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Nothing is Free in the World of Advertising

By C. Moffat, October 2015.

Nothing is free in the world of advertising.

Think about that for a moment.

Even if you do your own advertising, it still costs Time. So Time becomes the unit of measurement for determining the value of the advertising you are doing.

If you hire someone else to do the advertising for you then it costs Money. Cash. Dollars. Moolah. Clams. Bucks. Whatever the kids are calling it these days. Loonies, if you live in Canada.

So the concept of free advertising is really a misnomer, because even if you do it yourself it still costs Time and possibly also Materials and/or Fees.

Lets pretend you are handing out flyers on the street to random people. You will need thousands of flyers, which will need to be printed at a print shop like Staples or Kinkos. So there is the cost of materials right there. You spend Time designing the flyer yourself, you have it printed for a Materials cost, and you spend more Time handing out the flyer on the street.

Another route is you build a website - which you can get for free, but you still have to design the website and write all the content for the website. So that is more Time right there. If you want the website to look professional you will need to buy a domain name for a Fee so you can have a .com or .ca website and you are not using Blogspot / Wordpress / etc. [You will note we have chosen to make this blog very low budget, it doesn't even have its own domain name. Not yet at least. We don't bother to buy a domain name for a blogspot page until it reaches 100 posts. It is not worth the investment in our opinion until a blog reaches 100 posts of content.]

So what do we have here...

  1. Time
  2. Money
  3. Materials (Money)
  4. Fees (Money)

But let us pretend for a moment you have a Lack of Time. How much advertising can you get when you have a Lack of Time? Not a lot as it turns out. You are basically down to the two basic options:

  • Do it yourself with what little time you have.
  • Use the little time you have to hire someone else to do it for you.

Some people may have noticed the Old Catch-22 in this equation. You have to have money to make money.

It is a very simple concept. You have to invest money in advertising in order for your business to make MORE money.

A few days ago a DJ contacted me via email apparently looking for advertising. What was revealed over time however was that they were looking for free advertising. They wanted someone else to do the work of advertising their DJ career, but they didn't want to pay for the advertising. They apparently expected other people to just advertise their career for free.

Now I should note that this person is not famous. I have never heard of them before. But lets pretend that they were famous - famous people know you have to spend money on advertising if you want extra publicity, otherwise you are really just relying on fans to do the work for you - because in theory fans will provide free advertising - provided you do the basic work of making a product that looks good and you have a loyal fanbase due to years of previous advertising to build up both your fanbase and your career. Which goes back to money again - the people working with the celebrity invested money in promoting their career, they made them a celebrity over time, and then the celebrity reaps the rewards of years of money poured into their careers.

A non-celebrity trying to become a celebrity therefore really needs that extra boost of investment in their career in order to make things happen. People don't develop a fanbase over night by doing zero work.

You may be familiar with the concept of artists and musicians being "discovered". That is a false stereotype because what they don't tell you is all the years of training, practice, failure that the artist or musician went through before they became financially successful. They put in the time and effort and their success was result of all that effort.

Here is a little fact for you. Artists typically don't become financially successful until after the age of 40. So lets take for example American painter Jackson Pollock, born 1912, died 1956 at the age of 44.

People like to claim that Pollock became famous because art critic Clement Greenberg "discovered" him, but that is wholly untrue. Pollock was already successful as a painter before Greenberg. Pollock's fame did skyrocket after the Life magazine article in 1949, when he was 37. Thus Pollock managed to become famous before the age of 40, which is very rare, but he was already financially successful.

Oddly enough however his fame didn't add any extra financial success. Once famous Pollock abandoned his drip style of painting and went back to figurative work. His finances never really improved due to the extra fame.

But Pollock never would have reached that point in his career had he not put in the effort. According to people who knew him he was extraordinarily persistent, hard-working and ambitious.

And so the moral of the story for the people out there who want "free advertising" is to go work harder. If you want to become successful, you need to work hard at it. Need advertising? Start working on it yourself or hire someone else to do it if you are unwilling to do the work yourself.

Nothing is free in the world of advertising.

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