Friends may be a lot of fun to have around, but they are not the ones that tend to actively promote your writing career (of course there are always those exceptions to the rule). One of the tasks for this year will be to mount an army of support that encourage, promote and help market the products and services that I provide - and I intend to enlist in their army as well.
Tips for Building an Army
- Ask those that you already know. It just dawned on me that the only way you make a sale is to ask for it. Knowing this, I have never asked anyone that I know on twitter, Facebook, or through my websites if they would be willing to market, announce, or support in some way the products and services that I provide. Do YOU have a list of connects for this purpose?
- Be generous to those that are generous to you. An ally army wants to know that they are appreciated. Give gifts. Respond to support with support of your own. Offer acknowledgements in books, in blogs, and in tweets.
- Limit the ads. The best advice I have gotten so far is that I need to be supporting others (providing links to others, informative content or inspirational ideas) about 90 percent of the time. That means for every ONE ad that I share - whether it is a link to my own websites or a link to a new product - I need to create NINE thoughts and ideas that are not ads in any way, shape, or form.
- Give it time. Rushing anything always opens the door to mistakes. Allow the project time to be developed and marketed in a way that will give it the most traction. Just throwing it out there to be done with it can be a lot like casting pearls before swine. It gets done, but all you have is dirty pearls to show for it - and you have to dig in the pig mess just to get those back.
- Invest in the relationships BEFORE expecting a return. Any investor will tell you that you have to sit on most investments to see value in what you are doing. The same goes for relationships. Most of the time you have to be willing to invest time and energy into that relationship before you ever see a return from the relationship.
- Cull the herd. Some of the people that you meet along the way will be great friends, some will be great mentors, some will be great supporters and a few will be a little of it all. Focus your Ally Army energy on those that will do it all. That does not mean you break ties with the others, it just means you know where to turn when you have specific needs.
Building a writing career takes so much more than just putting words down on paper. No matter what direction you go with what you write, you will still face the mountain of getting the words in front of others. A strong Ally Army can be the key to taking that mountain.