Three Reasons Why You Have to Self-Promote but When It Goes too Far

I hear it all the time. "Karen, I just am not comfortable promoting myself."

I get it. Really I do.

People hire my company to promote their ministry, business or book for that very reason. Either they don't know what to do, or they don't feel comfortable promoting themselves. They need help. And while I can be 1000% in on their project and unashamedly post, promote and conjole others about my new "find", when it comes to my own books, at times I have gone completely mum.

I knew what to do. I did it for others. But when it came to my own material, I was paralyzed. Completely uncomfortable tooting my own horn. Yes, I understand where you are coming from.

While no one likes the narcissist who can't stop talking about themselves, yet on the flip side, there are times we need to speak up, give input and promote what is happening in our books, ministry or business.

So where's the balance?


1. Passion.

You Are The Best One at this Job.  As the author of your book or the CEO of your company or ministry, you know your message better than anyone. And no one is going to be able to share it with the same depth of passion as you. Passion. Even if you aren't the best speaker in the world, you can't replace true passion. No one has that like the creator of something.

2. Purpose. 

Why did you write the book, or start your business/ministry in the first place? Because you had something you wanted to share. So now that it is ready and available to share, is not the time to shut up. For pastors/ministers, I encourage you to see the interview process as no different than the pulpit. It's just a different pulpit. If God gave you a message to share, then boldly step up to the plate and share it. Don't hide it under a bushel.

3. Position.

You may have the very best product, business or message. Highly innovative, needed, anointed. But if no one knows what it is, where it is or that it is out there, it doesn't really matter. It has to be positioned into the market-place so that it can be seen and found. You have to know your audience and then get it in front of them.

You can hire a company to do it, or expect your publisher to do it for you if you are an author, but guess what? It is not just their responsibility. You have to do your part.

For the record, I don't like the term "self-promotion" because this shouldn't be about "self."

It should be about the message you have to share. And that probably is the defining characteristic in stepping out in this "necessary evil" of promoting. It needs to be done, so get over it and get over yourself.

Having said that, let me also say that we can take it too far.

I saw an author do that just this past week when a tremendous opportunity opened for promotion. So how far is too far?

In general the author was invited to take part in a meeting with presidential candidate Donald Trump. After the meeting as he walked out of the Trump building, he was met by reporters from CNN and interviewed. Liking what they heard (he's a good speaker) they asked if they could conduct and broadcast a full interview at a later time for broadcast.

It was a great opportunity for promotion to a huge audience. Making the most of his unique position he tweeted, posted and emailed about the upcoming interview (which, of course he should have done) but a few too many times evidently. As his ongoing announcements about the upcoming interview continued across social media, he got word just prior to the interview start time that CNN had decided to cancel.

An opportunity lost.

Is it definite that this was the reason for the cancelled interview? Not 100%, but it sure looks that way. Promotion can cross a line and become one time too many especially when the media or your audience feel they have had enough. Eventually those that "liked" you begin to "dislike" you. 

So what is the takeaway?

1. Look and pray for those open doors and God opportunities.

2. Be ready. Have that "elevator speech (60-90 second pitch) ready to roll out of your mouth if someone asks you about your book or business. Remember the equation for success is opportunity meets preparedness. If you aren't always on the ready, it won't matter anyway.

We should always be ready for those unexpected opportunities to share with those around us if a door opens and you know what?

3. It's OK to create opportunities with a strategic marketing plan. It's smart and necessary to get your message heard in this noisy world. Because if you feel you have a God-ordained message or product that will change lives, then why not promote it and share it?

But in the end, also know the balance between when we need to speak up and when we need to shut up.

Karen Hardin - Literary Agent and Marketing Guru
PriorityPR Group & Literary Agency