10 Great Self-Promotion Ideas from Bob Barker To YOU
This excerpt from Bob’s book, Unleash the Artist Within: Four Weeks to
Transforming Your Creative Talents Into More Recognition, More Profit and More Fun.
Whether you have a passion for art, writing, music, photography or poetry,
you quite likely feel that you’re filled with unbounded creativity. Why, then,
does all that creativity seem to dry up when it comes to marketing your special
talents? Why must you continue to work in obscurity? If this is your frustration,
it’s time for a change. Use some of the following real-life techniques to help you
launch a new promotional campaign.
1. Start Somewhere, Anywhere – Do Something Now
Never let a lack of money, knowledge or connections stop you from at least
taking the first small steps toward getting recognition and exposure for your
Los Angeles artist Kristine Kadlec could have waited until a respected art
gallery invited her to exhibit her work. But she was ready to publicly display her
work right away. That’s why she pitched a Borders bookstore in the area with an
idea. That effort led to her first solo exhibit, “Artistic Recycling with Paper
Weave Collage,” at the store.
Just because her artwork wasn’t being shown at a traditional venue, that
didn’t mean Kadlec would treat it lightly. She mailed 500 invitations, sent press
releases to local media, promoted the exhibit online through art-related
discussion forums, contacted area arts organizations and more. “This is my first
solo exhibit and I’m planning to get as much promotional mileage as I can,” she
What can you do right now to promote and expose your talents?
2. Use Low-Cost, High-Impact Post Cards
Bob Westerberg is a copywriter who specializes in technology subjects. For
many years, one of his most potent sales tools has been a monthly post card
mailer he refers to as “the world’s smallest newsletter.” Every post card features
a collection of light-hearted facts and trivia, along with a plug for his
copywriting services. Since the idea is so novel, and since post cards are noticed
and read so easily when they arrive in the mail, Westerberg’s mailing pieces are
widely enjoyed by the people on his mailing list. He reports that this single
technique generates about $25,000 a year in freelance writing assignments.
How might you use post cards to get more attention?
3. Describe What You Do in 10 Words or Less
When you get an editor, director, gallery manager or other important contact
on the phone, he or she may very well ask, “So what exactly is it that you do?”
How will you respond? By hem hawing around about how unique your craft is
and how you “hate labels”? Don’t get caught in this trap.
You should be able to define your creative skills in 10 words or less. Why?
1. So you can quickly communicate your creative niche to media folks,
industry people and potential customers
2. So you can use it as a gauge by which to focus all of your performances,
titles, artwork, photos, ads and more around a consistent theme. People
(including you) shouldn’t be confused about what they get from you.
Examples: If you’re in a band, use a phrase such as “We play blues rock with
a touch of funk.” If you’re a writer, say “I specialize in how-to articles about sales 3
and marketing.” An artist might explain “I do black and white spot art for
newspapers and magazines.” A photographer might say “I specialize in
spontaneous slice of life photos.”
Whatever you do, make sure you can communicate it easily and quickly.
4. Do It Yourself
Don’t wait to be “discovered” or for your lucky break to come along. Instead,
start making things happen for yourself now.
Musician Lance King performs in a band that plays melodic hard rock music.
King had big aspirations but he didn’t want to wait around for an elusive major
recording contract. So he started releasing his own CDs and investigating the
European market, where music from America is often in demand. He established
a distribution network and has sold more than 15,000 copies of his band’s CDs –
all by taking his career into his own hands.
How can you take control of your future?
5. Combine Your Efforts with Other Creative People
There is power in numbers. Instead of thinking about being in competition
with other creative people, start brainstorming on ways you can combine your
marketing muscle with theirs.
Every year graphic designer Jeanine Colini teams up with a printer and either
an artist or photographer to create a promotional year-at-a-glance calendar. All
three parties donate their services and each gives the calendars away to
hundreds of clients and prospects. By taking this three-way promotional
approach, Colini reaches far more potential customers than she would on her
Start thinking about how you might cross-promote with other creative
6. Give Away Promotional Samplers
During an outdoor concert, the Rick Recht Band had full-length CDs available
for sale during and after the show. No surprise there. But the band members also
repeatedly announced that they had a limited number of sampler tapes featuring
three new songs that anyone could have for free.
Handing out free samples is a great way to create a promotional buzz. What
could you give away to help promote yourself? A short excerpt from your novel?
Inexpensive prints of some of your best artwork? Free public performances of
your theatre troupe’s current production? Think about it.
7. Turn a Perceived Weakness Into a Strength
A group of Nashville painters, sculptors and photographers – who all
happened to be visually impaired in some manner – pooled their resources and
presented “Art of the Eye: An Art Exhibition on Vision.” Proceeds from the event
went to a charity that helps people with sight challenges. A group of local
optometrists sponsored the exhibit.
Do you have a perceived shortcoming – physical, mental, financial or
otherwise? If so, look for opportunities to turn your situation into an advantage.
If the aforementioned artists can, so can you.
8. Choose an Attention-Getting Title
Whether your creation is a novel, film, theatre production, music CD, book of
poetry or art exhibit, give it a name that will create some curiosity and
When comedic actress Andrea Martin put together a one-woman show, she
called it Nude Nude Totally Nude. From what I understand, the reference related
more to her baring her soul than her flesh. But you must admit, it’s an eyecatching title. Of course, something this outrageous might not work for a
conservative art form such as a symphony orchestra (although Brahms in the Buff
has a nice ring to it), but there are still appropriate titles that could easily be used
to draw attention to any event, performance or other new creation.
9. Self-Syndicate Your Own Column
Do you create a product or service that appeals to a group of people who can
be reached through specialized publications around the world? If so, could
details about your craft be conveyed through informational articles that you
write yourself? For instance, let’s say you put on workshops for actors. You
could write a series of articles featuring tips for aspiring thespians and offer them
to arts-related newspapers in your region.
Jeffrey Lant has self-published 10 books on various aspects of marketing. He
offers a series of columns filled with money-making tips to any publication that
wants to run them. He gives them away free to the publications as long as they
include a plug at the end letting readers know how to contact Lant and get on his
mailing list. His columns run in more than 200 newspapers and online
publications, and they bring in thousands of sales leads. Many of these inquiring
readers end up buying Lant’s books.
10. Understand How People Benefit From Your Talents
It’s not enough to just create your art, writing or performance and throw it
out into the world. You must know why people are attracted to what you do.
What physical and emotional payoff do your fans experience when they enjoy
your form of creativity?
Kelly Borsheim, founder of Lumina Candles, understands this concept as she
asks other artists, “What are you really selling – a thing or a lifestyle? Why
would someone want what you have to offer? I am constantly thinking about
which candles I want to make – and which I don't. I consider whether or not the
candle fits my theme or philosophy. Is the product consistent with why
customers do business with me?”
You’d be wise to ask yourself similar questions about how your fans benefit
from your talents.
I hope these ideas and success stories have inspired you and will help boost
your mental outlook and self-promotion efforts to new levels.
To make sure these ideas stick, I encourage you to contact me if you need any kind of marketing or advertising guidance. MarketingByWB.com