Sure, you are your own brand, but how do people view you? Most of us have seen the “three words to describe me” emails/facebook messages, but what matters is how you want to be perceived. Sometimes, the most important story you tell as a PR pro is your own.
I am currently working with the latest group of interns at the office. Some of the brightest young minds in PR (Seriously, I’m intimidated) are jumping face first into the world of PR and digital media. I got to meet with them today and we talked a bit about the importance of how you are perceived by your peers and the influencers you work with.
Brand your personality
Yes, I know, we don’t like the phrase “personal branding.” But it works. We know what it means, so I’m going to use it. If every interaction you have with an influencer is a pitch, how does that affect all future interactions? I think that it is important that a PR pro’s relationship with an influencer, from Kara Swisher to a hyper-local news blog, be symbiotic.
If both parties are benefiting, then the relationship is much more productive. This is especially crucial in direct-to-consumer efforts when you may be working directly with an influencer throughout an event or media tour. Your personality becomes one of the most important aspect of your professional repertoire.
I do my best to be myself around an influencer that I will be working with in the future. But what else can you do to help maintain your place in the wide world of PR? Here’s my ideas:
- Walk the walk. Start a blog, learn about SEO, go shopping, become a PR Geek. The point is if you share the passion and excitement of a product you want your influencer to share with his or her audience, it will be far easier to tell that story.
- Be seen. Get out and meet the people you want covering your clients. Be part of the community. Be active and engage with them.
- Be genuine. Hopefully you end up representing clients you like and getting involved is easy. On the off chance you are stretching yourself daily, I think that sometimes it is OK to admit you are learning the space or learning the products and admit you are not an expert.
- Reach out and touch somebody. Once you establish a relationship. Maybe it was a successful placement of a pitch; could have been a cocktail hour. Whatever the start was, it is up to you as the PR pro to continue the relationship. Tweet them, comment on posts and maybe even give a phone call.
- Have an opinion. In this industry, it is important to be forward thinking and it’s not OK to put that opinion out there. Start a blog or even ask me (or somebody far more popular) if you can guest post.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the type of persona you think a PR pro should have. Tell me in the comments and let me know!