Self-promotion is imperative to growing one’s brand.
I once introduced a baseball player to a CEO of a large sporting agency. They exchanged their names and little else. Afterwards, I asked the athlete why he didn’t mention that he’d been signed twice to minor league organizations, information I believed would have made a real impact during the conversation. The ballplayer shyly explained that it would have been “awkward” to mention his achievements.
Without a little bragging, you’ll squander opportunities, just like that athlete. Here are six steps to developing your own self-promotion strategy, and how to tell people you’re the best without actually saying it:
1. Identify what you’ve done and what you’re good at. List your achievements, including the endeavors you worked really hard and failed at. This is your personal performance map illustrating how far you’ve come and what you can promote. You’ve done the hard yards — own it. We are told all of our lives that modesty is paramount and we must work in silence until we reach our end goal, but remember we have every right to celebrate our achievements along the way.
2. Practice your communication. There are various ways to convey the message “I’m the best” without actually saying it. Communicate in a non-threatening manner when promoting your offering, using phrases such as “I’m passionate,” “I’m invested” and “I did [this]” or “I worked hard [at that].” People respond to effort and enthusiasm, not hot air.
3. Tell everybody. Think of it like this — if you’ve worked 16 hours a day to build a profitable business, don’t you think you’ve earned the right to vocalize your success? Sharing with the world who you are and what your vocation is not boasting — it is simply stating a fact. Starting that conversation of “Hi, I do this” will open yourself up to new opportunities.
Within minutes of meeting me, you’ll discover I’m a passionate freelance writer, and that I recently secured a fantastic contract through the recommendation of my local barista. A friend of his needed a writer, and he thought of me immediately. You’ll never know every connection another person has, so promote what you can do for everyone.
4. Be prepared to prove it. Now that you’ve told people what you’re doing and what your brand is about, you’ve got to back it up with hard evidence. The proof is in your work, and people will ask to see it. Update your website and social media channels constantly.
For example, when you’re trying to enlist the help of a social media strategist and the link to their Twitter account is broken, alarm bells start ringing.
5. Get creative. Prove you stand out from the crowd by promoting yourself in an unusual way. Philippe Dubost is a perfect example. The web product manager transformed his online resume into the format of an Amazon advertisement, with himself as the product. Dubost’s quirky self-promotion tactic caught the attention of the Today Show and he received over 100 job offers as a result.
6. Be generous. The best in a field often shares the spotlight. Promote and encourage others who are doing a good job and offer your help to those who ask for it. Develop a community around your work and give freely, as generosity is the most sincere way to be remembered.
World-renowned celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is known to share his expertise with just about anyone who will listen. This kind of participation within his industry is invaluable to his brand. People are happy to invest in him because he is devoted to them.
Anna James is a journalist based in Sydney, Australia. Within six months, Anna built up her own creative freelance business from scratch and writes for several clients who are leaders in business.