Mastering the art of self-promotion
When it comes to launching a new business or creating buzz around your ideas, self-promotion is key. Granted it may not be everyone’s favourite activity – but a little effort can pay off in spades. And it need not be expensive either. Here are 7 low-cost ways to promote your expertise and/or your business.
1. Make use of everyday business communication. Online or offline, all the documents you put out are an opportunity for branding. Make sure your logo, positioning statement and contact information appear on all business stationary including business cards, faxes, bill payments and receipts. Email signatures and taglines are a great way to make a statement about you and your company’s services. Note: For e-mail signatures, less is more. Be creative and informative – but keep it short.
2. Write articles in your area of expertise and offer them free for publication. On the Web, for example, there are any number of websites hungry for content. One resource for finding the right e-zine for your target audience is The Internet’s Best E-Zine Directories. You can also pitch your business promotion articles to newspapers and magazines (although keep in mind that magazines have a longer lead time). For newspapers, submit your article idea to the business editor or write a letter to the Editorial section.
3. Become an ‘expert’ speaker and/or teacher. Whenever possible, pursue opportunities for speaking engagements. No matter how large or small the event, it’s a great way to promote yourself. Public speaking not your thing? Check out Toastmasters International, a non-profit organization that helps people become more competent and comfortable in front of an audience. You can also establish your professional expertise by starting a training class or workshop. And don’t forget to use your ‘teacher bio’ as a promotional tool by including information about yourself and your business.
4. Start a blog. Another way to flaunt your knowledge in a particular area is to start a blog – you might be surprised at the number of inquiries and requests for information you receive. New to blogging? Check out free services like Blogger.com and WordPress. For easy instructions on how to start a blog, click here.
5. Post comments in forums. Spread the word about your business by posting your views on relevant internet forums. You can’t blatantly advertise on most forums, but you can display your expertise – and promote your business through your signature file. Note: Be sure to check a forum’s level of activity first to make your efforts worthwhile.
6. Become your own publicist. An easy way to promote yourself is through media releases. Write a media release announcing a new product or service or an interesting industry event. For professional help, check out services such as PR Leads, where for a fee you can register in your area of expertise and receive queries from journalists seeking comments or quotes from sources.
7. Create case studies and testimonials. Craft stories about your how you helped your clients and post them on your website. You can also ask satisfied clients for testimonials. These success stories can also come in handy when drafting a press release.