Walking the Fine Line of Self-Promotion

growing your thought leadership

In my line of work, it’s critical to my success that I market myself just as effectively as I market my clients. But there’s a fine line between self-promotion and just being a straight-up arrogant jerk. I find that it’s helpful to keep these things in mind to stop from crossing over that line into jerkdom.


When you post thought pieces for others to consume, make sure you are prepared for the feedback that follows. Be open to others’ ideas. Even though you might be an expert in your field, you can always learn something by listening to what others have to say. By always trying to have the last word, you miss out on lots of great information, not to mention you look like a total jerk.

Be Nice

Another way to end up looking like a jerk is to go around posting arrogant comments, putting others down and just being rude and obnoxious. I know this seems obvious, but there are lots of so-called experts out there who act just as described above. Don’t fall into that category. Even if the jerk tactic is effective it’s likely people are only listening to you because they’re entertained by your over-the-top comments, not because they actually believe what you say. That’s definitely not the goal, so just be nice and be helpful. You’ll go a lot further.


Ok, this sounds like I’m bashing what I do, but just hear me out. When you create content to promote yourself to your audience, it should mostly be helpful, informative and entertaining material that adds value to your audiences’ lives. The occasional piece with specifications about your products and services or sales is obviously important to your mission, but I recommend that 80% of your content be of the helpful, informative and entertaining variety.

Keep these three tips in mind when promoting yourself and you’ll earn the respect of your audience, not their ire. It’s a fine line to be sure, but it can easily be done. If you keep your audience’s needs in mind, you’ll avoid marketing failure.

What other tips do you have for walking the self-promotional line? I’d love to read your comments below!

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