PR 101: How to Take Your Personal Brand to the Next Level
By Kennedi Fuller | On June 15, 2017
As PR professionals, we take every measure necessary to secure great coverage for our clients. From planning the perfect pitch and product launch strategy, to providing strategic counsel for a company wide initiative; it is embedded in our DNA to work hard and help our clients achieve their goals. We can’t help it – we just want to see our clients win! However, how often do we find ourselves putting forth that same effort towards our own professional growth and success? More often than not, our personal brand may fall low on the priority list while we focus on our day-to-day routine. Just as we are responsible for building the reputation of our client, we are also responsible for our own reputation through personal branding. Here are several tips that will help you remember to treat yourself and always keep your professional growth top of mind:
- Find your niche and own it
What makes you unique? Everyone has that special something that works for them, and sets them apart from their colleagues and friends. Find that quality and own it. We’re always searching for ways to boost our client’s visibility and reputation, and that same mentality should be considered when building your own brand. If you’re having trouble finding out what makes you unique- ask your friends or the people close to you! This helped me to identify my strengths, weaknesses and how I should present myself when describing who I am, and what I do. You may or may not like what you hear, but it will help you come one step closer to figuring out how others can tap your skillset.
- Network, network, network
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know, and every day is an opportunity to network! Similar to how we find opportunities that are designed to help our clients increase their visibility, there are opportunities happening every day to help boost your personal brand and network. I found that one of the best ways to develop a rapport with journalist is to meet them in person! Although most of our connecting is done via email – it’s always great to connect with local journalist over coffee or drinks to establish a relationship face to face. So get out there, represent your brand and don’t forget to keep your business cards handy! I’ve also learned that one of the most important things to do right after leaving a networking event and leaving with a pocketful of business cards, is to make that connection over email or Linkedin as soon as possible. More than likely, the reporter’s inbox will likely be filled to the brim with thank you notes from other attendees, so get ahead of the crowd and make that connection sooner rather than later!
- Establish Your Online Presence
Not only should you network in real life, but with the surge of social media, it’s always helpful to manage your online reputation as well. Many of us manage social media for our clients daily, so by the time you need to craft a tweet for ourselves, we’re just about over it. However, we want to be present and active online, so that we can connect with reporters and influencers on a less formal basis. Keep your name consistent across all platforms but tailor your approach accordingly. You should also make your brand is easily recognizable. You can use a personal logo, hash tags, or you can create exclusive content to get your brand noticed. For example, as a tech publicist, I’ve learned that the quickest way to find out what a reporter is working on is through their Twitter profiles, as they are often updating it with their own articles and news items that have their attention. The more you can evoke discussion of your perspective, the more you can build your online brand.
- Patience and Persistence is Key
As PR pros we already know how to be persistent when it comes to reaching out to a journalist. But, why not go after your brand with the same tenacity? You don’t have to be annoying of course, but you should always have the willingness to do whatever it takes to get that lead and make that connection. We don’t stop our outreach if one reporter isn’t interested in our latest announcement; we continue to pitch until we find a relevant reporter who cares about the news we’re offering. Things won’t happen overnight but persistence is key in steadily working on your brand visibility and overall professional growth.
Your personal brand is all about who you are, and what you want to be known for. Growing as a professional and growing your brand is beneficially rewarding to both the client and yourself. It’s time we put more energy and effort into mapping out your personal game plan by treating yourself like the client you’re eager to over service.