Not only has technology made the world seem smaller but it’s also raised the stakes in terms of getting people to pay attention to you and what you have to offer. It’s not enough to just be ambitious … or smart … or well-funded—people have know your story too.
And while promoting yourself and your work can be stressful, now more than ever, it’s essential. So to nudge you in the right direction, we’ve highlighted the need-to-know tactics to catapult you to the next level and show onlookers that not only can you talk the talk, but your proverbial walk isn’t too shabby either.
Click through for my five-step guide to position yourself as an authority in your industry.
1) Know what makes you different
Whether you’re an entrepreneur running a small startup in a crowded market or one piece of a huge puzzle at a mega corporation, it’s often tough to stand out for the right people to take notice. So what’s the secret? Focus on the impact you’ve made—not just what you’ve done.
For example, avoid cliches like “a proven track record for success.” Anyone can make that blanket claim (and almost everyone does). So instead, go a different route by serving up concrete facts that can’t be disputed: ”Increased donations for the department’s annual foundation benefit by at least 18 percent three straight years.” You’ll leave the powers that be—potential bosses, clients and collaborators—chomping at the bit for you to do the same for them.
2) Go beyond the elevator pitch
When was the last time you were riding up to Floor 27 with an influential decision-maker and able to use the highly endorsed “30-second elevator pitch?” Exactly. Before you ever meet that business exec or project partner, there’s a chance they’ve peeped your social footprint. So although it’s still worthwhile to master your in-person sales spiel, you need another layer. Now, thanks to the immediate connectivity social media yields, it’s all about the one- to two-sentence bio. Be sure to include what you do, whom you do it for (or have done it for previously) and an element that highlights one of your most redeeming qualities (humor, your affection for pets, your Standout Style, et cetera).
3) Reflect before you react
Every tweet, image and article on your newsfeed is an opportunity for you to make a snap judgment about an issue—or worse go on a godawful rant that no one actually cares about. Resist the temptation to tarnish your brand with senseless debates, mean-girls gossip or shade grenades about the competition. You definitely should have a voice outside of promoting your work on your platform. But before somersaulting into every buzzy, controversial topic, consider this question: Will my next client or boss that I don’t know yet still want to work with me after they read this? Then proceed accordingly.
4) Enlist the help of influencers
Good ol’ word of mouth is still the best way to get the right eyes on what you have to offer. So once a quarter reach out to a few people in your network and share your professional wins and how they can amplify them. Maybe they know a colleague looking for the services you offer or a company on the hunt to fill a role that gives you more responsibility, access or a bigger salary. The moment you realize you can’t—and shouldn’t—go at it alone, the sooner you begin to deploy your coalition of supporters to elevate you to the place you can’t get to by yourself.
5) Be prepared to give back
You can’t always be in “ask” mode. Think of the top influencers in your industry: There’s a huge chance they also share as much as they take. These days, people not only respect authenticity, but they demand it. And the no-sweat way to show your genuineness is to lift others up through your platform. It could as simple as retweeting an article from another writer or volunteering your talent for a non-profit with a cause you believe in, but always remember: generosity begets generosity. The seeds you reap now will sow your success later. And your good deeds don’t always have to be broadcasted for public consumption either—discretion and humility are never not in style.