my appeals to others are based on advocacy, taking someone’s side, and trying to make others see that it is the best or only rational decision to make. It tends to be a more logical and intellectual argument, rather than one based solely on emotions. (This is also probably why I am not a trial attorney).

For my podcast and blog, a reasonable amount of marketing know-how and skill is required to make sure the podcast appears in search engines; things are easier to find on Google searches, and the like. I can do this.  This feels like managing information, and letting people know my show and blog exist.  That’s easy.

What’s hard for me is the “promotion” part.  I need to get better at the 15 second pitch, The elevator pitch, the giving the condensed version of what I do and why I do it.  It has not a bit to do with self-confidence; it has everything to do with not being comfortable with talking someone into something they don’t already want or need already.   I love reading books like Made to Stick– learning how to make ideas simple to remember and more compelling.  How to give your ideas handles and make the take-home points clear.  Yet when I am asked to write a bio for myself, or make a press kit, I shudder.

If anyone has any ideas on how to make this process less painful, I would love to hear them!

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One response to “Marketing Makes Me Nauseous

  1. Hi! I ran across your site because I searched on “You don’t have to whisper” and StoryCorps and it made the top 10 list. I’ve often been tempted to look up articles about those stories, but this is the first time I did.

    I’m also a bad salesperson. My brother is a great one. It’s something he has natural skill at and works to make better. I have no natural skill at it but I’ve still managed to improve the skills I do have and add ones I don’t. I still have problems selling people things they actually need, let alone things that may be incidental, so I don’t work in sales. But I have gotten better at self promotion so I can get reasonable raises and the like. The first step you’ve mastered – know what skill it is you’re lacking. You need the “elevator pitch” – how to tell someone the essentials in limited time.

    The best way for me to think about this is to think more about the audience than about myself. I write out 2 versions of something – what I want to say, then what the other person wants to hear. Often they are very different. Think about when you ask someone about their project. You need an overview so you can put it in context. Then if you still have time or interest you can drill down. You don’t expect nuance in 15 seconds. They won’t either. The idea is not to convey your complete message, but to convey enough information that someone wants to spend time getting the complete message. You just need to make it appealing, you don’t need to close the deal.

    That, and there’s media training and talking points. Author Jenny Cruisie wrote about this in her blog. She has a tendency to blather on in interviews and once managed a long publicity interview without once saying her name, the name of her next book, or the book’s release date. So her publisher sent her to media training. They teach you what the key phrases are that you need to say and repeat. In the case of a new book, I mentioned them. In the case of a cause, it might be your main point “treat the individual, not the disease” or whatnot, the name of your website, etc… Think more about what you’d want to hear if you wanted the information from someone else.

    If you truly believe in what you’re “selling” think about how much worse it would be for people to not have your product or information. Remember that when you need motivation.

    (Incidentally, I like for people to know that the option of “Cued Speech” or Cued Language, if you prefer, exists as a means for communicating a spoken language visually to the D/deaf.
    http://www.cuedspeech.org/
    Parents can choose something only if they know the options, and this is a great one for deaf children to gain literacy.)

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