Growing up, I was taught bragging was bad.
I am sure we have all met a serious bragger at one time or another. You know the type – they rave on about how great they are and according to their take on events, they are brilliant at everything. They name drop. They brag about how much money they make.
So how does someone who was taught not to brag or for that matter, talk too much about themselves suddenly become an expert at self promotion?
As a freelance writer and blogger, self promotion is paramount to survival.
Take a blog for example. No matter how great your content is, it won’t matter if no one is reading it. People need to know you exist to be able to enjoy your blog.
I openly admit, I still have a LOT to learn on this topic. My own self promotion has been well below what it should be to date. You could say, this is one of those areas where I have learnt a lot from my mistakes. From the actions I have NOT taken.
Here are some of the tips I have uncovered so far.
The occasional bursts of self promotion won’t do the trick. You need to be consistently promoting yourself.
The method you use is completely up to you and will vary depending on your business, brand or what it is you are promoting. Just make sure you are getting your name out there regularly. When I first started my blog, I waited till a spare weekend to do promotional work. I quickly learned this simply isn’t regular enough for a new blog trying to capture readers.
Make promotion a priority
When you are a writer or blogger you tend to focus on the writing part of the work. If something urgent comes up, self promotion is often scheduled further down the to do list or sidelined completely. It is put off till you have more time. This could be a costly mistake.
Make your self promotion a priority because the success of your business or brand depends on it.
Have a clear message about what it is you do
Make sure you can confidently communicate what it is that you do. Your explanation should be reasonably brief, yet to the point. Mostly it needs to be interesting.
Many people swear by having a prepared elevator pitch. Instead of saying, ‘I am a blogger’. You might say, ‘I run a blog that helps people with such and such.’ Go into a bit of interesting detail. Preferably something that will pique their interest and leave them eager to find out more.
One day recently I was in the kitchen at work, when someone asked me about my blog. I had a quick chat with them but it wasn’t till I got back to my desk that I realised I had not even mentioned the name of my blog. Realising my mistake, I quickly sent them the link from my computer.
Be diligent with follow up
If you have been talking to someone about yourself or your business and they ask for further information, make sure you follow up straight away. Send, call or write to them with the information they requested.
Know your stuff
I have a friend who works in the finance industry. She has been working in the mortgage business for at least 10 years. When she talks about mortgages, you know straight away that she really knows her stuff. If you are in a similar situation and an expert in your field – make the most of it. You are in the best possible position to promote yourself.
Needless to say, this can be a lot harder for people when they are first starting out. The truth is you are still ‘learning your stuff’. You are literally a huge sponge, soaking up knowledge and information as you go. While this is an exciting and thrilling stage, it can also feel somewhat daunting.
If you can specialise in a particular topic even when you are first starting out, by all means do. Work towards being an expert in that niche.
Exaggerating a little bit is OK
Notice I said a ‘little bit’. Like a little bit of padding on a resume.
Just to be clear, exaggerating is definitely not lying. Lying is unacceptable. Lying will jeopardise the trust you are building with your clients and contacts.
When I worked as the Personal Assistant within a large sales team many years ago, I would occasionally overhear a salesperson blatantly lying to their customer about what a particular model of equipment could do. It was cringe worthy. Though the salesperson may have scored that one sale, they were also setting themselves up to be cut off from any repeat business.
Say it with authority
Have you ever been at a party and heard someone talking about a particular topic and known what they were saying was not completely accurate? Yet everyone around them seems to be mesmerized by their story. This is mainly because they believed in what they were saying and were communicating it with passion and gusto.
Obviously from a business prospective, your aim is to know what you are saying is correct. Just keep in mind, the way you say it has an impact as well.
Tell people the good stuff
When people ask how you are going, tell them the good stuff.
Grumbling and whining is not the approach you want to take. If you need to vent, save those conversations for your closest friend. Always highlight the positive.
Do you have any other tips? I would appreciate your input. Please leave your comments below. As for me, I am off to practice what I preach and do some promoting!