Personal PR checklist: vital tools to promote yourself
As our founder and CEO Victoria Usher explained in a recent article for the European Business Review, it’s vital for business leaders to raise their profile and work on their personal brand. The perception of a business is directly linked with the actions of its leaders, so they must take charge of how they are seen by the outside world to promote the organisations they represent and enhance their reputation.
Elevating a business leader’s personal profile can be achieved by working with an agency such as GingerMay – which specialises in B2B technology PR – to put together a comprehensive PR strategy, targeting top trade and national publications. But first, leaders should ensure they have the basic tools in place. Here’s a useful checklist for business leaders embarking on a PR campaign to develop their personal profile:
A good quality headshot
Whether it’s used to accompany a thought leadership article in a prominent publication, or promote an upcoming panel session on a hot industry topic, a good quality headshot is a must for any business leader. The ability to link a face with a name makes that individual instantly more memorable, so a headshot comes top of the personal PR checklist.
Headshots should be recent – ideally updated every two years – and should be taken by a professional photographer as they have the skills and experience to capture the perfect image. A PR agency can help with recommendations. When preparing for a photoshoot, business leaders should dress as they would for a lunchtime meeting – smart but not too formal – and should ideally avoid busy patterns, sticking to plain coloured clothing.
As a starting point a couple of simple studio-based headshots using light and dark backgrounds are essential as these can be used across all channels. Leaders can also choose to have additional images taken at a location that reflects their business to add variety and personality. They can have photos taken in their office environment, for instance, particularly if it has a distinctive theme.
An up-to-date biography
Second on the personal PR checklist is an up-to-date biography. A bio is a summarised version of someone’s professional accomplishments and credentials, and is often used alongside a headshot when announcing a speaker at an event or introducing the author of an article.
Written in the third person, a bio should start with the individual’s name and job role, and should go on to highlight their most impressive professional achievements. Depending on the business they represent it could include awards, educational achievements, or significant client wins. Name dropping high-profile businesses they have worked with in the past is a good idea, as long as this is balanced by a focus on what they are doing now. Again, a PR agency will be able to outline the key messages a bio should contain.
If a leader only has one bio this should be kept short and punchy – ideally around 50 words – and should be relatively formal. Many people will want to create multiple versions of their bio, one longer and one shorter, or one formal and one more quirky to suit different media outlets, but all versions should be stored together in a single document and kept up-to-date.
A social media presence
Next on the personal PR checklist is a presence on social media channels. Most businesses will have corporate social media pages, but leaders should also have their own personal accounts and profiles, allowing the two to be linked.
Social media is an effective way to connect with potential customers, but maintaining multiple accounts is time consuming, so choosing channels carefully is essential. At a minimum, business leaders should have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile. Journalists will often look to LinkedIn for industry spokespeople, or to research a potential contact, and publications are often more willing to link to an author’s LinkedIn page than to their company website. Depending on the organisation and the product or service it offers, social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook or Instagram can also be beneficial.
Leaders should make time to update their LinkedIn or other social media profiles frequently, making connections, following relevant industry figures, sharing relevant content and ideally publishing their own original content at regular intervals. Content needs to achieve a balance between reflecting the individual’s personality and staying on-brand for the business they represent.
Media and comms training
The final item on the personal PR checklist is media training, which equips business leaders with the skills they need to be an effective communicator; enhancing the credibility of their organisation. The level of communication and public speaking skills varies greatly between leaders, but everyone can benefit from a course of media training before they embark on a PR campaign.
Media training delivers techniques and tips to help leaders interact coherently and effectively with journalists during interviews or with audiences and panellists during events. It helps them learn to anticipate questions, prepare for interviews, organise their thoughts, and clearly convey key messages. It also prevents them being quoted out of context due to a lack of clarity or miscommunication, and helps them answer tricky questions. To become a credible source of information and build a strong personal profile, media training is an incredibly valuable item in the PR toolkit.
To tick off your personal PR checklist and find out more about raising your profile through a bespoke PR strategy, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org