You Have to Promote Yourself or No One Else Will
If you work hard and do well in life, people will notice; but for some of us that is not always the case. If you are a person of color, a woman, or part of the LGBTQ community that is very much not the case. And, since we live in the age of media and social media, it is easy to be drowned out by the noise of everyone especially mediocre people.
I am sure you have seen plenty of people online who have no talent or insight but who are being praised and/or paid. The truth is that, before social media, it was taboo for anyone to boast about their achievements. It was considered to be in poor taste. In fact, the only times you were allowed to share your success was either on your resume during a job interview, maybe to a boss, and to your loved ones.
However, things are different now so I have a call-to-action for you. BE YOUR BIGGEST FAN! I know what you are saying… “Karleen, I am my own biggest fan.” But what I am talking about is the sports fan who can recite every win of their favorite team or, better yet, a Beyoncé fan who can recite all her lyrics and knows every dance routine she has done. (Side note: I am still learning the “Everybody Mad” Coachella routine. It’s work! But, I digress.)
As an entrepreneur, you have to bring attention and publicity to your business so people are aware of your product and services. If you’re just starting out, you may not have the funds to hire a public relations expert, a marketing specialist, or a firm but you do have the power and the ability to get the word out personally.
There are three ways that you can effectively promote yourself outside of social media:
1) Write a story in your local paper.
2) Find complimentary associations.
3) Grab listeners’ ears with podcasts.
First, try writing a story in your local paper. Many people overlook utilizing their local paper as a platform to engage potential customers but, nine times out of ten, local readers are avid supporters of the people featured; and it gives you credibility as an authority in your field. As a former news producer, it’s how a lot of national news outlets pick up their stories. They scour local papers to highlight people who the nation should know. Since local papers are local, it is easy to pitch ideas directly to the editor or to get feedback on your story if it isn’t accepted right away.
Second, find associations that benefit from your services or product. Ask to host a special workshop as an expert in order to, in turn, help them build better services or products. This may seem like you are competing with people in your industry, but you’re not. If you choose the right industry that compliments as opposed to competes with your business, it will be seen as collaboration.
Finally, consider podcasts. Pitch to a few podcast hosts and share what you are doing in your industry. You never know which podcast will blow up or who may be listening, so getting out there. Talking about your business gives you good media and more promotion. This also becomes part of your media and marketing materials because now you have something you can share with other potential media people.
There are several more ways to promote yourself, but the specific ones discussed above are all steps you can initiate today!