When I am asked questions at the end of speaking presentations or workshops I answer – well the best I can of course! I also take note of the questions afterwards and write out my responses to keep a list of FAQ’s and material for blogs and newsletters. Recently I was asked what would be my five top tips to personal branding communication. I answered with a few of the following. These Rules of Communication are personal branding principles I share in my eBook The Power of Personal Public Relations.
The power of personal public relations is in communicating your message so that it has meaning to others and in turn brings you credibility, more public awareness and an enhanced profile. For your desired communication to have an impact it needs to fulfill the following criteria:
Word of mouth reputation. An editorial story is a lot more likely to be read and recognised than an advertisement. Seeing a story on the TV news or reading about it in the paper on or offline, gives your product or message a lot more clout. Word of mouth is one of the most credible forms of promotion. We believe what our friends tell us and we like to receive our information from our favoured forms of the media. For instance if we hear from our friends that a movie is great and read a terrific review in a newspaper or blog we’ll be more likely to believe that it is actually a good movie and therefore go to see it. Likewise, if you need to hire someone to do a job for you, often you will ask your friends whom they would recommend.
The right package. A story that appeals to readers of a weekly business newspaper is not necessarily going to appeal to readers of a young women’s fashion magazine. You must tailor your message to fit. It’s not one size fits all. You need to come up with the right content, angle, storyline or approach relevant to you and also to your target audience. What you’re telling or selling must have meaning to the receiver and must be relevant.
KISS (keep it simple, sweetie!) The message must be put in simple terms. Words must be clear and the interpretation unambiguous – they need to mean the same thing to the receiver of the message as they do to the sender. We are bombarded with so much information these days – it is hard to keep track of it all and we often get confused and overwhelmed. Other local and global events can distract our audience and affect whether our message is heard. So the less effort required understanding the message, the more effective the message will be.
Repetition You want your name to be seen by your target audience and seen often. This will create an ambient sense of familiarity. Whether they are reading stories in the media or receiving e-newsletters, posts, blogs or other forms of communication, this continued delivery of your message will in turn create more awareness. Advertisers rely almost solely on this form of communication often repeating the same message over and over.
Consistency In building your personal brand you need to have uniformity with your message. Even though your “job description” says you do a number of things – your overriding message or brand needs to be consistent. All your communication materials need to be delivering the same message. You can’t have confusing messages that mean different things to different audiences. You need to be very clear with who you are and what you represent and remain true and consistent to that message.
Delivery There are many ways for your message to be heard other than the traditional forms of media. There’s social media and the Internet of course with e-books, e-newsletters, podcasts and webinars. You can also participate in special events; trade shows sponsorships, pro-bono work or public speaking. Whatever form of communication you choose (and ideally a mixture is good) as the sender you must use communication tools that the receiver uses and respects. Text messaging may not suit everyone!
Read last week’s blog The Nine Steps of Story Structure.
Sue Currie is a personal branding specialist and director of Sue Currie Communications an agency providing an integrated strategy of personal and professional public relations solutions to help business owners boost their image, renown,brand and business. Through consulting, corporate workshops and conference speaking, Sue helps organisations and individuals to stand out and shine.