How to share your work without the “ick” factor

Selling and self-promotion are hard, am I right?! In my 3 years of business, I’ve made a lot of selling mistakes and seen a lot of marketing techniques that just feel gross. And I know I’m not the only one — I’ve seen many pity parties over selling and self-promotion across Twitter and Facebook groups.

We love what we do, and that makes sharing our work feel very personal. We want people to buy our stuff — but we also don’t want to offend them in the process.

Through my observations and personal experience of online business, I’ve come to one conclusion: Sharing your work only feels “icky” when you follow everyone else instead of following your gut. Here are a few things to remember so that sharing your work feels more natural and less “icky.”

How to share your work without the "ick" factor from elembee.com

Share value

I’m going to assume here that you believe in what you’re selling, and you aren’t just creating shit you think it going to make you an overnight billionaire (good luck with that). When we turn on the promotion part of our brains, we tend to forget why we created our thing in the first place. In the creative space, we’re very fond of the word “offering” for our products and services — which by its very definition implies something of value, a gift or contribution.

You created your offering because you saw a need in the world that you could help people with. You believe that it has value for the people you’re sharing it with. So tell people about that value! If your friend told you she was looking for the perfect red lipstick and admired what you were wearing, wouldn’t you tell her what to buy? It’s the same thing with promoting your own stuff: People have a problem, and you’re providing a solution. Tell them what problem you’re helping them solve so they can immediately identify with you.

Remember that you created value to help people solve problems.Click To Tweet

Use your own words

Don’t even get me started on all the crazy marketing lingo out there — I have a long list of words I’d like to ban from the Internet and add more on a regular basis. Let me ask you: Does anyone actually use those words in real conversation?

But it’s not just about the lingo. I think we get so caught up in what we feel we should be saying that we forget what we really want to say. Sure, there are good practices for sales copy, and it never hurts to experiment. Just make sure that what you tell people on your website is what would actually come out of your mouth when you talk to them.

Use your own words to avoid marketing speak that isn't you.Click To Tweet

Do what feels right to you

I’ve fallen into the traps of long sales pages, urgency copy, and charging more than what was realistic for my audience because I read too many articles on charging what you’re worth beforehand. Like I said before, it never hurts to experiment. But in the end, you have to do what feels right to you. If you hate popups, don’t use them. If you won’t read long sales pages, don’t write one of your own. If you try something out, and it just feels wrong to you, don’t do it again. Pretty simple.

Of course, all of this is easier said than done. So I’m going to say this one more time: It never hurts to experiment. One big thing to go with that: Forgive yourself and move on when you make a mistake. No wallowing in guilt. Yes, you’re going to feel stupid when you do something that doesn’t feel right. But the Internet moves fast, and trust me, everyone will have forgotten your little mistake long before you do.

How do you share your work in a way that feels right to you? What traditional marketing tactics don’t work for you? Share in the comments!

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Meet the author

Hello! I’m Lisa M. Butler, and I help people build better websites. As a WordPress developer, I’ve built more than 100 websites on WordPress. I help my clients take their websites to the next level and teach them how to take control of their online presence. Through my blog, weekly emails, and club, I share that same advice with online creative entrepreneurs and publishers just like you.