As PR pros, we work hard to promote our clients, our companies and our stories, but what about promoting ourselves and our personal brands?
Developing a strong personal brand can only take you further in your career and life.
Here are the steps to take:
1. Keep an eye on statistics and trends. Just as you would track analytics and growth online for a company or client, do the same for your own blog and social media channels. I have a master spreadsheet where I track my statistics for Twitter, Pinterest, blog subscribers and #GetGutsy e-newsletter subscribers weekly.
Each week, I look at those numbers and discover trends that help me understand why my blog and social media followings have grown, or why one or the other has remained steady. I have another tab on that spreadsheet for tracking blog analytics monthly. To track my website statistics, I use Google Analytics
2. Track your success. I have another spreadsheet titled “Blog/Freelancing Accomplishments,” where I track all kinds of important information that helps me measure the success of my blog. That spreadsheet is broken into different tabs:
- Blog mentions: Within this tab, I note any time another blogger mentions my blog or links to one of my posts within their post. I track the date, name of the blog, title of the post, a description of why my blog was mentioned/where it was linked to, and a link to their post. Many items on this list are posts of mine featured in other bloggers’ roundups or references to posts I’ve written that are relevant to the blogger’s topic du jour. How do I find all these posts and mentions? Simple. I’ve set up alerts for my name on Google Alerts and Muck Rack Alerts, so anytime my name appears online, I get an email notification.
- Guest posts: Every time I write a guest post, I note the date, blog, title of the post and a link to the post. This helps me to see how often I’m writing for others and how that helps my blog and online presence grow.
- Lists/Features: I’ve been honored to be included on some great lists and featured by other bloggers, so I keep a tab on the spreadsheet for all those mentions, along with including them on the media section of my portfolio page on my website.
- Speaking engagements: I want to do more public speaking, so I like to track my engagements to see how many I have in a given amount of time.
Why is tracking all these numbers important? At the drop of a hat, I’m able to provide impressive numbers to potential blog sponsors or for potential career opportunities.
3. Promote your own work. When you write and publish a post, the work is only halfway done. You still must make sure your target audience sees your work. When I create a piece of content, I make sure to promote it in at least three different places to make the writing worth my while.
4. Be active on social media. I knew my current boss on Twitter before I applied for the job, I’ve been offered freelance gigs because of my blog, and I’ve met countless people I consider mentors through social media. If you don’t have time to be everywhere (Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram are the best platforms for my personal brand), choose one or two sites where you can be active.
Be sure your profile is completely filled out, and update a couple of times per day, sharing not only your own stuff, but valuable content from others, too. Most important: Interact. No one wants to talk to a self-promoting robot. When you balance tactfully promoting your own work, sharing great work from others and connecting in a warm and personable way, you’ll find the sweet spot of personal branding.
5. Save your tweets. I frequently use Twitter promote new blog posts or share information with my audience. You probably spend a ton of time crafting and publishing tweets. To save time and effort, every time I publish a post, I create two or three versions of a tweet promoting it and save them to a spreadsheet.
That way, I’m still promoting older posts that new people in my audience may not have seen. It’s super easy to copy and paste and then schedule a tweet, rather than having to come up with something clever and re-shorten the link every time I want to promote a post on Twitter. I also use Hootsuite to schedule tweets ahead of time; I check in later to retweet and reply to tweets.
6. Pitch your work to other blogs and publications. Did you know that many blogs and websites are open to republishing high-quality content? If you’re proud of a particular post, seek out another home for that post on a blog that may introduce your work to people who may not yet be a member of your community.
For example, after publishing a post on the top PR trends for 2014 last November, I asked the editors here at Ragan.com and PRDaily whether they’d be interested in republishing the post, and sure enough, they were. Those posts were shared on social media more than 700 times. I also saw increased traffic to my website and gained new Twitter followers. (Here I am again, with this post.)
7. Embrace your community. Be a real person that people want to talk to. I pride myself on responding to almost every comment, email and tweet I receive. Writing comments, emails and tweets takes time, so I always appreciate a response when I reach out to other bloggers, and I like to show that same respect to the people in my community. It may take me a few days or even a few weeks if I’m backed up, but if you write to me, you will get a personal response.
Jessica Lawlor is features editor for the MuckRack blog and a PR professional in the Philadelphia area. She blogs at JessicaLawlor.com. A version of this article originally appeared on Muck Rack, a service that enables you to find journalists to pitch, build media lists, get press alerts and create coverage reports with social media data.