I’ve been writing long enough to remember when writers just wrote. No marketing. No PR or social media. I got my start at a newspaper and used those clips to land work with magazines. I’m not that old. With my birthday in a few days I feel the need to defend that, I guess. Or maybe it’s my ‘back in my day’ references—those are new. Anyway, I remember sending paper mail queries and SASEs by the truckload as recently as the late nineties.
I’m not some old crotchity bitch who’s against the revolution of digital content. Quite the opposite. It’s how I land the majority of my paid work and most of that is digital content. It’s the reason I get to work in my bed sporting elephant-print pajama pants, which is one of my favorite perks. And for my paid work, that’s fine—I respond to comments on my guest and contributor posts. But that’s about the extent of my contact with readers there.
For my own blogs, it’s a whole different story. I use Facebook and I have a Twitter account…and while I love Pinterest I’m not very active there. Video and interactive media are becoming more and more essential to branding and connecting with readers. I know I’m missing out on opportunities to reach a wider audience and even create more interesting content…all because I’m camera shy.
If only I could hire a spokesperson. I don’t like seeing myself in pictures and video is even worse. I don’t even make regular appearances on my personal Facebook page. It’s been a lifelong thing. I was a chunky kid who didn’t like herself much and while I’ve overcome so much of that, it doesn’t make my camera-confidence problem any easier to conquer. I see these videos in my timeline of polished, professional women and their courses and coaching programs, or these inspiring and fashionable Instagram accounts, and know I couldn’t pull that off on Halloween. It’s simply not me.
Maybe that’s the point, though. Not to be one of those polished women but to be myself, fear or not.
There’s still the challenge of developing an effective multi-media marketing and content strategy and social media marketing plan—things I’m more comfortable with—but the fact is, no one is twisting my arm to stand in front of a camera. It’s my choice to either put myself out there and give my projects the best chance for success I can (and risk looking foolish) or don’t. Simple as that.
So what’s a self-conscious writer to do? Well I thought I’d start with recorded podcasts and webinars. That way I’m there and connecting but the visual focus is on a slideshow or my monitor. A weekly ‘show’ where I answer reader questions and interact virtually is another great option and one I’d like to integrate. It would also be good practice for speaking as I’m being recorded.
Since I’m camera shy, another good idea is to optimize my other marketing efforts…the ones that don’t require video, like Pinterest and Twitter. Of course, connecting in the comments section of my blog posts and ones I admire helps me build relationships with like-minded people, as does the Paid Write Facebook page and group. Networking in other writing groups can also help grow a following.
Either way I’m facing my fear and exploring the roots of it…but eventually it’s do or don’t.
Calling All Self-Employed Brand-Marketing Camera-Shy Entrepreneurs, Bloggers and Content Creators
So how about you? Are you struggling to overcome a fear of the camera? Did you face your fear and are now rocking the social media scene? Leave your tips, experiences and comments below. I hope I’ve helped you recognize your fear (and maybe even develop marketing steps to conquer it) but I know you guys have great ideas that can help me and others!