I’m all for stepping out of my comfort zone in a bid for self-development, so I have been doing a little bit of research into how to ‘do’ self-promotion well.
Self-promotion is something I am not entirely comfortable with because it conflicts with my inner values not to brag, to be overly self-confident or over bearing. I’m gradually discovering that this reluctance to self-promote is actually quite common among entrepreneurs, businessmen and women, freelancers.
Here is a little about why I am self-promoting these days and some of the best bits of advice I have been offered.
Learning to blow my own trumpet
My reception aged daughter has recently been ‘studying’ the different jobs people do. A pilot, a chef, a hairdresser, and an anesthetist among others have visited her class, all talking about what they do, how they do it and why. During a subsequent school run, I tried to explain to her what it is that I do. There was no need. ‘I already know Mummy. You are lots of things’. How right she was.
I originally trained as a primary school teacher. I worked in Special Educational Needs – in the classroom, in Local Government and in an advisory leadership post. These roles regularly led me into conflict situations between parents and the local authority, parents and schools, disputes between teaching staff, to name but a few. Strangely this is where I thrived most: listening, facilitating, questioning, exploring.
So I trained to become an accredited mediator and now our children aren’t so very little anymore this is where I am working toward focusing my career. Until recently that is, when my career plans were hit by quite a wonderful and unexpected curveball in the shape of Britain’s Next Bestseller who were prepared to give me the opportunity to secure a publishing deal for a children’s book I had written and illustrated. I have spent the last two or three months fully submersed in the world of publishing, blogging, tweeting… basically self-promoting.
The fear of self-promotion is related to imposter syndrome – but you’re not an imposter or a fraud, what you’re capable of is very real. Those battling this syndrome – also referred to as imposter phenomenon – face very real feelings of inadequacy, of being unworthy of the success they have achieved, of being frauds. Evidence of ‘success’ is attributed to luck or other external factors such as fortunate timing.
So if like me, you’re not entirely comfortable with the idea of self-promotion, here’s how to do it (and get away with it) like a pro:
How to do self-promotion like a pro
1. Harness the power of the Internet: Through the power of the Internet and social media you can get away with writing things you may not dare say. I’m not talking about trolling, I’m talking about offering up your individuality and uniqueness in a manner that is in context and doesn’t appear pushy. Words aren’t blurted out; they can be carefully considered and be delivered with modesty, composure and self-control. Get blogging, Tweeting and Facebooking – weave your very own world-wide web of achievements and positivity.
2. Just be YOU: Abandon images of sleazy, pushy salesmen and cheesy car dealers. You don’t have to sell yourself or abandon values you hold dear. If you want to be portrayed as you, BE YOU. You won’t have to work hard to keep up a false image alongside everything else you’re working hard at too!
3. Get excited about your product or brand: Are you genuinely excited and enthusiastic about your product or your brand? Show it – it’s contagious. If you’re not, how can others be? People will want to ask about your interesting new venture: grab their interest, share your enthusiasm, introduce them to your blog, give them a flyer, show them an illustration you’re working on, ask for their input, empower them – maybe they have an idea for your next project? You’d be amazed where it could take you!
4. Be insanely useful: It’s easier to promote something that is useful to others. In turn people will want to talk to you about their related experiences – listen to them and ask questions, and when you do receive feedback, don’t be afraid to tweak your product accordingly.
5. Keep at it: And last of all, keep moving in the right direction, take small steps, learn from your mistakes. Do what ought to be done. Little by little, you’ll get the word out there and the recognition that you deserve.
What tips would you add?
Polly is a new author, whose new children’s storybook “Worm, Slug, Maggot & Leech and their Troublesome Transformation’ is available to pre-order at
You can also follow Polly on Twitter @wsmladventures