Storytelling is one of the many hats public relations practitioners wear. A good story can captivate the audience while a not-so-good story can put them to sleep. As public relations pre-professionals, we are responsible for telling our clients’ stories across a variety of platforms. However, a client’s story is not the only story you should be telling. In fact, one of the most important stories that you will tell is yours.
I chatted with media coach and personal branding expert Kathryn Janicek about the “do’s and don’ts” of personal branding and how to maintain a brand that will get you noticed.
Q: What is a personal brand?
A: [A personal brand is] everything that involves your entire package as a person. How you carry yourself, the sound of your voice, what you wear, your hair, what you do for a living, what your social media looks like, the car you drive… it’s everything that makes [you] YOU. Everything you do delivers a message and helps other people put together an idea of who you are.
Q: What are some ways students and young professionals can establish a personal brand?
A: You already have a personal brand, whether you know it or not. Students and young professionals can make their brand stand out among other people by giving it the time it deserves to create the brand they want for themselves.
Q: Why is maintaining a personal brand across platforms so important? What are some consequences of inconsistency?
A: Your brand is your brand. It’s important to make sure it’s reflective in all [of the] ways you are communicating to your audience. What you say in your Twitter bio should reflect who you are and what you’re looking for right now. Job hunting? Looking for new customers? Need news tips because you’re a reporter? Make sure that’s apparent in the messaging your brand is delivering. How you deliver that message will change across the platforms, but the message doesn’t change.
One major consequence of inconsistency is [that] people may not be able to find you. If you have different names and drastically different pictures, you’ll be harder to find than if you use the same name and picture across platforms.
Q: What are some “must-haves” for a personal brand? How about some “nice to haves”?
A: Your message is a must-have. Who are you? What are you looking for, AND WHY? What in your background gives you awesome experience?
It’s also important to stand out. I believe must-haves are ways for people to remember you. Are you a concert pianist who is now hoping to be a public relations rock star? Do you have three dogs and a cat? Are you a die-hard Patriots fan? Inject some personality that will set you apart from the rest.
Q: How “personal” should your personal brand be?
A: It’s the personal pieces that make you stand out. Use common sense and be personal where it helps you paint a picture of who you are, why you’re a good hire or why people should do business with you.
Q: What is one piece of advice to keep in mind when establishing a personal brand?
A: Remember that everything you do, say and wear contributes to your personal brand. One crazy drunken night with coworkers or clients can change your brand immediately. One picture posted on Facebook or Instagram or one political comment can all change how people see you.
Don’t stop being who you are — just make sure it fits your brand and the brand you want others to see.
What are your tips on personal branding? Share your thoughts below.
Kathryn Janicek has worked in cities across the United States for almost 20 years as a TV news executive producer, producer and vice president of news for national networks. She is a three-time Emmy award winner in breaking news and social media. Kathryn now guides organizations in media and public speaking training. Follow Kathryn on Twitter @kathrynjanicek.