One of the biggest challenges for creatives is getting your message to break through the buzz. The internet is literally packed with DIY and craft blogs and sites. Just spend an afternoon surfing the net and you can become overwhelmed fairly quickly. Where do you find your niche in this tsunami of creativity? What makes you unique? How can you turn uniquely fabulous you into a brand that resonates? The internet is all about connections. There is room for everyone to make their mark with a little ingenuity and outreach. Here are ten fabulous free ways to market your brand and meet like minded crafters in the process.
1. Join link parties. Linky parties are a fabulous way to get some traffic heading in your direction. FaveCrafts hosts one every month. Make sure you take great photos of your projects, vibrant colors and clean pictures work best to create clicks. Don’t just drop your link and dash, visit other blogs and leave thoughtful comments. Share the linky party button on your blog post to spread the love.
2. Submit your project photos with tutorial links to aggregate sites like All Free Jewelry Making, All FreeChristmas Crafts and CraftGawker. Again, that great photo helps immensely. These sites share pictures with direct links to your posts and they can be huge traffic drivers.
3. Add the Pin This button image to your blog photos. When people hover their mouse over your images, this button will appear. It makes it quick and easy for folks to pin your DIYs. Here’s a link to a tutorial for Blogger on Bloggersentral and here’s one for WordPress from Kevin and Amanda.
4. Join a Twitter #hashtag party around a DIY topic. Follow other attendees. Add value to the conversation. These parties are a great way to meet new people with similar interests. They’re also a great source of information. Crafterminds hosts a weekly chat every Monday at 4pm EST around the hashtag #crafterminds.
5. Are you on Google+ yet? This platform is taking wing. Make a profile and connect with others. Join a few communities and hangouts. Once you get the swing of it, host your own hangout! This multi-level platform allows you to live stream video, live chat, post comments and interact with others in real time. You can teach classes, host events, have a party and build lots of buzz around your brand.
6. Guest post for prominent DIY blogs. Submit your projects to larger blogs like Fave Crafts, Dollar Store Crafts or Mod Podge Rocks. These sites get huge traffic. Some of these sites prefer full tutorials and some will just post a picture and a link to the project on your site. Either way, it’s a great way to get yourself and your brand out there.
7. Leave thoughtful comments. Visit blogs that have a similar focus as yours and leave thoughtful comments. There is a distinct difference between a blatant plug and a thoughtful comment. By supporting and cheering on your fellow DIY bloggers, you’re creating goodwill. You’re also potentially driving some new traffic from people who like what you have to say and want to hear more.
8. Join forces. This is one of the best ways to build a brand for free in the vast sea of the internet. Find a small group of like minded crafters and share links to each other’s projects. Create collages with juicy images, add text and post with links to projects. I’m currently doing this with four other well known crafty bloggers every Thursday on our Facebook pages. I’m also posting this on my blog with a Linky Party. By cross promoting, we’re introducing our fans to each other and building up a bigger base.
9. Pay it forward. If it’s all about ‘you, you, you’ all of the time, it gets old, old, old. Remember that people want to feel valued. Post links to other people’s projects, videos and blogs. Spread a little linky love whenever possible. Share your knowledge and your enthusiasm. Give people a chance to share, talk and connect. I love to ask questions on my Facebook page, this lets my friends and fans share a window into their realities. It also creates opportunity for connection. Don’t give it all away, but do create a positive, uplifting, community based message.
10. Create a newsletter using a free service (I use MailChimp, others include Constant Contact and iContact. Offer an RSS feed (I have a FeedBurner and BlogLovin). Add a “subscribe via email” box to your blog or website. The more you can reach people on a regular basis, the stronger your message will become. Make it easy for folks to remember you. Put the feed and your social networking icons up in your header or at the top of your sidebar and make sure they open in a new window when people click them. Make your site easy to navigate. Keep it clean and uncluttered. If people like what they see, they’ll connect with you, subscribe to your newsletter and feed. Keep them interested with great content and they’ll keep coming back for more.
It’s not easy breaking through the noise, but it is possible. You don’t have to spend a small fortune to market yourself on the internet either; in fact, the most effective platforms allow you to do it for free. New sites are emerging every day. I’m of the mind that you might as well give it a whirl. If it works, stick with it, if not, no harm done. Devote a block of time every day to marketing Brand You and before you know it, you’ll be a Crafty Rock Star.
By: Margot Potter for Creative Income Blog
(Like this article? Check out the new e-book The Fine Art of Shameless Self Promotion available as an e-book PDF and in the brand new Kindle version. It’s a straight forward, no nonsense, kick in the pants guide to doing what you love, loving what you do and making a living doing it. Find more LifeCrafting 101 advice at Craft.You. and get inspired by Margot Potter at her blog The Impatient Crafter.)