I spent much of last night reworking this website. To be more specific, I was reworking some of the “permanent” copy on the informational pages. The design, as you can see, is the same for the most part, though some of the content for several of the pages of the site (as opposed to the blog) has been consolidated, and there are now fewer information pages linked on the homepage. I’ve also renamed some of the remaining pages.
It may seem a bit boring to write a blog post on my site about tinkering with the site. It’s significant enough to mention, however, because this wasn’t just about updating some copy. This was about increasing authenticity.
When I first launched TyUnglebower.com about five years ago, it was with conventional wisdom regarding self-promotion in mind, and more than a few trends in same as well. My (always reluctant) dedication to such “universal” requirements as brand recognition and clear U.V.P. statements had faded somewhat from their zenith during my brief golden days as a member of Brazen Careerist (back when that site was actually brazen). Still, I was determined to make the commandments of modern salesmanship work for me when I launched this site, even if it meant saying and doing and representing certain things with which I was never 100% comfortable. That, in fact, was something I was told over and over again I had to accept…being uncomfortable.
I used similar tactics in the attempted selling of my first self-published collection of short stories, Thank You For Ten.
Well, the results for my book, as well as my position as a freelance writer were not what I had expected them to be. Truthfully, not half of what I expected they could be. No doubt, I have certain flaws and lack of resources that have over the years contributed to a lack of successful promotion of any given aspect of myself, or any given product, but having followed as many of the so-called rules of the road, and paying the price of feeling awkward and inadequate at times, I expected there to be much more return on my investment. (R.O.I. in marketing jargon.) It didn’t happen.
And continuing down the same road forever, it was never going to happen, and I knew that. I have known it for quite some time. Much longer ago came this realization than the actual work of changing the copy for this site. But the old messages and presentation held on…until last night.
Give the pages a look if you like. That’s what they are there for. But if you want the short description of most of these recent changes, here it is: it all feels more like me now. Not that I was ever lying before, but whatever I was presenting initially through the promotional and informational copy here on the site was a version of me that was too polished, too business-oriented, too used car salesman for who I am today. I can be any of those things at any given time, but to have all of those bells and whistles firing in your face as soon as you come to my online home just doesn’t cut it for me anymore, if it ever really did. Plus, I wasn’t selling my products or promoting myself any more effectively anyway.
So, all of that copy is now more frank. More down to earth. Less about marketing and more about introducing. It’s a greater share of the me you would see during a meet up for lunch, or during an interview. Closer to who I am by default than it used to be. Closer in attitude now to my blog posts.
I still am a writer for hire. I still want to network as best as someone like me can, and I still want people to buy my books, or book my one man show, or ask me to speak. Those goals are not dismissed. It’s just that now, TyUnglebower.com has more of the “everyday” me, and less of the guy-working-an-angle me.
Will it work? Will more people follow this website now? Will more of my followers start commenting on my posts? (Rare.) Will it increase book sales? Truthfully, in the short run, probably not.
But perhaps in the long run, a display that feels more like me, even if there are holes and oddities in the so called “brand presentation” is a lot more important. I know that some of the high-flying marketing experts with whom I briefly rubbed elbows years ago would shake their heads at this naivete. But then again, I don’t talk to any of them anymore, and am no longer a name in those circles, if ever I was one. There’s probably a reason for that. It’s not me.
So the worries about self-promotion, and the research into methods that are truer to who I am continue. Some of the stress about doing so will continue. Perhaps my obscurity will continue. But at least my page will sound like me, up or down.
If I can’t market that, I probably have no business trying to market anything else.