by The Abbi Agency This post can originally be found http://theabbiagency.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/ten-ways-to-grow-your-personal-pr-brand/
From President Abbi Whitaker
We are all experts at helping our clients to grow their brands. We create detailed plans with tactics and timelines, spend hours compiling lists of awards, speaking engagements, expert column opportunities and editorial calendar deadlines. We nag clients to keep up on their blog, post onFacebook and actually engage in conversation on Twitter. We scold them when they fail to respond to comments and concerns, and we try to our hardest to get them to understand that even though we preach “content is king” we are talking about good, quality content that’s educational and informative not full of overblown SEO words that clutter the page and deter from the purpose. But many of us fail to follow our own doctrine. We rarely blog, we never speak, we don’t sponsor, we neglect our Twitter page and (GASP!) we don’t treat ourselves like a client. It’s not too late. Create a plan, a calendar and a timeline and start treating yourself as if you were a full-fledged member of your team. It’s time you got a bit of space on that white board as well.
• Blog: You gotta give a little to get a little. If you really want to grow your blog and have a presence, you need to do one thing — BLOG. Start by creating a calendar and assigning everyone in your office one blog post a month. Set alerts for keywords in Google that you might be interested in blogging about or feed your favorite blogs into your iGoogledashboard. This will get your creative juices flowing and give you plenty of good ideas. Re-blog good content from other marketing or PR firms and give these guys a @reply or a shout out on Facebook. Add a link on the bottom of your signature to your blog, mention it in your newsletter, post them on your LinkedIn group and on other groups that you are a member of and list your blog in different directories. Think about using tools like Zemanta, Inbound Writer or Scribedto help you get started.
• Twitter: Try this; instead of just retweeting a post on Twitter actually say something about the post before your hit RT. This is going to get conversation started. I recently started using BufferAppand I love it. I get up early most mornings and fill my Buffer with four to six tweets. BufferApp then publishes them throughout the day. I always @reply the source of the post and comment on the elements of the article that I found useful. This helps get the conversation going but also puts my post into the newsfeed of the source. BufferApp provides useful analytics so I see which posts are getting the most views and RTs. Check it out.
• Facebook: Oh how we love thee Facebook. But sometimes we don’t use you to our advantage. Create a posting calendar for your Facebook page and stick with it. Remember to use pictures and videos and not just words. We recently held a “12 days of Christmas” contest using ShortStack’s free program (Disclaimer: they are a client) to build the tab. We asked a funny, quirky question each day and the post that got the most votes won. We posted a picture of the winner each day to keep the conversation going. We managed to grow our Facebook fan page to over 1,200 fans, and a decent majority of them actually engaged on our page and kept the conversation going. Side note: we went through a recent name changed and learned that Facebook will not let you keep your fan base if you change your name. You have to start all over. So, before you start to grow your fans make sure you are not going to change the name of your company.
• Sponsorships: I’m not talking cash here, but rather strategic alliances with organizations that can benefit your company. The Abbi Agency sponsors two organizations in Nevada — Entrepreneur’s Organization and Nevada’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology. Our logo is on all their collateral, their website and their promotional marketing. We also get the opportunity to present and speak in front of their members. This puts us directly in front of our target audience while connecting our brand with theirs and using their marketing dollars to position us as the agency that works with entrepreneurs and technology-focused companies in our area. It’s well worth the effort and you’ll reap the rewards.
• White Papers/eBooks: Journalists love whitepapers. They provide useful, factual information that is trending and most often associated with a timely topic. You see sites like HubSpot and Buddy Media offering white papers to their audience and then asking for e-mail addresses in order to download the much-coveted information. As PR people we are always struggling to position ourselves as credible resources and experts within our industries. It’s a challenge when radio sales people decide to peg themselves as a PR/social media experts and all of sudden you’re swimming in the same ocean and going after the same fish. The difference is that you actually know what PR is and they think PR just stands for press release. Highlight your knowledge and your expertise and showcase that on your website, Facebook, Twitter and blog. You can write an eBook and create aniPad-friendly version using apps such as Blurb and DeskTop Author. You can send a quick note to your local newspaper or business journal about your eBook or even pitch a trend story focused on three local businesses that are harnessing the power of eBooks to create additional revenue streams.
• Newsletters: I subscribe to a lot of different newsletters. Some are good and some are very, very bad. But if done right, a newsletter can be a great way to brand your company, highlight your company culture and provide useful information to your target audience. Start out with a free service likeMailChimp and their Forever Free Plan and build a simple template with your logo and social media links. Create three or four different sections and think about what your audience would like to learn. If it’s mostly a food and beverage audience then you might want to profile social media apps for foodies, a local or national chef and include a great recipe using food from a local farm. If you’re focusing on a tech audience highlight a blog (like Tech Crunch,ReadWriteWeb or ZDNET), a tech pioneer or a new cloud computing app.
• Expert Columns: We work so hard getting our clients to pen articles that highlight industry trends and news but we often don’t bother to do so ourselves. There are numerous sites, including PR Daily, that welcome well written, timely and educational PR, marketing, crisis communication and social media-related articles. Contact your local paper or business journal and pitch them a “how to” article or a “10 steps” article. Think about the audience you are speaking to and craft bullet points that don’t overwhelm them but rather pique their curiosity and encourage them to get in touch with your company because you are the expert in that arena.
• Speaking Opportunities: Even though we tend to live our lives online there’s something to be said for that personal face-to-face connection, and the same logic holds true when it comes to the field of public relations. We all know a good desk-side visit with a journalist is worth much more than the money you spend on the plane ticket to get there. Get out in front of your audience by speaking at local and national conventions. I often speak at the local university’s entrepreneurial classes as well as at local boot camps and seminars. You can record these presentations and put them up on your blog, create a section of your website and promote them in your newsletter. There are many national conferences that are looking for speakers and presenters as well. It’s best to have a few different speaker presentation outlines completed so you are not talking about the same points at each conference.
• Webinars: Whether your do franchise PR, tech PR or food and beverage PR there’s always an organization looking for an expert to do a webinar. Don’t focus so much on talking to your own industry but rather talk to industries that might drive business to your company. Make a list of all the industry publications that service an industry you specialize in and contact those outlets to see if they are doing an online education classes or webinars that you can be a part of. Create a quick Slide Share presentation, make it private and distribute it to these industry outlets. This will get your directly in front of your target audience and hopefully generate sales.
• Awards: Let’s face it; we all like a pat on the back. There’s nothing wrong with that. So go ahead and submit your latest and greatest to the various awards offered by PR Daily, PRSA and sites likeSmartBrief and B2B Marketing. Then take those awards and put that honor smack dab on the homepage of your website. You are now an award-winning PR agency. Congrats.