Professional development and training blog of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
August 4, 2010

Building Your Personal Brand

As public relations professionals, we are always looking for ways to build awareness about our companies’ brands, promote their products and services, and position senior executives as “thought leaders” within their industries. But what about building your personal brand? 

Whether you are an independent practitioner or employed by an agency or company, it is important to market your skills and qualifications to your internal and external clients, as well as your peers. I learned this very early as a young entrepreneur wanting to grow my company, but I didn’t stop there. Even as an employed practitioner, I followed the same rules within my current company. Why?

As Matrix Group’s only communications specialist, it is important that I market my skills and knowledge to help market the company’s communications services to our prospects and clients. And, with the project managers in daily contact with our client base, it is important that I educate them on my expertise. Even more, I need to position myself as a resource for staff.

So, as a public relations practitioner, what can you do to build your personal brand?

  • Volunteer your skills and knowledge with a local nonprofit organization. The best way to share your expertise is through volunteering. These opportunities can also serve as great testing grounds for trying out new ideas and strategies. I do recommend volunteering with organizations that you are strongly connected with because your work will shine even more.
  • Put yourself out there as a thought leader. Get published. Share your insight in print publications and professional blogs. PRSA’s comPRehension blog serves as a perfect platform for sharing your perspectives and networking with your peers.
  •  Seek out speaking opportunities. At Matrix Group, I co-present with my CEO on many important topics, such as “how to create a social networking strategy” to “how to integrate new media with your company’s overall communications plan.” As a practitioner (young or experienced), look for public speaking opportunities within your local community, i.e., library programs, networking organizations, community organizations, etc., and BOOK them! Don’t be shy. 
  •  Get involved with your local PRSA Chapter. When I lived in Charleston, S.C., I became involved with my local PRSA Chapter very early on in my career. And I am glad I did. I served as a co-chair for the PR Power Lunch program, a program created by PRSA where PR practitioners work provide one hour of free counseling to local nonprofit organizations, and as co-chair for the programming committee, which brings me to my point. Your peers can help you leverage your personal brand by becoming your referral network. So, contact your local Chapter about getting involved today.

What are your thoughts? What are you doing to build your personal brand?

Sherrie Bakshi, communications maven, Matrix Group, and co-founder, Stylee PR & Marketing, which is now run and managed by its co-founder, Vladia Jurcova Spencer. Bakshi has more than 10 years’ experience in the field, working with a variety of clients. She specializes in everything from traditional PR to now working with clients on effective social networking and online strategies. Follow Sherrie on twitter @Sher_32 or connect on LinkedIn.

Join Sherrie along with other members of the PRSA National Capital Chapter (PRSA-NCC) at the PRSA 2010 International Conference: Powering PRogress, October 16–19 in Washington, D.C.!

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