While you may be pitching a product that’s a bit more down-to-earth than a new indie film or a great jazz album, many of their marketing insights are universal. Here’s an excerpt from the book.
One common thread among most creators who’ve attracted a large following online is that they are generous about sharing their knowledge. Some fraction of your audience wants to do exactly what you’re doing, whether it’s stand-up comedy, animation, card tricks – or the ins and outs of Sarbanes-Oxley compliance. Helping people learn what you know can make you truly magnetic. Burnie Burns, creator of the animated series “Red vs. Blue,” posted an extensive FAQ about how others could use videogame consoles to produce their own animations, a genre called “machinima.” (On his site, there’s also a discussion forum where other machinima makers can share tips.) Singer-songwriter Jonathan Coulton wrote a blog post titled “How I Did It,” talking about how he left his day job and laid the foundation for his musical career.
Chance, another singer-songwriter, posts a “Geek Out” page for every single he records, listing the software, instruments, and microphones he employed. M dot Strange, who runs a one-man animation studio in San Jose, continually adds to a series of YouTube videos he calls “Film Skool,” offering insight into how he works.“I’ve found that educational stuff can attract an audience,” he says. “Share your techniques, and tell people about the software you’re using.”Dan and Dave Buck, siblings from Sonora, California who helped pioneer the genre of “flourishes,” a kind of card manipulation that is part magic and part kinetic art, have built a business around educating others. They sell books, DVDs, and video-on-demand tutorials on their Web site. More than 10,000 people have purchased their three DVD box set, “The Trilogy”—for $85 a pop.Whether or not you want to build a business around teaching others, positioning yourself as a knowledgeable expert in your field, especially if you’re doing innovative things, will often generate media coverage. And the aspiring musicians, writers, artists, or entrepreneurs who benefit from the advice and tips you share will be far more likely to help spread the word about what you’re doing.