How to Promote Yourself without Feeling Gross

Sam Rainer

December 2, 2018


You wrote a book, an article, or a blog post. You crafted a speech or talk. You wrote a song. You painted a picture. You created a message you want to share with a specific audience.

The days of pitching your idea to someone else to share are gone. The historical filters simply don’t exist anymore—at least the way they did in the past. Today, publishers expect you to promote your own book. Currently, the music industry is completely disrupted. And in-person conferences are diminishing, or at least consolidating into fewer, larger events. Good luck getting on those stages.

When I hear someone say, “If only they had marketed my work better, then it would have sold,” I know immediately that person doesn’t have a clue and didn’t stand a chance.

You’re on your own now.

But it’s not all bad. You just have to work harder to communicate. And the rewards (or fruit) can be much greater than in the past. You have more control over your message, your art, and your work.

However, if you’re a Christian, especially a Christian leader, this promote-yourself-world presents a problem. Promoting yourself can be self-serving, selfish, and annoying. For those of you who have a measure of humility, the thought of marketing your own stuff can feel egotistical. The narcissists out there don’t help either.

When others are recommending you, it’s always a good thing! Of course, there are no guarantees that others will speak for you. How do you maintain balance? How do you promote yourself without feeling gross?

Provide free content. 90% of what I produce, I put out there for free–blog posts, sermons, articles, videos, etc. Don’t brag about yourself. Give your audience information that benefits them. You will build an audience who wants to hear from you.

Use social media to interact with those who are experts in your field. Encourage those who write something you like. It will help you become part of the conversation.

Network in person as much as you can. Say “yes” to every breakfast and lunch opportunity. Reach out to those whom you respect. Many of them will surprise you by agreeing to a meeting or lunch. Don’t give a sales pitch when you meet with them. Just ask questions about their story. Likely, they will ask about you as well.

Nurture your early followers. Interact with those who are among the first the catch your message. Respond to their questions and ask them how you can serve them better.

Be positive. Don’t use your platform to attack. You can get clicks and views with negativity, and there are plenty of people who do. Crafting negative messages to sell is like creating car accidents to get the attention of gawkers. The world doesn’t need another hate blogger or YouTube yeller. When you’re positive most of the time, the rare time you need to call out something or someone will be even more powerful.

Indeed, much has changed with the promotion of books, art, songs, and other created messages. You are now responsible—at least in part—for communicating your own message. Balance is needed. You can promote yourself without feeling gross.

Many thanks to the Church Answers community who originally posted this idea at the central forum.


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