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What is Self Promotion & How Can it Boost Your Business?

Becoming the face of your business fosters human connection with your brand.

Why You Should Self-Promote to Boost Your Business Hero Illustration

Personal branding was once seen as a public relations (PR) tactic meant for celebrities and business moguls. But in today’s digital world, any small business can benefit from the practice of self-promotion.

PR encompasses how you manage your business’s relationship with the wider world. And often, the people behind a small business are the most compelling thing about it. That’s why savvy entrepreneurs embrace being the face of their business. It’s an easy way to bring your public relations in-house, share authentic stories about what you do, and create lasting relationships with your audience.

Building a personal brand helps with media coverage

Every small business has at least 2 essential PR angles to pitch to a journalist or use for self-promotion:

  1. What the business offers
  2. The founder’s story

Both of these angles are valuable. Startup entrepreneurs tend to focus PR efforts on their offering instead of more personal stories, thinking that coverage of their product or service will lead to higher sales.

But press coverage featuring your product or service doesn’t guarantee increased sales. It’s great for building your brand and credibility—which can drive sales—but it doesn’t create meaningful connections with your audience.

The personal story, or the “why” behind your business, is typically far more interesting and engaging than descriptions of what you offer. It gives your audience an insight into what you stand for and engages them personally with your business. The best PR captures your infectious entrepreneurial passion, focuses on why you do what you do, and shows how that contributes value to what you sell.

Fostering your personal brand to boost your business

When you embrace your unique voice and personality, you can set yourself apart from the competition and create a genuine bond with your audience.

But what does self-promotion help you do?

  • Create connections. Although you can share many reasons that someone should buy what you sell, ultimately, a personal touch is compelling. Seeing the person behind the business helps your audience understand how it fits with their own identity. This is the quickest, easiest way to create these connections.

  • Make yourself known. The trend within large corporations is to make the CEOs the face of the brand, but small businesses will find this easier to execute. Bigger companies can get caught up in corporate red tape that a small business owner can avoid. Any small business founder can go online today and share stories about themselves and their business.

  • Join the conversation. When you run a small business, you can react quickly to the news or cultural happenings. Some of the best PR moments have come from businesses that were quick to respond to something going on in the wider world. This could be responding to a crisis or merely commenting on a situation that’s evolving in real time.

  • Position yourself as an authority. As a small business owner, you have the potential to be seen as an expert, an important and powerful way to build your professional reputation and credibility. Once you’re known as an authority in your industry, the possibilities will continue to grow.

Why self-promotion works

Personal branding isn’t just reserved for extroverts—it’s for everyone. It’s worth getting comfortable with sharing who you are, what you do, and why you do it. Otherwise, how will anyone know?

Plus, there are major perks to doing this kind of PR for yourself.

  • Control your own narrative. Without your input, people will create their own narrative about who you are and what you do. When you design your own story, even if it’s aspirational, you have an incentive to stick to it. It’s easier to tell people who you are early on, rather than try to shift your audience’s mindset down the road.

  • Share the best stuff. You don’t need to wait for a PR agency to cherry-pick your most media-worthy moments. You can raise your brand’s profile in compelling ways right now. Think of it like this: When you enthusiastically tell your best friend great news, they experience joy with you. You can replicate this by sharing your wins (or even your struggles) with audiences on your social channels.

  • Capture emotion in video. There’s a reason video performs so well across social media. Video is a way to put your authentic self in front of your audience. Viewers feel like they know the people featured in videos. It’s a cost-effective tool for introducing yourself to people you haven’t met, and it can have a greater impact than other content.

  • Be nice and save money. PR, at its core, is about how you behave in public. Good manners cost nothing, so give extra care in customer service interactions, take your time when talking with people about your business, and remember to be pleasant in every interaction you have. That way, you constantly promote positive qualities of your business—at no cost to you.

  • Grow your audience. Acquiring new customers is more expensive than nurturing your existing customer database. Self-promotion helps you share new products, services, and wins, and generally reminds your audience that you exist. This, in turn, prompts word-of-mouth recommendations, which is the most cost-effective way to grow your audience.

  • Share what you know. It’s easy to keep growing your audience when you share valuable information that will help them. Arguably, the easiest way to raise your personal profile is to share your area of expertise—which is your business, your field, and what you do. This type of content creates and maintains engagement.

Everyone starts somewhere

The more relatable your business is to your audience, the faster it will grow. If you’re an introvert, try posting photos with captions or writing blog posts. For the extroverts, camera time, speaking on panels, and attending network events can kick-start your profile.

Dedicate 10 minutes a day to self-promotion, and think of every public interaction as a PR opportunity. This can unlock the door to more opportunities and give you an edge over your competition.

Written by Lucy Werner for Mailchimp. Lucy is an expert in PR for small businesses.

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