Introverts and The Art of Self Promotion

Many creative professionals tend to be introverted. Often they feel this is holding them back in their career and business aspirations. If this describes you, then you may feel that your contemporaries who are more extroverted may have it easier than you, despite the fact you may work just as hard—or harder.

As a creative professional, often your job is to present your employer or client in the best light possible. To put them in a position to market themselves effectively. Being introverted doesn’t mean you lack the skills or mentality necessary to promote yourself effectively, it simply means you haven’t become comfortable with the “art of self promotion” and haven’t discovered your “style” yet.

Extroverts Have a Style of Marketing, All Their Own

Those who have extroverted personalities are more comfortable talking about themselves and getting people to listen. They are able to command attention and retain it, and are not intimidated by scrutiny or even confrontation. You shouldn’t try to mimic this and expect that you will get the same results.

Instead you need to find your own rhythm and cadence. Maybe you can effectively speak and communicate well in one-on-one scenarios rather than in groups. In that case, you might need to develop a strategy to use at networking events to set up as many of those one-on-one interactions as possible. Networking is one of the most important things you can do in your career.

Your personal brand is not just your website, portfolio and resume; more than anything it is what people say when you’re not in the room. Making a good impression means that people will say nice things, that will ideally lead to nice opportunities for you.

It can mean the difference between a promotion, a raise in salary, favored assignments or simply the treatment you receive from your co-workers or employer. If you’re working for yourself it could mean the difference between a change in your tax bracket or going out of business and back to the traditional workforce.

Rather than following the “fake it till you make it mantra”, be real, accept your vulnerability, and turn it into a strength. Cultivate the ability to go deep with individuals instead of wide with a group.

Leverage Your Strength as an Introvert

As an introverted person, someone who may be more comfortable behind the scenes than in the limelight, it is likely that you’re great at executing tasks. You can work efficiently and effectively with minimal distractions. This is a strength you should capitalize on.

You may have embraced the philosophy of letting your work do the talking… but your work needs an audience. It’s not enough to produce amazing work or be a hard worker. People who matter, people who make decisions, need to be aware of your quality of work and your work ethic. You can’t just expect them to eventually notice or you’re leaving your success to chance.

Being proactive as an introvert comes down to having a “discovery strategy.” If you get uncomfortable with interactions in the real world, you need to take advantage of your online presence. If you have a weak or non-existent online presence you need to change this as quickly as possible.

  • Have a professional website with SEO as a priority
  • Develop a content marketing strategy, such as a blog
  • Consider using video marketing to show your personality or results
  • Build a strong LinkedIn profile with an emphasis on being searched
  • Have multiple online portfolios
  • Use social media and build connections and extend your influence
  • Demonstrate your process whenever possible to build credibility
  • Create articles, white papers, and other resources to show your expertise

Consider Outsourcing Your Promotional Efforts

Often you will hear it is better if someone “toots your horn for you,” but this doesn’t have to be an either/or. Taking control and responsibility for your promotional efforts is important for consistency and authenticity; it can also be time consuming. Partnering with someone who can help you, whether that is an individual or agency can have many benefits.

For one thing you will get the time back necessary to focus on your work. The other benefit is the added credibility of having someone else advocate for you, rather than having to overcome the resistance or negative optics of singing your own praises. Having someone help with your personal marketing effort also means more creative diversity and the possibility that they may bring different skills to the table.

Putting Yourself Out There is Important

Whether you want your dream job, or to have the ability to be successful at your own freelance practice, it’s going to mean putting yourself out there and being judged. As an uncomfortable as the prospect may be, not accepting it and embracing it can mean that you never obtain your goals.

The best outcome you can imagine could be on the other side of whatever awkwardness you have to endure. It’s a matter of optimism and self awareness.

If you want specific advice on how to overcome obstacles to promoting or marketing yourself as an introverted creative, leave your questions in the comment section and I will answer as many of them as I can.

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Posted on: September 4, 2015

Roberto Blake

Roberto Blake is a Graphic Designer helping Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses improve their branding and presentations. Roberto also teaches Graphic Design and Adobe Tutorials through his YouTube channel and community. Roberto's Photoshop artwork has been featured in publications such as Advanced Photoshop and Photoshop Creative Magazine. See robertoblake.com

5 Comments on Introverts and The Art of Self Promotion

  1. Nice article Roberto. You do a great job of self promoting without going overboard or becoming intrusive.

  2. It gives you a lot to think about. Very well said.

  3. I’m a book designer, specializing in art and large illustrated books. Is all the social media stuff necessary? I’m going to update my website, but I’m not sure that book publishing people are as dependent on social media as others, are they?

    • I would say that you need to consider this… are you interested in growing your demand and client inquiries? If so then the answer is yes. Independent authors and even publishers are using social media heavily to promote their books and engage with their audiences, but it is also how they find talent.

      Regardless of what your design specialty is, there is someone who needs your skill set that are in these platforms.

      If you can imagine one of your clients being on a social media platform promoting their product, then you probably should consider being on the platform trying to get attention from their contemporaries.

  4. I need a lot of convincing that LinkedIn actually is a site that people seriously look at!

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