When I started my first marketing job, I had zero marketing experience. That is, zero experience as apaid marketing professional. I had been doing marketing work for years, though. I am a writer and blogger, so I often ask other people to read my blog posts, buy books I have contributed to, and subscribe to magazines where I am published. As a church member, I invite people I know to Sunday services or special events. On social media, I become part of someone else’s marketing strategy every time I like their Fan Page or share their promotion or tweet news of their grand opening.

In the 21st Century, we’re all in the business of marketing. We all have a message to share and a product to sell, whether it’s ours or someone else’s. Some of us get paid to share messages for others; we are marketing professionals. We create content, we generate leads, we manage social media channels. Part of my work as a freelance writer situates me as a surrogate marketing director for outside companies on contract. Others of us serve as our own marketing department, spending time and energy blogging and tweeting and emailing news about our recently-released books or our handmade jewelry or our tax-preparation services.

Though we are all marketers now, we don’t always know the most effective strategies for sharing our message. Besides the simple act of drawing attention, if we get sloppy or careless or greedy, we might be tempted to change the message a little, or put an overly positive spin on our product or book, just to achieve a little more success. As Christians, we aren’t always sure if we should be shining a light on ourselves at all.