I had the opportunity recently to talk to an enthusiastic bunch of PR professionals to share my thoughts on personal branding and how anyone can go about being their best selves. Below are some questions which were asked, and I felt these are probably on many of your minds as well. Hence sharing them here for the benefit of others.
- How can PR professionals build a brand and stand out on LinkedIn – few tips specifically for PR professionals (apart from talking about PR industry).
PR professionals have an inherent advantage. Having deep knowledge of how communication works and having helped create brands for organizations it should be easier to focus on your own personal brand. If I talk of Linkedin in isolation, that won’t help as much as addressing the issue with what is the narrative you want to take on Linkedin. There are thousands of PR professionals on Linkedin so what makes you unique? Is it your approach to PR? Is it your credentials? Is it the efficiency with which you operate? Is it the creativity? That is your starting point. If you need to be on Linkedin, then you might need to commit a sufficient amount of time to participate, engage, write etc. How much time can you devote and how consistent can you be? The way to building a personal brand goes back to the 3C Model – clarity, commitment and consistency as well as communications. All this alongside, building expertise (how are you doing so?), adding value (creating and curating experiences?) and reinventing yourself (in tune with the times?) as you go about engaging people on your brand.
- Is there a sweet spot on content and SEO strategy? or is it always a try and test method?
There is no substitute for great content and while SEO can work, in my experience, if you are constantly creating excellent content SEO isn’t as much as an issue. However, the best way is to look up Google Keyword Planner and see what words are used. Also, your content will receive feedback – check for words and questions your readers have. Blend in your content and tap into those sentiments. At the start it is a bit of testing the waters – however, over time it becomes more efficient.
- Can we build a profile and connect with audience without sharing personal anecdotes?
You don’t need to share personal anecdotes although people relate when you tell stories. It doesn’t want have to be anything that makes you uncomfortable.
- The support system we can explore for personal branding?
The support system is your family first, your relatives, your closest friends, your network in the community (neighborhood, religious places etc), your office colleagues, your industry network and so on.
- The idea of personal branding is commonly misunderstood?
Well it is. Personal branding isn’t about being boastful or about making money or becoming famous. It also isn’t about putting others down and becoming better or profiting from crises. In reality it is about others and helping them succeed and less about you.
- What books or resources on personal branding one can read on? as a starting point, what one can focus on?
- Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us & To Sell is Human – Daniel Pink
- Brand Called You – Tom Peters
- Trout on Strategy – Jack Trout
- Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future by Dan Schwabel
- Managing Oneself – Peter Drucker
- 5 Minds of the Future – Howard Gardner
I would also add movies to this list!
- Overcomer (identity, knowing your true mission)
- Little Secrets (keeping promises, staying close to values)
- Saint Street (humility, ego, gratitude)
- Christmas Oranges (giving, resilience, focus on good)
- Can you name a few stellar personal branders?
Over the last few months I have been talking to people who are from all walks of life – these are no celebrities or stars. They are ordinary people trying to do extraordinary work. I found that all of them have their own personal stories and journeys. Be it Karthik Srinivasan or Mangal D Karnad or Scott Shirai, the underlying theme is that each of them were focused, committed and determined to be their best.
- How to communicate the value?
If you refer to the 3C model of Personal Branding, adding value can only happen when you have built expertise and are known for your capabilities. Communicating the value comes later. Unless you are perceived as the one who fits into a domain and then ‘stands-out’ there is little chance that your value will be considered by your audiences.
- How to network with influencers?
It depends on who you consider as influencers. Your neighborhood grocer is an influencer in his or her own way! I wouldn’t bother too much about engaging influencers. I would recommend you focus on being yourself and becoming your best. In the long run, you may end up being an ‘influencer’. There are well known influencers and there are micro-influencers. Networking is also about being known and adding value to others. Unless you have something to contribute to, others may not want to network. In a world which expects people to give and take, how much you give will determine how much you may get. If you give selflessly, you will benefit the most.
Keen to get ahead with your personal brand? Here are some resources:
- Take a FREE assessment on personal branding.
- Refer to the 3C model on Personal Branding
- Sign up for a 60-minute personalized chat on personal branding
- Personal branding for corporate communicators