A lot of us are uncomfortable with the idea of self-promotion. We’ve been told that it’s “bad” and that if our product is worth it, other people will do our promoting for us. And that’s true, if you’re a mega brand. But people can’t promote what they don’t know about and, as a small business owner, the burden falls on you to make sure that people know you exist and what you’re up to. You do that by putting yourself out there and alerting people when your company does something great. If you won’t sing your own praises, then why would anyone else do it for you?
Unfortunately, the first step of self-promoting is convincing yourself that it’s OK. How do you do that? Here are some rules to live by.
Accept that some people won’t like it: If you start heavily promoting your content, some of your customers are going to be upset about it. They may still live in the imaginary world where good content naturally rises to the top and where small business owners shouldn’t be marketers. That’s OK and you need to accept it before you start. Remember, it’s not your job to market to everyone. It’s your job to market to people who like what you’re doing, and to grow your business. Part of growing your business means getting comfortable with singing your own praises when appropriate and making sure that people are aware of what you’re putting out. To not promote good content is to waste it.
Be confident in what you’re promoting: Never feel bad about promoting content that deserves attention. With all the crap that exists on the Web, if you’ve created a wonderful resource for your niche, you should be excited to share it because it may help someone else. If you’re not confident about what you’re sharing, ask yourself why. Could the content be improved? Is your product ready to go live? If you’re not 100 percent in love with what you’re doing, then you’re not ready to promote it. Wait until you’re over the moon about it. Then it won’t even feel like promotion. It’ll just feel like sharing.
Promote to the right people: People only mind self-promotion when it’s not relevant to them. It’s when you’re on Twitter and someone wants to sell you their $99.99 eBook on real estate. That’s annoying because it’s not a quality product and it’s not relevant to your needs. Be sure you only self-promote to people who will be interested. In my post on how to win media coverage, I highlighted some ways to get the attention of reporters in your local area. Part of that included doing research to understand which reporters cover which niches and the angles they prefer. Creating a media list for your niche will help you decide who to send what news and how you should package it.
Don’t promote everything you do: Customers get annoyed if you try to promote everything you release or publish. As special as your business is, not everything you do is revolutionary. Not every post needs to be promoted; not every new section on your website needs a full press release. Make sure you’re only promoting content that deserves to be promoted and that you space out your heavy promotional attempts.
As long as you’re promoting quality content to people who would be interested in it, you shouldn’t feel bad about promoting your own content. As a small business owner, it’s your job to get the word out about your business and to make sure that the right people know about the product you’re offering. As long as it’s quality and targeted, self-promotion shouldn’t be a dirty word. It’s just marketing.