Even if your business is strictly online you still need to know how to self-promote. And there are many ways to promote yourself beyond the search engines and Internet marketing.
When I was clearing out some archived files I found this interview with Angie Dixon of creator of The Leonardo Trait and after reading it found it still very relevant today. So I am sharing it with you.
The do-it-yourself promoter should know that self-promotion is as much as science as an art. According to Mike Rogers Author of Art of Self- Promotion, “It is an art as fine as public speaking, storytelling or, I dare say, as much of an art as writing or painting.” In fact, in this day and age, self-promotion can be even more crucial to an individual’s success as is knowledge and skill level in their business and professions. Our next resident expert, Angie Dixon is a writer, entrepreneur and tireless self-promoter. She is currently marketing a book proposal to agents, using the self-promotion techniques she’s learned over 15 years as a writer, web designer, editor, business owner, and more. Having learned that the person who gets the “gig” is the one people know about, Angie understands the importance of being known, and is eager to share this knowledge with other women seeking to move forward in their lives and careers.
“Self-promotion” sounds a lot like tooting my own horn, and didn’t Mama teach us not to do that? How do you handle that aspect of it?
My self-promotion activities drive my 80-year-old mother absolutely crazy. She rolls her eyes and apologizes for my not being “modest.” And I keep right on self-promoting 🙂
Yes, it is difficult at times, but I’ve learned, over the years, that I’m the only one who’s going to do this for me. No one else knows everything I can do, and is as enthusiastic as I am.
I try to make sure that what I’m saying is not only true, but helpful to the person I’m talking to. For instance, in trying to promote my book, I don’t think telling the agent that I make the best chicken fajitas in Arkansas would be helpful. But telling him that I’m an accomplished press release writer is helpful to him, because it gives him information he needs.
So, basically, just being honest, putting the best spin on what I do, and making sure it is useful to the person I talk to, are my main tips on this point, along, of course, with staying out of earshot of my mother.
I’m a creative person. Can I self-promote?
I think sometimes people think, “I’m an artist, I’m a writer, I’m a musican…what can I really do? It’s not like I have a business.”
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve read on that point is that you have to just imagine that you’re a small business, and your business is you. Creative people have to promote almost more than anyone else, trying to get agents, get into galleries, get gigs. It just may not seem like the kind of promotion or marketing a business does. There’s a great book, Self-Promotion for the Creative Person, by Lee Silber, that I highly recommend.
The kinds of self-promotion creative people might do are endless, but web pages, postcards, creative business cards, blogs, all of those are things that come to mind quickly.
I’m not self-employed; I work in a major corporation. What can self-promotion do for me?
If you work in a major corporation, I suspect you do a lot of self-promotion without even realizing it. You do a lot of networking, for starters, to make sure people inside and outside of your company know who you are. You probably do a lot of creative things you don’t think about, like making that project look a little better than the next person’s, or remembering that your boss’s boss’s son likes antique Matchbox cars and picking one up at a flea market. Those are all self-promotion.
Basically, anything you’re doing to get noticed and stand out, in a positive way, is self-promotion.
Some people think if you put in a lot of hours someone will pay attention and give you what’s due, what do you think? Why?
That’s a very good question. I think there’s a kind of mystique around putting in a lot of hours, and to some degree, its true–if you put in more hours, you’re more likely to be appreciated. But I think it takes more than just working a lot. I believe you really have to put yourself “in the way” of people who can notice you, and make sure they know what you’re capable of doing.
First off, just because you’re working 60 or 70 hours a week, that doesn’t *necessarily* mean anyone is noticing. If the people who need to notice you are also working those hours, they may just be too caught up in what they’re doing. If they’re not, they’re obviously not going to notice.
Second, think about how much attention you really pay to other people on a regular basis. That’s not to say you never notice anyone, or that no one will notice you, but if you do something to make yourself stand out, you’ve got a better shot at getting “what’s due.”
If you could only use one tool to self-promote, what would it be?
If I could only use one tool, I’d use a web site, because on that web site I could put a lot of different mini-tools. For instance, on my web site I have a free report, free teleseminars, a blog, an ezine. All of those are part of the web site, but they’re almost tools in themselves, as well.
It used to be that you really needed to hire someone to design a web site for you, and sometimes that was cost-prohibitive, but I think now with so many good books and software programs out there, a lot of people can create good web sites just by using those books, those programs, and sort of basing their site on other sites that they think are good. Not copying them, of course, but using them for ideas.
It definitely is important to create a self-promotion plan. On that plan I would include a web site, of course, and I would also include networking, not just in person but online, that will in the end give you a list of people you can contact. I’d also include business cards, not just plain black and white, but something creative. An elevator speech – who you are and what you do, in 30 seconds or less. And a signature line for all your email. Those are the things I definitely wouldn’t do without.
What one piece of advice would you give women wanting to promote themselves more effectively?
The one piece of advice I would give is, “Don’t be afraid.” I know when I started, way back 10 years ago when I started my web design business, the first time I gave someone my business card, I was almost apologetic. It’s hard at first. But mos people are very receptive to knowing who you are and what you do. Especially if you can make it sound fun or interesting. When I tell people I’m a writer, they always want to know what I write, and I tell them what I’m working on and try to promote it as something really cool, even if what I’m doing at the moment is search.
What’s the most creative self-promotion tactic you’ve used recently?
The most creative self-promotion tactics I’ve used recently has to do with my book proposal. I read somewhere in the last couple of weeks that you should help your prospective customer visualize your product – give them a sample. So I put together my first chapter as a booklet, with a book cover, the sidebars, the quotes I want to use, the worksheets and exercises. So when the agent I’m hoping to work with looks at it, he can visualize it as a book. Everyone keep your fingers crossed!
How can I self-promote without looking like I’m tooting my own horn? Can I enlist the help of others to promote my interests (without breaking the bank)? If so, how?
The best way to self-promote without seeming to “toot your own horn” is to make it part of what you do naturally. When you meet someone, ask them what they do, and give them a business card. If you’re contacting people for networking, tell them what you do and how you think it connects to what they do. Always try to let the other person know what you can do for them.
What resources would you recommend for our guests who would like to learn more about the art and science of self-promotion?
As for resources, there’s a good book I’ve mentioned called “Self Promotion for the Creative Person,” by Lee Silber. The “Guerilla Marketing” books are all excellent. Also anything by Seth Godin. While he doesn’t actually write about self-promotion, his business books are excellent for self-promotion. And there’s a book called “Love is the Killer App.” I don’t have the author handy, Andy mething I think. It’s really good.
What’s the best way for our guests to contact you?
The best way to contact me is by email at email@example.com. My website is http://www.leonardotrait.com and my blog is http://www.angiedixon.com/blog-2/. You can also find me on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/angiedixon