You know, on the ski slopes, it’s a lot about looking good.
The equipment . . . the sharp turns . . .
the sharper threads . . .
It’s a real spectacle sport.
So it was with some mixed emotions that I found myself on the bunny slope.
Actually, the “all about looking good” thing may be stretching it for me. I’m not really a gear head. My alpine skis are a used package from a warehouse in Utah.
Nor am I a fashion maven although I do have a new parka I think I look pretty good in.
But I was beginning to feel a little confident on the moguls (the really bumpy, technical runs) Starting to feel a bit of that satisfaction that comes with looking . . . well . . .pretty good!
So what was I doing on the gentle beginner grades?
I was learning to telemark ski. Telemarking is the free-heeling turning style developed by cross-country or nordic skiers to get down hills. Instead of being completely clamped down to a ski, your heel is free allowing you to bend your legs in a deep lunge as you turn.
I’ve been intrigued with the style for a while. But when I met a woman at an Appalachian Mountain Club lodge who was about to tromp into the backcountry with her telemark skis, unfazed by hills and ready to take them in stride, I was hooked.
And so I ended up on the easy trails I had thought I’d long abandoned, making careful, deliberate turns. And occasionally eating snow.
But this is not really about telemarking or skiing. It’s about marketing and copywriting.
The point is that I was trying something new. Just as I started to gain confidence and some bit of mastery in alpine skiing, I had placed myself back in the throes of newbi-ness.
But I did it for a reason. I knew it would open new territory to me to explore and enjoy.
Now as a web writer, this is slightly off-kilter feeling is something you have to get used to.
The web is an exciting place to be – full of opportunities as a marketer or copywriter.
But it’s also incredibly dynamic. Changing every second with the inventiveness of people as new needs are identified and new problems solved.
As web copywriter Pam Foster describes it, it’s kind of like being in a roller derby. You’re constantly moving, the immediate area around you is in flux and you have to survive drawing on a mixture of skills and the ability to adjust to the situation. If you’re not sharp enough, you might get an elbow in the ribs.
So while there are some basics to marketing and copywriting that never change and can be mastered, much of your work will be on that anxiety-laced edge of something new.
There are three tactics I’m using to learn to telemark ski that work for learning to navigate the world of web marketing and web writing as well.
1. I take lessons. I’ve tapped into some good instructors and invested time and money into learning.
2. I watch people around me who seem to be doing pretty well at this. That’s why I store up all kinds of marketing emails that come into my inbox. I follow twitter aficionados like Michael Stelzner as they tweet. And I study websites that analysts like Internet Retailer or Grok.com report are doing well.
3. I bring my own experience and foundational skills to bear. As much as telemarking is new, I also have a good amount of body wisdom from alpine and cross-country skiing that’s helping me learn.
So build on the skills and experience you have. But stretch yourself, try things that make you a little nervous, study and learn from watching. Your success on the web is a combo of that balance between solid competence and intrepid explorer.
A few good FREE resources to start with:
One of the online areas I’m really snowplowing through (a beginner form of skiing) is social media.
So here are a few places where I’ve found some great info on social media marketing:
1. Michael Stelzner’s Social Media Examiner. A daily e-magazine covering social media marketing. Great stuff tapping into a wealth of expertise. www.socialmediaexaminer.com
2. On Feb 4 HubSpot and Marketing Sherpa are putting on a one hour webinar “MarketingSherpa’s ROAD Map to Social Marketing Maturity” that will go over a practical method for mapping an effective social marketing strategy. http://www.hubspot.com/marketing-webinars/marketingsherpa-phases-of-social-marketing-maturity
3. TODAY! January 21, 2010 at 1:00 pm ET, HubSpot is putting on a webinar about Twitter and marketing.”There is a lot of talk about Twitter, but many marketers don’t realize that Twitter is a worthwhile marketing tool for their business.” I’m intrigued . . .
4. Target Marketing and Lyris are putting on a webinar titled, “Social + Email Marketing: The Dynamic Duo: Using Email Marketing to Convert Social Media into Revenue”. It will be held Thursday, January 28, 2010 | 2:00 p.m. ET/11:00 a.m. PT
http://www.targetmarketingmag.com/webinar scroll down to third webinar
Here’s a good start – and I’ll be putting more of my favorite web resources down in future newsletters.
Have any insights or favorite spots to add?