Self-promotion is just what it sounds like: promoting yourself, your events, your accomplishments, your victories, and even your defeats, problems, and lessons you have learned. You do it so you can increase your visibility to and awareness by others, increase traffic to your website, increase sales, and get more speaking opportunities, exhibitions, and gigs—more of whatever it is you’re looking for.
You promote yourself so you can get even more opportunities, which you can then tell people about.
Self-promotion is also called “branding yourself,” because that’s really what it has become. (That, and it’s what we wanted to call the book.) In fact, we prefer to think of it as personal branding, because you need to think of yourself as a brand, just like Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Google, or Facebook.
Why Is Self-Promotion Important?
You can’t count on people calling you out of the blue to hire you, buy your service, or book you for an event if they don’t know about you. The only way to get people to know who you are and what you do is to tell them. And you want to tell as many people who are actually interested as you can.
Self-promotion will help you make those important connections that will further your career and improve your professional standing. It can be as simple as introducing yourself to the organizer of a conference and telling her you are interested in speaking at her next conference, or it can be as involved as writing a book or two and then spending a day emailing every conference organizer you can to get as many speaking deals as you can.
What Self-Promotion Is Not
Self-promotion is not bragging or boasting. It’s not being something bigger than you are. It’s just letting people know who you are and what you do.
It’s perfectly acceptable to promote yourself without looking like an arrogant jerk. People are going to be out promoting themselves and their personal endeavors and small businesses. If you’re not, you’re missing out on good opportunities, and others are going to beat you in the competition. They’re going to sell their art, get their speaking gigs, get more web traffic, or whatever they’re competing with you for.
What Can Self-Promotion Do for You and Your Career?
Without question, self-promotion can make you successful. And if you’re already successful, it will make your personal brand huge. You don’t get to be a success without knowing a lot of people and having a lot of people know you. If you want to be stuck in a little gray cubicle for your entire career, never rising above lower middle management, keep your head down and don’t attract attention. Actually, put this book down. Stop reading! But if you want to make a name for yourself, establish a good reputation, finally get that corner office, or even own your own successful business, you need to promote yourself.
To do that, you need to be passionate about two things: the work you do, and yourself. If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, find the thing you’re passionate about. If you’re not passionate about yourself, seek professional help. The person you should love the most, admire the most, and treasure the most is you. And when you have that confidence in yourself, others will see it, too. When you share that confidence with other people, they’ll feel confident about you as well.
So don’t sit in your cubicle any longer. Figure out what you want to do, make it happen, and then start telling people about it. Let them know that you are good at what you do. Let them come to you for answers and information.
This is an excerpt from my book – Branding Yourself. The second edition was released on Wednesday and is available for your reading pleasure. :-)