Stop Hiding your Light and Learn to Promote You and Your Business with Pride
It’s not in our nature for us Brits to brag or boast. And talking about ourselves too much really isn’t the done thing. We’re also known for our self-deprecating nature, which often translates into playing down achievements, rather than celebrating them.
Unless you’re a narcissist, self-promotion isn’t an instinctive behaviour. While modesty is an admirable trait, it can make things tricky for entrepreneurs when it comes to marketing and publicity. No-one wants to feel like they’re being salesy or pushy. But, when it comes to promoting your business, if you’re not going to blow your own trumpet, who is?
Fortunately, self-promotion is a skill you can learn. And once you get comfortable with the idea of it and know how to do it effectively, publicity and promotion will become second nature.
Here’s how to do it:
Make a mindset shift
The first step is to shift your mindset and understand that when you share your story or your expertise in the press, it’s not just about you: it’s about the people you’re impacting. There are people out there who will feel inspired, motivated and reassured by reading your story. Or who will feel enlightened, empowered and educated by hearing your expert knowledge. Focus on the impact you’ll have on those people, and any awkwardness around getting featured in the press will fade.
Make a list of reasons why you and your business are awesome
Aside from not wanting to brag, a lot of people hold off from trying to get featured in the press, because they don’t think they’re good enough/qualified enough/well-known enough. Impostor Syndrome is rife among entrepreneurs. If you’re having doubts that are holding you back from publicising your business, remind yourself of all of your achievements. Make a list of the things you’ve achieved in your business, as well as things outside of your business that you’re proud of. Seeing your achievements written down should make you feel more confident about approaching the press. And from a practical point of view, it’s helpful to be clear on what you’ve achieved and what makes you great at what you do, so you can convey this to journalists when you contact them.
Observe the 3-second rule
In stressful situations, such as talking to a journalist on camera, shy entrepreneurs tend to speak very fast. They feel threatened by the silence and pressured to fill it immediately, whether or not they have formulated something intelligent to say. This can cause them to fall into verbal traps, such as starting sentences that they don’t know how to finish, becoming overly repetitive, or using filler bridge words such as ‘like’ or ‘um.’ All of these make them sound less articulate than they really are.
An effective tip here is to observe the 3-second rule: When you’re asked a question, look the interviewer in the eye and nod to show you’re listening, then glance away for a few seconds to formulate your answer before speaking. You will be able to craft a more eloquent and intelligent sounding response than if you answer without thinking. And you won’t end up tripping over your words as much.
Three seconds of silence may sound like a lot. But it’s only a long time to you when you’re nervous.
Get comfortable with calling yourself an expert
Getting featured in the press is one of the most effective ways to position yourself as an expert, but you need to overcome any awkwardness you have around calling yourself one. Firstly, get super clear on what your areas of expertise are. What are the subjects that you feel confident and passionate about? What are the topics you’d be happy to be interviewed about or write articles on?
Secondly, don’t be scared to refer to yourself as an expert even if there are other people out there doing what you do with more experience than you or with larger followings. Think about the things that make you an expert; whether that’s your wealth of experience, training, or success with clients. Claim that expert status so you can pitch yourself to a journalist as an expert in your niche with pride.
Practice makes perfect
If you’re a modest or nervy entrepreneur and have an important media pitch, interview or meeting with a reporter, it’ll pay dividends to be prepared. Have a script, bullet points, or a general idea of what you want to say and be sure to practice saying it with confidence to friends, family and co-workers. Ask them if you’re doing yourself and your business justice with your responses. As with anything else in life, practice makes perfect.