What do Lady Gaga and Deion Sanders have in common besides the paparazzi? Savvy marketing skills, says E. Ethelbert Miller. In case you missed it, Miller was a guest presenter here in October at the Foundation Center during Arts Month which featured programs and resources geared toward individual artists and arts organizations. Miller is a prolific writer and literary activist. He is also the Director of the African American Resource Center at Howard University and the board chair of the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive think tank located in Washington, DC.
Miller went on to say that marketing oneself as an artist is very important and managing your image even more so. He talked about how he manages images of himself and has branded even his name. He noted that what people put out there about you molds and shapes your image whether it's intentional or not. So how do you market yourself and manage your image? Miller discussed three major tips:
- Do it consistently,
- Control the time, place and format, and
- Avoid overexposure.
How much is too much? Miller said that he does something about once a month to promote his work and doesn’t stay in one place too long. He emphasized that above all else it’s important to focus on how you will be remembered at the end of the day. When asked how he wants to be remembered at the end of the day, Miller said, “I want to be seen as a person who took care of his heart and did not forget to love.”
In addition to his keen insight and brilliant spirit, he left us with two book titles that he has found inspirational in his own career: The Art of the Turnaround: Creating and Maintaining Healthy Arts Organizations by Michael Kaiser and The End of Intelligent Writing: Literary Politics in America by Richard Kostelanetz. I also invite you to take a look at his E-Channel with the words and wisdom of the writer Charles Johnson. When asked, “Do you have any other words of advice for aspiring artists?” He said, “I would encourage young and aspiring artists to network "down" and not just up. Take time to help other young artists. Celebrate the joys and achievements of others; this is the way a community is built."
Blog written by Kim Patton, Training Coordinator, Foundation Center- Washington, DC