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B2B marketers tend to shy away from self-promotion, myself included, but it’s a crucial way to demonstrate your worth.
And these days, when the market is in a downturn and the threat of a recession looms, it’s essential to make (or showcase) yourself indispensable in the workplace.
Why do so many of us avoid self-promotion if it’s so important?
Well, a lot of it likely has to do with feeling self-conscious about being our own cheerleaders, but I think the core reason is that so many of us don’t know how to self-promote correctly.
Once you understand how to go about it appropriately, your worries should begin dissipating.
Why is self-promotion so important, and why is it so hard?
For a long time, I was not very good at promoting myself; I firmly believed that my work should speak for itself. That’s still true, but it’s not enough to stand out in the modern workplace anymore.
You need to self-promote because many projects are going on simultaneously within a company, and you may not be assigned to work on the projects that are on management’s radar all the time.
That said, your work is still critical to the company’s success.
So, you need to speak up for yourself and celebrate your wins, no matter how big or small, if you want to nurture your career development.
Also, if you are seeking a promotion or a raise, you need to ensure that you stay at the top of the mind of your manager and his or her peers. Let them know that you want a promotion and are willing to work hard for it.
When it’s time to do a performance review, you want to be sure they don’t just remember you but also seriously consider putting you forward as a potential candidate.
Therefore, throughout the year, you need to let them know strategically that you are doing a good job. This is all about building your personal brand.
Personal brand, in this context, is not about your website, logo, or blog posts.
It’s about your accomplishments at work and your expertise. Therefore, it’s your job to make yourself known at the workplace.
Suggestions to do this authentically at work:
1. Lead a virtual team to accomplish key initiatives.
You don’t need to be a manager to lead an account, a company-wide initiative, a campaign, etc.
Showing the ability to lead is great, and it puts you out there to work with different team members and senior managers. This is a fantastic way to get noticed and remembered.
2. Present to the senior staff of your company.
Always volunteer to do presentations in front of management.
Make yourself visible, but make sure that you prepare for your presentation.
The first several times I made presentations to VPs, I bombed…I was nervous, to the point that I totally froze whenever people asked me questions.
Basically, I sucked. Over time, though, I got better and better, and people took note of how much I’d progressed.
We’re not all natural-born public speakers but think of your presentation mode as a role you’re playing.
You might feel shy, but if you rehearse enough in advance and continue to practice, you should feel much more confident presenting in front of an audience.
The bottom line is that you need to put yourself out there, and the more you keep at it, the more natural it will feel.
Here is a quick note: I’m all for the bravery that comes with diving in headfirst. However, I am also mindful that first impressions are important.
Maybe dip your toes in gradually by making presentations to smaller teams of people you know and trust, working your way up to larger audiences. You need to make that call about what works for you.
Eventually, you’ll build enough confidence to present to senior staff.
There is no way to fully prepare for a big presentation in front of 20-25 senior staff.
Things can and do go against the plan, but you just need to do it; if anything goes wrong, it’s not the end of the world. Even if you bomb (I still bomb sometimes), you’ll learn something new and be better for it the next time.
By the way, delivering presentations effortlessly to senior management is an essential skill of a B2B marketer.
Start that early! You don’t have to be an expert or subject matter expert to master this realm.
Oh, I wrote a blog post about my best tips for delivering virtual presentations; check it out here.
3. Give others credit.
Remember to express gratitude for others’ contributions if you work in a team.
Saying something like “I could not have done this without…. “ It’s an indirect way of touting your work yet recognizing everyone who is part of the team.
This small gesture goes a long way in gaining the respect and trust of your coworkers and shows you’re a thoughtful member of the team.
4. Publish your work.
I know many subject matter experts who publish their work or showcase their expertise in various publications or academic journals.
Nowadays, there are many channels and formats to highlight what you can do, whether you decide to contribute to your company’s blog, YouTube channel, or any other social media channels that your company uses.
Of course, you’ll need permission to post if you haven’t got it already, but showing interest is another way to score easy brownie points.
It’s not me, me, me.
There’s a fine line between promoting yourself and getting carried away into braggart territory.
Don’t be “that guy” who constantly inflates his work and/or tries to get ahead at the expense of fellow team members.
Just be honest and transparent, and let others know about your good work in a way that makes you and others feel comfortable.
Find ways to showcase your knowledge, talent, and strengths to let the team know you are an asset and a solid contributor. That’s it.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
Step into the spotlight and show your awesomeness because you deserve it!
What are some ways you currently promote yourself, or how do you plan to promote yourself moving forward? I’d love to hear from you!