So if you’re like me, a dancer who is still new to the pole and aerial world, and is interested in performing, teaching, or just connecting with other pole dancers/aerialists in general but feel EXTREMELY uncomfortable with self-promotion, boy, do I have some news to share with you!

This weekend I was lucky enough to attend an incredible marketing & negotiating workshop facilitated by Nia Austin-Edwards, a fellow dancer, performing artist, and communications director at Brooklyn Arts Exchange, and “founder of PURPOSE Productions — a company that supports artists and organizers in the manifestation of PURPOSE-full work that seeks to unify and develop our world community.”

During the workshop she talked about marketing in a way that I’ve never heard it before and I’m excited to share it with you all!

Purpose, the final P:
If you’ve ever taken a marketing class you’ve heard it a million times, in order to have a successful marketing campaign, you must be familiar with the P’s of marketing. These P’s can range from 4 P’s; which usually include price, product, people, and place, and then there’s the more extensive list of P’s which include promotion, positioning, and packaging. None of these lists include the most important P of all, purpose. Why are you marketing this product (which can include your talents!)? Your purpose should be clear from the beginning; who you are, and why you do what you do.

Marketing as storytelling:
After that, she reframed the entire narrative of marketing. Instead of this forced and non-genuine attempt to buy things they don’t need, she explained marketing as storytelling. How are you telling your story? What makes your story, your beginnings into the pole and aerial arts, your movement journey, your freestyles, rehearsals, etc. special? What makes you, you? Highlight those things. You don’t have to become a “brand,” or become someone else. Just tell your story. Be your authentic self. It will make connecting with other people more natural, and you will find the opportunities that align with your purpose.

Create a website and think about it as your home:
How do you want your home to look? Clean and easy to navigate? Vibrant and bold to be an eye-catcher? That means any other social media (and remember you may not need to be active on all the social media websites) will be either a door, or window to your home. That means you must keep it tidy, not just visually, but also making sure that all information is up to date and no links are broken.

Self-promotion as self care:
And finally, my favorite advice from the workshop, self-promotion as self care. By being vulnerable (which happens at varying degrees depending on how much of your story you are willing to share), constantly re-examining your goals and purpose and making sure they are aligned, and telling about yourself in a loving manner (which should be inherent in any self-marketing), you are constantly affirming your self-worth, and honoring that your gifts should be shared.

Of course, there a many of factors that go into the big picture of marketing, but as a crash course in ethical and loving self-promotion, it was pretty amazing. This workshop totally shifted my perceptions of marketing and for someone who has MAJOR mental hurdles of self-promotion, I feel like I am on the road to healthier relationship with self-promotion.

Nia Austin-Edwards can be contacted at http://www.purposeproductions.org/ if you are seeking marketing consultation OR if you (now’s the perfect time for self promotion!), or know someone who does this work, please feel free to list their contact information here!