We’re All Our Own Publicist: Cultivating the DIY-Gene
It’s never been more important to build your personal brand than in today’s digital age.
What you cultivate, post and share online is perhaps the realest representation of who you are and what you do - in real time. With rapidly evolving medias at our fingertips, we no longer have to hustle as hard for the world to “read all about it”, nor shout out all our successes from proverbial rooftops.
In the techni-tiled dreamworld of hashtags, views and likes, we’re all our own publicist.
Social media has exponentially changed the art of PR, where how we act, what we say, and what others say about us online contributes to the building blocks of our brand identity, personality and reputation. Who you are is what people want to know. What’s your edge? Why should we trust you? It’s not enough these days to simply be ‘good’ at what you do; the many hats of a business owner come in all shapes and sizes, and knowing how to cultivate your DIY gene in the PR game is essential to not just being memorable, but remarkable.
The concept of Public Relations is far less elusive than perhaps it once was.
Put simply, the process of nurturing a ‘relation’ is inherently reliant on first forming a connection. A connection with your brand, your clients, your audience and online presence. PR is all about reputation: the design and build of your public image, how you connect with your audience, and how to be your most authentic self while spinning the best story you’ve ever told. Stripped back, it’s about communication, and knowing how to make your audience feel.
There’s no denying it’s become a whole lot easier to be ‘in business’ - anyone can start a business, design a logo, make a website and launch a product or service in cyberspace. The rise of the internet has given entrepreneurs the freedom and flexibility to run their businesses whenever, from wherever. What a time to be alive!
Yet the double-edged sword of digital liberty is that consumers now expect you to be switched ‘on’ and omnipresent, virtually all the time. Your craft becomes secondary, and the need for constant marketing and PR takes over. Business owners today have to come full circle and take ownership of their product, services, branding, marketing, budgets, accounts, and everything else either side, including their digital PR.
So… where do you start? Here’s our guiding principles for DIY-Digi-PR:
Communicate openly and authentically. Know how to underpin your brand and tell your story across multiple platforms - loud and clear. Whether in the online space or *gasp* - real life, communicating clearly conveys the message that you know your shit, and aren’t afraid to back yourself. Whatever channels you happen to be on, it’s more important than ever to share what you know and what you believe with your people.
Be proactive, aware, and professional. Obstacles will arise and hurdles will appear almost out of nowhere. Remember, you are not the first person to ever receive a negative review, and yes, these may come. No one is perfect and we can’t please everyone, and an essential aspect of PR is anticipating the challenges before they rear their ugly head, and once they do, knowing how to address them swiftly and professionally.
Be a story-seeker, as well as a storyteller. Seek inspiration in everything around you. Educate yourself, stay updated with industry trends and innovations, learn, cultivate, and create your own special brand of magic.
Add value first. Rather than constantly trying to push your products and services, share your story with your audience first, then ask for the sale once you’ve delivered value up-front. People need to feel like they know, like and trust you before asking for the sale.
Build Connections. Perhaps the biggest opportunity for online networking and reputation building is to build connections with other brands. Provided that you collaborate with brands that share similar values to you, collaboration over competition can be the smartest and easiest way to build your brand online.
Back yourself, daily. Trust your gut and believe in your talents. No one knows your business like you do, and no one knows what you know. The more you can position yourself as the expert that you already are, and share your own unique experiences, philosophies and methods, the more likely you are to cut through the clutter and get heard by your audience.
No matter your industry, expertise or career goals, the sooner you adopt the publicity hat, the faster your brand and business will grow.
WRITTEN BY DEANNA VARKANIS FOR WILDBRAND.