Friday, December 10, 2004

Shameless Self-Promotion

I find that I gag when people try to sell me solutions to problems that don't really exist. Most geeks do. It doesn't seem honest and makes us wary of the ulterior motives behind most sales and marketing efforts. On the other hand, sometimes issues do exist and we're just waiting for a better solution.

I saw an ad on television for one of those "better solutions" the other day and I remember noticing that instead of feeling marketed to in a bad way (read, slimed on), I was glad to have the knowledge. Done right, marketing serves a valuable purpose - bringing together a true need and a true solution. Done badly, it simply annoys the heck out of us.

All of us market ourselves, every single day. Yes, even you. The question is whether you're doing it effectively or not. Plenty of us regularly engage in our very own negative campaigns, literally selling ourselves short.

It's a good idea to get used to the notion of there being a right way to engage in marketing that finds the right people and draws them toward you... and an ineffective way of marketing yourself that pushes folks away or draws in the wrong crowd - people who are not a good fit.

Drawing the wrong crowd is as bad as not drawing one at all; in fact, often it's worse. When it's not a good fit, it means we're generating negative publicity for ourselves down the road and that's bad marketing.

Think of good marketing as education more than selling, and you'll be on the right track.

In the case of this blog, I've heard from folks that the randomness with which I make entries can be a bit of a problem. They check back every once in a while to see if I've written anything but I'm sure it's as annoying to them to visit when I haven't written in a while as it is disappointing for me to think that I've made and entry and people may not know about it.

If you're a Windows user trying to figure out when I'm going to get around to writing another post, then I may have a solution for you. I recently discovered a site that facilitates building custom toolbars that can include RSS-aggregator elements so now you can have your very own SME Toolbar.

The toolbar is kinda cool, I think. You can see how many recent posts are available and how many you have not yet read, right there on your browser toolbar. There are other cool features too and I'm hoping that with your help, I can make it even more useful.

For those of you who already aggregate feeds into a reader, I hope you'll let me know if you ever experience a problem with the XML, Atom or RSS links that I've been providing. I'd also love to know what reader you use. I'm still looking for one I really like.

You can send your toolbar and your reader recommendations to me at as well as your thoughts on what sorts of self-promotion works for you and what you dislike or find difficult about marketing yourself. Let's have some fun with this.

What kind of marketing do you do for yourself?