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In defence of shameless self-promotion

February 28, 2012

I was talking to a journalist the other day, and pointed him towards my blog. I admitted that it was shameless self-promotion.

To which he agreed! But he admitted to the same crime himself, and we got to musing on the fact that self-promotion is almost a professional responsibility these days.

Maybe I’m just rationalising my own behaviour, but at least let me make the case.

There are two key reasons to  build your ‘personal brand’ – and while I don’t like that expression, it’s a good reference point.

Firstly, to boost your credentials with clients. Secondly, to enhance your employability. (Not necessarily in that order).

The power of being an ‘expert’

We’ve all written a media release where we call someone an ‘expert’ (haven’t we?). Fortunately, it’s rarely questioned or scrutinised. Besides which, there is no list of criteria to prove it or otherwise!

But the message we’re conveying is that ‘here’s a person who knows what the hell they’re talking about’. And that gives the editor, journalist, reader, client or customer a level of comfort. Even if the person isn’t explicitly called an expert, the tone is one of imparting expertise.

Now, if I want my clients or prospects to think I’m one of the best in the business, then I need to give them some evidence. The fact that I talk about PR and communication on a blog, and others even seem to agree – by commenting or sharing – surely raises my credibility. (Ok, maybe not ‘surely’  – maybe ‘hopefully’).

Anyway, pretty much all due diligence is now done via Google –  whether you’re checking out a potential date, employee or supplier. So it makes sense to boost your credibility online. Let’s give those Googlebots something more to find than a bad photo on a public Facebook album.

Then there’s the employability factor. I don’t want a new job anytime soon, so it’s not a big motivator for me. (But then, it never hurts to be in demand.)

And while I’m not headhunted due to my blog, it’s both satisfying and useful to have a network of people who read my work, know what I’m about and have a connection with me.

Also, I’m quite lucky in my relative job security – there are plenty of people out there subject to the whims of the market and the powers-that-be, who never know when they’ll be back in the job market. For many people, employability and a strong profile provide a good Plan B.

So I’m not suggesting everyone needs a blog – god help us if that were the case. But developing a profile – both online and in the real world – makes good sense both personally and professionally.

After all, most of us don’t have an awesome PR person working on our behalf.  We have to do it all ourselves!

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  1. And maybe in there somewhere there is something beyond self-promotion, which is sharing knowledge and experience. A small bit of intention which is not all about me. You never know, in my experience, when something with which you might be promoting yourself will click with someone else, and help them along with an issue they are facing. Maybe it’s not “shameless”, rather it’s beneficent self-promotion.

  2. Maybe this came out sounding a little bit Machiavellian. I started the blog because of the reason you suggest. I have things to say and knowledge to share. I think it’s the building-a-readership part that becomes self-promotional.

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