The right way to sell yourself

Remember these shows?

Guiding Light. As The World Turns. These Are My Children. These are not book titles. They're not movie titles. They were radio shows and ultimately TV shows. You know them as soap operas, if you know them at all.

​There was a time even before they were on TV when they were on radio and there was a woman who wrote these, Irna Phillips, who wrote or co-wrote for all of these. Here's the thing, when she was writing these, she wasn't trying to do product placement. She wasn't trying to do pitches.

For the longest time, many of these shows were funded by companies like Proctor and Gamble's media group. Proctor and Gamble, who you think is all about products, and yet they had a media group and this is back when they were recording radio shows or television shows. They have a team that's writing and a team that's acting and recording and shooting this stuff. They're not shooting commercials. They weren't focused on product placement.

They weren't pitching anything.

They were gathering

They were pulling together a group of people, an audience that was a segment, that they could pull together and so when the show took a break, they could then pitch their wares.

​I want you to think about that because sometimes we get so focused on creating content online that is all about us and all about our services and all about our products and the whole time you're doing that you're in pitch mode.

Yet you look at how Irna Phillips leveraged her talent as a writer, her talent as a storyteller, to gather an audience where the benefit of that process was just enjoying the story. The fact that someone else could leverage that audience now that they were huddled together, that's great, that's fantastic. But that was separate.

​Today, we see product placement in TV shows. We see product placement in movies. It's different.

We're constantly getting pitched.

You don't have to be in constant pitch mode

But you have an opportunity when you start writing on your blog to not focus on pitching all the time. To not focus on putting your products into every post but instead to gather an audience and to gather an audience that has something in common.

​Now it's a lot harder today on TV, right? There's not a show that will pull all 25-45 year old women together at the same time.

It's a lot harder than that. There's 500 channels and there's tons of other distractions and mediums for people to get connected to.

But on your site you have the opportunity to pull a segment of all that world, a tiny portion of that, that all care about the same thing.

Invite people to enjoy the story

You get a chance to pull people together and tell a story. To add value. Give them something. Give them something entertaining. Give them something challenging.

Give them something that's useful and eventually “at the break” you can pitch your wares.

​That's why I recommend that when you're writing for your company you don't spend all your time writing about yourself.

Instead, think about the ratio.

What's the right way to sell yourself?

When you watch a 30-minute TV show, 24 minutes of it are story. Six minutes are commercials – and distributed across several companies.

Think about that.

​Ask yourself as you're writing posts, is every other post a pitch or is it more like 1 in 10?

My recommendation to you is to stick to a 10-15% ratio.

  • If you're blogging daily, that's 3 posts a month.
  • If you're blogging weekly, that's 1 post a quarter.
  • If you're blogging monthly, maybe it's 1 post a year.

Because I think you'll find that you can gather an audience more effectively when you're connecting with them, when you're engaging them, when you're inviting them to get something that they care about. That's when you'll get the opportunity.

You'll earn the trust in the relationship to share something that you care about.

There's nothing wrong with some self-promotion. It can be valuable. Just remember that to be effective, it needs trust first.

Focus on that, in 85-90% of your posts, and people will embrace the the opportunity to hear about the things that matter most to you.

That, to me, is the right way to sell yourself.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on them and make a purchase, I'll get a commission, at no cost to you.

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Chris Lema
Chris Lema has been working with WordPress since 2005. Over the years he's been a blogger, a speaker at WordCamps, a coach for WordPress product companies, and the founder of the conference for WordPress business owners, called CaboPress. Today he's the VP of Products at Liquid Web, where he manages the world's first managed platform for WooCommerce stores.

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