Why Self Promotion Isn’t Always a Bad Marketing Approach?

Self PromotionWriting this first line, I already know what some of you are thinking. You most probably hate seeing other people shamelessly promoting themselves…

Why would anyone want to do that?

After all as bloggers and marketers, shouldn’t we let others decide whether what we preach and sell is actually worthy?


When it comes to bad marketing, self-promotion is on the top of the list for many folks out there.

But is that really justifiable? Should it be so? 

…All of the above questions I will try to answer in today’s article. In the below paragraphs I will try to “persuade” you that not all marketing equals spam (as some of my Twitter followers believe it is when being asked) and that not all kinds (yes, there are different kinds) of self-promotion equal spam.

Why People Perceive Self-Promotion as Something Bad

First of all because for most it means spam. And that is certainly not a surprise for anyone.

One great example is Twitter and its userbase. I am almost certain (haven’t made any research though) that when it comes to the amount of spam accounts created, Twitter holds the number one spot among social media sites. Only those who haven’t used Twitter themselves don’t know what I am talking about. 

Even if you are trying to be selective with the ones you decide to follow on Twitter, you are sure to come across spammers – people (or bots?), whose only task is to annoy the hell out of you with worthless tweets, pointing to even more worthless offers (which often times aren’t even relevant to your interests)…

And although not as prevalent, examples of that very same behavior can be found across all other networks.

There’s the thing though…

There are Celebrities and There are People Like You and Me

Unfortunately although media sometimes tries to prove this wrong, the so-called celebrities are living in a different world…

Whenever a well-known face introduces themselves to something as foreign (to them) as social media, they tend to get thousands of fans and followers in a matter of days. They don’t have to put much effort towards this. They are already famous so there’s no need for fancy strategies. They already have that head start, which you don’t have.

Placed in that position, what do you do? How do you stand out? What is your chance to build an audience around a brand without a budget to begin with?

The Reality in the Marketing World Is That…

You’ve got to start somehow. You create the blog. You start writing and publishing content, but that’s just the first step.

What do you do next? How do you get other folks to discover that you are a guy, who shares useful insights?

At that initial stage, you probably won’t have much indexed pages, so search engines are not where visitors will flock from. One way to spin the wheel is guest blogging – it is both a legitimate way to gain backlinks and also a way to directly promote your blog… And although we are obviously talking about self-promotion here, that one is kind of a win-win – the guest blogger gets some fresh new visitors and the blog’s author gets free content.

As powerful as guest articles can be however, if you want to really spread the word fast, you need social media!

And social media is namely the medium from which self-promotion gained all the bad reputation. But anyway, let’s move on to find the answer to the question, posed in the title itself. Or more precisely, let’s see…

How We can Make Self-Promotion Work for Us

Quite honestly I’ve been sharing my own content pretty much since I began blogging. Back then you could read lots of posts about how bad of a marketing approach this was (not that much has changed since then…). But then again reading is one thing and putting things to the test is something totally different.

…And thinking that you are making the most out of a social media site by simply adding a share button on your blog is a little naive. If that’s all you do, you are missing out on hundreds if not thousands of visitors! 

So, okay, let’s assume I finally persuaded you that self-promotion might not be a mistake… Here are a couple of tips to do it right and not end up classified as a spammer: 

  • Quality – the difference between spammers and YOU - It’s a fine line really. The first factor, determining the success of your self-promotion campaign (interesting term, isn’t it? lol) is what you share. Scheduling each and every post you’ve ever written and expecting things to go right isn’t quite a wise move. Don’t include all posts in your campaign. Publish it, wait a week or two to see the reactions and if positive, add it to your to-be-shared articles list.
  • Quantity – LESS important than you might think - You probably didn’t expect to hear this, but it is true. The ratio between articles from my blog and other updates that I post on Google Plus and Facebook is almost 1:1. People simply don’t pay attention if you  sift out the good from the not-so-good.
  • Engagement – Is it all you need? - No, not at all. It certainly isn’t a secret to anyone that one of your first tasks when you get into social media is to prove you are not a robot though. That approach however is more of a personal one and although it is important, a self-promotion campaign cares more about driving lots of visitors than building relationships (so that’s basically two separate things – neither to be ignored!).
  • Variety – It’s not all about links and replies – Why would anyone want to like a fan page, which doesn’t offer anything more than links? Yes, you might find a thing or two useful, but social media is about fun as well. Especially when it comes to networks such as Facebook and Google Plus you need images – funny pictures, quotes, infographics and all kinds of visual information that you find interesting. It is a fact that those kinds of stories get the most likes. And although that doesn’t translate into direct traffic, more likes mean more people seeing that story and hence more potential followers and fans to click on your links.

Conclusion and Your Thoughts

It is a simple as that. I’ve been following that strategy for close to two years now and it’s been working like a charm. It’s time to give it a go if you still haven’t!

Now on to you guys! I’d really love to hear your two cents about self-promotion – what do you think of it – do you agree with the statements I’ve made in the post or is your opinion on the topic different? Let’s discuss! 

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  1. Daniel Im so glad you wrote this post! As an artist and designer, since my brand is my work, its always a fine line between educating the consumer or bothering our followers. In our Pillow Talk quarterly newsletter Ive always believed in supporting and promoting other artists/designers and their events ( and ours). I write a note to our supporters catching them up on whats happening at our studio and sharen lots of photos. But newsletter got too large and I wanted to broaden our audience thru social media. So when I started to blog and make switch, it was a challenge and learning curve. Actually I could write a whole post about this!! Long story short, I do a mix of both. I self promote so more people know about our brand but I also make sure I blog about other things important to me. Still getting my groove on as a blogger but it is getting a little easier. Where I worry about self promoting is on Facebook. But I agree, theres a difference between blatant self promotion and educating your readers about your brand. Thanks for initiating convo on this important subject!

  2. Daniel, I realize this is an older post but I came across it when I started following you on Twitter. It came at a good time for me. I created what I believe is a unique blog about 2 months ago to simply share resources to help make us better. I’ve been applying some of the principles you’ve mentioned here and will keep reflecting on this post in the days to come. For now, I’ve found that “self promotion” is about all I have right now as I get my blog off the ground (Buffer has been extremely helpful in doing this — I post 2-3 times a week right now and use Buffer to get my content out to my followers on Twitter and friends on Facebook because I have to start somewhere). Thanks, again, for your insights. I look forward to reading more later…

  3. I agree that some self promotion technique are very down and dirty. As you mentioned celebrities I can always think how far they would go just in order to gain some extra exposure. I guess in end it is all about the results and some people choose it one way or the other in order to get there.

    • Yes, celebrities are probably the worst when it comes to those kinds of silly marketing techniques. But they have a huge fan base, so why should they care about that? We, the marketers, should worry about how we look in the eyes of our followers.


  4. Thanks for the post. You hit the NAIL, Daniel. Quality, quality, quality. And then promotion. Quality is no good if there’s no promotion, and promotion is no good if there’s no quality.

    Oh cool. I’ve just come out with a quote. :D

  5. You know, Daniel, I don’t think self-promotion has ever been a bad idea. The question is how you handle that self-promotion. The key thing, I think, is engagement. Engaging others is about finding a common ground between your message and the wants and needs of your audience or customers. That’s the key to all effective communication, no matter what your ultimate goal. Thanks for sharing this post on BizSugar!

    • Heather,

      Yes, I definitely agree with what you said. As long as what you share is in harmony so to say with the once who listen to you, you are on the right track.

      Thanks you for stopping by! :)

  6. Daniel, I have an article that will address this subject further. In particular, “But is that really justifiable? Should it be so?” Your article will be referenced in it .
    My article will reference my experiences and a hypothesis test that gives the reasons why your article is applicable in this day and age.

  7. Superb. Nuff said and keep up the good work. – Best regards, James