The Self-Promo Game: How To Promote Your Work Without Feeling Uncomfortable

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Self promotion is the big necessary evil of our time. That might sound extreme, but it’s something that every creative, business owner, or freelancer I know struggles with.

We used to feel squirmy about our resumes and portfolios – listing all of your accomplishments, showing examples of your best work, talking yourself up in the introduction of a Word Doc. But now, self promotion is constant and necessary. Now, not only do you need to brand yourself, but you need to be consistent with that personal branding of yours, and then promote it.

It’s exhausting, and it can be uncomfortable, but it’s something we all have to deal with. To help you cope, here are four different techniques and tips for promoting yourself, along with some confidence-boosting thoughts: 

Craft a formal press release: Press releases feel old school but they’re still very widely used, and they can only help. Include all the important details about what you’re promoting, but keep it brief and don’t be aggressive with your follow-up.

Let your friends know, but don’t stop there: Maybe you’re promoting the launch of a product line, or a specific event. Of course you’re going to tell your friends, but have you considered contacting a selected handful of editors, writers, and bloggers? Pro Tip: Take a look at the bylines of some of your favorite sites and publications, and consider reaching out to the writers directly rather than “press@magazine.com”

Come right out and ask: So long as you’re polite, so long as you did your research, so long as the work, product, or service you’re promoting fits with the person you’re speaking to, there’s no harm in asking for what you want. In fact, a simple “Do you mind sharing this with your audience?” along with a few straightforward sentences about what you’re promoting may get you greater results than the best press release ever written.

Give it time to breathe: When does self promotion become icky? When it becomes overkill. Allow a little breathing room between your promotions – even on social media – and don’t be too forceful.

When it comes to the art of self promotion, what works is self deprecation if you need it (I do). But what doesn’t work is self consciousness, because frankly it’s boring. We’re naturally drawn to confidence and to confident people, so be that person and no one will know the wiser. And anyway, self promotion is basically a given these days, so don’t expect anyone to be surprised or think you’re full of yourself.  This isn’t a networking event from 1989, and you aren’t wearing a pantsuit. This is you, sharing your talents and ideas with an audience who most likely wants to hear them.

Writer’s Workshop Writing Prompt:

In my column on writing a personal narrative, I asked you to share something personal related to Valentine’s Day. (This was my favorite resulting post.) This week’s prompt is about self promotion. What I want you to do is promote yourself in some way – whether it’s writing a promotional post about your freelance services on your blog, or doing a little humblebragging on Twitter. Either way, tag me and Jess if you do – we’d love to see!


ROBIN REETZ

I’m Robin – a freelance digital journalist with about seven years working in media. My primary experience lies in fashion, lifestyle and design writing, and I've worked at places like Teen Vogue and Refinery29. In addition to my work, I also write about the independent fashion community (which I love) and chronicle my experiences as an expat on my blog

I've worked in many sides of the industry – from magazines to agencies to e-commerce. I'll be sharing what I've learned about writing and digital communication both from my professional experience, and from the experience I've gained as a blogger. 

Loft Living Update

As I am sure you have noticed - this blog has taken a bit of a content dive over the past few weeks. And while I feel badly (because I do love blogging) - I simply have been overwhelmed with moving and catching up on work. And those two things have had to take priority. I am one of those people that likes to feel settled into a place right away. In the past I was able to settle into an apartment in a weekend - but this time things have been different. The space is much larger and we are also trying to be much more purposeful in how we use the space. I have also had to do a lot of organizing (not my favorite) of all the stuff I have collected over the years. I got rid of a lot in the packing process - but man, there is still so much more to go through! It is taking the longest to get my office area together for this very reason. While I wish I could wave my magic wand and make everything come together in a few seconds - we are slowly but surely making this place a home.

Our kitchen area was the easiest to get together quickly - though we still have a lot we would like to update. Like replacing these ikea chairs ;) But the light is incredibly lovely in this space, and we have enjoyed eating here most nights. In our old apartment our kitchen table was also a workspace so we ended up eating a lot of meals on the couch. Now we are committed to eating at the kitchen table.

This weekend we were lucky to have some incredible weather and some gorgeous sunsets. This is truly my favorite part of the loft (ok besides the dishwasher and washing machine). The sunsets last for over an hour, changing colors every few minutes. And then when the sky gets fully dark you can see the lights of San Francisco twinkling in the distance. 

Before we moved in I came up with a plan to build a loft within our loft. I wanted to have a more designated area for sleeping - that felt comfy and a bit romantic. I came up with this platform with curtains idea - and then hired Oakland Handyman to make it come to life! I am happy with the result and I love sleeping a few feet above the rest of the loft. You can see everything but still feel like you are in a special enclosed space. 

I bought a bunch of plants, but since the space is quite large - they barely make a dent! More plant shopping is definitely in my future :)

On monday night I took this picture - finally feeling like my space was coming together. After hours of work all the books were up and the space was starting to feel homey. We still needed to work on getting a credenza and setting up our record player and other media stuff - but things felt pretty good.

Then on Tuesday morning this happened:

It was loud and horrible, I screamed and felt like I had just witnessed an earthquake. I was shaking uncontrollably. Luckily my dog and I were up in the loft bed when it happened so out of dangers way. But we could have been easily walking through the living area or sitting on the couch - and that thought scared me. Basically what happened was the handyman business that I hired to put up the shelving unit did a lazy job and did not fully secure it to the wall. Luckily the owner of the business felt really really badly about what happened - and he came over with a co-worker to help organize all of the books and repair the shelving unit for free. It took all day and cut into my working week - but at least things are starting to go back to normal. 

This shelving collapse shook me up quite a bit and stirred up an angry side of my personality. I feel embarrassed now that I was so bitchy to the handyman on the phone - but I was just so frustrated and emotional. It feels like we are using every spare minute and penny to get our loft to feel like a home - and having something like this happen just felt tragic. But I realized over the course of the day that it is important for me to take a step back and just feel grateful that no one was hurt, and that the handyman actually came back to help. In the grand scheme of things it is just a tiny blip in the road and I have so much to be thankful for. I truly love this loft - this space is really magical and I feel so lucky we found this place. 

xo, Jess