Self Promotion: It's More Than Your Image

Written by: Jess Watson
President and Creative Director of
Points North Studio

We live in a world where people are paid to feature products on their social media accounts. Where cameras immediately come out before eating a meal, and where inboxes are overflowing with promotions that more of than not deleted without viewing. With so much content and information out there, it can be difficult to be effective at self promotion. Your image can only take you so far. When it comes to the bigger picture, it’s really about integrity and the way you make people feel. Here are 4 tips for self promotion that go beyond your image.

BE ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE OF YOUR BRAND

You are one creative professional in a sea of others. What can you do to make sure that someone remembers you? For Points North Studio, people automatically remember our brand colors, our visual imagery, and our give back projects in our home city, Baltimore. The things people remember about us are intentional.

We aim to create a seamless and enjoyable experience for those who engage with the company. As a result, we are largely referral based when it comes to getting clients. People enjoy the way we make them feel. We pay attention to every detail, and believe personal touches go a long way. Did someone refer a good client to you? Send them a thank you note. Are you working on long term projects with your clients? Touch base with them to provide status updates and ask how things are going. Did you finish a successful project, or did one of your clients hit an important milestone with their business? Their successes are your successes. Celebrate them.

We’re big on letting people know they matter and they are seen. Here’s our shortlist of go-to’s for appreciation gifts to others (note: we match small tokens to the personalities of those we’re sending them to):

  • BoxFox - Curated boxes with all the personal touches, perfect for thanking a team member, a referral source, a contractor, or a client.

  • Leccare Lollipops - Because where else can you get salted caramel flavored lollipops with all natural ingredients? Perfect for sending to a client’s office.

  • UrbanStems - Locally sourced floral arrangements, perfect to send to a client when they’ve accomplished a big milestone

  • Big Heart Tea Co. - Cleverly crafted teas, women owned. Perfect for thanking a someone who referred a client to you.

  • Token - Not sure what to get? Token can make recommendations based on the person, their relationship to you, and the occasion.

BE OPEN TO CONVERSATION

Believe it or not, people don’t mind being sold to, but they prefer you get to know them first. Otherwise you’re throwing spaghetti on a wall and hoping something sticks. I’m a big fan of having conversations over selling. People are seeking solutions and what you have to offer, but a lot of times their needs are tied to emotions and experiences. Being trustworthy and relatable can make whatever you’re charging more than worth the price.

Showing your human side helps to gain trust and confidence from those you’re talking with. Listening and responding, while being full present in the moment, foster connections that lead to people wanting to learn more about you and what you offer.

Here’s some of the language we use to help guide important conversations:

  • Your meeting is set. We’re looking forward to connecting with you.

  • Let’s look at your website/brand/project together. What are some of your pain points?

  • What does success look like to you once your website is done? What’s happening and how does it make you feel?

WRITE SOME BAD POETRY

This advice in an excerpt from an interview with Mick Fleetwood, drummer of the band Fleetwood Mac, who quit university to pursue his music. At a young age he knew he had to play the drums, he just had get out there. Write some bad poetry is symbolic of doing something and putting it out there, not because of who you think might read it, but simply because it’s meaningful to you. Many of us have brilliant ideas inside of us: books, blogs, music, podcasts, etc. They are all things that we hope to do someday, or things that we put on the back burner because we fear no one will see or appreciate what we have to say.

We are waiting, and we need to stop. When it comes to self promotion and your personal brand, make creating fun again by removing the burden of how something will be received. Try to create simply for the joy of creating. You can make a fun challenge out of it like 365 days of color palettes, of logos, of designs, of doodles, of icons, of illustrations, etc. There are several platforms for sharing content these days, hop on one and just go for it. This shouldn’t be a hard sell, it should be you, being authentically you, and letting your audience see the different layers of what makes you unique.

FIND YOUR CREATIVE APPROACH

What would make someone want to work with you over someone else? Set yourself apart by defining your approach, your strategy and your methodology for getting things done. Have an opinion. Use that opinion in blog posts (on your own site, as a guest blogger somewhere else), as a means of establishing your credibility and setting yourself apart from the crowd. Here are some questions you can ask yourself that might lead to a blog post idea, a statement about how you work, or talking points when connecting with a prospect client:

  • When working on any project, here are the top things we do to ensure it’s successful.

  • Here are the questions we think no one has asked you yet about your brand.

  • You may think you need a new logo, but here are 5 other items you should consider when thinking about your brand.

  • Here’s what we’re thinking about before we start designing for any project.

IN CONCLUSION, SELF PROMOTION IS ABOUT MORE THAN THE SELL.

It’s not that I think networking events are overrated, it’s that I’ve never been impressed by someone who shakes my had and tells me what they can do for me, without knowing who I am. Clients end up signing with Points North Studio because they are impressed with what who we are and what they do. They have connected with us on one or more touch points, and are excited to bring us into a project. You don’t need everyone to read your blog, listen to your podcast, view your website, etc. You need the right people to see the right things about you, so they want to connect and engage. That doesn’t happen unless you put yourself out there, and be authentically you every step of the way.

Rachel Davis