Gurus, influencers, executives, artists, writers… There are more and more professional people who have discovered the importance of personal branding as an effective method to reach their public. What better tools to use in personal branding than public relations activities? If you are indeed your brand, then read on…
When you are Marketing Director of the Brand called YOU
Photo courtesy of bplanet/Freedigitalphotos.net
We are living in the freelance economy. Thanks to the Internet and new technologies, the number of people who are working for themselves has been increasing exponentially in the past years. According to the IDC consultancy, there are 1.300 million of independent workers in the world, a 37% of the total number. In Spain, one of five employees is a freelance and according to the Forbes magazine, by 2020 half of the USA population will be their own boss. However, working on your own is not easy, you need to struggle to stand out from the crowd.
How do people who work on their own attract clients? The answer is by personal branding, as Tom Peters, a writer specialised in business management explained in his article “The brand called you” back in 1997. “You don’t “belong to” any company for life, and your chief affiliation isn’t to any particular “function.” You’re not defined by your job title and you’re not confined by your job description. […] Starting today you´re a brand. […] And to make business nowadays, your job is to be a Marketing Director of a Brand called “You”. […] You are responsible of your own Brand. There is no just one way towards the exit. And there is no just one ideal way of creating your personal brand. But it starts today.”
Public relations plays a crucial role in the creation of the personal brand of independent professionals. The necessity to construct, develop and boost personal brand grows and communication acquires mayor relevance, For that reason, we have included public relations in personal branding as one of the five tendencies that will have most influence in public relations in 2017.
A brand called you
What is a personal brand? There are a lot of definitions of personal branding, but the one that we like the most is the one offered by the personal branding expert Cyndee Wooley: “Personal brand consists of being strategically positioned as a center of influence. It´s about influencing how others perceive you and remember you by the construction of relations and the creation of the visibility. The aim is to, when someone hears your name or the name of your business, associate it immediately with the values that you desire.”
Working on your personal Brand offers you numerous advantages, both if you´re a freelancer or if you work for a company, aiming to improve your prestige in the sector.
These advantages include:
• Allows others to see in what makes you stand out
• Differentiates you from other similar profiles
• Generates credibility and visibility in the sector
• Positions you as an expert and opinion leader
• Widens your contact network and therefore, opportunities
• Helps you to achieve professional objectives
• Increases sales and employability options
Did you know that, according to the Nielsen study, just 33% of the consumers trust the messages conveyed by the companies, but 90% trust the messages of the people they know?
For that reason, it´s not a surprise that personal branding has been used traditionally by executives, entrepreneurs, liberal professionals, creators, trainers, etc. that had the clear necessity to promote themselves in order to boost their careers. However, in the actual context in which more and more people work on their own and there are no lifetime jobs, the development of the personal brand has become a necessity for practically all professional profiles. It’s not confined only to freelancers.
The Internet has contributed to this significantly: on the one hand, it makes the construction and the promotion of the personal brand easier; but on the other hand, it also increases the competitio in whichever sector you find yourself in: from becoming an influencer to a dog trainer. It´s not a joke: if you´re looking for a “dog trainer” in Google, there are 200.000 results. How to stand out among all these similar brands? The key to success if how you manage your public relations.
Create your personal brand as a brand would do
A challenge that implies distinguishing your personal brand from the others is the same that a company from any sector may face. Companies resolve it by investing in three aspects: marketing, advertising and public relations. The first two aspects are closely linked to the commercialization of a product or a service; but if no one knows you, you can´t sell anything.
On the contrary, public relations is focused on getting others to know you and to talk about you. Additionally, PR allows to achieve better results with a minor investment than advertising. To have an idea, a marketing guru, Philip Kotler, in his book High visibility analysed a process that made various celebrities famous in the USA. And he concluded that the majority achieved notoriety thanks to public relations.
There are a lot of public relations activities that may not quite convert you into an international celebrity, but they certainly can help you boost your personal brand:
• Brand creation: the first step is to create an identity of a personal brand on the Internet (with a web, blog, social media profiles, etc.) and outside of the Internet (leaflets, business cards, etc.) which transmits professional image you want to project.
• Press release distribution: if you want others to see you as a professional than communicate in a professional way. A well-thought-out press release and distributed to adequate journalists (not to a random data base) will secure you coverage in your sector´s media and additionally will approve your positioning in Goggle.
• Media relations: aside from press releases, it is a good idea to establish relationships with journalists from your sector to access other opportunities for achieving visibility. For example, you can offer opinion articles about your sector that seem interesting and provide an added value to the public (not just simple promotional texts).
• Bloggers and influencers relations: journalists are not the only players in the communication sector nowadays. In your sector there are bloggers, people with huge influence on social media and other profiles that would be of benefit to you to establish good relations. For example, by offering to write an article as a special guest in their blogs or vice versa.
• Content Marketing: posting interesting contents on the Internet will make your personal brand stand out and attract the audience you´re interested in. Increase the traffic to your web or blog and position as an expert via blog posts, reports, infographics, videos, ebooks and other contents that are related to your activity.
• Social media management: nowadays social networks are a fundamental part of your personal brand and require a daily and professional management. You should choose carefully which networks you want to be in, define the strategy of contents and post regularly. Also, you should respond to your followers´ comments and enquiries promptly (not just in your free time) to construct a community around your personal brand.
• Events: in the world of the personal branding, events are especially useful for the general notoriety and professional opportunities. However, the organization of an event requires experience and contacts to avoid a failure outcome. It also in most cases requires a budget.
• Measurement: All of the above is useless if you don´t monitor your media features, impacts, positive or negative comments, etc. You should control the reputation of your personal brand with a good measurement system, in the same way as the companies control their brand image so that they are able to improve it.
Of course, all these actions you can carry out yourself in the free time that your work allows you. Just as you can design and print your own business cards, create your web or even organize your own events… However, if you choose to use a public relations agency you will be guaranteed that all the actions related to your personal brand are managed in a consistent and professional way thanks to the specialists´ knowledge.
Do you think we should all work on our personal brand? Share your opinion on social media!