Using PR for You

Friday, July 1, 2011 - 08:19

How to use PR to build your reputation in business and on boards. By Catriona Pollard

Some company directors and CEOs see public relations as something that only benefits the company as a whole.

What many in the top job may not realise is that the PR opportunities available to them within their company can give their own reputation a boost and increase their chances of landing a position on a board or making their next career move. Here are some strategies that use PR to improve your reputation.

Become a known expert

In using PR to position yourself as an expert in your field, it is your name and job title that is published for people in your industry or the general public to see. This helps build your credibility. When journalists require an expert in your field, it's your name that will come to mind.

Improve your career prospects

When you're meeting a prospective board appointment or new employer, taking along a sample of media clippings that repeatedly mention your expertise will do wonders for your credibility and will stand you apart from the competition. Even better if the recruiter recognises your name from trade publications within the industry.

Land a position on a board

While scoring a much sought-after position on a board comes down to hard work and strong networks, one of the best ways to get recognised by board directors is by being seen in the media.

You want to be known for having a voice and a good reputation. All of this works towards creating a profile of a person that boards want as a member.

Although it's worthwhile knowing why PR is great for a CEO's profile, it's useless if you don't know how to make it work for you.

Be available for opportunities

It's no secret that CEOs are incredibly busy people, but if you choose to make room for a 15-minute media interview you could be providing yourself and your company with thousands of dollars worth of PR value. The more accessible you are to journalists, the more chance they'll contact you when looking for an expert in your field. By simply saying yes a bit more, PR will begin to really work for you.

Get media training

Taking a phone interview or answering a few questions in front of a camera might seem particularly daunting. Even if you're a confident speaker, some decent media training will help you make the most of the exposure and be prepared to handle whatever is thrown at you.

You might feel as though you know what you want to say but when it comes to crunch time, it's not uncommon for the words to just 'get stuck'. You end up projecting an image that is less than flattering to yourself and your company. Even if you feel confident with your key messages and handling journalists, having a trained professional sit with you and help you organise your thoughts and create the right image is something that can't be underestimated.

Look for regular business and entrepreneur-focused columns and articles

You don't need to limit your area of expertise to the industry you work in. As a CEO, board member or senior manager you have multifaceted experience and skills that others want to hear about. Put yourself forward as an expert on management, as an entrepreneur or for other related stories or columns.

Accept your industry expertise and shout about it

Sometimes it's hard to swallow the title 'expert'.

It might feel as though everybody's an expert these days, but the truth is, you do have knowledge in your particular field that others don't and you can capitalise on this by offering 'expert comment and opinion' in your industry. The more you accept that you are an expert, the more everybody else will accept it too.

Every story needs someone to add credibility, and the more that you use PR to put yourself forward as that expert, the more credible your own profile becomes.