I had a few illuminating conversations last night, one that frustrated me, and another that reinforced what the first person said, much to my chagrin. The topic: promotion. My response: hell no. We all have that friend on Facebook or that person that we follow on twitter that is really into self promotion, or everything they post says “please RT” or “like my page” or something equally as irritating. And chances are we only follow them because of some real life entanglement or the rest of the content keeps us there.
Single Girl Cookies has now been happening for over two months and is starting to show signs of what it really is and take on it’s own life, much like a child around the age of two (speaking from nephew experience). All of which is great and I’m loving every minute of it. I still get to bake and deliver cookies and make people happy and life is good. With this growth has also come some small amounts of notoriety, which is great; I figure the bigger this things is, the more people it can affect and the more change and kindness that can happen, right? I find myself walking (or at least trying to) this thin line between feeding the project and promoting it. I’d said from the very beginning that I want whatever happens with this to be organic and on it’s own. If you create likeable content, people will like it. (Sorry, Jeremy, I stole that one) I never want to be that annoying friend promoting their home business/show/spouse’s company/etc. I also feel slightly awkward sending links to someone saying, “Hey! Check this out, look how awesome I am!”, because if you don’t know me personally, that’s how it could come across. And those of you that do know me personally, know that’s not me.
But I do want this to grow. It’s bigger than cookies, it’s bigger than me and I want to help it get there. How do I get the message out and promote Single Girl Cookies the right way? I like relying on my fans and have been telling people, “If you like it, do whatever you want with it, tell whoever, share whatever” and so far it’s yielded positive results. What are good ways and avenues for me to share this while maintaining my humility?
All these people saying I should contact this person and that thing also (inevitably, now) come with the questions, “what do you want from this?” and “what’s the cause?” The first one I know how to answer, I want people to be kinder, change the way they look at people in their world, etc. But the second one is a bit trickier. Usually it goes like this, “Uh, the kindness is the cause?” palms up with me looking slightly bewildered when people can’t comprehend I’m not asking for money for something, be it myself or a charity. And honestly, f there was a charity or some other monetary funded cause, I think it would feel easier for me to promote because then it wouldn’t be about me, it would be about something else. Which it already is (kindness) but that seems to not be enough for some. In a flattering light, it can be said that they are just seeing the potential for this and how much more could be done with it. But I’m also mindful of stable and sustainable growth and would like this thing to be more than just a flash in the pan. (metaphor for a relationship?) This week alone i had a guy open up his wallet and try to hand me cash before he even knew what it was. All he knew was people have causes, they cost money, how much do you want? Uh….come again? And last night another outline three different (and easy) ways this could become a charitable and money making for me venture to support my other goals and aspirations. I don’t know what to do with that. I could, and it would be fairly easy, but it seems wrong and not true to the spirit of Single Girl Cookies.
I guess all of this is to say HELP! I don’t ask for help much and have a stupid amount of pride when it comes to accepting it. I have always taken care of things myself and take pride in being self sufficient. I’ll even be that idiot walking down the street with 12 grocery bags because I can do it on my own. I know, I’m dumb. But as a woman, this is a very important to me. So you know how hard this is when I admit to needing help. I’d really love any feedback or advice or suggestions or anything you can think of. How do I help this grow into the movement that it can become? I think a good start would be for all of you to tell me how this has positively impacted your life. Have you performed any acts of kindness as a result of Single Girl Cookies? I know of two already and they warm my heart 🙂 That’s the whole point of this, right??
Drop me a line on twitter, facebook, or comment below. Your feedback, promotion and help is greatly appreciated, and I am really looking forward to hearing what you guys have to say!
Copyright 2013, Renee Heitmann
As an agent of (slow moving) social change (health promotion mostly), I think it’s an interesting situation to be in, and probably the best life dilemma you could conjure up. We’re of the generation of women who has been taught that we can have, be, and do anything we want in life. We’ve worked hard, and we’ve also tried to follow our bliss. I mean, who doesn’t want to get out of bed everyday and have “work” feel like “play?” We want to do what we love and have it make the world better too. Paying bills is essential, but hey, more power to anyone who can do that by following their bliss—no one said we shouldn’t get paid to make the world a better place! It allows us to keep spreading goodness and not have to get some boring desk job. I’m all for that 🙂
I think it’s awesome for you to just see where it goes, always check in with your gut and your heart when faced with a choice for Next Steps, and just stay true to the reasons you did this in the first place. It’s different than what people are used to, and different can be scary to people so they’ll try to force it to fit in a box.
I think asking and going forward just as you are is probably the way you’ll feel best about the journey and the destination. I always tell myself to look just one step ahead, not ten. Things fall into place more easily that way (and are less stressful).
A while ago, I read this post about self-promotion and it really sticks with me. Maybe it’ll be interesting to you too. http://kriscarr.com/blog/the-secret-to-self-promotion-radiance-and-the-facts-jack/
Thanks Lisa, this WAS really helpful. I read the post as well and it had pretty much the same points that I have been getting from other sources, but put in a way that resonates with me. I figured It was better to be honest and “all in” with my followers about my misgivings and caution regarding self promotion and let people know that it makes me uncomfortable than come off as the irritating self promoter that I mentioned. In the end, regardless of what I’m getting from other sources, I still feel that I’m doing the right things for this, staying true to the mission as you said – it’s just nice to get back up 🙂 Thank YOU!
Each person who reads your posts and passes it along is growth. Patience with your desire for faster growth. Maybe some fertilizer (or in your case baking soda) for your spirit; I forwarded your Singlegirlcookie news article to one of the Albany tv news anchors who often does health/human interest/spirit stories. I suggested that she check you out the next time she is in NYC. Her name is Benita Zahn http://choose.esc.edu/events/student-wellness-retreat/benita-zahn-bio/ . I have no clout or relationship with her but she did respond to my note “thanks, sounds great’. It will grow. For now…. enjoy St. Pat’s weekend!
And thanks for that. Yes, patience has never been my strong suit, and I will be checking in on that more often, but i think I’ve answered the question “Should I be doing something more to promote?” and the answer is what my gut said, “No, you are doing fine, it will grow in time.” That being said, it IS nice to have someone backing you up on that thought, and fertilizer never hurt either 😉
“One girl. One mission: To spread happiness and smiles one cookie at a time.” I don’t know where it’s going, but this is where it already is. Keep creating likeable content (and cookies).
Just a couple of quick thoughts –
Don’t be super worried about growth yet. Make awesome things and people will follow. I think that’s where people start to lose sight of why they started a project in the first place.
That being said – I think there’s a few easy things you can do to engage more people and build that community faster (in my opinion, anyway).
1 – Keep writing, but SHOW us more too. More photos of the process of making your cookies, as well as some of the stories behind the recipients, not just the business, that you’re delivering to. Who are they? Why are they the recipients? What’s happened since the delivery? Tell more stories
2 – The cookies sound and look awesome (raspberry frosting? Yes please.), but if you have time it might be awesome to share your recipes on your blog so us baking newbies can take a crack at it. Photos help too!
3 – Make it easy to share. People are drawn to photos and having more photos to accompany your text will make it a richer experience and be more eye catching when someone shares to Facebook or Pinterest (if you’re not on Pinterest stop reading this comment and get an account – Single Girl Cookies would fit there perfectly and get some traction I’m sure)
4 – Share what others are doing – make it easy for readers to share their stories in baking, or good works – or just take recommendations for where to give cookies next. Who says you have to be limited to your own neighborhood. Cookies by air, anyone? If people have a suggestion maybe they’d also be willing to kick in for cost to ship cookies and make them – maybe not yet, but it could happen. Leave all possibilities open.
5 – Get a donate button and put it on your site. It doesn’t hurt to have a way for people who WANT to support your project, be able to do so easily.
Ok that’s it for now. Keep on cookin’!