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True for You: Navigating the Struggle of Authentic Self-Promotion

5 Strategies to publish content authentically, and avoid producing one-dimensional content "like everyone else."

David Sherry
5 min read
True for You: Navigating the Struggle of Authentic Self-Promotion

You don’t want to feel like a “promoter” or a salesperson, yet there are other people who are doing that successfully around you. So...should you do it too?

Like you, I see all of the content-playbooks.

I study them because I want to understand how publishing, social media, content production, and digital media work today.

The Game of Online Content.

You'd be amazed at how people "game" engagement. There are things that work if you want to grow your reach.

  • Staying up on trending topics and sounds.
  • SEO hacks, hiding keywords.
  • Bots that create more likes or engagement, fake accounts.
  • Text groups for boosting signals.
  • Commenting first on larger accounts posts, not to actually say something, just to be seen.
  • Making your audience "feel more pain" in your content as manipulation.


These things work.

I'm not necessarily judging them, rather I want to discuss more about how I feel, or you might feel,  actually doing what works to boost your signal on these particular networks.

You might struggle to put effort into tricks and hacks that feel inauthentic or demotivating.

The Struggle Between Promotion and Authenticity

I think many of us think this often;

"I’d probably make a lot more money if I was a whole lot more promotional."

This is a common feeling among people sitting on the sidelines who want to get in the game but also are afraid or uncomfortable doing so.

The bigger problem, however, is freezing up and not selling or promoting at all because you're so sick of what you're seeing that you give up.

"What do they think of me?

And is that what I want?"

The thing don't know how you're perceived publicly. You have a good understanding of how you feel personally, your own self, your own identity. But you don't actually really know how you're perceived by others.

Therefore, being in service is about showing up to share despite what others might or might not think of you. Our judgements are more often reflections of our own fears rather than dogmas about the reality of the world.

What we cannot accept in ourselves, we judge in others.

A Fear of Being in the Spotlight?

Ironically, we can use the "games and hacks" of others as justification for why WE don't post what we believe is authentic to us.

Not only that, but we may worry that our perspective won't actually be accepted by others. So, we doubt or hesitate to put ourselves out there. The mind plays all types of tricks, using our external judgements as ways for avoiding looking into our own internal fears.

So, ironically, we can use the "games and hacks" of others as justification for why WE don't post what we believe is authentic to us.

And now the world loses out by missing your voice in the conversation.

Finding the Balance: Promotion and Authenticity

Like you, I struggle with this balance as well. This blog has no real "funnel" to speak of.

And, I do feel that, since I really enjoy connecting with people, promoting myself more means I would create more connections, more conversations, and more opportunities.

There IS a desire. connect more, grow my practice, work with people I love.

And, I also want to get better at promotion so that I can help others through it, too.

You may have the same fear I do; not wanting to become "like everyone else" who become one-dimensional in their attempts to become promotional.

Here are some strategies for publishing:

1. Playing to Your Strengths: Choosing the Right Communication Format

For me that's writing and video, and definitely audio.

Maybe not so much public speaking or large groups.

I do great in 1-1 settings as well, rather than panels.

To help you choose, consider the following questions:

  • Which medium allows me to express my ideas most clearly and effectively?
  • What format is most engaging and enjoyable for my audience?
  • How can I use my chosen medium to create a unique and memorable experience for my audience?

2. Get Inspired by, and Emulate Role Models

Rather than fixating on those who employ inauthentic tactics, seek out individuals who inspire you with their genuine self-promotion strategies.

Study their approach and identify the qualities that resonate with you, whether it's their transparency, storytelling abilities, or the way they engage with their audience.

By learning from their successes, you'll be better equipped to develop your own authentic promotion style.

We can ask:

  • What specific qualities or tactics make this person's self-promotion feel authentic and inspiring?
  • How can I incorporate these elements into my own promotion strategy?
  • What can I learn from their approach to audience engagement and relationship-building?

3. Stepping into the Spotlight: Practicing Putting Yourself out There

By putting yourself out there more often, you'll gain valuable experience and insights into what works and what doesn't.

Don't shy away from seeking feedback, whether from friends, peers, or your audience. Constructive criticism can help you refine your approach and create more authentic, impactful content.

Keep these considerations in mind when practicing and gathering feedback:

  • How can I use feedback to enhance my promotion strategy and better connect with my audience?
  • What trends or patterns can I identify in the responses I receive?
  • How can I maintain an open-minded and receptive attitude towards constructive criticism?

4. Make your work MORE personal, or LESS.

One of the most powerful ways to connect with your audience is by sharing genuine, personal experiences and insights. By offering a glimpse into your life and the lessons you've learned, you allow yourself to relate more as you trust your audience and they trust you.

Reflect on these questions when sharing your personal story:

  • What aspects of my life or experiences would resonate most with my audience?
  • How can I convey my story in an engaging and relatable way?
  • What lessons or insights can my audience glean from my experiences?

Sharing your personal story that’s true can help.

So, you can always ask: What is something that you learned that is true?

That said, for those who have been taking things TOO seriously and their story TOO seriously, maybe it's about making your work less personal, opening yourself up to connect with others without this barrier of having it all need to lead back to you?

5. Develop Real Expertise

It really helps when you actually have something powerful or valuable to say that comes from building a skillset.

To truly make an impact with your self-promotion, depth is essential, and that comes from building skills that genuinely benefit others.

If you're parroting other people's ideas, people can tell, and so can you. Investing time into your expertise translates directly to how and what you share.

Consider the following:

  • What skills or knowledge can I develop that would be most valuable to my audience?
  • How can I focus on helping people get results, not on how they see me or my credibility?

Moving Forward: Multi-Dimensional over One-Dimensional

As I work on my own self-promotion journey, I will be focusing on these strategies to ensure I stay true to myself and provide value to others.

As I grow, I hope to share more, and I hope that my work continues to get more multi-dimensional, not one-dimensional.

This is how I know I'm on track and playing the game the way I want to, while still not hiding or holding back.

I'm curious about what you think about this topic?

I'll be happy to share what I learn about keeping authentic and feeling excited/motivated while putting myself out there more.

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