At our June members event, we talked about our desires and discomforts when it comes to self-promotion. Here, four Powerbitches members reflect on a time when promoting our work has worked in our favor.
Kimmay Caldwell, Hurray Kimmay
As a content marketer, I often get notes from people who are thankful for the authenticity of the way I promote the brands I work with, as well as my own work. People aren’t foolish. They know it's promotion. But when I’m sharing to serve, that's when promotion lands the best, in my experience. One such win was my recent partnership with Thinx. I don't usually partner with brands on a commission base alone, but I was already a longtime user of their products, so I knew I could authentically share them with my audience and if I made a few bucks, great. Because their products and values were so aligned with my own, it naturally unfolded into really easy content and promotion for me. That doesn't mean I didn't have to WORK to create it, it just felt more natural to share. And it worked! It didn't feel icky or weird to share my discount code with people, and I'm proud to say that what I thought may bring in a $50 a month or so brought in a commission check for thousands of dollars last month.
Do The Work
Therese Shechter, Filmmaker
My 2017 Kickstarter campaign for My So-Called Selfish Life required the most intense promotion I've ever done. I spent a year building my list, largely from a survey on childfree experiences which yielded about 2000 voluntarily-given emails. Two months before launch I created a small advisory group, identifying audience segments for the campaign/film. We devised targeted messages, emails, representation in the trailer, and rewards for each group. We also planned special outreach days, special rewards, and special money asks during the campaign.
Once we launched, I worked with a volunteer social media manager to create over 50 funny graphics and organize the timing of the all the posts. I sent regular funny/serious mass emails, sometimes riffing off news, sometimes off things in the film. I hired a publicist for the last two weeks to get us press, and she worked for a discount because she's childfree herself.
I did (almost) nothing else for four weeks. It was exhausting begging people for money every day while cheerleading the project. I was sure everyone hated me, and we never attracted the influencers we needed to push us to the next level. I was terrified we wouldn’t hit our goal and get the money, and that fear of failing threw me into a depression. But we did it, raising $45,646 in 4 weeks, money that we couldn’t have gotten otherwise. It was a true team effort and I hope to never have to do it again. But if I do, I have my game plan and my therapist's email.
Tap Into Something Bigger Than Yourself
Kristen Sollee, Author
My self-promotion game is usually at its finest when I'm promoting someone else's work. When I produced a sex positive tarot deck conceived and created by my friend Morgan Claire Sirene in 2017, we took the Kickstarter route and knocked it out of the park, receiving over twice as much as we asked for. I think this promotion worked because we invested in a professionally edited video for the campaign, had strong visual content that was reposted far and wide even by those who didn't pledge, and because it centered the experiences of sex workers, so there was a political angle that was noteworthy to those looking to support a new artistic project.
Make It A Team Effort
Rachel Hills, Powerbitches founder, author + producer
As a producer, it’s my job to make sure the projects I’m involved with make budget and reach as many people as possible. That means getting everyone on board with telling the project’s story. But contrary to popular perception, people in the arts often aren’t big on self-promotion - they prefer to focus on making art than on telling people about it. I’m really proud of the promotion campaign we ran for the 2017 off-Broadway production of my book The Sex Myth. We had our entire creative and production team writing blogs, wearing the show’s t-shirt, and doing flash mobs in Washington Square Park. Most importantly, we made it a practice for everyone to share their experience creating the show on social media, not as a push to sell tickets, but just as part of sharing their life. I credit our social media strategy for the fact that we sold out four out of five nights of our show - rare for indie theatre in New York City!