How does my work differ from others of its genre?
That's an outstanding question, especially as I think the lines are blurred somewhat (so much?) between my work and play.
For the most part, I think that my personal crafting work, be it knitting or spinning or any other craft, doesn't differ all that much. While I venture off the straight and narrow a lot more now than I used to, I'm still very much a knit-by-numbers kind of gal, and I'm okay with that. I think that the reason I like to knit so many things in the yarn called for is because I figure that's part of the attraction for me, what made me want to knit it in the first place. I'd hate to knit something in a different yarn or fibre base than was called for because I know that the designer has chosen it for a specific reason related to the construction or drape and overall look and feel of the garment.
Now I'm starting to get more confident about modifying patterns to be a better fit size-wise or use techniques from one item because I prefer to knit that way but I still stay with the directions as they were written, for the most part.
For my marketing work that's little harder to answer. With social and digital media and the kinds of tools that are readily accessible to people now, it's very easy to do your own website or PR or advertising or whatever. But that doesn't necessarily mean that you should. And for that matter, in a creative-focused industry where everyone is working so hard and wearing so many hats and has such entrepreneurial spirit, do you really need one more thing to do?
As makers it can be really difficult for us to realise that even with doing something that we love for our "job", there is a business side to it that needs to be taken care of - namely the promotion of our brand. I'm guilty of this too. I've been fortunate to be busy with a variety of different clients since stepping back into marketing and as a result, my own brand suffers from neglect. The difference is that my business happens behind the scenes and is a lot less conspicuous than someone who is more forward-facing and dealing with the general public as their customer.
Either way, the really great thing that I see about my marketing side of things is the change that is starting to happen in our business. There's a real energy that has been building and bubbling with folks who are saying, "I'm going to make a go of this." Or, "It's going to be my job and it's not something that I'm going to do part time or on the side." Or even better, "I'm all in." And these people recognise that to get ahead, they need marketing support and that they really can't do it all and in fact are smarter to ask for help so that they can focus on doing what they do best, which is being creative with their own business.
I realise I haven't exactly answered the question for the marketing side of things so I'll say it like this: where things are different is that there is now an openness to and awareness of the necessity of marketing support and that promoting oneself or one's business isn't a bad thing. That means there's work for me in the knitting world and plenty to go around for my colleagues who do similar stuff. These are exciting times!