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Friday, April 6, 2012

Focus

Marketing ViralMarketing Viral (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

     

           One of the biggest marketing mistakes is lack of focus.  If you don't know exactly where you're going and how you're going to get there you can waste a lot of time and resources getting lost along the way and perhaps not reaching your destination at all.

         First you have to decide exactly what it is you want to market.  Is it your book, a product, a service, a belief?    What is the exact thing or component you want to sell?   What is the ultimate goal beyond that specific thing?

        If you're an author, your current book may be foremost on your mind as it well should be.  But is that book the most important thing you want to consider?  If it's the only book you ever plan to write that may be the case, but if not you might want to think about the next book and the ones after that.  The current book is the frosting on the cake and you the author are the cake.  You are the real substance of what you should be marketing.  Establish your brand so you become more recognized than your book so that when subsequent books come along the reading public will come to attention because it's your book

        After your product and the core of your campaign is established begin to focus on who your target audience is.   If you start an advertising campaign where you just start spending money randomly without any clear thought process involved, you may be wasting a lot of money trying to reach people who don't care.  In other words if you are trying to market an extraordinary new automobile accessory you may fall flat if you buy a booth at a bead show.

        An example close to home for me is the A to Z Challenge.  When I came up with the idea in 2010 I had a week to get people interested.  I started posting my idea on my own blog every day in order to reach the few readers that I had at that time.  I then began to leave comments on other blogs with a note to lure them to my blog posts.  Within the week I had 100 bloggers signed up to join me.  That was the key:  I had an idea that seemed like a pretty good one and I focused on reaching out to the bloggers who I thought might be interested.   In the third year of the Challenge, with the help of a dedicated team of bloggers committed to this Challenge and many other bloggers interested in being a part of something big, we've turned the April A to Z into an established event.   My focus combined with the added focus of others resulted in success.

        Dreams are where successes start, but focus is the fodder that fuels the flame.


A bunch of F words in one blog title:

For my F tribute I'm breaking my own rules for a blogger who's always breaking the rules--and besides they're my rules so I can break them if I want to.   Stephen T McCarthy's blog may be political, politically incorrect, and always well-written, but Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends is always focused.  I attribute my beginnings in blogging to Stephen T. McCarthy.  He may not have entered his blog in the A to Z Challenge in 2012, but he is here in spirit and often in comments.  Thanks for your continued inspiration and support my Friend.

I'll also recognize Munir who faithfully has been visiting my blogs and leaving comments for quite some time.  Her blog is aptly called Focus.

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54 comments:

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I suppose one has to be focused in life. Wonderful write up Lee.

Yvonne.

Charmaine Clancy said...

Excellent points, especially about needing to know your market.

Will visit the blogs you've mentioned :)

Wagging Tales

YeamieWaffles said...

I agree so much with this Lee. When I'm trying to start my own business in the future I will always remember to be focused now, awesome post as usual buddy.

jabblog said...

You're so right.Focus is important in all aspects of life - you can't achieve anything much if you're woolly-minded.

Jamie Gibbs said...

Seeing how much the challenge has grown over 2 years, I'd say your focus has definitely paid off!


Jamie
Fellow A-Z bloggy buddy
Mithril Wisdom

Laura Eno said...

It's incredible what you've done with this challenge in only 3 years! I, for one, thank you for starting it. I'm having so much fun and it does help teach me focus.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

And it has now taken the Internet by storm!
I know I'm marketing myself first. That's good though because I'm better at that than marketing my books. Feels less awkward.
I'm still amazed at what's happened with the IWSG. A random idea has now taken on a life of its own.

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Focus is something I have problems with...need to work on it.

kmckendry said...

Great post! This is my 2nd year in the A-Z and I love it!
I'm heading over to check out the links now.

Annalisa Crawford said...

Good points, that I think I've forgotten - ie. all my focus is on the published book, to the extent I haven't written much since. Very, very bad for building my brand!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I learned about the A-Z Challenge last year when I was visiting some of the blogs I follow and knew I wanted to do it this time. :)

I think focus is what turns dreams into goals.

Jules said...

HAHA... exactly it. What is it I'm trying to sell? Focus right now is a luxury. :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Lee - your focus for the A - Z Challenge has been inspiring - while supporting everyone as best you ..

Good luck with your plans for the future .. 1852 bloggers is some number .. cheers Hilary

Kelly Barnes said...

I found out the hard way that what you focus on is more important than how well you focus. There are too many agents I can't re-query now that I have an idea that I had no idea what I was doing.

Gregg said...

Focus is such a key word. It is so easy to be side-tracked or even derailed. Great reminder this wonderful Friday!

Debra Harris-Johnson said...

Yes Lee you can dream all you want but after that you have to focus on how to make that dream come true. Nice quote. Great post as usual. Thanks for stopping by. After the challenege go back and look at my A I started off with a tribute to you. Everyone loved that it was dedicated to you as it should be (;
dreamweaver

a.eye said...

Thanks for starting the challenge! It is great to see new blogs!

Maurice Mitchell said...

Thanks for sharing how you marketed the phenomenal A-Z challenge. I've been following since last year and it's great to see a grass-roots campaign blossom. Focus is key.
- Maurice Mitchell
The Geek Twins | Film Sketchr
@thegeektwins | @mauricem1972

overcomingloneliness.com said...

I really appreciate your practical advise and insight into successful writing. I have bookmarked this site and added it to my necessary list of tools to have at hand as I write!

Dee Dee OConnor said...

One of my biggest challenges as a writer is focus. I'm like a cat in that regard and easily distracted with a tendency to go off on different tangents. I always have to ask myself, "what are trying to say." Hopefully, I know. :-)

Shannon... said...

Interesting post... Useful info, particularly for those of us who are just starting out. Thanks!
Shannon

MOV said...

great post! very informative. will be back to read more!

best,
MOV

Sarah Allen said...

Great post! I think you're exactly right. We need to know exactly what we're trying to market, and who exactly we're marketing it to. Thanks for the reminder :)

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

Matthew MacNish said...

A to Z is such a great example of the kind of results a focused effort can achieve.

Tracy Jo said...

This is awesome: focus is the fodder that fuels the flame. :-) You could write a book on Marketing on your A-Z post. Happy Friday!

Donna K. Weaver said...

Well said, and it doesn't hurt that your idea was one that really appealed to people.

shelly said...

Thank you for your wise advice.

Bushman said...

I am fundamentally FUBAR so focusing is a major fissure in my growing chasm of writing.

Arlee Bird said...

Loving the comments so far. The expanse of this year's Challenge is making focus difficult, but the comments make my objectives more clear. I thank all of you.

Lee

Karen Walker said...

You could become a marketing consultant, Lee. Or, you could turn these posts into a marketing how to.
Karen

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

BOIDMAN ~
Thanks much for the shout-out, McBuddy! I LOVED the heading: "A Bunch Of F-Words..." Believe it or not, I've never even thought of it like that before, but it's certainly an appropriate way to look at it, considering many of the topics I address on that blog and the levels of irritability and frustration I sometimes achieve there.

Yeah, I'm not participating in "A To Z", but I am reading and commenting from time to time.

You, sir, are the King Of Bloggers. To be doing the "A To Z" thang on multiple blogs all at once - Whew! - all I can say is that, "it bloggles my mind!"

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Kathleen Valentine said...

Focus is incredibly important. Unfortunately it is also one of the hardest things to do. I find the more success you achieve, the more distractions there are. It is frustrating.

Lynn Proctor said...

great thing--focus--this challenge has me working hard at just that--thanks for going after what you wanted

About JollyJilly said...

What excellent ideas re focus I so agree how important that is. This challenge has made me focus on my blog and I hope to improve it as time goes on. Many thanks.
I hope my A to Z is not too boring lol
www.jollyjillys.blogspot.com

Jessa Olson said...

Love your blog! Would love for you to follow me back.

http://throughtherainbowsandstorms.blogspot.com/

Arlee Bird said...

Karen Walker - Thanks for those encouraging words. This means a lot to me.

StMc -- I have a lot to thank you for since you were one of my earliest supporters. Don't ever stop writing.

And thanks to all for the additional comments.

Lee

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I see this with students who are doing research projects. They don't narrow their focus enough and then it's difficult to find the correct material or in the case of promotion, the correct audience.

Suze said...

I've learned this through interacting with industry professionals over the last few years. When you first set out to write a novel, these aren't the thoughts at the forefront of your creative process. They weren't for me, anyway. But they are vital to any kind of commercial success.

sulekkha said...

Dream gig and focus on realizing it. Sounds simple but is a lot of hard work but so worth it in the end. I had a dream which I turned into a reality, now I am working hard to make it a success.

http://sulekharawat.com/2012/04/06/eccentric/

Stephanie Allen said...

Interesting post. I think focus is something a lot of people forget about (myself included, some of the time).

http://ohthevoices.blogspot.com

Kirsty said...

Hi thanks for having the focus to set up this challenge - it's my second year and I'm loving it (even with all the 'effort').

It's great to hear advice to make yourself the focus rather than the product - I think this is where social media comes in so handy.

klahanie said...

Greetings Lee,
Yes it's me, the, as you noted and I quote, "You have been appointed as the official anti-A to Z spokesman", shy, humble and oh so unassuming Gary, who, ironically perhaps, has actually promoted this alphabetical challenge via my satirical and sometimes serious postings about it all. In fact, I have gone around, spent several hours, encouraging and supporting those in the challenge who may not be getting that much recognition. And by doing this, it means I'm not posting very much.
Anyway, enough about me. A positive focus starts from within and as we do our best to maintain a positive focus environment from within, in turn, we spread out positivity, our concentrated focus, onto the outside world.
Keep maintaining your positive focus, Lee. You know, despite my good natured ribbing of this challenge, that the ethos surrounding it is of a sharing, caring, blogging community. Now, that truly is a positive focus.
With respect and good wishes to you and all those involved in the challenge, your friend, Gary

Tracy said...

Lee, I'm really enjoying these posts and learning a great deal...thanks for all the useful information!

storytreasury said...

I sometimes have trouble with focus. ;) But I always get back on track.

November Rain - k~ said...

Good advice for any one who needs a little focus for the direction they are heading into.

A-Z 2012 (#49) - Bloggit Write A-Z 2012 - Poetry
A-Z 2012 (#861) - Bloggit Write A-Z 2012 - Haiku

Sylvia Colette Branch said...

Focus - so true, so simple and so very hard for a scatterbrained artist-writer-teacher-blogger....(and those are just my paying gigs)
Great info as always - but you know, all these wonderful posts from A to Z bloggers is a 'little distracting' :)

umbrellalady said...

Focus is a difficult thing for some people. It is usually not for lack of wanting to stay present but because of something in their personality or abilities that may prevent them from doing so. That said, when one can focus and get the attention of others on the same task it is a gift worthy of sharing.

Arlee Bird said...

Thanks for more comments.

I think most of you are creative types who have so many things you want to do, say, and convey that you're exploding to get it all out there at once. Sometimes we have to pick one thing and focus on that thing.

Gary/ Klahanie -- Thanks for all you do. You give so much encouragement to others in your good-natured and playful way. Thanks for the special role that you play in our lives.

Lee

kilipohi said...

Focus is a great F topic. It totally reminds me of a movie quote to focus..foooocusss

J. Burroughs said...

Great post, Lee! Definitely gets me thinking about what my own focus is.

I just had to read this post when I saw the title "Focus" since that is the F word I chose for my Raising Dogs & Training Children blog today.

Sheenah Freitas said...

Fantastic post! Focus is really important. I probably should come up with a better battle plan in regards to marketing.

FeFiFo said...

Hey Lee,

I am still in the A-Z challenge, by the way. Your blog is quite right focus is huge. Nice to meet you and this A-Z is a great idea. :)

Arlee Bird said...

Thanks for the late Friday night comments. Focus is something that I think many of us try to achieve, but distractions sometimes make us lose sight of what's up ahead.

Lee

Betty Alark said...

Thanks again for the direction - Lee!

Focus is a very important factor in life; it takes time to know the way in life; its nice to have someone to point way!

What you offer is appreciated!