We all want to be special. Not that sarcastic special that people use air quotes around, but the kind of special where people know who you are and admire you. Some of us try to achieve that by going out of our way to make our voices heard over everyone else’s. Some of us try to achieve this through making sure everyone knows we are better than everyone else. Some of us hit that sweet spot of shameless selfishness that somehow manages to resonate with an audience whose needs align with our own. These all sound bad, right?
Now, before I go any further, I’d like to make it clear that this post is not directed at anyone in particular. This is just something I’ve been thinking about lately (and by lately, I wrote this blog post months ago and scheduled it, so if it happens to get posted during any sort of DramaTM, that is purely an amusing coincidence.
So, back to the post. These all sound bad, right? Well, that depends on your motives and how you are accomplishing this.
Going out of your way to make your voice heard over all others? This is great if you are defending someone who is being attacked.
Making sure everyone knows you are better than everyone else? Hard to sell a product (or win a contract) if you’re not doing this.
Shameless selfishness? It’s not so bad if you develop something for your own needs but then share it with the rest of the world so others can benefit from it as well.
But it’s a very fine line. Beneficial self-promotion can easily and quickly turn into something ugly, especially when it becomes the status quo for communication. Self-promotion, if that’s all that’s being communicated, will turn off followers and hurt your audience variety.
Consider using your communication streams to promote something that has benefited you in your career. Share the spotlight with another great product or service, and introduce your audience to someone else’s product or service. Even though conventional wisdom discourages using your resources to advertise for someone else, I think you’ll find that the more useful you can make your communications for your audience – not for you – the more your audience will find you indispensable.