Going into forums or commenting on blog posts with promotional material can do a lot more harm than good sometimes.
You may be ignored; you may be condemned; you may even be removed from the group by the moderator. Once you’re identified as a “spammer,” you’re only going to turn off the audience.
As an online business development coach, I’m regularly asked how to self-promote without seeming spammy. In a recent episode from my Authentic Leader Q&A Video Series, I answer this question for you: How Do I Gently But Effectively Promote Myself and My Work?
Today, I want to share some of my best tips with you.
Self-Promotion Without Being Spammy
If you were asked your opinion about a subject you know a lot about, with the person standing right in front of you, what would you say? “Hey, I know a lot about that. Why don’t you go online and buy my book about it.” Yeah, not cool, is it?
Instead, you’d see this as an opportunity to share your expert knowledge, hoping that sometime in the future this person would seek out your expertise in a more professional environment, allowing you to monetize your expertise. (Read Next: For Coaches… 4 Ways to Make Immediate Income (NO gimmicks!))
I’d invite you to behave the same way in a forum or in response to a blog post about which you have valuable information to share.
Example #1 – Go the Extra Mile to Give Value!
I was recently in a forum where a woman asked for advice on the best way to make videos for free. The answers she received from the group were not really helpful. She was told to try a variety of expensive or clunky video production software programs. I mean hey, this lady specifically asked for FREE video production that worked, right? Well, I had the answer!
You see, I use Google Hangouts On-Air to create all of my online videos and I knew that by sharing this with her, I could easily answer her question, build my reputation as an expert, and offer her great value at no charge.
- First, I explained that Google Hangouts On-Air is absolutely free.
- Next, you can create a video in a private setting using your webcam and microphone. You can also create a “screencast” sharing your desktop on-screen as you explain a process.
- Easy to use – I mean really easy to use!
- Automatic upload to YouTube – as soon as you finish creating your video, Google automatically uploads it to your YouTube account (saving you additional hosting costs!).
By answering her question thoroughly and completely, I was offering her high-value information that made me stand out from the rest of the comments and ‘experts.’
I then offered her the chance to view a 3-video detailed tutorial on the subject that I had created for my online business membership website, AuthenticLeaderAcademy.com. My goal was that, once she watched the tutorial, she would become an Academy member, ask me to set up the webinar for her, or just inquire about my coaching services and rates.
By taking the time to offer a very detailed comment plus training, I was able to showcase my expertise and subtly promote myself to the entire community – not just the woman whose question I answered. Now she and everyone else on that forum recognize me as an expert on the topic and they all have a way to find me.
Example #2 – How to Comment and Monetize at the Same Time!
Let’s say you read a question in a Facebook Group or forum about a subject on which you’ve recently written a blog post. Use this opportunity to offer value by sharing a few high-value nuggets of information that will benefit them. At the end, explain that you had actually written a blog post on the subject that goes into even more detail. You can then offer them a direct link to that post, letting them decide whether or not to pursue the conversation on the topic.
Below are some examples of questions asked commonly in forums and how I might post a response:
- Which hosting company is best?
I LOVE WP Engine!! As a website builder, I’ve used every major hosting company on the planet and most stink. Especially the big-name $4-8/mo hosts like HostGator, GoDaddy, Bluehost, and others … I’d avoid those. I suggest WP Engine because they are very fast to load your website, they are incredibly secure (even fix your website for free if you get hacked!), they have awesome support, and make daily backups of your website. I wrote a very detailed blog post about this here.
- What software do you use for accounting?
I LOVE Freshbooks!! As a business coach, I needed a fast and easy way to invoice my clients, keep track of late payments, and charge late fees when necessary. Freshbooks does most of that automatically. It’s SO easy and it’s very affordable. More, Freshbooks keeps track of my daily income and expenses. I even invited my CPA to use my account so he can get all of the Profit & Loss or accounting forms he needs whenever he needs them.
You get the idea. I was specific, I added value and I made it personal. Then I linked to a very detailed post where I wrote even more about the tool. And, as a bonus, on both of those posts, I listed my affiliate link. So anytime someone buys into one of those services from my blog post, I make additional income. This is an honest, easy, and fun way to make a little extra income in your business each month!
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