You might expect a former poet laureate to specialize in melancholy—not to be as funny as a stand-up comedian, but Billy Collins is a funny man who writes poems that appeal even to those who proclaim they don’t like poetry. He may be the only poet whose appearances regularly fill auditoriums.
What Collins has done (wittingly or otherwise) is to employ a powerful marketing tool that for want of a better name I’ll call Just Show Up.
Actually, there is a little more to it than that; let’s call it Just Show Up With Your Best Self in Tow. Letting people know the person behind your logo is the intention here.
One night when I was channel surfing and stumbled upon a program called Chihuly Over Venice. I knew nothing about Dale Chihuly and even less about how glass art is produced, but by the end of the program I was determined to see as much of his work in person as I possibly could.
Since then, I have made Chihuly pilgrimages to Tacoma, Seattle, Las Vegas, London, Madison, San Francisco and Minneapolis. He, too, makes frequent appearances on public television and at openings of showings of his art.
A born teacher, Chihuly also understands that creativity is creativity, wherever it shows up. He says, “A lot of creativity has to do with energy, confidence and focus. These are the elements for making creative things. It’s probably the same thing whether you’re making a movie, whether you’re an entrepreneur doing business, whether you’re an artist, or whether you’re a gardener or a cook. These are all the same qualities that it takes.”
Susan Harrow is a media coach and public relations specialist who tells aspiring authors, “The most important thing to a publisher is your presence. Good writing can be bought, but publishers want the truth of you connecting to people.”
I’m guessing that many are surprised to hear that an author’s presence gets such high marks, but I had two publishers make offers after attending one of my seminars in New York and determining that I was media ready.
If you understand how important this is, you’ll waste no time hiding out. In fact, you’ll look for ways to make it easy for people to find you.
“Somewhere someone is looking for exactly what you have to offer,” says Louise Hay. Our presence—showing up and being seen—is a marketing tool that should not be overlooked.
You’re a singular production and what you bring to your business will be uniquely and utterly yours alone. Knowing that will give you the added bonus of having more empathy and curiosity for other people.
Reveling in their uniqueness is how successful artists approach their art and how artistic entrepreneurs approach their business.
Or as Julia Cameron so eloquently reminds us, “ Since each of us is one-of-a-kind, the market, for all its supposed predictability, is actually vulnerable to falling in love with any of us at any time.”
But first you’ve got to show up.