Singing your own praises

When we all sing the happy birthday song ‘for he is a jolly good fellow’ – we all sing.

If that sounds like I’m stating the bleeding obvious, then it is because I am.

The point is that there is tremendous peer pressure to conform and irrespective of your feelings, you will likely sing along. You are expected to. Everybody knows it and it would be socially awkward not to. But this is how we learn bad habits.

Have a look at the next ad that you see.

It strikes me that, with few exceptions, they all sing the same tunes: the equivalent of ‘for we are a jolly good fellow’.

The thing is: the readers expect you to say that. You are surely not going to advertise and say you are hopeless and often miss deadlines and your services are unimaginative, right?

The issue you must deal with is that they simply don’t care about you. They also hardly know you; which is the point about advertising. Readers/ potential customers expect you to promote yourself and your virtues.

Should you advertise?


How do you do that then?

The process is not a secret or particularly difficult either.

There are three simple principles that should be followed – and I am not talking about technical or creative elements here.

The short version is simply this:

Rule 1:

Know your proposition. Read this post for a full explanation – and some links to a 20p eBook that you can use as working document to develop your proposition.

Rule 2:

Tell the (potential) customer what you will do for them and don’t sing your own praises. Every customer has some pain that you can take away – otherwise you don’t have a business.

  • Being a jolly good fellow is cost-of-entry.
  • Don’t say the bleeding obvious: singing your own praises is a waste of money.
  • Solve the customers’ problem instead and let them sing your praises.

Rule 3:

You must become credible in the eyes of your target customers. Your message above, even if it addresses a real customer need, will only be believed if the source is credible. And since you don’t know them (yet) you can only do that in

You achieve credibility in two ways:

  • You can prove that you are credible by quoting referrals or demonstrating your credibility. (I.e. it is not what YOU say, but what others say or what you can DO that will make you credible.)
  • You become credible by consistently advertising. (I know it shouldn’t work like that, but the psychology is pretty simple and well proven.) Sheer repetition makes you credible.