“Self-promotion.” Grimacing as you read those words? You’re not alone.
Self-promotion often gets a bad wrap, and yet embracing it is key to getting the word out about your business, attracting customers and the attention of peers and influencers. Check out these seven tips from Felicity Watson, an expert personal branding and communication coach, on how to make Self-promotion far less cringe-worthy.
Self-promotion at its simplest is sharing what you have to offer… often. Sounds straightforward right? Yet we often have personal and cultural baggage we carry that prevents us from speaking positively about ourselves. Ever been scolded for ‘blowing your own trumpet’? And no doubt you’re familiar with the Tall Poppy syndrome. Or on the flipside, was a humble nature lauded in your household? Explore and redefine what you believe about self-promotion and then check out the next steps.
“If I believe in something, I sell it, and I sell it hard,” shared Estee Lauder. Ms Lauder was onto something I reckon. In my career I have been lucky to work on amazing brands and this made all the difference when it came to promoting them. A PR friend had to promote tinned tuna – I did not envy her. I’m guessing (read hoping) you offer a terrific service or product that makes a difference to people, so use that as motivation to get sharing.
Be an active member of a number of online and real world communities. Build relationships over time. Encourage, support and share the work of others. It’s a rewarding way to operate and when it comes time to make the pitch or offer, it will feel easier (and less uncomfortable). If you have to go in ‘cold’ (perhaps with a journalist or sponsorship proposal) ensure your pitch is targeted, well researched and thoughtful.
Share your knowledge freely, in different ways and don’t forget to inform but also entertain and inspire. Remember that promoting what you do can take many forms – it doesn’t just have to be a hard sell. Weave your story, credentials, customer love, milestones, product or service details into lots of your communication. Think social media, blogs and newsletter articles. Self-promotion can come in many guises – it does not have to be bold and brassy, you can do it in your own style. And don’t forget there is absolutely a time and place to directly ask people to buy from or work with you.
Pick a few tactics that feel good, do them consistently and over a sustained period of time. People underestimate the frequency and duration needed to connect with and convert customers – many of whom will be sitting on the fence and in need of encouragement. I like to think of them as ‘nudges’. Some people may need just a few gentle nudges, whilst for others it may well feel like you’re pushing them up a very steep hill. Sounding like a broken record and conscious of every message you share? Remember your audience will only see a fraction of what you communicate. A great marketing mix might include regular posting on at least two to three social media platforms, subscriber engagement via your newsletter, webinars, Facebook or Instagram advertising, guest blogging and publicity, participation in online communities and in person networking and events. And don’t forget the joys of collaboration. Have you sought brand alliances via Collabosaurus yet? Self-promotion is fabulous but peer promotion is gold.
Ensure you have a compelling personal brand. This will make promotion more straightforward. The starting point is to get clear on the impression you want to make, so consider your brand heart, values, voice and pillars. And then ensure you’ve got your message and story honed. Being able to communicate what you do (including the solutions you provide) in a succinct and enticing way makes sharing a breeze. For help with this download my free e-book “7 steps from invisible to visible as a coach or consultant”.
Self-promotion is a skill. The more you do it, the more comfortable and better you’ll get at it. Soon it will feel like second nature and before you know it, people will start commenting that they’re “Seeing you everywhere”.
Felicity Watson is a personal brand and communication coach who loves working with women to finesse their brand, presentation and confidence. She helps them stand out from the crowd through marketing, publicity and networking. With a background in senior roles in communications, PR and marketing, Felicity now hosts workshops and events plus coaches one-on-one, find her at www.felicitywatson.com.au