How to Make Sure Your Self-Promotion Succeeds

Cindy Cyr here with how to make sure your self-promotion succeeds …

Recently, I received a comment on one of the articles I wrote for AWAI, Eliminating Behaviors that Hold You Back.”

The reader said she struggled with getting blog posts done for her website.

Sound familiar?

You have your domain name, but your website isn’t live because you’re still trying to get your content just right.

You have a blog but haven’t posted in weeks.

You’ve been working on your self-promotion package for months but haven’t sent a single one yet.

You’ve written dozens of emails for clients but not one for your own business.

It seems the most difficult part of being a writer is writing something for our own self-promotion.

This is partially because it’s hard to talk about ourselves and partially because we worry about our copy representing us well.

After an AWAI FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair, I looked up a couple of websites belonging to freelance writers with really successful businesses.

What struck me most were the sites with mistakes.

One had dozens of errors. Another had very little content and no samples. (I’ve covered how to get clients without samples in my article Who Needs Samples? Creating Mini-Stories to Land as Many Clients as You Need.”)

I’m not saying this to criticize. I actually learned a great lesson from them.

You see, I think we get into an “all or nothing” mindset …

Believing our self-promotion pieces need to be an absolutely perfect example of great copy. The problem is we become overwhelmed with that prospect and, as a result, do nothing.

Wall Street Journal best-selling author Jon Acuff says, “90% perfect and published always changes more lives than 100% perfect and stuck in your head.” The proof is in the error-filled websites I mentioned earlier. Those copywriters hadn’t waited until everything was just so … and they’re successful.

The unpublished website and unsent marketing letter will win you no customers.

Putting up your website when it’s pretty good but not perfect signals to the world you are open for business. And a business that is open always outsells the business which hasn’t bothered to tell the world it’s there.

Here are four things to move you forward if you’re paralyzed by perfection:

  1. Don’t wait until you’re in the mood to write. In her book The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron suggests you write three “morning pages” every day before you begin anything else. Write whatever comes to mind. Don’t worry about whether it’s junk or relevant to what you’re working on. This helps you get beyond the small voice in your head that questions your writing. Don’t worry about editing or pulling out ideas until later.
  2. Use chunking. Instead of writing one blog post or email, plan to write several at a time. Oftentimes, your best ideas spill out once you start writing. You can also take one big idea and divide it into a series of posts.
  3. Start small. When building a website, just get a few key pages up and add more later. Or if you’re starting a blog or email campaign, commit to the minimum at first. For example, commit to one two- or three-paragraph blog post a week.
  4. Team up with another writer. Sometimes it’s easier to write about someone else than it is yourself. Team up with another writer to write his website and self-promotion and vice versa.

Remember, don’t worry about getting it perfect. Do your best. Then just put something out there. You can tweak later. You’ll win more customers and accelerate your career much faster.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: August 30, 2011

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