self-pro·mo·tion

noun

  1. the action of promoting or publicizing oneself or one's activities.

If only self-promotion were as simple as my dictionary makes it sound. In real life, self-promotion will be one of the most difficult things you will face. It is hard, make no mistake but you will get better at it because you will practice and I will push you. 

In 2011, Catalyst released data suggesting that even when women in the workforce do all the things that they are supposed to do to get ahead, their male counterparts are usually promoted or credited over them. No surprise there - crack journalism... 

However, that same report goes on to say:

 “When women were most proactive in making their achievements visible they advanced further…were more satisfied with their careers and had greater compensation growth than women who were less focused on calling attention to their successes,” 

Simply put: Self promotion is what will get you noticed. If you don't sing your praises, how will anyone know? Outside the corporate world this advice still applies: If you don't tell your prospects why they should buy from you, who will? 

THE FOLLOWING LIST OFFERS 5 EASY WAYS TO START PROMOTING YOURSELF TODAY! 

Your Website

Luckily for us, we now have the internet! Websites and social media make self promotion possible for even the most introverted professional. If you have a business, whether it's product or service based I'm going to assume that you have a website too.

If you don't, then we need to back up... Your website is how people will find you. Billboards and newspaper ads are expensive and very hard to track investment returns on. A website, professionally built will cost upwards of several thousand dollars - If you are bootstrapping, check out wordpress.com or squarespace.com and use a simple template. No more excuses, if you want a credible business you have to act like a credible business and get yourself a home on the web.  

Back to what we were saying... As you write the copy for your About page, think of all the wonderful things about yourself and your company that you want prospective customers to know about.

  • Did your edible product win an award? Tell us! Show us with pictures! 
  • Did you work with a big name company? Tell us about your achievements with Big Name Company. 
  • Have you ever been honoured for anything within your industry? Let's hear about it! 
  • Are you the genius who came up with the idea for X Y Z? Toot that horn of yours Lady! 

The point is that your website is all about you and there is no reason why you should play down your accomplishments here. 

LinkedIn

LinkedIn was literally created for self promotion. It is your online resume and like it or not, prospective employers, partners, and investors will go there to check you out so make sure you look damn good! This is where you're going to list all your (relevant) professional accomplishments and achievements. 

  • Did you work on any special side projects? Upload video, links or images to linkedIn to share. 
  • Do you write a regular newsletter? Share a link on LinkedIn. 
  • Did you invent a new type of scissor that trims the perfect bud? LinkedIn is the place to shout about it from the rooftops! 

Networking is Self-Promotion's Little Sister

Networking positively supports self promotion because it puts you in situations where you are face-to-face (it's okay!) with your community. This is your opportunity to make friends and build bridges. People will always try to do business with people that they know, like and trust so get out there and shake some hands and show off your charm/knowledge/sense of humour/amazing memory for names and faces. 

My favourite networking group is Women Grow. With more than 44 chapter across North America you can find one near you easily. 

Keep Your Promises and Never Burn Bridges

At the end of the day, your reputation is all you have. If you don't nurture a positive one you will face the consequences down the road. Most industries are actually very small and players all get to know one another in time so make sure that you are always leaving the room better than you found it. 

Say Yes to The Opportunity

I hear it all the time (sometimes even coming from my own mouth); "Oh I'm not a good public speaker" or "I can't write..." or "I just really suck at small talk so I'm going to skip it" 

Yes, each of those things are difficult to do but guess what? You'll get better the more your practice. When opportunities come your way jump on them! Speaking about your company to an audience of 3 people or 3000 people is an excellent opportunity to sell yourself and your organization. Plus, it usually doesn't cost anything (especially if you've been invited to speak) and free advertising is the best kind of advertising! 

The same goes for writing. If someone has offered you a guest blog opportunity - jump on it! They likely only need about 500 words which is only half a page. You should have no problem using 500 words to talk about how awesome your stuff is. 

You can do this. You're amazing and it's time the world found out.