It’s always OK to self-promote (we are

May 06, 2009 | Drew Forrester

Over the last few weeks, the subject of self-promotion has somehow become topical in and around the Baltimore sports/media community.

I’m not quite sure how that word, and the act itself – self-promotion – got such a bad rap, but there are a lot of people who seem to think it’s “uncool” to self-promote. 

I’m in and around promotions every single day of my life.  It’s been part of my daily routine since, oh, about 1981 when I was handed an internship with the Baltimore Blast.  After four months of fetching lunchtime pizza and subs for the “real workers” and making late-day coffee for the entire office, I got promoted to “real worker” status — and a paycheck in the form of a real job in the PR department.  It’s now 2009 and I’m still involved in promotions every single day.

With that in mind, class is in session.  Open your books and take notes.  Maybe you’ll learn something.

My first “bullet point” is this:  My experience, after 17 years in the professional sports world (promoting, publicizing and running the club), tells me that people who complain about self-promoters are generally folks who don’t have the ability to generate an original, creative thought of their own.  Therefore, they get out-of-sorts when they see, read or hear someone trying to promote their efforts or accomplishments with a campaign, theme or other form of effort that is intended to inform the community of their deeds.  

Bullet point #2:  Another piece of self-promotion wisdom:  The only people who complain about “self promoters” are people who aren’t very good at it themselves.  Good self-promoters never complain about someone else promoting their own product.  In fact, good self-promoters are envious of the GREAT self-promoters.  Bad self promoters merely criticize others.  It’s a hybrid of jealousy and the awareness that others might be publicizing their product better than you promote YOUR product. 

Bullet point #3:  Self-promoting is really nothing more than advertising.  Period.  There are various forms of self-promotion and various forms of advertising — but in the end, they both serve the same purpose:  To inform.  And promote. 

Here are three names for you:  Donald Trump, Paul Newman and the Baltimore Ravens.  

Do you know what they all have in common?  They’re all extraordinary self-promoters.  

Oh, yeah, they’re all WILDLY successful too. 

Trump just bought ANOTHER golf course…this one in Virginia (Lowe’s Island Club).  He promptly decided to change the name of the course to…??  Trump National.  Gee, I wonder why the-Donald didn’t rename it “Fairway Dreams Country Club” or “The North Virginia Club”?  

Trump National.  How self-promoting of him. 

Of course, every other club he owns, along with all the hotels and condo units in New York City, also bear HIS name. 

Shameless, that guy.

Then again, perhaps he feels that by attaching his SUCCESSFUL name to something he owns, the paying public will assume the venture is worthy of their patronage.  That’s what self-promoting gets you.

The late Paul Newman used his acting career to launch a civic-minded salad dressing enterprise that he eventually turned into a $100 million company.  In fact, when Newman passed away last year, he donated the value of his ownership in the company to charity.  

Anyone know the name of Newman’s salad dressings?

Uh…it was “Paul Newman’s Salad Dressing”.  


Why didn’t he just call it “Garden’s Best?” or “Aunt Daisy’s Dressing”?

I guess he just had to let everyone know it was HIS dressing, didn’t he?

He should be ashamed.

The Ravens self-promote as well as any organization I’ve ever seen.  Not a day goes by during the season when they’re not sending out a press release bragging about a player doing something good in the community, donating his time to a charity or appearing at a benefit dinner for a children’s organization.  

They’re rotten, aren’t they?

No, they’re not.

Trump.  Newman.  The Ravens.

They’re all highly successful because they understand the merits of self-promoting.  

The Orioles self-promote like fiends.  I get a press release every day or two from them, boasting about their next give-away or ticket discount or charity appearance from Brian Roberts or Melvin Mora.  You can’t watch a TV broadcast of a game on MASN without having to endure 14 of those “This is Birdland” commercials.  

Talk about self-promotion.

“Hey, come on out to OUR game and give us YOUR money!”

Shame, shame, shame.

On the local front, a Baltimore-based website that boasts about covering the Ravens 24×7 recently took WNST to task for “self promoting”.  

I nearly spit out my Orange Kool Aid when I read that entry on their web-site.  “WNST self-promotes too much”.

That attack on self-promotion came from the site that sends out busty, scantily clad girls on Sunday afternoon during football season with 24×7 shirts on, passing out index-size cards with information about their FOOTBALL web-site to FOOTBALL fans.

Oddly enough, flat-chested girls with bad breath never hand out those cards in the parking lot at M&T Bank Stadium. Maybe they just don’t want to work 24×7 (no pun intended) or maybe the girls with big boobs are just more friendly to the men in their purple shirts on game-day?  Perhaps it’s as simple as this:  boozed up men are more inclined to take a piece of “promotional material” from pretty girls with big knockers.  Ya think?

Talk about shameful self-promoting…

Web-site owners all over the country use the radio and TV to promote their sites and drive traffic to its pages.  How else would anyone know about – for instance – a site dedicated to the Ravens or Orioles unless the owner got on the air and “promoted” his or her web-site?  

In fact, a member of that aforementioned football web-site has appeared on various radio shows throughout Baltimore during football season — promoting what you ask?  Take a guess!  HIS WEB-SITE!!

Like I wrote above, folks who criticize self promoters rarely have an original thought.  

Is Pepsi-Cola a self-promoter?  


A few weeks ago, NBA star Dwight Howard came on my show and (self) promoted a charitable endeavor he is involved in that gives money to organizations based on how many double-doubles he records in the regular season.  Doublemint Gum sponsors the promotion.  Guess who called us to organize Howard’s appearance on my show?  Hint:  It WASN’T Dwight Howard.  If you guessed — “someone from Doublemint Gum”, give yourself a pat on the back and a “Self-Promoter” merit badge.  Yep, you guessed it.  Doublemint Gum is guilty of self-promoting too.  

Forget the charity angle and the hundreds of thousands of dollars Doublemint generated through their association with Dwight Howard.  They’re shameless self-promoters.

I may never chew again.

Self-promoting is occasionally as expensive as it is effective.

Why wouldn’t NOKIA just write the Sugar Bowl a $6 million check and say to bowl officials, “You know what?  Just call the dang thing the Sugar Bowl and give us 100 tickets to the game and a suite with some cajun food and good bottles of Silver Oak cabernet and we’ll call it even.”

No, they write the $6 million check and then self-promote their ass off by calling it the NOKIA Sugar Bowl and they paper the stadium with NOKIA literature and offers for cell phones in an attempt to — ready for this?? — STAY. IN. BUSINESS.

This past Tuesday, O’s minor leaguer Brandon Snyder was scheduled to join me on The Comcast (self-promoters…) Morning Show at 8:45 am.  I posted a note at a popular baseball web page in town to alert their members that Snyder would be on the show with me and welcomed them to listen.  I assumed, given that their members are ORIOLES fans that they would like to hear firsthand from an ORIOLES minor leaguer.

Thirty minutes after posting the message, I received an e-mail alert from the site, notifying me I was being banned (“forever”) from making any more contributions to that web-site.  Reason? Advertising my show on their web-site.  

Evidently, alerting the web-site members that an Orioles minor leaguer is on the radio is against the rules.  

That, I assume, is self-promotion at the worst.

Oddly, though, on the day I was banned, members of that local baseball web-site discussed and even hyper-linked stories and columns from writers at RIVAL web-sites and MEDIA web-sites like the Baltimore Sun and MASN.

I’m confused.  

It’s OK to promote someone else’s work, even a direct competitor to the baseball site…but you can’t SELF-promote?

It was OK when THEIR web-site correspondent came on MY show to self-promote THEIR site (guilty as charged, they are) but when I went on THEIR site to promote MY show, that was against the rules.  

It should also be noted that a year or so ago, WNST wrote that baseball web-site a check for an advertising banner on said baseball web-site.  We used that banner ad to (self) promote 

Guess what?  They took WNST’s money. 

It’s OK to self-promote when you write a check for it but not OK to self-promote for the sake of…well self-promoting.  

If you’re confused, it’s OK, you should be.

In the end, there’s nothing at all wrong with self-promoting.  I’ve just thumbed through the Sun for a preview of tomorrow’s edition of The Comcast Morning Show and I can’t see to find it anywhere.  Wait a second…they’re not going to promote MY show for me?  

Well, then, who WILL promote MY show?

Oh, that’s right.  I have to do it. 

I was driving down 695 today and I saw this sign, “Road clean-up provided by Home Depot”.

I can’t believe Home Depot didn’t just say to the State of Maryland…”we’ll clean up the road and pick up the litter but just put something like “Road clean-up provided by a home improvement store” on the sign on the Beltway.

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Yep, that’s self-promotion.  I hope I don’t get banned from THIS site for promoting its excellence.

We ARE and whenever we get the chance to promote that, we will.  Or, I can just wait for the TV talking heads to have me on to talk about my blog (brought to you by Koons Ford of Security Blvd — or The Sun to devote a small portion of their daily sports section to me and my show.  

Funny enough, 99% of the people reading this right now have all engaged in wide-spread self-promotion during their lifetime.

I guarantee it.

If you say, “I’m not a self-promoter…I’d never do that”, I’ll prove you’re a fibber.

I’ll bet you $50 — any of you reading this right now above the age of 18 — that you’ve been guilty of “self-promoting” in your life.

Wanna bet?  

Have you ever written and distributed a resume?

All a resume is, in reality, is a chronological and detailed review of your accomplishments.

Telling someone else – a stranger, most of the time – what you’ve accomplished in your life or your career is a blatant act of self-promotion.  Then again, if you didn’t write YOUR resume, who would?  Your competitor? 

Have you ever written and distributed a resume?


Pay up.  

What a bunch of self-promoters you are.  

Then again, there’s nothing wrong with promoting yourself.  

I do it 24×7, in fact.

Maybe some *others* in town should take a class in self-promoting instead of hanging-out on the web all day.

It might help THEIR numbers…if you know what I mean.