Friday, September 26, 2008

Marketing and Self-Promotion

It doesn’t have to be hard to market yourself. You just get out there and be. Look, Heather from Monsterbubbles does it. Sometimes though, it pays to tell people what you are up to rather than waiting for them to come looking for you.

I don’t understand why designers and others in the cross-stitch industry aren’t sending press releases to bloggers. There are lots of us with rather large readerships and, get this, it’s free. Or at least it doesn’t cost any more than writing a paragraph about what you are doing and shooting someone an e-mail. I work in communications, and we send press releases to blogs. Even a small skewering gets you publicity. And even though you might have a thin skin, it's all good.

Unfortunately, I think too many designers think of what they are doing as a hobby. Or at least they don’t seem to be taking advantage of all that is available to them to help make them more professional. (CF complaints about blurry photographs and lack of color correction on chart photos.) Sure doing these things takes away from time to create, but many of them could be quickly handled. Let's start with answering your e-mail and updating your website. Really, these are very basic business practices, and it is a business even if you do it at home in your pajamas.


quietgirl255 said...

I agree. I mean cross stitch has made the jump to the digital age. We are reading blogs and talking on message boards. And the older generations are doing it too. I am in my 30's and I have my Mom reading blogs, message boards, and ordering from ONS now.

I too would think free advertising would be a good thing. I don't always think to constantly check websites, but blogs are a daily thing.

I guess it would depend if like a blogger like yourself like a certain designer, but that would probably be pretty easy for them to figure out.

But yes, I get a lot of info online about designers and LNS, and ONS, and you would think they want it to their advantage and not their detriment. (It can work both ways as we know!)

riona said...

Some of them are already doing some internet promotion:
--Nancy from Glory Bee has two blogs: her own personal cum business blog and a gallery blog for stitchers to post their finishes of GB designs
--Nan of Just Nan gets frequent mention in the Silver Needle e-newsletter and sends her own e-mail announcements of new designs
--another blog I read semi-regularly is cataloging interesting textile and art blogs by offering an alphabetical sampling - she's up to the letter M
-- then there is the Independent Needlework News
--and the on-line Needlework Show
--Teresa Wentzler's Artistic License is a well-written, though sporadic, glimpse into a designer's mind process and business challenges.

but you are right inasmuch as outdated websites are a real annoyance ... I am especially irritated by empty promises in the menu selections: when I click on a button that says "On the Drawing Board" expecting to see how a particular designer's creative process works, I don't like seeing a Coming Soon message for several months ... I stop checking in after a while. And don't promis Complimentary designs or free classes if you are not going to post any or not update them for years on end ... Caron is a big offender in this regard.

riona said...

Sorry, forgot to mention that the blog cataloging other textile and art related blogs is called In A Minute Ago.

Kathryn said...

Sing it, Sister! Is Bent Creek ever going to update their site? It has never looked right on Firefox or Safari and I am not about to start using IE (and what if it looked bad on that browser, too?) And MODELS people. Yes, I know it takes time, but all those computer drafted pixel pictures do NOT tell me what a stitched version looks like. And if you have a number of specialty stitches? CLOSE UPS! At least a couple? No, people aren't going to steal your designs from your website. Most of us have a hard enough time reading a printed chart! /rant

LadyDoc said...

I've been mostly away from stitching for several years. Even when I did stitch it was on an old WIP- I was determined not to buy anything new for the stash as I have enough to last me two lifetimes and then some.

I've been mostly scrapbooking and stamping for the last few years and have therefore experienced those businesses usage of the Internet- and do they ever know how to use it!!! The blogs out there for stamping are LITERALLY countless. All the companies have active websites, with forums and blogs. There is a stamping website called SplitCoastStampers that grew out of a group of Stampin Up reps wanting to compare notes online- there are over 100,000 members now!!! Anytime of the day or night there are 500-1000 on the site at the same time. You can be SURE that the stamping companies and all the companies that make the tools and accessories are always on there as well.

When I decided to go looking for how the stitch world had progressed in the years since I routinely read RCTN, what I found was mostly the same world I left. Finding blogs that are stitching oriented is not easy and there are (by the standards I've gotten used to with papercrafters) not many. I did find Artistic License, which I got to from Linn Skinner's The Embroideress, but blogs from most of the designers I knew are non-existant. And, yes, the websites are mostly sadly out of date.

I know stitching doesn't lend itself quite as well as papercrafting to blogs and such, but come on! Stitching was all over the Internet when I went online in 1994. I think I "met" more people then than now. Where are they all?

Somebody needs to take these designers and their companies and drag them into the 21st century!

Donna said...

I couldn't agree with you more. And I promise if I ever do get to the point of selling designs, you'll be among the first to know!

Michelle said...

Don't even get me started on Bent Creek - I could bitch about them for days.