Friday, December 1, 2017

Get Noticed, Gain Business, Be Awesome! 5 Tips for Mastering a Magical 2018 Marketing Plan by Maria Dismondy

While the first snowflake has yet to fall (at least in Michigan!), there’s no doubt the New Year is just around the corner. If you’re anything like me, you can’t wait to hit the ground running in 2018. Here are my top 5 tips for making your marketing efforts really count.

1. Begin with TWO
Have 100 ideas in your head? Before you get overwhelmed, just pick two 2018 goals for your business and start there.

Maybe it’s to sell 10,000 copies of your latest release or to increase brand visibility by gaining social media followers. Whatever your top two goals may be, check them against the SMART Goal Formula to ensure they are: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Bound.

2. Make it MINI
Now that you have your goals, write them down and hang them somewhere you’ll see them everyday. That’ll help keep the big picture clear in your mind.

But if you look too far ahead you can easily get overwhelmed. That’s why my next tip is to make mini goals. These are things you can do each day to move closer to the big picture end result.

For example, let’s pretend you chose “gain social media followers” as one of your two main goals. A mini goal for the day could be to post old blog posts on Facebook – so simple!

3. Stick with It
You can’t reach your goals with a “set it and forget it” mentality. A great way to stay on track is to ask a colleague or friend to be your Accountability Partner. This is the person who will call you out, build you up and help you bounce back from business ups and downs.

Another great tool is to turn to planners to stay organized. Below are a few of my favorites. You’ll notice they’re all physical planners, not digital apps. That’s because I believe you have to think, feel and see your way toward what you want. (That, and I like to keep it old school!)

The Day Designer – I love that this brand offers space for daily gratitude. I put a mini version in my purse for on-the-go ideas.

Powersheets – So great for seeing the big picture and easily breaking it down into smaller tasks.

The Passion Planner – This one helps you stay on track while reminding you to find joy in your work. Love that!

4. Lean on your team or hire a team member in 2018!
I fought having a team for years because I thought I could do it all, but once I gave in and started hiring people on a freelance/contractual basis, my business took off! Moral of the story? Delegate, delegate, delegate!

Communication is key to delegating successfully. My team uses the Asana workflow system. From one home-base platform I’m able to assign work, set deadlines, store communications and generate deadline reminders.

I also use a phone app called Voxer to check in with a few key team members. It works just like a walkie-talkie and allows me to quickly shoot over a message without planning formal meetings – talk about simple!

5. Grow, stretch, THRIVE 
Growing means stretching and trying new things. And when it comes to professional development, the sky’s the limit!

Consider attending a local conference or virtual summit, listening to a podcast, planning a networking event with other local authors, attending an SCBWI Shop Talk in your area, hiring a business coach, joining a mastermind, reading or listening to audio books on branding and marketing or opting into a group coaching session – phew! There’s so much available to us (and I thought that sentence would never end)! Commit to what sounds fun to you and give it a try.

INSIDER BONUS! Which marketing strategies REALLY worked for me in 2017? Check out my top 10 picks.

1. Video – Facebook live
2. Podcast interviews
3. Guest writing
4. Speaking at schools and conferences
5. Conducting social media contests
6. Participating in local networking events
7. Attending conferences focused on the business side of writing
8. Appearing on the local news
9. Email newsletters
10. Writing and sharing content consistently on my blog

Award-winning author and founder of the publishing company, Cardinal Rule Press, Maria Dismondy inspires and educates others in the book industry. Her background in early education and research enables her to touch lives the world over while touring as a public speaker in schools, community forums, and at national conferences. When Maria isn’t working, she can be found embarking on adventures throughout southeast Michigan and beyond, where she lives with her husband and three book-loving children. Find out more about Maria’s coaching services:

Coming up on the Mitten blog: An artistic evolution - how a picture book concept turned into a traveling art exhibit, all about the MRA's GLGBs award (yes, we'll tell you what all those letters stand for), and then a two week HOLIDAY VACATION!

SCBWI-MI is already looking ahead to the new year. Attention novelists:

In 2018, SCBWI-MI is offering two novel mentorships. One is open to non-PAL members, and the other is open to PAL members. 
Our non-PAL mentor is Kelly Barson, and our PAL-mentor is Leslie Connor
You can find more information on the SCBWI-MI website
For questions, please email SCBWI-MI mentorship coordinator, Ann Finkelstein.

See you next Friday!
Kristin Lenz


  1. All great information from Maria as always! Thank you!

  2. Thanks for all the advice, Maria. I really like your idea of hiring some help. And loved to see what worked the best for you in 2017.

  3. Excellent tips, Maria! Thanks for sharing!