The Power Of Creative Self-Promotion
Whether we realize it or not, we all have a personal brand. Whether you are a student or an entrepreneur, an artist or an executive, your personal brand is more important now than ever.
How is your brand serving you?
My career as a promoter really started when I was about 10 or 11 years old. I grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba and one of the only things we had to do as kids in wintertime, was to go skating at the outdoor rink at our local Community Centre. Part of the experience was to warm our frozen fingers and toes afterward with a cup of hot chocolate and nibble on some penny candies from the canteen.
I loved how invigorating the whole experience felt. So the first thing I would do after supper was to get on our rotary dial telephone and start making my way through the telephone book. I would call all of my friends and try to convince them to come skating with me in the 40 degree below temperatures. My technique to influence my friends to join me was based on the volume of calls made, so I would typically have to call about 10 friends in order to persuade a few to come along. It was a numbers game.
Things haven’t changed that significantly for me over the years. I have reinvented myself as a promoter over and over again. In my twenties I was a nightclub promoter, in my 30’s a concert and corporate events promoter, and now I am promoting economic development and tourism in Durham Region.
Now, in winter, I promote skiing, snowboarding, ice fishing and skating as part of my mission! In all seriousness, I share this story with you because as we all know, things have changed a lot in the past 20 (ok, 30) plus years, but the overarching strategies for promoting my mission have remained the same over the years:
1- Establish clear goals 2- Build your network 3- Always be selling 4- Embrace change 5- Go for it!
I have found that in order to get what we want in life, we have to be able to identify our goals, be tenacious about achieving them, and embrace possibilities until we get what we want.
What does this have to do with creative self-promotion? EVERYTHING.
I am grateful to my Mother for giving me the confidence to know that I can do anything that I set my mind to in life. It didn’t seem to matter what I did as a kid, or to this day; my Mom has always been my greatest cheerleader. I have learned that having the confidence to believe in yourself and your dreams is critical. Over the years, I have also learned that it is critical to listen to my gut, or my inner voice. Now I am not saying that my life has been perfect. I have learned the most important lessons the hard way. However, learning from my mistakes and having the courage to keep going has made all of the difference for me. Life is risky, but the more risks that I take the better life gets. How cool is that?
HOW TO SELL YOURSELF
As we all know, things have changed significantly since my rotary dial phone days. We are now fortunate enough to connect with people around the world online through social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and many more. My address book has morphed over the years from an address book to a series of contact lists to an ever-growing online social network which allows me to connect with people in my community and around the globe.
I just spent the week-end at the Life is Beautiful Festival in Las Vegas. The creators of this outstanding festival are unbelievably inspiring. Thanks to social media, I have been able to connect with the organizers and their networks prior to the festival, during the festival and inevitably I will continue to communicate with them now that the festival is over. The best part is that it is all of these extra benefits come free!
Through social media, I am able to express myself, learn, and make meaningful connections with like-minded people from around the world. The possibilities are endless!
WHAT DOES YOUR DIGITAL FOOTPRINT LOOK LIKE?
Have you ever Googled yourself? What did you see? If you aren’t one of the top search items, you are missing the boat.
If you haven’t already established yourself or your business on social media networks, do it now. If you don’t know how to do it yourself, then hire someone to help get you set up. That is what I did.
In 2009, I hired Sue Sutcliffe of A Web That Works in Durham Region. Sue set me up with all of the tools that I needed to get started. I have never looked back since. I now have thousands of connections on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. These portals are a wonderful space to learn, share, connect and promote yourself and / or your company.
BUILDING YOUR BRAND
Whether you realize it or not, you are a brand. We all are! Branding is not just for celebrities and major corporations, branding is for everyone.
Have you registered a domain for yourself? You can register a domain on a WordPress template and host it for a year for under $100. What are you waiting for?
If you need tech support, you can hire a professional to get you started, or take a course if you have the time. Is it hard work? Yes! It certainly is, but this is one of the least expensive ways of building your personal brand or promoting your products and services.
I use my personal website domain, KerriKing.ca to express myself, my adventures and my dreams. Every time I post new content, I share it out to the world through my social media channels on Facebook, Twitter, and sometimes LinkedIn if the content is related to the work that I do. Is it risky? Yes! I challenge myself to post authentic information every time I post. I aim to share content that will inspire others and make a difference in the world. I have found that the more “real” I am, the more people engage in my content. However, there is a fine line when posting digital information to multi-platforms – so be careful what you post. Ask yourself if you are prepared for anyone to read it. Once it is out there, it’s out there. It is all part of your digital resume, and transparency is now part of the world we live in.
Much like networking, social media content can be used to build community.
I use my personal blog to share my ideas by including written content, photography, and videos which I post to my YouTube Channel. If you don’t have a personal YouTube Channel, get one today! It is a wonderful way to document your experiences, share your ideas and build community. I have been reading Chris Brogan’s book The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth: Entrepreneurship for Weirdos, Misfits and World Dominators, and love the notion that as an “employeepreneur”, I am in a position to “do stuff that is amazing beyond the walls of my gig” as Tourism Manager of the Region of Durham. Through my personal blog, I am able to creatively express myself, share my personal voice and make a difference in the world that is meaningful to me. And you can too! Brogan describes digital media as “the campfire that people gather around”. Social media provides us with an ideal platform to share content, and build our brand, sell ourselves, our ideas, our products and services, while creating a sense of community.
Whether we like it or not, the world is consuming content online, and those who do not have a presence online will be missing out big time.
The digital world is changing so quickly, so it is our responsibility to embrace change, and challenge ourselves daily to present the best possible version of ourselves to the world.
How is your brand serving you?
This post is made up of the notes from a talk of the same name that I gave this morning. Here is the accompanying slideshow from the talk.