Our Reluctance To Market Ourselves

I love social media. I love how there’s just so much going on and so much information being shared by so many people. I love sharing information myself, which is why Twitter is my favorite place to be, because you never know what someone will share there and there’s lots being shared.

Dad and Me

You know what I also notice? I notice that there’s not as many people actually sharing their own stuff. I’m guilty of that myself. I often believe that since my blog articles automatically post when they go live that I don’t have to do anything else to promote them, hence, I don’t have to do anything else to promote myself. Man, how wrong I am, and those who believe as I do are.

I first touched upon this question back in May 2008 when I asked the general question How Far Are You Willing To Go For Promotion. That was based on something a local guy did (he’s now retired) where he wore certain types of clothing and a gold badge everywhere he went to always be promoting himself, and I wondered if anyone else would ever have the guts to do that. Seems the answer was no.

Over the years I’ve asked a lot of questions about marketing. I once asked if we could stomach sales. I once asked if we hate marketing so much because of what we’ve seen others do. I’ve talked about reasons why we don’t trust salespeople, and thus don’t want to become them. I once even announced that I was about to step up marketing efforts; that didn’t last, if it ever came to fruition or not.

What turns out to be interesting is just how little most of us end up marketing ourselves. A funny story from last week is that I was talking to my buddy Beverly Mahone about writing something for her that would help promote both of us. I put it together and sent it to her, exactly what she asked for. The next day she called and said I didn’t write a bio; I said she hadn’t asked for one. She also said I didn’t add a title page and I said once again she hadn’t asked for one. In essence, what she was saying to me is how could she promote both of us if I hadn’t given her anything to promote myself. Now that’s a shame.

I tend to believe that many of us miss opportunities to promote ourselves, our blogs and webpages, and our blogs. If you ask me, I think a lot of people end up doing it wrong on social media when they go through social bookmarking sites like Visibli before trying to push their content themselves first.

None of us likes “pushy”; I think that’s fair to say. We don’t want to get hammered daily, sometimes even once a week, with a sales message to buy something. I was reading yesterday where Sharon Hurley Hall wrote that she was unsubscribing from a number of newsletters that no longer suited her purpose. Probably a lot of those newsletters were marketing something on too consistent of a basis; that’s why I’ve unsubscribed from so many.

But there are some truths. One, we all need more outlets to advertise or market ourselves and our wares, and we have to be willing to do it. If you can’t advertise in your own space every once in awhile, if not have something ready on a 24/7 basis, well, how fair is that?

I have some products on 4 of my blogs that anyone can buy if they so choose at any time; is it wrong for me to want to have the ability to make money here and there? To the right, by the picture of me and the bird, I have links to some of my other pages where I’m selling stuff; will people hate me for having the audacity to try to make money that way?

Let’s talk about blog posts, or articles. How many times to you promote your own articles and posts on Twitter, where there are literally millions of people saying stuff every day, we have at least hundreds if not thousands following us, and yet we all know that the same people on at 10AM are probably not always the same people on at 8PM, or even 2PM. Who says you can’t pop your own links out more than once?


Me & writer Don Yaeger

If you have a Facebook page, are you taking advantage of it by sharing your content, or every once in awhile sharing a product of yours? What about your Google+ page? None of these things are aggressive enough for anyone to gripe. Now, if you’re doing it once an hour or more, yeah, that will get irritating pretty quickly. But here and there… do you really care if a few people begrudge your opportunity to make a living?

Quick story. I was telling Beverly that I knew a local TV news personality but felt strange talking to him about things I do because I felt it might be manipulative in some fashion. She said I should contact him because people in the news are always looking for experts in different fields. I figured I had nothing to lose so I sent him a private message on Twitter, telling him I do things with blogging and social media and could possibly offer an older point of view on these things. He wrote back thanking me for telling him because he hadn’t realized that I did this type of thing. Will it end up with me on TV? Who knows, but at least I’m now known by someone in a prominent position for this sort of thing.

Most of us have to be ready to talk about ourselves, share our links, sell our products, let people know we and those things exist. I’m just as bad so this is a joint project. Sometimes we can do it while we’re supporting others; do you think I didn’t feel I was getting some benefit when I was helping John Garrett market his book How To Deal With Stupid Clowns? What about when I helped Beverly market her book Don’t Ask, or my artist friend Isaac Bidwell market himself and some of his art? Anyone see how that kind of thing helps me and them at the same time?

We can get this done. We can double our efforts, which pretty much means if you’re not doing it already anything you do will be a major step forward. Even if you’re not trying to sell something, if you’d like more visitors to your blog, go ahead and put your link out there somewhere, in a space you have more control over, and get yourself known.

And I’ll try to do it as well. πŸ™‚

37 thoughts on “Our Reluctance To Market Ourselves”

  1. Hi Mitch

    Glad you posted before midnight in Perth cos after our Twitter chat was really looking forward to this post πŸ™‚

    Some really relevant points in there for me to take note of. As I shared with you; don’t like hard sell so don’t do it myself. But then, like you, sometimes I just don’t do … and how is anyone to know if we don’t tell them??!!

    Have noticed in the few days I’ve been back that someone I have just started following is obviously a marketer. Thought I would check out her site as she was tweeting so many things in my stream.

    Sure enough, she is and by the looks of things knows what she is doing. I tweeted her and got a reply … so I’ll be visiting her site and looking around more.

    Why do I think it’s ok for her to sell herself and NOT do it myself?! There are definitely going to be changes this year in how I do things.

    Patricia Perth Australia

    1. Glad you stayed up to read it Pat. πŸ™‚ You’ve found my point, which is that it’s okay to market because others market and there’s no other way we sell anything if we don’t let people know what we have. And I easily include myself in this one, so let’s grow together.

  2. Yeah you are dead on with this, Mitch.

    I tweet other people’s stuff WAY more than I tweet my own. Sometimes from being part of Triberr, I realize I kind of sit back and let the tweets flow, but I forget to actually tweet to my own darn timeline! lol…

    Honestly, it’s so tough for me to promote myself. I feel bad trying to sell people, even if I think my product is worth it. Except if i don’t think my product is worth enough to promote, why would I even make it and expect people to buy it anyway?

    I agree that 2012 is the time to overcome “self-marketing shyness”. I hope that as long as I contribute some value besides just a hard sell, then people will respond and at least help get the word out.

    The concept is similar to one I learned back in the days when I first started working. My dad told me to “pay myself first” and take some money from my check and put it away right off the top into my savings account.

    Marketing yourself might be a similar situation. Make sure you promote yourself first, then circle back and help out your supporters as best you can.

    I’m glad you wrote this, this article got me pumped! lol.

    Oh yeah, thanks for promoting me (yet again)!

    1. John, you were one of the major inspirations for this post. I do see you retweeting all sorts of thing all day, but never your own stuff. You need to share more of your own stuff instead of waiting for the rest of us to highlight you. Yes, let’s get it done.

  3. Hi Mitch,

    My takeaways from this are 1) I totally agree with your thoughts regarding pushing our own information versus social bookmarking, 2) if our offers are worthwhile and stand to help others, we have some obligation to share them, and 3) it really is a matter of being worthy of trust, knowing that and holding that closest to our heart.

    Phil Ammendolia
    Twitter – @Phil_Ammendolia

    1. Good stuff Phil, though that last one is harder to get to I figure. It’s hard knowing who to trust because we don’t always know the people we’re hoping to buy from. Still, we have to do what we can to get those good feelings coming our way, and really, we deserve to make money as much as everyone else does, right?

  4. I am currently developing new project, which is again social network, but it looks more like micro blogging platform similar to Twitter, but also offering functionality of social bookmarks, as well as offering guest blogging option. For now project is pretty much experimental, but I’ve already good a good feedback from first members.
    I think social engagement is becoming more and more popular part of online marketing and definitely G+ was approaching this aspect, however I think that they didn’t quite succeeded, yet.

    1. I don’t think they’ve succeeded yet either Carl, but it seems so many people aren’t willing to write them off so I’ll hang around to see if things eventually get to where they’re hoping it will.

      1. I guess that social science is too complicated to be predicted and I am expecting that there will be a lot of amendments in near future. Generally what I am seeing is that everybody is sharing links, same thing happened to Myspace a decade ago thats why the social network lost almost everything. However now we are talking about different scale and different level of professionalism.

      2. That’s kind of my issue. G+ isn’t greatly different than Twitter thus far, even though it’s set up for better communications. It has to eventually become more, otherwise it’ll fade out.

  5. As a media makeover consultant here’s my take on your post: No one’s ever going to know anything about you unless you tell them. There are strategies to doing this, however, which I talk about in my upcoming book, How to Get on the News Without Committing Murder.

    Many people think of tooting their own horn as bragging but I’m here to tell you that is not the case and it all depends on how you do it.

    I do a lot of back-handed self promotions. I am in the business of promoting others but I also recognize that it promotes me as well.

    Mitch, when I asked you to write the foreward to my upcoming book, I did it to promote YOU but to also show I am connected to someone who is really “in the know” in their field of expertise. People not only look at you–but they look at the people you are associated with.

    Now I will say some people go to the EXTREME when they attempt to promote themselves–and they are easily identified.

    I would like to invite you to order a copy of my new book so you can see exactly what I’m talking about when it comes to self-promotion. Everyone deserves to have their time to shine!

    And thank you Mitch for the opportunity to “self-promote.” πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks for sharing all that great stuff Bev, and I was hoping you’d see this post. What you advised me to do worked for me, which is pretty neat, but I’d have never thought about doing it on my own. I probably need to reach out to one of my newspaper contacts from awhile ago to see if there’s anything I can offer her as well; see, now I’m even thinking about doing things.

      I’ve always said I wished I had about 25% of Yosemite Sam in me; now there was a guy who knew something about self promotion. lol

  6. Mitch,

    And let me add one more thing—you are right when you say most people do it wrong on the social media sites because they spend way too much time begging others to buy what they’re selling, read what they’re saying. Like I said in my previous post, there is a strategy in self-promoting. You do it right and no one will ever recognize it as self promotion or think you’re obnoxious.

  7. I am better at marketing other people, and tend to not market myself so much. However, I realized that my posts were not being spread across my social sites, so that was corrected. I am not using Hootsuite effectively for continuous marketing. Working on changing that.

  8. Nothing wrong with marketing other peoples stuff as long as its done in an ethical way.

    Its done in all walks of life, on TV ads, door to door sales, even someone working in a store for someone else is selling ‘someone elses stuff’

    As long as you are honest and dont lie I see nothing wrong with it – commerce is the major thing that makes the world go round.

    With pinging your posts you can add as many ping sites in the writing settings so it happens automatically.

    To get your name out there, there are so many things you can do regarding content syndication – trouble is there is that much noise out there in social media and so much being shared how many people are actually heard?

    1. Peter, it’s not easy to figure out, but you know there are some people who do figure it out, who get named as top bloggers and the like whose content isn’t greater than ours, and marketers who don’t always have products better than anything we create but have figured out how to make sales.

      I’m not sure most of us have quite figured it out. I’m working out how to not be a pest while still doing it my way. I don’t use the Tweet Old Posts plugin because I’m not sure that can promote me as much as I can promote myself. I don’t use all those social bookmarking sites because I don’t think people read stuff on them, but instead just pass links. In other words, I want to be seen and shared, but by people who are actually paying attention to what I’m doing and have to say. That might not be business savvy but it’s who I am.

      1. I think the difficult thing is the connection and the relationship. Its the part where you need to be able to convice people you have something they want so they automatically come to you to purchase it.

        Out of all the online processes I feel this is the most difficult part there is.

        Most things in the Online Marketing game are process driven, build site, create content, optimize for SEO, build social media, backlinks etc. These are core skills which any of us can learn.

        But the one area that often needs the personality input however is the personal touch and the communication.

        I think the most effective way from my perspective is to build a call to action into everything you do – like in my case I’ve just built a FB page with an optin box and a call to action – that being to leave a comment on my site and the best one wins xxxxx.

        This way hopefully I can notify those on my newsletter of new content and gain their trust and keep them interested so they purchase down the line.

        I think the donkey and the carrot approach fills the WIIFM tendencies we all have.

        If anyone can think of a better approach I’d love to hear it.

      2. Peter I certainly don’t have a better approach, and I hope it works for you. I’ve offered a little freebie for years for my newsletter, but that doesn’t seem to be the compelling reason anyone decides to subscribe. Goodness, just getting people to the page is a tough prospect many times. You’ll have to let us know how it works out for you; probably a blog post down the line.

  9. I don’t do much self promotion either Mitch. Like you some of the articles on my post get posted automatically and I pretty well leave it at that. Occasionally I come across an old post that I noticed hasn’t got all that many comments and so I give it a quick tweet as a “blast from the past” and there are times when it’s just enough to give it a quick kick.

    Timing seems to be everything though and luck plays a big part in it. The luck put is that you tweeted it at the right time when someone with a fair amount of Klout decides to Tweet it to their followers. Doesn’t happen a heck of a lot and of course it all depends on the quality of the post and whether or not it’s the one that person with all the Klout would like. Heck, I reckon I have more chance of winning the lottery.

    1. Sire, that’s why we need to think about marketing ourselves at least a bit better than we have. You and I have both been fairly passive marketers over the years and I don’t think it’s benefited us all that much as far as online sales go. Wouldn’t it be nice to make a full income, or at least close to that, ourselves with some of our online activities? For me, it’d be nice if I did enough to help get the word out so I’d get speaking engagement and more consulting assignments.

      I mean, I want to build and buy a new house after all! πŸ˜‰

      1. The guys that seem to do best are the ‘story tellers’. They weave a real life event into what they are doing – I think we all need to read something like the ‘powers of persuasion’

      2. Peter, that’s exactly how I wrote my newsletters, tell a story then get to the point. It’s how I write many of these blog posts as well. The thing is that I’m still sometimes left to wonder if people are actually reading the content or not. I know there are a lot of skimmers out there, people looking for the main points so they can toss out a comment. Still, I be what I be, because I might one day decide to take a bunch of old blog posts and put them together for some kind of book. Now wouldn’t that be something?

  10. I’m not sure if I market myself that good but I’m doing my best to make it. Participating in Social Media is a great thing,like you, I really like Twitter. But you know, it’s not just a place for marketing or getting notice online, well socialization is important other than your business.

    1. That’s true Isabel but since most people on Twitter love sharing links from other people it’s imperative that we at least share some of our links and not be afraid to market in that fashion. It’s rare that I’ll send someone I’m talking to a link to any of my stuff unless they ask, so taking other opportunities to do it can only help in the long run.

  11. This is so true! I feel pretty bad when I’m trying to sell something that I ended up offering totally free advertisements for others…I’m aware that what I’m offering is very valuable , I like doing it and I like promoting it…by offering it by free to anyone I don’t feel bad in doing that…I thought this is because of my cultural background (I was raised in socialist country where free market and advertisement were considered bad thins)…but now when I read your post, it seems that it’s cross cultural phenomenon πŸ™‚

    1. Yes, it’s pretty much the same everywhere. We’re all taught not to promote ourselves and thus we carry it over into our adult lives when, to make a living, that’s just what we have to do here and there.

  12. It’s a very common problem. I myself have a hard time understanding when it’s ok to promote my company. I end up doing it very rarely.
    There’s nothing wrong in it, you just have to find the right balance.
    I suppose this could very well be one thing to work on in 2012, among others.

    1. Gabriele, if we’re ever going to take that big step forward with our businesses, we have to have something to hang our hats on and get out there and market. I think I need to finish my second book and then see if I can market it while marketing myself as well. Totally different field than social media and the like, but at least it’s a product, right?

  13. Getting on TV would be a great step forward. People don’t forget such things and they tend to trust experts on TV. I bet you could be a instant success.

    I remember back in the day, when blogging was not this popular and was practically unknown to the mainstream some bloggers from my country ended up on TV, talking about blogs and blogging and stuff like that. They were and still are pretty mediocre compared with others but they were on TV, and that alone mattered, instant success that lasted throw out the years.

    1. I’ve seen that same sort of thing Cristian, and it does make one leery of going on TV for fear of someone else deciding they don’t like you. However, when we allow those types of doubts to creep in then we can’t progress. And I’m not getting any younger. πŸ™‚

  14. It really irritates when the number of posts,tweets, retweets etc on different social networks is too high. When I even have no opportunity to browse through other news except those ones that one person places

  15. Hey Mitch,

    I’ll pipe in to, wonderful post.

    I don’t promote my stuff near as much as I probably should but I think that’s because I have so many people doing it for me now. Yep, what can I say it’s really nice. I think it might be accepted more when other people are promoting me then me doing it myself! Okay, I like to think it does because obviously I get quite a bit of traffic to my site because of it.

    I think a lot of us are guilty of this. I had one of my subscribers email me and he told me I didn’t promote enough products to my list. I told him that I prefer doing things a little differently then most because he was suggesting I promote something in every single post. And yes, he’s an affiliate marketer so he would say that. Like your friend Sharon though, I have unsubscribed to a lot of lists because that’s all they do anymore. Let’s face it, we aren’t all just made of money and I don’t think that’s want my readers want anyway.

    I guess we can all learn something from what you’ve shared so thanks for bringing it to our attention. Wonderful job!


    1. Thanks Adrienne. At least you’re getting something done. I don’t promote much at all, and I think this little campaign I have for this goofy Shorty Award thing is the most promotion I’ve done in 2 years, which is a shame. Then again, I have to have stuff I feel worthy of promoting, at least in the right places. Kind of like the two items I have at the top left there; I mention them here and there, but promote them? Rare.

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