The Subtle Art of Self-Promotion

There was a time,  not terribly long ago,

The Diarist

when one’s accomplishments pretty much spoke for themselves. If you performed well in your chosen profession and discreetly let a few of the right people know, you were often rewarded with the promotion you deserved or the clients you coveted.

The pay-off sometimes took longer than anticipated, but eventually many of us got there, or at least reasonably close. The adage about the rewards of hard work offered numerous confirming examples to back it up. But that was then, my Freelancer friend, and this is now.

Today, the sizzle is worth more than the steak and appearances count more than capability. Exposure is no longer something that you die of, but will die without. Everyone is out there putting on a show, from politicians to athletes, corporate leaders and entertainers, Supreme Court justices, organized crime figures and a platoon of self-created “celebrities” like Paris Hilton and her BFFs and frenemies.

Shameless and relentless self-promotion in the pursuit of visibility/attention/ branding and image enhancement is rampant and sadly, has become an expectation. Average citizens are not immune and have been dragged into the fray by MTV Real World, FaceBook and Twitter, enticed to divulge and disseminate personal information such as who one drank with on Thursday night.

The advent of first websites and then social media platforms have forced Freelancers and business owners to establish brands for our products that are as strong as those created for Proctor and Gamble soaps. The choice and management of promotional strategies can be exhausting and bewildering. Several of the typical options can also be a waste of time, because visibility and noise level do not necessarily yield billable hours.

“What, you don’t have a ‘call to action’ on your website?” “You really should write a blog. And a newsletter.” “I have 500 + LinkedIn connections!” “I have over 2000 names on my mailing list.” “Absolutely, you should be tweeting about your business and letting people know what you’re up to.” “I go to at least one networking event every day. It’s what I do.” Aaarrgghh!

I propose that it has become necessary for the savvy Freelancer to devise a self- promotion strategy that achieves the following:

1.) Showcases one’s expertise

2.) Resonates with clients and referral sources

3.) Delivers desirable tangible results

4.) Does not consume an inordinate amount of time

5.) Preserves one’s self-respect

Next week, I’ll suggest tactics that you may find useful to include in your self-promotion strategy.

Thanks for reading,


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