(Readin’ time: 2m 23d)
So… something you wrote got cited in a more famous publication, or by a more famous person.
How do you use this to your advantage without coming across like a self-promoting dingaling?
First thing: absolutely do come across as a self-promoting dingaling if the more famous publication is an elite media outlet like the NY Times, Washington Post, NPR, or one of the two dozen or so other household name publications. Just get over yourself and use the heck out of the status that comes from having this elite publication take your work seriously enough to cite you, quote you, or discuss your work.
In fact, “discuss your work” is a uniquely effective wording. I’m pretty sure I first heard David C. Baker articulate this.
Using “My work has been discussed in” as a headline over a block of logos or some other listing of places where you have been cited, quoted, or there has been part or all of an article that discusses your work is a great way to contextualize this status.
I like “My work has been discussed in” much better than the more common “As seen in”. The latter can be (and often is, I believe) used as disingenuous cover for situations that look more like pay-to-play than earned coverage of your work.
I won’t call anybody out here, but Google easily can, if you’re curious. Search for the following phrase and look for consultant websites in the search results and look for the “As seen in” logo block on those sites:
consultant “as seen in” forbes
What if your work was cited, quoted, or discussed by a more famous publication, or by a more famous person but not by an elite media outlet? This is where you run the danger of coming across like a dingaling if you just like email your list and say “Hey, $FAMOUS-PERSON just quoted me. I’m so special! Check it out: $LINK.”
What do you do instead?
You have options here. They’re all more subtle ways of acknowledging the status of your recognition by the famous person, but they avoid coming across as a shameless self-promotion.
First, you can expand on or elaborate on something that the more famous person or publication said in the piece where they referenced your work.
Make sure this is done with generosity. Mentioning your work is a second-order consequence of doing this. The actual goal is to contribute something of value by expanding or elaborating.
Second, you can continue the conversation, using what the famous person said as a jumping off point. With this approach, you might be covering new ground rather than elaborating or expanding on some specific point the more famous person made.
The bottom line: treat the reference to your work by the more famous person the way you would an IRL conversation in front of a small audience. If the more famous person wove your work into something they said, then you’d say “thank you” and then respond in some way that contributes to the conversation arc. You would not turn to the assembled crowd and say, “Hey, $FAMOUS-PERSON just quoted me! I’m so special!”
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