This year’s Student Development Conference held by Eastern Michigan University’s Public Relations Student Society of America gave students the chance to gain insight on the world of public relations through the advice of numerous guest speakers.
At the conference, speaker Brittni Brown, head publicist of The Bee Agency Public Relations stressed the importance of marketing yourself as a brand.
It’s not so much about making yourself into a brand as it is promoting yourself like a brand. As public relations professionals, it’s crucial to our success in the industry to utilize our most shining attributes and strengths, and show the world our passion.
According to Brown, In order to brand ourselves, and display our strengths, we must first do the following:
- Know your brand, and know how it defines you: as a public relations professional, you should be able to describe your brand, or the skills and services you possess that are beneficial to a client in ten seconds or less. Without a clear, concise understanding of what assets you’ve acquired that a consumer can use, your strong suits may not be presented properly. If you’ve experienced success with social media, focus on presenting yourself as a public relations professional with a concentration on social media. Do what you know you’re good at, and make it your “thing”.
- Know your target audience, and know how to define it: if you’re looking into becoming a social media coordinator, show off your social media skills! Take a look at what you’ve done professionally through your accounts, and contact specialists who are looking for PR through the social media portion of their company. Ask yourself, who am I looking to benefit? Once you answer that, you’ll have an easier time narrowing your audience, and defining your services.
- Know your expertise and love what you do: One of the most important parts of public relations is figuring out what piece of the industry you shine in. At the SDC conference, public relations professional Kelli Cesarz of Moncur industry expressed how hard it was to find a personal niche. But after years of trial and error, she was able to find something she excelled in, and as a result is now employed at her dream job.
- Be specific, don’t generalize, take a step back and reevaluate what you’re good at: What parts of public relations do I excel in? What interests me about my profession? These are questions you should ask yourself when specifying your traits. If I were to be the lead in a campaign, what portion would I volunteer for?
- Be measurable, create a timeline: Let others know you’re reliable. Keep yourself accountable by setting deadlines for your work, and personal accomplishments. If you want to create five blog posts a week, set up a reasonable schedule including a time, for each blog post to be finished by. Clients find consistency and measurability a reliable quality in a public relations professional.
- Be obtainable: allow yourself to be reached. If you are an entry level professional, keep an open mind and positive outlook when working for a company. Find a happy medium between playing hard to get and playing it too easy.
- Be realistic, create a realistic daily goal list: Staying aware and organized are crucial parts of the public relations industry. Setting impossible goals for yourself defats the purpose of aiming to succeed, and can hurt the chances of a task being accomplished. Be reasonable in your expectations of your brand. Create a goal list that helps you get from point A to point B with minimal stress and anxiety; this will help your accountability, and your organization for future projects.
- Understand that YOU are a brand, and be confident: As a public relations professional, your brand is about as good as your word. It categorizes you and defines you as a leader. Figuring out ways to promote your brand in the right light is key toward becoming a successful PR practitioner. Maintaining a confident attitude and continuing to develop your brand on a daily basis is what will set you a part from other professionals.
So remember to be a brand, and as Brittni Brown said, “be confident in knowing what you want to do.”