As I prepare to offer my first Curvy Yoga classes this month, I’ve been renewing marketing of my classes, and considering what soulful outreach really looks like for me. I say “for me” rather than for everyone because I believe that ethically putting our work out into the work means aligning how we do outreach with our values and character, which is another way of bringing into harmony who we are, what we do and how we do it.
As someone who’s been marketing my writing classes and books for years, I’ve had a lot of time to get cozy with what feels right to me and what doesn’t, but I also realize that figuring out what’s the right fit for any of us is a lifelong conversation. When I first started copying flyers for my writing workshops over 20 years ago, there was no glimmer of social media. If a person was giving a workshop or class, she made a bunch of flyers, posted them in every bookstore, community center, laundromat and even some of the few new coffee shops just starting to appear. She also might mail out postcards or flyers, and perhaps if money were in evidence, put a small ad in a local paper that, 20 years ago, had a much bigger readership and was over three times the size as it is now.
Flash forward to 2013 when marketing includes certain must-haves for anyone cobbling together a livelihood. I’ve made the transition more easily than some, in great part because I discovered that in addition to having a recent-realized passion for grouting tile (who knew?), I also love making WordPress websites and managing them. I guess technology just had to catch up with my inner graphic artist. So for me, having a website is fun and fits my values, my fingers on the keyboard, and even how I like to unwind (turns out I enjoy watching Young Frankenstein while updating my website). From playing with websites, it was a short walk to playing with Facebook, and eventually even having Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.
I tell you these details about my choices to illustrate one person’s choices. Your choices need to be based on what helps you find and keep your balance, and what allows you to put yourself out there to your community in the way that best fits who you are. I know yogis who barely touch computers and others who pull out their smartphones at stoplights to tweet something about an upcoming class. There are many options and directions to consider with how to do marketing, which I’ll discuss in my next post, but for now, I ask you to think about:
- • How does the word “marketing” and even “branding” make you feel? If you’re comfortable, ask yourself why, and listen to what you discover. If either/both of these terms make you vaguely nauseated, ask yourself what’s behind this reaction. Listen deeply to your own responses, and see what surprises you.
- • When you look around you at the world of commerce, what do you believe in that happening and what do you struggle with or disagree with? What especially are your feelings, thoughts and beliefs about being part of your local economy? Do you see your yoga classes or studio as a business or something else (and if something else, what?)?
- • What do you or might you actually enjoy about putting your work out there? What do you or might you feel neutral about or actually despise doing? Lean into what you love most about sharing who you are as a yogi and yoga teacher, and from there, start thinking through how best to share your story with others.