I don’t want to tell you if you need a personal brand and PR, because if you are here, you’ve probably already known. So here are several steps, which can help you on your way to popularity:
- Who are you? From the very beginning, you should decide whether you are an expert, a mother of many children, an entrepreneur, a cosmetologist, a writer, or someone else? It’s great if you have a lot of fields where you can call yourself an expert, but it’s better to highlight one or two significant points.
- What is your expert field? I frequently ask these questions in my applying survey, but to be more intentionally sometimes, I clarify: “On what topics you’re able to comment on the media?” Let’s imagine that you are an entrepreneur. What are you doing? What’re your professional interests? For instance, maybe you are the best control freak? Or you come up with business ideas and manage financial flows? Or you are a bright expert in blockchain? Or you do a lot for children or charity? Write down from 10 to 15 areas in which you’re “the best of the best.”
- What do you want to achieve? For sure, you want to skyrocket your reputation. It’s obvious. But really, what do you want? To let everyone know you as a real estate expert? To get a lot of money for your performance at conferences or a lot of people in your web conferences? To be hired by a dream company? (strange, but personal brand is always lost sight, despite even the fact that it’s essential). Make people bring money to your Ponzi scheme and then disappear? To make competitors angry? Or amuse your vanity? (btw, this is the most common desire, and there’s nothing to be ashamed for)? The most important thing is to answer this question honestly.
Tools and resources:
Answered yourself honestly to all previous questions? Honestly? For sure? Ok, let’s move on to the tools. Your strategy should include:
Social media. It seems that everything is clear, isn’t it? You may think that you should delete all useless and embarrassing stuff from your social networks like your university’s drunk photos, kissing shoot with your wife or husband, a recipe of your grandmom’s apple pie, cute pictures with your cat or dog. (please do not do this!) After this manipulation, you start to post something meaningful and inspiring. As a result, the old subscribers who were waiting for the new recipe from your grandma were gone away. At the same time, new ones don’t understand what is happening and unsubscribe too. As one famous villain from BBC’s Sherlock said: No rush! Don’t post a lot of content; otherwise, you’d get exhausted very fast. Start with a plan. Decide how often you can write, shoot, take pictures of something. Start with 1–2 posts per week. Don’t post ‘useful’ content. Everyone is sick of it. Exciting stories about your business, your reading preferences, your children, events, where you were, advice’s request attract a lot more people.
Media and blogs. Clients always ask me two questions: “Let’s start with Forbes?” and “When will Forbes write about us?” The answer is: about one year later. By that time, you will understand what content is the most desirable for every kind of media, how to communicate with journalists, what topics to offer, and what Forbes will write about you. How to begin? Make a list of media that write on your problems, read all the articles on these topics, do some research about authors and speakers. Write sample topics. For instance, “The impact of games on the mind of a child under three years old” is not a topic. On the other hand, “Five games with a three-year-old for a cold autumn evening” is a rather good one. “Advantages of import substitution in IT” is not a topic, but a “Hyde: how to implement VDI in a week” is a topic. Then find editorial contacts. Make a short cover letter, and write who you are, why are you writing, suggest yourself as a speaker, attach a few topics. Attention! You shouldn’t send the same topics to all media! Wait for an answer! Only after that, repeat your request. With proper persuasion, you will get a publication in the first month!
Conferences and networking. Speak, if possible, at relevant events. If it’s too expensive or you are afraid of something, or you’re not sure that they’ll call, then go there and listen. Give your business cards to speakers, meet new professionals, or restore old social connections. Highly likely, that people will not memorize who you are, but you’ll become acquaintance to them. Ideally, you should have a plan for attending events every six months. At least one or two per month should be visited.
Moreover, set yourself a KPI. For instance: I should collect 15–50 business cards. It’ll force you to communicate easily with strangers. After that, you can write them to follow up letters.
Contests / associations / communities. It’s an extra task. There is a big probability that in your field, you can participate in contests with honorable prizes. It may give you good PR. Think about it and consider how much it will cost you.
Word of mouth. Are you sure your friends know about your activity? Frequently your old friends, forgotten blogs’ auditory, former colleagues don’t know where you disappeared five years ago. Or even whether you are alive or not. How has it happened? Well, you had thought that it was not the right time to talk about your first business steps, then you concentrated on it and then forgot to tell. And now, in comments’ section or at rare events, say to them: “Everything is the same.” Don’t do this; tell who you are and what you are focusing on. Remember that continually changing algorithms of social networks may confuse even your subscribers, who still don’t know why you are posting analytics on financial technologies instead of cats and flowers.
“Oh, it’s unbearable! I can’t do it!” — You may say.
And you don’t have to! Start with one tiny thing! The simplest and most effective way to achieve your goals is to start with one account on facebook or Instagram.
How long does it take?
Plan to devote two hours per day to work with a personal brand or one day per week. Then everything will be faster.
How much does it cost?
Everything depends on the intensity and the set of tools. If you do everything solo, take $1 000 on a photoshoot, Instagram administrator, ticket for the event. If you want to attract specialists, then it will cost you approximately $1500 to $5000, depending on the intensity and tools.
When will I become a star in my field?
Again, depending on the tools and intensity, the target group will know something about you in six months or a year. The main thing is not to quit.