How to Have an Effective Marketing Mindset as a Creator

Marketing is not as important as creating and building. And it's the type of work that other people do, it's not really my thing. If I build a product that's actually good, people will hear about it by word-of-mouth.

If  the above statements made you gasp, good. And of course I'm being a bit  facetious with that headline. Although, most builders, makers and  creators do think some version of this early on, I did.  But in  order to be a successful solo entrepreneur, you will have to evolve  your thinking about marketing.

I've read half a dozen books on marketing as well as short-form articles over the last year. Sharing the recurring themes from my learning below, as well as insights from personal experience:

"A good idea isn’t worth much if it doesn’t reach people who can benefit from it"
  1. The logic of marketing is to reach people who'd actually benefit from your idea. It's on you to do the work necessary to surface your product to customers...Keep Reading

This Week In Learning

In addition to writing, another meta-skill  that's important for entrepreneurs is our ability to speak well. My specific interest in practicing speaking skills is for teaching. Giving workshops, recording videos and screencasts, creating online courses, etc.

How to Speak -  This is a video lecture from MIT OpenCourseWare. It's a 1 hour talk by a professor who teaches artificial intelligence but also how to speak  well. It goes beyond the common surface-level advice we typically come  across. Here are my takeaways that you can apply:

1. How to start a talk
Start with an empowerment promise. A statement that  promises that there is something you'll learn by the end of this talk  which you don't know now. And that knowledge will be beneficial in your life. In other words, answer the question of "what's in it for me?" or "what will I get out of this talk?" upfront.

Side note: starting with the promise is also common advice for writing, especially copy writing.

2. Techniques called cycling, building a fence, and verbal punctuation

Cycling is about repeating your idea at least 3 times, coming back to it from different angles. This is because a certain percent of your audience is zoned out at any given time. So tell them what you're going to tell them, then tell them, and then tell them what you told them again. [This feels unintuitive to me, though I've observed it being used by others in practice]

Building a fence is about separating your ideas so that  they are not confused with other common ideas. (example "sketchnoting is about ideas not art". I heard this phrase repeated in every videos on the topic)

Verbal punctuation is about having 'seams' in your talk that allow people, who have zoned out, to jump back in. For example,  saying "there are 3 main reasons for...". Then each time you say "reason  1 is...", "reason 2 is..." it's an invitation to rejoin for those whose minds have wandered off somewhere.

3.  Make your presentation memorable - by exhibiting passion for your topic, tell stories, ask questions about the stories, analyze stories by connecting them.

I don't actually recommend listening to the whole thing, but the beginning is good. The above points are the most useful ones.

1. Learning is bravery - this is a 3 minute ted talk, watch it! The part about not making the menu longer but making one dish that people are willing to drive across town for, deeply resonates with me.

2. Once you start a newsletter, you have to keep writing it forever and ever right. Nah. I'm not familiar with his work but here's a note from someone shutting down a newsletter after 8 years.

3. You may have noticed that Google had an outage last week, effecting google docs and such. I found the outage root cause analysis since I was curious. It's a bit sparse in terms of details, but if you read between the lines turns out it was ultimately a human error. I like that, humans make errors.