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Why You Should Care About Self-Promotion and Personal Branding

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Find out why self-promotion is now essential for just about everybody and learn the 5 principle objectives of personal branding.

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This chapter is from the book

So, rather than spending every day on the phone, Erik started attending Rainmakers meetings (a local networking organization), a business book club, and local Chambers of Commerce get-togethers. He attended at least two to three events a week, at 7:30 in the morning or 5:00 in the afternoon. By meeting other people in the business world, he hoped to learn about new opportunities, meet possible new clients, and find new partners who could act as evangelists to their clients on Erik’s behalf.

Around the same time, he attended a half-day seminar on social media and blogging. Erik had been blogging infrequently up until that point, but he began to take it seriously in 2007. He studied blogging by reading other blogs and books about blogging, then experimenting with some of the new techniques he was learning.

As part of his networking, Erik had coffee or lunch with people he met. He learned as much as he could about them and asked if they could refer him to anyone else who would be interested in learning about his direct mail services. They often asked also about blogging and social media, so he would teach them as much as he could. He spent a lot of time online, blogging, promoting his blog, and communicating on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Smaller Indiana, a now-defunct local social network.

Those connections have led to many opportunities—sales, speaking gigs, blogging opportunities, a job, and even this book—that never would have happened if Erik had limited his job search to just the job boards, and especially if he hadn’t drunk enough coffee to float a battleship.

In 2010 when we were first discussing how to write this book, Kyle said, “We need to write it for the you from 2007. We need to create a game plan for that guy on how to brand himself and promote himself online.”

When we started discussing this latest edition, we realized the principles were still sound, only some of the tools had changed. In that time, our own circumstances have changed as well. Erik has moved to Florida, while Kyle moved to Massachusetts and then back to Indiana. In both cases, we found we had to re-grow our networks, meet new people, and build new relationships. We basically followed our own advice and built up new circles of friends, fans, and trusted mentors.

And we learned a lot of new lessons about personal branding and networking. This edition reflects what we’ve learned.

What Is Self-Promotion?

Self-promotion is just what it sounds like: promoting yourself, your events, your accomplishments, your victories, and even your defeats, problems, and hard-won lessons. You do it so you can increase your visibility, traffic to your website, and sales, as well as to get more speaking opportunities, exhibitions, and gigs—more of whatever it is you’re looking for.

You promote yourself so you can get even more opportunities, which you can then tell people about.

Self-promotion is also called “branding yourself,” because that’s actually what it has become. (That, and it’s what we wanted to call the book.) Think of it as personal branding because you need to think of yourself as a brand, just like Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Google, or Facebook.

Why Is Self-Promotion Important?

You can’t count on people calling you out of the blue to hire you, buy your service, or book you for an event if they don’t know about you. The only way to get people to know who you are and what you do is to tell them. And you want to tell as many people as you can who are actually interested.

Self-promotion can help you make those important connections that will further your career and improve your professional standing. It can be as simple as introducing yourself to the organizer of a conference and telling her you are interested in speaking at her next conference, or it can be as involved as writing a book or two and then spending a day emailing every conference organizer you can to get as many speaking deals as you can.

@kyleplacy:	Is that a shot at me?
@edeckers:  No, not at all, Mr. I-Don't-Have-Time-for-Lunch-Today.

What Self-Promotion Is Not

Self-promotion is not bragging or boasting. It’s not acting bigger than you are. It’s just letting people know who you are and what you do.

It’s perfectly acceptable to promote yourself without looking like an arrogant jerk. People are going to be out promoting themselves and their personal endeavors and small businesses. If you’re not, you’re missing good opportunities, and others are going to beat you in the competition. They’re going to sell their art, get their speaking gigs, get more web traffic, or whatever they’re competing with you for.

What Can Self-Promotion Do for You and Your Career?

Without question, self-promotion can make you successful. And if you’re already successful, it can make your personal brand huge. You don’t become a success without knowing a lot of people and having a lot of people know you. If you want to be stuck in a little gray cubicle for your entire career, never rising above lower middle management, keep your head down and don’t attract attention. Actually, put this book down. Stop reading!

But if you want to make a name for yourself, establish a good reputation, finally get that corner office, or even own your own thriving business, you need to promote yourself.

To do that, you need to be passionate about two things: the work you do and yourself. If you’re not passionate about what you do, find the thing you’re passionate about. If you’re not passionate about yourself, seek professional help. The person you should love the most, admire the most, and treasure the most is you. And when you share that confidence in yourself, others feel it, too.

So maybe it’s time to change up your life. You want to get out of your cubicle, get off the road, get out of the factory, put down the hammer, or change careers completely. Or maybe you’re about to start looking for your first job after college. Figure out what you want to do, make it happen, and then start telling people about it. Let them know that you are good at what you do. Let them come to you for answers and information.

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