Learnings from our second school-wide callMay 21, 2021
I was so grateful to gather virtually with our members for our second school-wide call this week. Our goal these calls is that everyone leaves feeling less alone, more inspired, and with little sparks of ideas for their own business -- and we felt very much that way! We explored some questions that may well be things you’ve wondered about. Below, we’re sharing a short write-up of some of the key parts of this Q&A call.
Question 1: Marketing with small publications/local print.
On my list of channels to try is reaching out to small publications/local print. This is something I would be excited to try but it is something that is brand new for me.
One of our beloved mentors shared a few valuable thoughts with us that really helped dig into this topic.
On connecting with folks who will share or buy your work
When reaching out to journalists, keep it short and sweet with a couple of bullet points about your product -- they get pitched so much
When reaching out to bloggers, it can be better to ask them if they would like a sample -- and not asking them to share it with their audience so it doesn't feel sales-y. They will share it if they like it!
Building relationships is key. You can do this by following folks on Instagram and commenting and connecting for a period before reaching out. That will help make your pitch feel warm and like it's not “cold”.
A system for executing outreach
Use spreadsheets of media outlets that could be a good fit. Then, create columns like:
- Which journalist you’re connecting with
- Their email account
- The date you emailed them
- The date you followed up
Question 2: Staying focused to make the important things happen
It’s so difficult to find time to do tasks that are intense. I’m struggling to go deep, work intensively, and get into a flow without getting hungry, distracted, and off-task.
Here is a snapshot of a list of tools and strategies we talked about to help fight distraction and stay focused:
- The book Deep Work by Cal Newport
Focuses on creating the structures that help train yourself to deep work.
- A day plan
Write down 3 priorities that you're accomplishing that day. Then plan the workday by the half-hour, including breaks and lunch. Use a pen and paper record so then you know when you got distracted.
- Recognize that the internet is a rabbit hole
If you open it, you will be pulled into the rabbit hole regardless. Close the computer and turn off your phone -- then put them in a drawer. Use apps and plugins like Self Control, Freedom, LeechBlock, or StayFocused to limit time on distracting apps and websites.
- Use the Pomodoro Method and take breaks
And make sure your breaks are a time to get away from the computer. Be disciplined, even in your breaks. Go outside without your phone. Don’t use your headphones. Just walk the dog!
- Eat smarter
One of our members realized that carbs were giving her sugar crashes and she’s been making sure to eat more protein for more balanced energy throughout the day.
- An “emotional day plan”
One of our members is writing down three things she wants to feel in the day ie, healthy, joyful, focussed. Then she thinks about how the tasks in her day contribute to those feelings.
Question 3: Sharing your story
I know I need to share more about the cool aspects of my production, business, and inspirations -- but sometimes when I am in the process of creating and making I am not sure what will actually interest people.
It gets a lot easier when you get clear on the heart of your story. Generally, your customers and community care about the parts of your story that show:
- What your business is about (ethos and aesthetic)
- Who it is for
- How it will make them feel
A few things to consider:
- Think about what people respond to. What are your posts that have done the best … or when you go to craft markets, what are the snippets that make people light up?
- Bring people into it
- Balance the story - products, process, business, life, people
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