As a public relations professional, the most important client you will ever represent is yourself.
The old phrase “the cobbler’s children have no shoes” has no place in today’s professional landscape, because now, the expectation is that the cobbler’s children have on the most fabulous, stylish, and chic shoes available. Scratch that—they are wearing the shoes that won’t even be available to the rest of us until next season.
Clients today (and employers) want to see what you can do for them the moment they visit your website or hear your name. As PR professionals we are expected to be experts in positioning and branding, and what better way to showcase our skills than on ourselves.
Here are three easy steps to brand yourself in 2012:
Claim your name
Establish a blog or website under your full name and add interesting, relevant content to it regularly. The content you generate should appear in the first page of results for your name in Google and other search engines, making sure the first impression is the right one.
Include your bio, work experience, contact information, and a headshot, as well as links to your online profiles such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. This way, people have options on how to reach you and spark a conversation.
, a designer at Twitter, said she uses her personal site
as a “test bed.”
“I've found that my site is the perfect way to be able to relate to clients trying to get off of the ground,” she explained. “Why? Because I can honestly say what worked— and what didn't—for me, both personally and professionally.”
Voice your opinion
Pick an industry you’re passionate about and delve into the conversation both online and off. You’ll meet other professionals who share your interests and will start to feel a part of a larger community.
For example, if you’re interested in building a career in food and beverage PR, share your favorite recipes; engage with food and beverage editors, critics, and bloggers; attend industry events and follow industry trends.
If you’re interested in fashion PR, put together your own outfit layouts, interview up-and-coming designers and stylists whose style you connect with, and share their knowledge and experiences with your readers. If your schedule, and wallet, allow for it, attend a local or prominent fashion week.
The best brands have a human touch. By doing so, they make themselves more relatable to their publics.
Consider Starbucks decision to share the names of the three individuals who manage the company Twitter account
, or Coca-Cola’s decision
to collaborate with the two fans who originally created the existing Coca-Cola Facebook Page.
Take a cue from these companies when branding yourself. Don’t forget to show your personality and highlight the quirky details that make you human and relatable. Make every character in your Twitter bio count so that it’s more than just the facts you would find on a resume. Entice your audience to always want to learn more about you and the knowledge you have to offer.
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Bita Ehsanipour is a lifestyle public relations and social media specialist. She is the public relations consultant for iTAN Sun Spray Spa and Nicky B, as well as the director of marketing for KB Books. A version of this story first appeared on her blog.