The cream doesn’t simply rise to the top. It has to fight its way there.
Translation: If you have serious designs for professional or business success, you need to put yourself out there. You need to master — or at least get better at — the art of tasteful self-promotion.
It’s not as difficult as it sounds. Nor must it be as unseemly. These six self-promotional strategies can help both your professional standing and your business (if you have one) stand out in a crowded field.
1. Join or Apply for Membership in Relevant Professional Associations or Groups
In some lines of work, membership in professional associations is expected, even required. If this isn’t the case in yours, pursue it anyway. And if you really can’t find a suitable group, consider founding one yourself (ideally with the help of some like-minded colleagues). It’s not like your professional reputation will suffer when you’re known as the co-founder of your hometown chapter of the XYZ Professional Association.
2. Complete and Share Your High-Visibility Directory Profiles
This is a bit of online housekeeping that every notable professional needs to do. It’s one of the easiest ways to improve the quality and relevance of your personal SERPS — the results people see when they Google your name or job title.
The Crunchbase profile for Steve Streit, a venture capitalist focused on fintech, is a good example of the power of high-visibility directories. The profile is one of the first hits on his SERPs, and it’s packed with relevant information about his career, current work, and philanthropy. Make it your model.
3. Bring Your LinkedIn Profile Up to Date
The same logic applies to your LinkedIn profile, which has the added power of being visible (sometimes via algorithmic recommendations) in LinkedIn’s internal interface. In other words, your LinkedIn profile is much more than a boon for your SERPs. Make sure it’s something you can be proud of.
4. Establish a Professional Twitter Presence
It’s worth creating a new Twitter handle that’s “safe for work,” not that your personal Twitter handle isn’t. Use it as the hub of your “social business” life — your more collaborative interactions with colleagues, contacts, and industry influencers. If LinkedIn is the place where you’re buttoned-up and “always on,” Twitter is where you relax a little and tell the world how you really feel.
5. Publish at Least One Piece of Original Content Every Week
Even if they’re not very numerous right now, your followers crave content. They want to know what you think about this, that, and the other thing that you have thoughts on. You’re an expert, after all.
Publish your thoughts on LinkedIn and Medium, at a minimum. If you have a personal or professional blog, cross-post there as well. (More on that below.) And if you’re more of an audio/visual person, that’s fine — a podcast never hurts.
6. Start an Email Newsletter for Your Professional Website or Blog
Yep, blogging is still a thing. You just don’t have to have your own blog with its own official URL, or if you do, you don’t have to spend a great deal of time maintaining and optimizing it. Medium, LinkedIn, and other high-visibility content resources can stand in.
You do have to promote your insights though. The easiest way to do that is with an email newsletter that users can sign up for in at least one high-visibility location. Your newsletter doesn’t itself have to include original content; it can simply curate what you’ve produced elsewhere. But it should come out often enough to keep your followers engaged and provide some value for them (lest they unsubscribe).
Don’t Come on Too Strong
These self-promotion tactics can give you an advantage in a professional environment that increasingly rewards people adept at personal branding and penalizes those who’d prefer to remain low-key.
Even if you’re not a self-promotion natural, you may find it comes easier than you’d imagined. After all, optimizing your LinkedIn profile or sharing original insights in writing doesn’t require putting yourself out there in the traditional sense. You can do all of this stuff (and more) in the comfort of your home.
You actually have to do it though. Why not begin today?