Self-promotion might seem like a dirty concept, but when done the right way it’s far from it. And whilst all forms of marketing are technically self-promotion, here we’re focussing on the more direct kind. The sort of self-promotion that is, essentially, the act of talking about ourselves.

The trick, of course, is simply not to make it all about ourselves, all the time. The “me me me” approach to self-promotion has long been a nonstarter, and if anything actually has a negative impact on our marketing efforts.  

But beyond the print ads, business cards, and direct mail campaigns, are some softer approaches to boosting your brand. In this post we’ll take a look at just a few, and get you on the road to become a master of self-promotion. 

Be humble

Humility is a virtue, and something of a rarity in the business world. And whilst it might sound counter-intuitive, humility can actually be a very effective (and very subtle) form of self-promotion.  

We’re not talking about humility to the extent of self-deprecation, but simply an ability to show some modesty when it’s called for. This can come in many forms. But ideally it should manifest as a lack of arrogance and self-importance. 

It’s easy to get caught up (especially at networking events) talking about yourself, your business, and how good you are. But people don’t necessarily want to hear that all the time. 

Sometimes it’s good, for example, to acknowledge those who have helped you or improved your business along the way. By giving credit where it’s due, and praising other professionals for the work they do, you can establish yourself as a generous and unselfconscious spirit

Humility in business is, essentially, the ability to steer attention away from ourselves. To ask questions, show interest in other businesses, and praise other people’s work. And, ultimately, acting in this way will encourage people to see us in a more positive light, which is an excellent way to promote ourselves.

Do some things (but not everything) for free 

The occasional freebie can pay for itself tenfold in word-of-mouth promotion. And though many businesses are against the idea of offering their services pro bono, it can in fact be hugely rewarding. 

The reason for this is simply that genuinely free things are so hard to come by. If you do a little job for a client, or add something extra to a project, without charging for it, the chances are they’ll be so taken aback by your generosity that they’ll tell all their friends. 

You can even consider money lost on freebies the equivalent of money spent on advertising. In many ways, they’re the same thing. When you do something for nothing (without being asked, of course), then it’s almost guaranteed you’ll get some word-of-mouth marketing out of it

People can’t help talking about good deeds. And your clients will absolutely want to tell others of your generous nature.

Be an expert

Expertise sells itself. Part of self-promotion is convincing others that you’re competent at what you do, and one of the best ways to communicate competence is through knowledge. 

By demonstrating that you’re a true expert in your field, you’re giving people a reason to trust you. A very effective and accessible way of doing this is through blogging. Sharing tips and insights through short and shareable articles can be an incredibly powerful self-promotional tool.

The upside to blogging is that you get to tout your expertise, show how competent you are, and provide informative and meaningful content all at the same time. It’s a very powerful, yet extremely gentle, form of marketing. 

Not only that, but by sharing knowledge you’re also offering value. You can help people fix problems or understand confusing ideas, all without asking for anything in return. But inevitably you’ll find that people will trust you more and being to see you as an authority on your craft.  

Promote your way to the top

Self-promotion plays a huge role in the long-term success of any brand. For some more hands-on tips on how to boost your professional image, take a look at these 5 techniques for designing fantastic business cards. Or check out our guide on how to send promotional items.