Quick Announcement: As of today, my podcast should be on Spotify. It might need some edits over the next few days, but if you’re interested in listening and putting up with some imperfections, please give it a listen.
Hello and welcome to another conversation with Scott. The topic of this week… marketing myself. I went to college for marketing, and what I learned while I was there is that there is an infinite number of ways to get your name out there. You can use the various forms of social media, try to make a brand or product that people will learn who you are through or whatever else people can figure out. As of recent, my mentality has been to focus on improving my work and be consistent with content, but I can’t figure out if that’s actually doing anyhing for me.
Being consistent with content is great! Put work out three times a week and make sure that the content is what I want it to be. If I’m not feeling particularly interested in writing about suicide or some other depressed topic, I write about something else. I’ll write about some of my other passions and hope that something sticks. Maybe, if I’m lucky, someone will come for the completely different topic and stay because they relate to my personal writing. It’s just strange to see the lack of new views and followers.
I’m new to blogs and to tell you the truth, I think social media is a bit of a drain on society so I’m not super present there. My thought was, if I create a blog to try and get feedback on my smaller work and experiment, while pushing forward on work that has a more appropriate avenue for success (my book, business and/or games), then maybe the success of one will lead to the success of the other.
Today, I applied to an agent who seemed to say that his only reason for taking on a new client was if they had already developed a platform for themselves… and I basically did a double-take. I thought what I was doing, which is slow, organic growth through constant engagement, was the right thing to do until I found a more mainstream way to reach success, such as publishing a book. I’m just confused. I don’t really know how to take the next step in finding a broader audience. Really, it’s not too big a deal. I’m still interested in publishing a book and that’s my main goal right now, but if I don’t have enough of a following for an agent to see it as profitable, then… what next?
Recently, I’ve been listening to the podcast by NPR called How I Built This. Hosted by Guy Raz, prolific entrepreneurs come on to talk about the businesses that they have started, where they came from and what impact it has had on their lives. Noteable companies like Airbnb and Clifbar have been talked about, and the people behind them are arguably more amazing than the brands that they’ve created.
Airbnb was started by three friends, Joe Gebbia, Brian Chesky and Nathan Blecharczyk. Only Joe Gebbia was at the interview, but he encompasses the spirit of the company in every word that he says. From the outside in, he sounds like a composed businessman and CEO, but hearing about his struggles in the beginning give him the most humble of origins. The company worked through a non-existent market, fears of stranger danger and even $20,000 in credit card debt (I know that doesn’t seem like a lot from Airbnb, but remember that he was just like you and I when he started it, so $20,000 is almost crippling) which he overcame by selling custom made Barack Obama and John McCain cereal boxes during the 2008 election. The company is already changing how the world handles housing, but I foresee Airbnb having a larger impact in a short amount of time, strictly based on management and the ambition that they have.
Clifbar, an energy bar that came from a man named Gary Erickson who is an avid biker who created a bakery named after his grandmother, has created such an impact on the power bar industry… all because he thought the competitors product tasted like shit. He did endless research into cooking and ingredients with his mother and created a bar named after his dad, Clifford. By targeting athletes at the end of races and through other means, the bar took the industry of power bars from taste-averse to tasteful. As time progressed, his company has even created Luna bar, another snack that has entered the scene and resonated as a women’s energy bar. You can see in the company values that Gary is down to earth and looks to only leave a positive impact on the world, and scale hasn’t slowed his business or passions one bit.
Clearly these are oversimplified stories, but if you have any interest in these very interesting people, check out the Podcast “How I Built This.” It’s worth your time. The way that Guy uses his perfect questions (and editing) the episodes are very well put together examples of normal people becoming something bigger and better, and knowing what to do with their brand once they create it.