Music marketing tips, self-promotion ideas and more
Section Two of Unleash the Artist Within features four special reports that were written to inspire you to make the most of your talents -- and to reinforce the lessons covered during the four-week workshop. Here's the first part of a report called 18 Low-Cost, High-Impact Ideas You Can Use to Market Your Creative Talents:

I want to challenge you with this section. It's safe to assume that you acquired this book to get a few new ideas that might help you take your creative endeavors to a higher level. But you've done the same thing with books and magazines you've purchased before. What I want you to do with this resource is actually use it. Don't just think about these ideas and then set them aside. This must become a truly interactive document for you to get the most out of it.

Therefore, as you read this section, highlight the parts that excite you, write in the margins and refer to it when you're in a rut and in need of fresh ideas. Don't treat this book like a sacred artifact. Get close to it, get it dirty and -- most importantly -- really use the most appropriate tips in this section to promote your talents as a writer, artist, performer or other creative person.

1. Write a Letter to the Editor

Respond to a creative topic related to what you do that's covered in your local newspaper or even a national magazine, and work in a subtle mention of your product, service or skill. As long as you have an informative, insightful comment and don't over hype yourself, chances are good your letter will end up in print -- and give you extra exposure for free.

2. Write Your Own Specialty Column

Even better than a one-time letter to the editor is your own column -- either in print or online. If you're a graphic designer, offer the local business magazine a column on how to create brochures and other materials that bring in customers. If you're a yoga instructor, approach a health and fitness publication with the idea for a series of articles on using your mind and body to relieve stress. You may have to offer these articles for free, but doing so will establish you as an expert in the community.

3. Offer Informational Seminars or Workshops

If you're not frightened by the thought of public speaking, you should be presenting informative workshops. They have proven to be very effective for reeling in new customers. Like the newspaper column idea mentioned before, seminars are often presented free of charge. But you'll usually generate enough paying customers through free workshops to make them worthwhile.

Give your workshop a catchy title. For instance, a crafts store might present "12 Simple Ways to Decorate Your Home with Handmade Crafts." Of course, during the seminar you must provide truly useful information, including a compelling reason to use your product or service to meet attendees' needs.

4. Produce a Customer-Generating Freebie

This idea alone can be one of your most powerful marketing tools. Create a simple, low-cost report or tip sheet that supplies useful information of interest to your ideal customer. For example, I once wrote a report called "12 Ways to Survive the Holidays Without Adding Inches to Your Waistline" as a seasonal promotion for a personal fitness trainer. Using the free report as a hook, she generated tons of inquiries, some free media exposure and $2,200 worth of paying clients in one month.

Once you create a report that's right for you, promote it in all of your ads and publicity efforts (the media loves to plug these free items). Then follow up with everyone who requests the freebie.

5. Present an Award or Hold a Contest

In the same way that surveys, free reports and seminars can lead to public awareness, so can awards and contests. They can either be serious (an Entrepreneur of the Year Award, a Poetry Contest) or more light-hearted (Stupid Carpenter Tricks, the World's Largest Twister Game). One hot sauce maker sponsors an annual Chili Cook-off that gets a mountain of press. The best awards and contests will tie in nicely with your creative product or service. Find one that works for you.

6. Specialize - Don't Try to Be All Things to All People

When you think of Stephen King, what image comes to mind? Unless you've been living in a cave, you think of a prolific writer who creates novels filled with terror and suspense. But what if Mr. King also put out books on gardening, cooking and personal finance? How successful would he be then?

Surely, King could write such books if he put his mind to it. So why doesn't he? Because he has a niche that people clearly identify him with. Therefore, he succeeds on a much higher level by specializing instead of trying to please everyone. Learn from this lesson. Have a clear idea of how you best serve your clients with your creative talents. Then focus, focus, focus ... while avoiding the temptation to spread yourself too thin.

From here you can: