I recently got a promo email from Cat Mulvihill, an internet consultant I admire. (Her advice on how to set up a home video studio is priceless.) It was a reminder to register for her Virtual Camera for Beginners Workshop, and she closed it by saying,
NO LONGER A BEGINNER?
If there is someone in your life who could benefit from this workshop, I would really appreciate it if you would consider sharing the workshop details or forwarding this email.
I want to help as many people as I can, and word of mouth is a powerful way to spread the message.
Couldn’t Have Said It Better Myself
Cat’s request is a perfect example of what you can do instead of self-promote.
Lots of people—famously including women, introverts, and anyone who’s modest or shy—don’t like to talk about themselves, or even about the work that’s an extension of their selves.
(For example, I actually rolled my eyes when a friend introduced me to someone by saying that I’d been written up in the New York Times. I could have just owned that, but, instead, the eye roll highlighted my embarrassment instead of my coaching.)
I don’t know whether Cat Mulvihill hates to self-promote, but by asking people to spread the message, she’s sharing that responsibility with others. Her clear, unembarrassed request lets them know that:
- This workshop is worth talking about (and she didn’t even need to say those words!)
- Her motives are good (“I want to help as many people as I can”); and
- Even if you’re not a virtual camera rookie, you can still be support her work by telling others.
Not bad for two self-promoting/not self-promoting sentences!
More Ways to Let Others Help You “Self-Promote”
1. Be Generous
Generosity sets up a chain reaction that often results in others being generous in return.
This point has been made by everyone from my wonderful first marketing coach Ilise Benun to my creative strategist, Melea Seward, to marketing guru Seth Godin, to the Bible, which says,
Cast your bread upon the waters for you will find it after many days [or: for it will come back to you].Ecclesiastes 11:1
So, if you want others to spread the word about your work, be someone who helps to spread the word about other people’s achievements.
And I’m not suggesting a “transactional relationship” where everyone is acting from selfish motives alone, because generosity—helping other people get what they want—would be its own reward even if you didn’t stand to reap a karmic benefit.
2. Be Conscientious
It’s not easy to create something that’s “share-worthy,” and when you do, that’s another form of generosity. And when you bring true dedication to your work, other people will want to help you spread the word, because what you’re offering is just that good.
So don’t be like the many people we could (but won’t) name who have mastered the art of self-promotion but are on shaky ground because whatever they’re promoting is lame, tawdry, or outright fraudulent.
3. Be Authentic
Ironically, the people who don’t like to self-promote often dislike it because doing it makes them feel inauthentic. They’re able to pour their true selves into their work, but have trouble pouring themselves into discussions of their work.
If this is you, never fear. You can be authentic while saying things like,
Can someone else describe that I did here?
I don’t feel comfortable talking about my work
or even while you’re rolling your eyes! 🙂
And, again, if you’re a generous person who’s known for supporting others, someone will generally step in to help promote you when you decline to do it yourself.
Just make sure someone is promoting you!
The point is that there are many ways to engage people in an effort to spread the word about your product or services so that you don’t have to.
(The #1 way, of course, is to ask them to do it! :-))
So if self-promoting is not your favorite thing, don’t worry.
Try these other strategies and, if they work for you…be sure to spread the word!