Hello. Diego, the Cold God Intern here. Long time no hear from, I know. Let me explain. Let me vent.
The thing about Kevin is despite his “old school internet” coat of arms he actually has no idea how the internet works. He doesn’t understand that effective social media requires thoughtful repetition. That people aren’t Pavlovian—you can’t just ring a bell once and expect them to drool. His notion of how best to advertise a new project is paused somewhere back around “business card thumbtacked to dry cleaner’s cork board”.
Here is what you do, here is how you mobilize your social network and build buzz around a project. You announce, with fanfare, your new project. Months in advance. Before you’ve even started it, really. You alert people that something is coming up over the horizon. You explain to them how excited you are, and how excited they will be. People are basically unhappy. You show them that there will be a time, in the not too distant future, when they will be happy, and that they will be happy because of this thing you are working on. People want this. People crave this.
Then you spend months continually reminding them about this project. People want to feel like they are on the journey with you. You use the project and your emotions about it as social media fuel. Frustrated by your progress? That’s a tweet. Announce that you are frustrated, but that you won’t let it stop you from finishing this project for them. This helps connect you to your audience— because Hey, they sometimes feel frustrated too! They can relate to that! —while also reminding them that you are still working on this project, and they should still be looking forward to it. The more engaged and eager the audience becomes, the more likely they are to share news of it with their networks.
Continue to update your audience, vaguely cataloging the ups and downs of the project while slowly building momentum and excitment. Remind them that it’s only one month until you show them what you’ve been working on! Remind them that you’re so excited to finally share what you’ve been working on! Thank them for their love and support and patience while you finish this project! Then you release a teaser or two, an image, a quote, whatever, but begin to show them that it’s real. And then start the pre-ordering process. Create a sort of virtual queue, as though they need to be standing on line in order to receive this project. People want to feel as though they are early adopters, as though they are attached to a project in advance of the buzz, as though they are possibly on to something that many people might miss out on later. Remind them that they need to order soon!
And then, finally, big announcement, huzzahs all around, unveil the project. RT or reblog various mentions of people being excited about this project, in order to demonstrate that there’s a whole scene around this project. Look at this crowd of people who’ve been awaiting this thing, don’t you want to belong to the same crowd as them?
There’s more but you get the idea. Is it pretty? No. But it’s real, and it works. That’s how you sell something, that’s how you trumpet and market a creative project in this day and age. It requires months of planning and thoughtfulness. It takes time and patience and repetition in order to humanize a creative voice in such a way so that the audience doesn’t feel like they are just being pandered and marketed to. It’s not about the project. It’s about the creative journey, the act of bringing some new into this world, against all adversity. That is what your audience most identifies with. That’s how you sell something.
What you DO NOT do, what does NOT work, is ignore my calls and emails for months on end, letting my questions about “Hey what are you working on?” and “Do I need to be doing anything? Should I be planning something?” go unanswered, only to show up at the office finally, suddenly, without notice, drop a manuscript on my desk, and say “Here’s the new thing,” and then walk out, leaving me staring off into the middle distance, wondering how my life ever turned out the way it did.
That’s not marketing. That’s not leveraging social media to build buzz. That’s not inviting your audience to metaphorically participate in your creative journey.
But apparently Kevin has a new book. It comes out tomorrow.