This week’s guest on The 21st Century Creative podcast is Naomi Dunford, a contrarian marketing guru who has been ‘helping weirdos sell things on the internet’ for many years. So if you’re the kind of creator who loves making your work but hates the very idea of marketing, then I recommend you listen to what Naomi has to say on the subject.
Even if you’re fairly experienced at putting your work out into the world to grow your business or move your career forward, I think you’ll get plenty of insight from listening to what Naomi has to say about marketing for creatives.
In the first part of the show, I update you with some new events and projects from former guests on the show: a virtual poetry masterclass with Mimi Khalvati this Thursday 30th July; a new podcast about work in the age of Covid, Work, Interrupted by Christina Patterson; Jarie Bolander’s new podcast for entrepreneurs, The Entrepreneur Ethos; and Freelancing.eu, a new website from Robert Vlach for European freelancers, and others outside of Europe who want to work with European clients.
In the coaching segment, I seek to persuade you that systems can set you free – no, really.
Naomi Dunford has been a source of unconventional marketing advice for unconventional business owners since 2006 when she launched her blog at Ittybiz.com.
As the name suggests, she was writing for the owners of very small and unusual businesses, making marketing comprehensible and doable for them.
I first encountered Naomi as a reader of Ittybiz, where I was entranced by her irreverent style, the fact that she managed to swear a lot and make it sound elegant and witty, and also that she could solve marketing problems while making me laugh at the same time.
Since then I’ve hired her as a consultant and experienced first-hand how good she is at finding creative solutions to problems faced by unusual business. And also how much she genuinely cares about her clients.
In this conversation Naomi tells us how she got started as a writer and marketer, and how she repurposed some of the timeless principles of classic marketing for the digital age at Ittybiz.com
And if you are the type of creative who thinks you are no good at marketing, and/or that marketing is the spawn of the devil that has nothing to do with your creativity - then Naomi has some surprising and empowering things to say.
She also talks about content marketing overload, with the tsunami of content we’ve been experiencing for the past few years. So if you’re worried that it might be too late to start attracting an audience and too hard to cut through the clutter online, then you’ll be pleased to know she has a very interesting and hopeful viewpoint on this.
And if you’re further down the line with your business and your online presence, and maybe feeling a little jaded and weary, Naomi has plenty to say that should help you reignite the spark of enthusiasm for your work.
As she says in the interview, Naomi has recently retired from running Ittybiz, which is now in the capable hands of Kris Faraldo. So we are extra lucky that I managed to coax Naomi out of retirement to talk to us. But if you want to follow Naomi’s further adventures, she has recently launched a new blog at: xxnaomi.com
Naomi Dunford interview transcript
MARK: Naomi, when you set out on your career, how did you think it was going to turn out?
NAOMI: This is the question you lead with? No pressure! How did I think it was going to turn out? When I was very small, I assumed I would write because I didn’t really know how to do anything else. And that situation seemed to sustain itself for quite some time. Eventually, I figured out how to do a few other things, but I couldn’t really find a way to make money at any...