and why it's just as important as PR for your business
Originally published in Great British Entrepreneurs Magazine
By now, you probably understand the importance of public relations for your business. PR provides social proof whilst increasing visibility and credibility. If you want your business "on the map," you'll need to compete with targeted PR that reaches your audience, generates leads and enhances the image of your business.
We can all agree on that, right?
But how about your own professional image? Your personal brand? Shouldn't your name receive the same attention and do the same amount of work as your business?
It's not about ego or the seeking of personal recognition. It's about building brand awareness and securing your own future.
Even if you haven't marketed your business alongside your name, or built your brand with your name at its core, there are plenty of reasons to seek press for your personal profile. Here are a few of them:
- Increase Visibility: You already understand the value of raising brand awareness for your business. After all, if your target audience doesn't know about it, they can't engage with it or buy from it. More than that, you cannot expect those people to know who you are unless you're introduced to them. Today's consumer doesn't wish to make purchases from faceless multinationals, but rather, from socially responsible SMEs run by people they know and like. A targeted public relations strategy is absolutely necessary for gaining that personal visibility.
- Enhance Perceptions of Your Expertise: Consumers want to work with experts (and with companies owned by experts). But how will they know if you’re an expert? They will look for quotes and contributions from you, along with news stories written about how your work has affected others. The best way to give them exactly what they need is to connect with media outlets interested in covering your story, experiences and opinions.
- Establish Yourself as a Thought Leader: In many industries, the first one to do anything is the one who is most likely to succeed. Furthermore, business owners who are known for their innovation and courage to publish their opinions and methods get the most positive attention. You don't have to be the smartest or the most creative thinker to gain the title of Thought Leader. You do, however, need to be noticed.
- Raise Your Profile: Your professional profile is a major consideration when your ideal clients are making buying decisions. Whether or not you're involved with customer relations, you are the founder of your company, and people care about who you are because your influence colours the experience they will have with your business. Make connections with journalists who will introduce you to your target audience.
- Manage Your Reputation: PR isn't just for raising public awareness. It can also be unrivalled as a reputation manager. A few negative reviews can easily require years of reparative action—if don't already have an unshakeable reputation, built with expert public relations. When the public's opinion of you is robust, that bad review will struggle to stick, or even make the slightest impression.
- Create a Disruptor Image: Lots of benefits come along with being known as a disruptor, or a game-changer who challenges the status quo for the benefit of everyone involved with their business. If you have the passion and the confidence to be a disruptor, you're going to need targeted press in order for your efforts to be noticed. Surely, your business getting press is important; however, a disruptive business rarely makes the impact that a living, breathing disruptor does.
- Generate Networking Opportunities: When your professional profile is made public, it's more likely that others will contact you with opportunities for expansion, acquisition, joint ventures and more. You know whom you know, and from there you will identify the people you'd like to partner and work with. Increase other professionals' awareness of you, and you'll multiply those opportunities.
- Secure your Future: Are you looking forward to other business ventures? Or would you like to partner with other professionals in the future? Maybe you'd like to sell your business someday, or acquire additional companies. Even if you plan to close your career as the owner of your present business, you cannot predict what future years (and decades) will bring. For this reason, it's important to create a public name for yourself so that if and when you decide to expand (or move) your horizons, your reputation will precede you. The best way to accomplish this is with targeted, regular PR that builds your profile and raises your visibility in all the right circles.
It's time to step out from behind your business and introduce yourself to those who wish to connect with you, recommend you and learn from you.
Get started by identifying appropriate publications, building relationships with journalists, and pursuing PR for your personal profile—because it's just good business.