A little bit of ‘personal PR’ can go a long way to building your personal brand

PeoplePersonal BrandingPRSocial MediaSuccess Strategies

This is a cross-post, in unison with Chris Clarke, a gen-y PR professional and friend of mine. Chris works at NATIONAL Public Relations as Coordinator, New Media. His role is to educate their staff of consultants about online communications and integrate social media into existing client offerings.


Public relations used to be synonymous with media relations. Public relations professionals used to deal exclusively with appealing to the mainstream media, and their goal was to get their company’s story into the newspaper pages or on the evening news, usually by making telephone calls to the journalists and ‘pitching’ them their story.

‘PR’ has evolved over the years to become so much more than phone pitches to the mainstream media. Today, the profession is experiencing a rebirth, thanks in large part to the internet. Because of it, practitioners must concern themselves with appealing to far more audiences than just the mainstream media. A profession that was once about communicating key messages from large corporations to big media empires has come a long way. Companies big and small are using public relations today, and are targeting smaller, more specialized audiences – even individuals. Also, bloggers have taken the lead as publicists always looking for new content, so they have been the target of pitches. Some blogs carry as much, if not more, weight and subscription base, such as TechCrunch and GigaOm.com.

Public relations can be processed through individuals these days. Rather than building the image of a corporation or product, an individual’s talents can be recognized. The goal of just about every PR program is to raise awareness (to the positive news, of course) which should help increase sales. Personal branding is a form of ‘personal PR’. Through social media, everyone becomes their own personal PR spokesperson – as well as CEO, chief content officer, webmaster, marketing, business developer, and more. With positive news and increased awareness, you can increase your “sales” – you’ll be building your personal brand.

As your personal brand publicity increases, so does that of all the products or companies you support. Your name is associated with everything you touch and therefore everything can prosper simultaneously.Most people are recognized because of their formation or participating in a product launch or their charitable contributions.

The first step to building your personal brand is recognizing that you already have one. It’s that simple — and that hard and that inescapable. It was formed through your networks: friends and family, all of whom perceive you a certain way based on the interactions you’ve shared with them. In order to build on your existing personal brand, it’s essential to expand one’s network – or, what PR practitioners call ‘increasing awareness’. Word of mouth has been named the number one strategy for communicating your brand and through social media; it’s far easier to spread your message than it was 10 years ago.

By developing a blog and enlisting on a variety of social networks, you’ll become more visible and establish yourself as an expert, which will grow your personal brand a great deal. If you have something to say and a platform to say it on, people will be there to listen. When they listen, they make a judgment call, as to if you have the credibility available to express those opinions. Those that subscribe to your blog are your word-of-mouth evangelists for getting your message out and attracting more people to the brand called you.

Demonstrating thought leadership is the key to success: write intelligent blog posts, thought-provoking blog posts; write other bloggers comments; send a personal email to people who leave you comments; send in audio comments to the podcasts you listen to; connect with people you’ve engaged with on social networks; and finally, go out and meet the people you read and admire, because online connections are solidified in the real world and can turn into genuine friendships. The key is to freely express your subject matter expertise through your blog for free, therefore people can get a feel for who you are and are more inclined to purchase your services.

In short, start engaging. Show yourself to be intelligent and hard working, and success will find you. Discover what you’re passionate about, take a stand on that topic and blog about it. Just be consistent with who you are and the manner in which you present yourself. Authenticity is what online communities are based on.

You have the tools at your disposal, freely available, to make a difference in your life. If you choose to use it, a little ‘personal PR’ can go a long way to helping build your personal brand.