Even the thought of tooting your own horn may make you squirm. But it isn’t enough to work hard anymore. You need to be better at selling yourself to build your career or your business, if you’re an entrepreneur. The art of selling is really the art of business communication.
Over the years, we’ve learned that the following techniques work well in promoting yourself without feeling self-conscious about it.
Ten Tips for Promoting Yourself
- Be active on social media. Done the right way, social media networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have opened up a whole new world for showcasing your skills and experience. Sure, you should post updates on your new services, or a speaking engagement. But social media is all about giving and being part of the conversation: retweeting other people’s content, joining groups, participating in discussions, and including links to resources that will benefit your followers.
- Polish your networking skills. A good rule in networking is to give first. You don’t want to be one of those people who immediately thrusts a business card at you while they start their sales pitch. Instead, develop a one or two-sentence memorable self-introduction to spark the listener’s attention. Encourage others to talk about what they do. Relax. It’s a two-way conversation. You’ll get the chance to talk about yourself.
- Teach what you’ve learned. Giving back not only feels good, but also impresses existing clients – or your manager, if you work in a company – with your skills and knowledge. One word of caution: a poorly delivered presentation can damage your reputation. Be sure your content is solid and then practice, practice, practice.
- Do media interviews. Reporters are always looking for expert sources. Why not you? Position yourself as the go-to resource in your specialty and send an email pitch to reporters with the key points you can discuss. Also, register at HARO, Help a Reporter Out, a website where reporters look for qualified sources.
- Write articles. There are so many more opportunities now to share your expertise in articles for print publications as well as online media. Start your own blog and distribute it to social media networks. Offer to write guest posts for other bloggers.
- Join organizations. The opportunity to increase your visibility through memberships in professional, civic, religious and social groups is almost limitless. But don’t make the mistake of being a “ghost member.” Contribute your talents in committee work and taking on special projects where you’ll do good while making important connections.
- Volunteer at work. If you work for a company, don’t wait to be chosen for an extra project. Seek out extra assignments so that you can showcase your skills and meet people who can be important to your career. If your company sponsors employee networks, be sure to join and become involved.
- Speak up. Learn to become comfortable with public speaking to build your reputation and possibly garner media coverage. Also consider joining two organizations devoted to public speaking: Toastmasters International and the Natonal Speakers Association.
- Capitalize on conferences. Pitch yourself as a conference speaker. But even if you are simply an attendee, be sure to mingle with other people there. If you can, get the list of attendees in advance so you can seek out the people you want to meet. Don’t forget to follow up after the conference with your new connections.
- Join a networking group. There are many local groups – such as Chambers of Commerce – and national groups like Business Networking International (BNI) where you can make connections and be introduced to potential clients.
What techniques have you used to promote yourself? Leave us a comment – we’d love to hear from you.