The Secret Benefits of Promoting Other People’s Work
What sharing other people’s work can teach you about sharing your own
One of the scariest things about promoting your own work is the fundamental reality that nobody else cares. It’s not a personal attack on the worth of you or your work; it’s just that people are living their own lives. They experience their own thoughts, curiosities, and challenges.
You may know this in theory, but you don’t feel it in practice. Here’s how you can practice it:
Read, watch, listen to, and use other people’s creative work. If you like it, share it on your social networks or at Reddit or Hacker News. Or share it with a friend, or reply to a newsletter you subscribe to. (I wrote up a longer list of tactics here, which you can apply to other people’s work as well as your own.)
In other words, promote it on their behalf. It takes five seconds to copy and paste the title and link. Optional: Talk about why you like it, what you got out of it, or what thoughts it provoked.
The most important selfish lesson this practice teaches you is that nobody cares about most other people’s work too. You’ll realize, “Wow, this person must’ve spent 40+ hours writing this piece, and I shared it, and it only got 1 heart.” You’ll subconsciously take it much less personally when people don’t heart your work right away.
(You’ll also realize you need to promote your work more than once.)
A few other pleasant side effects:
- You’ve created an occasion to connect with the person whose work you shared and build a relationship. You like their work, and they may like yours too. They may even reach out to thank you for sharing their work. (This topic is worth another post entirely: There’s a huge supply/demand problem here: most people face the problem of nobody sharing their good work, here’s your chance to help them solve it!) If you build the relationship, you’ll be genuinely excited to promote each other’s work. (That’s ideal — it can be more straightforward and transactional than that too. I once had an author ask me, “Anything you’ve written of late that you’d like a helping boost on?” I had to reciprocate. Neither of us went viral, and that’s not the point!)