In my own self-publishing project, pv digest, I frequently report on ventures of young entrepreneurs who are launching something in the world of news media.

My standard questions then is: how will you market your product?

Quite often the answer is something like “word-of-mouth”, “social media” or even “our service/product is so great, the users/customers will find us without advertising”. I often encounter a solid aversion towards marketing. Or an ill-founded conviction to be one of those companies who do not need to market themselves.

The connectedness of the internet leads to overestimate the potential of accidental connections.

Though it IS a very frequent experience to find accidentally something of interest, even something inspiring, thrilling, making feel enthusiastic about in web, the other way round is much harder. To be found accidentally IS NOT a frequent experience.

Everybody knows of those fascinating stories of products which yesterday were practically unknown and which today are very popular. Not long ago nobody knew of Snapchat or TikTok, yesterday they were apps only few young people knew about and suddenly they are on everybody’s smartphone as long as they are not older than, say, 20 years old. Ciara Ferragni or, Jake Paul were nobodies like you and me before they suddenly became household-names to millions and tens of millions of people.

How did they succeed? The answer is a mixed one. Of course, talent, uniqueness, and creative ability are part of the story. But in most cases luck, accidental timeliness, the unpredictable power of trends and fashion and the black boxes of curation algorithms at Youtube, Google, Instagram, Facebook will have been as important. Probably, such uncontrollable elements mostly were much more important than any of these stars of self-publishing would admit.

As long as you do not want to rely on pure chance and good luck that means: you must be active to broaden your audience, to get attention, to make other people know that you are there. This means: you will have to market yourself or your self-publication.

To praise what you are doing, to market yourself, does not appeal to everybody. But believe me: negligence of marketing is an important if not the main reason for a lot of great ideas and a multitude of new-founded ventures not to have rocketed.