There's an implicit negativity that rides in tandem with the expression "shameless plug." While said plugging is supposedly shameless, the deed itself is often brimming with shame as its antonym in this sense, seems to serve as more of a disclaimer than an actual state of being. People say shameless plug almost as an act of deviance, justified by the fact that they've previously warned their audience, but let's be real, shame-ridden, it is usually not! Here's my supporting evidence - if you really were shameless about something, would you feel the need to state it beforehand? Amiright?
I'm not here to judge though, not. at. all. I was the ultimate hypocrite for quite some time, toting a big 'ol Santa's sack full of shame. In fact, to utter the very words "shameless plug", I would betray my declaration as my face would turn beet red and my voice, nearly inaudible. Attempting to "fake it till I make it" and trying to act confident, never seemed to work, nor did vowing not to care.... Because while giving zero f's sounds super badass, sometimes they need to be given.
So here are some tricks I've learned to truly shamelessly promote if you just can't eliminate all the f$!@#'s:
ASK NOT WHAT YOUR CUSTOMER CAN DO FOR YOU, ASK WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR CUSTOMER
Wanna know a little magic trick? If you do it right, people won't even notice: focus on the benefit, not the outcome. Provide value for your customer through what you are promoting and they'll be actually be grateful as opposed to rolling their eyes. If your product or what you are trying to promote offers a benefit to them (or you can frame it like it does), then boom, you've got 'em. If you're struggling to find that angle, then try to infuse humor, offer a tip along with what you're promoting or depending on what you're trying to sell, include a discount, special offer, or even something that appeals to their vanity, like being in the know about an event or a topic. Basically, don't look at it as a one-sided interaction. If you can make them feel as if you're providing a service to them, rather than trying to get something from them, then honestly, where is the shame in that?!
POTATOES GONNA POTATE
You know what else? Haters. Gonna. Hate. Don't take criticism personally. If it's constructive, you can take it and use it but still don't take it personally. Even if people aren't being vocal about it or outright trolling you, you still needn't worry about being embarrassed or ruining a rapport, because these days, we all have the option to opt-out. Nothing you do or say is ever going to please 100% of people. So, by eliminating the hesitation of people not liking what you're throwing down and accepting that it's inevitable, you can go on letting the taters tate, while you and all the other promoters promate!
DON'T "SELL" YOURSELF SHORT
Pun totally intended. Not to get all like your mom on you, but you're probably trying to promote something that's pretty cool. Whether it be yourself, which I happen to know is cool, because you're reading my blog :) or some product or event or service you came up with, which is an extension of you and by the transitive property, makes it cool, RECOGNIZE IT! Most likely, you're not promoting something totally undesirable like colonoscopies, but hey, even if you were, there's value in it because you're eliminating risk for people. And add your authentic you-ness to whatever it is you're promoting. There is no one quite like you, you are a special snowflake. If you show that in how or what you are promoting, then it's you-nique, and something people haven't seen before - thus giving it value. Redundancy is what annoys people about promoting... which brings up another important point: DON'T OVERDO IT! This is when you kill the sale. If you're not providing original material to the same audience each time, then eventually they're going to tune you out and you will have crossed the threshold into annoying territory. No one likes to be harassed.. duh. Another way to avoid the peril of becoming annoying, is to promote to a target audience that is more likely to be receptive to what you're plugging. If it's something they might be interested in, they won't view your promotion as soliciting move.
lOOK FEAR IN THE FACE... AND LOL
Figure out what's causing your fear. Most likely it's a fear of being vulnerable. But here's some truth: vulnerability is the ultimate secret weapon for gaining influence because it is a humanizer that bonds people to your story or to your business. What's more, vulnerability and shame are straight up frenemies. So if you want to achieve your shameless status, make vulnerability your BFF and... Voila! Consider your shame erased! What's the worst that can happen? Failure? Let me let you in on some great news: Failure is the new badge of honor in entrepreneurship. Remember when Billy Madison tells Ernie "it's cool to pee your pants"? Well, this is kind of like that. For some reason, lately, it's cool to fail sometimes too. So, ride that wave, baby! It's a good learning lesson and basically a prerequisite nowadays for getting into the 'trep club. ACCESS GRANTED,
IT AIN'T GONNA SELL ITSELF!
You know that expression, "if you build it they will come"? Ya, well, this is not that. Unfortunately, in this realm, building whatever it is you're trying to promote (your resume, a business plan, a website, a product line, etc) is just the first step. You have to be your biggest fan in the beginning or else you won't get far. I'm not saying you have to go full carnival-barker, but if you don't tell people, no one's going to know. Word of mouth has to start somewhere. Identify what's more important, success or your pride. The correct answer is: success. And as I can you from the other side, "HELLO... it's me"... haha. But also, it gets easier as you go, just ask the Kardashians!