Carnsight’s business owner and PR expert Jess Morgan recently had the exciting opportunity to speak at a student networking event for those studying sport business at Ashton Gate (thanks to Sophy Wells for the introduction). Jess seamlessly translated the team’s skills for promoting a business through PR to help those who want to promote themselves as individuals. If that sounds like you, then here’s a summary of the 7 steps to PR yourself that she covered on the day.
What is PR?
As we all hopefully know by now, PR is not all champagne and schmoozing.
Dictionaries like Merriam-Webster will say that PR is “the business of inducing the public to have understanding for and goodwill toward a person, firm, or institution”. However, at Carnsight, we say that PR is about creating strategies and campaigns to showcase great work and achievements. It’s about getting noticed by the right people, at the right time. So, let’s get you noticed.
1. Why PR yourself?
Questions of value and motivation are valid – what’s the point in PRing yourself, what benefit does it actually bring? To start, investing in getting your personal brand out there allows you to max out your advantages in a way that you can control and gives you an undeniable competitive advantage. At the end of the day, PRing yourself is not about pretending to be something you’re not. Instead, it’s all about putting your best foot forward, and that’s something we can all do.
2. What do you want to achieve?
Look to the horizon with a future thinking, bigger-picture mindset; set yourself up for the end game and then think about the steps to get there. As with PR, it’s often best to start at the end. Think about what you want to get out of your PR, and create a tangible image of the late-stage achievements you’ll aim for.
Do you want to be considered for a particular position, role, or placement? Get your foot in the door at your dream company? Or achieve something else entirely? Start with that and then you can plot your path to get there.
3. Where to PR yourself
Leave no stone unturned. We explore more on PR touchpoints in this earlier blog post, but as a quick overview, it’s important to at least consider the following touchpoints:
- First impressions e.g. job interviews
- Daily interactions e.g. within the office
Remember that your communication, presentation, and interactions reflect on you, from the texts you write to the emails you send to every meeting and greeting. From the security guard in the office to the receptionist, to the person getting you a glass of water. In an interview – and every interaction – it’s important to give a good impression.
Our advice: build every bridge you can and remember never to burn them. Even if the connection doesn’t seem as though it will immediately serve you or your current path, it is still valuable to maintain it. Above all else, strive to be consistent and helpful always.
4. What’s unique to you
Presentation and first impressions can count for a lot when PRing yourself. Showing yourself on a good day (even if you have to fake it until you make it), and ensuring you have enough substance can be key to acing these factors. Be the best version of yourself and don’t shy away from showcasing what’s unique about you. Lean into your interests and experiences, use images or even videos that you love. Authenticity goes a long way, and it’s usually something people pick up on for the better when its genuine.
5. Why do you need to tell a story?
Just like PR, it’s about telling a story here as well. Except this one should centre around you. It should put your full self on show – not just the professional bits. Showcase the person behind the achievements, the CV, the experience. Remember the elevator pitch? Nurture the spark and pin down the details of your own until you can pitch yourself in your sleep. It should become an effortless, natural, and genuine skill to do so in a way that is upfront but not boastful or arrogant. Sometimes you have to be your biggest cheerleader, so it’s important to be able to summarise your achievements and proven value in a work environment.
6. Why is research important?
Step outside of your echo chamber and get some inspiration. Consider what others are sharing, gauge what works and what doesn’t. Borrowed interest, for example, can do a large part of the work for you. As defined by The Next Wave, “borrowed interest is the intentional association of an unrelated theme, event or image with a product, service or subject being presented, to attract attention otherwise not anticipated”. Consult a diverse range of sources to give you inspiration, from professional arenas like LinkedIn to trending content on TikTok.
7. The importance of brilliant basics
Last but certainly not least, let’s run over the things you need to get right to form a good foundation. Like we said, first impressions can make all the difference, so it’s important to get your basics right from the ground up.
This means no typos, and no mistakes. Proof it, print it, and proof it again. Ask for that second opinion, re-read your email, scan over that document before you share it. Small mistakes may seem small and inconsequential but that can be costly, so always try to minimise the risk.
It’s also worth investing the time and resources you have on hand into creating a professional looking photo. Jump over to our article here to cover off all of the do’s and don’ts of good headshots.
Elsewhere, strong opinions are fine, but avoid anything too controversial. Remember you’re representing your professional self here too. Check over your old social media presence, because employers will too, and these days they know what to look for.
At the end of the day…
You can’t step through a door you haven’t first opened. PRing yourself is about being proactive, considered and genuine. Remember these 7 steps to PR yourself, like how starting at your end point often makes for a clearer way forward. Think ahead, keep the above in mind, and be confident in your ability to PR yourself.