Since I became active on social media nearly six years ago, I’ve abided by one simple rule: treat myself as I would my company or client.
That means putting in the work to develop a personal brand that I’m proud of, promote my blog posts and develop a strong community on social media.
People often compliment me on my online presence (thank you!) and ask me how I’ve been able to develop such a strong personal brand online. Here’s my answer.
Read on to learn how to do PR for your personal brand:
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 following have grown, or why it has remained steady. For example, on the week my blog was featured by The Write Life as one of the top 100 websites for writers, I noticed an increase in traffic and email subscribers. On a week where I don’t guest post anywhere and only post once a week on the blog, I may notice slower growth. I have another tab on that spreadsheet where I track blog analytics monthly. To track my website statistics, I use Google Analytics and Jetpack for WordPress.
Track your success. I have another master 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’m sure to 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 of the items on this list tend to be my posts being featured in other bloggers roundups or references to posts I’ve written that may be relevant to the topic that blogger is covering. How do I find all these posts and mentions? Simple. I’ve set up FREE alerts for my name on Google Alerts and Talkwalker Alerts– that means anytime my name appears online, I get an email notification.
- Guest posts: This one is pretty simple. Every time I write a guest post for another blog, I note the date, blog, title of the post and a provide a link to the post. This helps me to visually 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 of those mentions, along with including them on the media section of my portfolio page on my website.
- Speaking engagements: One of my goals is to do more public speaking, so I like to track my engagements to see how many I do in a given amount of time. For example, in the fall, I spoke to five different groups. That gives me a goal to aspire toward for the spring.
Why is tracking all of 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 i.e. “The Get Gutsy blog has an extremely active community with more than 350 subscribers. The blog has been mentioned more than 50 times in other blogs, it has been named to lists including “the top 100 websites for writers” and traffic has steadily increased month over month with January 2014 being the most high-traffic month yet with nearly 7,000 unique visitors and more than 11,000 pageviews.”
Promote your own work. When you write and publish a post, the work is only halfway done. You still need to make sure that your target audience sees your work. As I’ve mentioned before here on the blog, I like to follow the rule of three: 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. For more information on promoting your own work, check out this handy checklist I created for Scribewise and a more detailed look at how I promote a specific post over on A Writer’s Bucket List.
Be active on social media. It goes without saying that social media is one of the best ways to develop a strong personal brand. I can’t stress enough how critical social media has been for my career and blog: 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 (I personally find Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest the best social media sites for my personal brand), choose one or two sites that you can make time for. Be sure that your profile on that site is completely filled out and make an effort to update a couple of times per day, not only sharing your own stuff, but valuable content from others, too. And most importantly, interact! No one wants to talk to a robot who constantly promotes themselves. It’s a delicate balance, but when you find the place between tactfully promoting your own work, sharing great work from others and connecting in a warm and personable way, you’ll find that personal branding sweet spot.
Save your tweets. Following up on the last point, the most common way I promote new blog posts or information I want to share with my audience is on Twitter. You probably spend a ton of time crafting tweets and publishing them on this popular social media site. To make it easier on myself, every time I publish a post, I create 2-3 different versions of a tweet promoting it and save it to a spreadsheet (see screenshot below). This way, I can make sure I’m still promoting older posts that new people in my audience may not yet have seen. It’s super easy to copy and paste and then schedule a tweet, rather than needing to come up with something clever and re-shorten the link every single time I want to promote a post on Twitter. Oh, and I also use Hootsuite to schedule tweets ahead of time. That way I don’t have to be on Twitter all day and I can schedule a bunch strategically throughout the day and just check in to retweet and reply to tweets.
Get creative. Of course, tracking your website analytics and promoting your blog posts on Twitter is nothing new (although they are important!), but thinking creatively can help you get attention, too. Inspired by Rachael King’s Living Resume on Pinterest, I recently created a new board titled “Jessica Lawlor’s Living Resume/Portfolio.” That board is a dedicated space for pinning some of my work I’m most proud of from my career in public relations, my #GetGutsy blog, freelance writing, blog management and outside recognitions and accolades. Of course, this information is also available on my Portfolio page on my website, but the Pinterest board is a bit more visual and a different way to grab the attention of people who may tap you for potential career or business opportunities.
Pitch your work to other blogs and publications. Did you know that many blogs and websites are open to republishing awesome content? If you write a post that you’re proud of, consider seeking 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 in November, I asked Ragan.com and PRDaily, two popular sites for PR pros, if they’d be interested in republishing the post, and sure enough, they were. Those posts were shared on social media more than 700 times and in the weeks those posts were published, I noticed increased traffic to my website and gained several new Twitter followers.
Embrace your community. First and foremost, be a real person that people want to talk to! I pride myself on responding to every single comment, every single email and every single tweet I receive. I know that writing comments, emails and tweets takes time and I always appreciate a response when I reach out to other bloggers, so 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. I started this blog to connect with others and form new relationships, so interacting with those who read my blog just makes sense.
Do you have other tips for doing PR for your personal brand? I’d love to hear them! Share them in the comments below.
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