I recently gave an online blogging class and on the evaluation form I was told “instructor (meaning me) used too much self promotion.” Too much? I thought back to what I did and yes, I did have a signature tag for my e-report on blogging content and I did mention I was giving a free blogging chat that week for the site. That was it.  This negative eval also prompted me to remember I hear “Alice, I see you everywhere,” meaning see me a lot on social media and the Internet. These comments made me think: am I promoting myself too much?

I say no. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur you have to market yourself or no one will know who you are. The same goes for a blog: if you spend all of your time writing a blog and then don’t get others to follow you by promoting it, you’ve lost a lot of time and energy. As a full time writer/editor/poet/speaker/teacher/entrepreneur I make my living by letting others know what I do. I don’t over promote by sending out a full length newsletter every day and I get worried that people will get sick of me when I sent out two event invitations within the same week. But I do have to self promote myself if I want to keep my momentum going and make opportunities happen for myself. I remember a boss telling us, “Good business doesn’t happen by accident.” So true.

I do feel comfortable talking about myself and my business in a healthy way. By that I mean I have a quality bio prepared, along with a professional headshot should anyone ask for it. I also make sure I always have business cards on me, and can give a 10-second talk about what I do when prompted.

This eval did remind me about what my family thought of my self-promoting nature when I was a kid. Coming from their generation, my parents didn’t think it was proper to brag about yourself; you should let others do it for you, except my mother didn’t like it when her friends and our neighbors told her good things about my volunteering or school work. She was afraid I’d get a “swelled head.” Instead, I was propelled to do more self promoting! Hey, I guess it worked out in the end.

But to my mother’s point: should you only let others talk about you? Yes and no—I feel you can guide what others say about you, although ultimately you have to be in charge of your business and not give up control. It’s necessary to be clear with your intentions and my intentions are to use my writing gifts to help others succeed.

I see too much self promotion if you are sending too many emails or blog promotions or not giving content that’s worthy. I also see too much self promotion when you don’t give back in social media. Do you congratulate your friends on Facebook when they garner a publication or an award? Do you comment on their links? Do you ask them meaningful questions and/or add value to their blog? Also important is to create a e-newsletters that’s not all self promotion—list tips, contests, recipes, “pet of the month,” cool facts and be liberal with cross-posting your colleagues’ events and workshops.

So, friends, keep self promoting and growing your business! And if you live in Triangle, I invite you to attend “How to Find FREE Media Opportunities” on Thursday, April 28th at the Center for Excellence (3803‐B Computer Dr. Ste. 106 Raleigh NC 27609) from 12-2pm. Here’s the link for more info. Many thanks to Beverly Mahone for putting this panel together. I’ll be on the panel speaking on blogging and promoting your blog!

Your Turn:
How do you self promote and what challenges have you faced with marketing yourself?