Ask 10 entrepreneurs for the least favorite aspect of their job, and 9.5 of them will say “marketing.” We’re one-person businesses, so it can feel like shameless self-promotion when we talk about who we are and what we offer. I recently ran across several items that discuss ways to show your stuff in ways that feel authentic.
First is a post in LinkedIn, How to Respond to a HARO Query (HARO = Help A Reporter Out, a tremendous, free online tool that enables reporters and media outlets to post requests for experts in anything from trends in the natural foods industry to advice for new parents of triplets) HARO is an effective way to pitch your unique story to a reporter, but remember that you’re probably one of many responses a reporter receives. This post, written by a reporter who uses HARO, has tips for ensuring that your pitch will be as reporter-friendly as possible. I love HARO because it’s really the antithesis of marketing–I am just helping a reporter gather information and insights.
Next is a post from the always-useful LifeHacker blog, Five Things I Learned About Self-Promotion (Without Being a Spambot). The author shares most reluctant entrepreneurs’ feeling about marketing–“it feels gross and shameful”. Her advice resonates with me, as her focus is on being authentic, sharing rather than selling, and facing the ever-present Imposter Syndrome.
Another LifeHacker blog post from 2012, How to Promote Yourself (Without Being Sleazy), describes the approach of developing relationships rather than just prospects, with tips that I don’t usually see, such as know when to give up and stop pestering a contact. None of the tips are rocket surgery, but the post is clear and concise, and focused on showing your passion and talent.