5 WAY TO GO FROMThere must be a time clock in my body that screams ‘be invisible’ around the 4th of July. It lasts about two weeks and happens when I go to my island house on Lake Winnipesauke. My kids and their friends come to visit, I connect (multiple times) with my favorite internet techs for service, and generally enjoy time off without guilt, remorse or worry.

That of course doesn’t mean I’m not conducting business, or having important calls helping clients with their Grammy® nominations, developing signature speech campaigns for authors, or reviewing social media strategy and training for bloggers. It just means business and life take on a different feel in the summer — while rain storms rock the boat, chipmunks sneak a rub by my feet on the porch, and a sea of colorful beach towels dry on a line.

Scheduled time out is important for rejuvenating PR, Marketing and Visibility. It’s as important to disconnect, as it is to connect. That said, I wanted to share some insight.

Here are 5 Ways to Go from Invisible to Visible and Still Enjoy the Summer:

  1. Plan PR and marketing campaigns and tasks in advance with your team. This sounds like a no brainer, but if we don’t communicate, how will we everyone know what’s going on? Put marketing and social media on auto-pilot as best as possible, schedule conference calls or video skype appointments early or later in the day, and get-er-done while getting tan.
  2. Challenge yourself to read email only twice a day. If you’re a recovering perfectionist or work hound, it may be difficult to do. But try it. You’d be surprised at how many people are working less, but still in touch at the office. In fact, announce your policy in advance of a vacation, and to those who are resistant, repeat often.
  3. Be accessible by cell phone and text more often. Being flexible in how the media, your clients, prospects and colleagues contact you gives them comfort in knowing you’re there, and you won’t let them down. As much as I love to talk on the phone, sometimes island reception isn’t all that wonderful, but a text always gets through.
  4. Review your swipe files and brainstorm/write new concepts at least partially. You’ll be surprised at the good ideas you have while on vacation, or driving a boat or talking to someone who seems interesting. It’s summertime here in New England and CEO’s as well as well-heeled prospects all dress down. Remember, we meet people for all different reasons, and they just could be the conduit for your next promotion or biggest sale of the year.
  5. Don’t forget about pitching to the media. It doesn’t matter if it’s 85 degrees or not. There’s always an opening for a good story, a comment on what’s happening in the news, a contrary opinion to what’s going on in your industry or an opportunity to connect with a reporter who has an open spot in his/her editorial calendar now, or 3 – 4 months out. Say hello. Send a postcard. Be seen, heard and known.

YOUR TURN

Is being MIA a guilty pleasure for you? Why?

How do your prolong your summer schedule, without losing momentum in your business?

What are your secrets for balancing home, family and business — especially when it’s vacation time?

Please share your answers below.

I’ve been living on an island for over 30 years, and despite the challenges, I love summers here.

I just wish my cell phone got frequent flier miles. I’d use them to go surfing in Puerto Rico next year.

RSI College GradsIt’s a story that’s being re-told pretty much everywhere across the country: on the one hand, we have new college grads who can’t find an opportunity that launches them towards a great career, and on the other hand, we have employers that desperately need an infusion of new talent. So why isn’t supply meeting demand?

There are many reasons for this, including the fact that some employers, frankly, need to do a much better job of making their workplaces more “new grad friendly” – which, by the way, has nothing to do with catering to the whims of Millenials, and everything to do with finding smarter ways to challenge, engage and inspire them.

However, there are plenty of employers out there who “get it” and are offering exceptional entry-level opportunities – provided, of course, that new grads know what really matters at this early stage of their career journey.

So, with this in mind, here are 5 things that college grads like you need to know about building a great career that will reward you professionally and personally in the years and decades ahead:

1. Focus on Experience — not just Income

Landlords, credit card companies, banks, and even the super-friendly Baristas at Starbucks don’t accept “experience” as a form of payment (and showing them this article won’t change that, though you’re welcome to try). Obviously, you need to ensure that you’re being compensated at a level that enables you to, well, live.

However, at this point in your career, experience is far more valuable to you on two levels: one, you’ll significantly increase your earning capacity that will pay off exponentially down the road; two, you’ll discover some helpful – possibly even profound – insights into what really motivates you. Indeed, many of the world’s most successful people in all walks of life started their careers doing something very different. Who knows where you’ll end up, what you’ll do, and how far you’ll go?

2. Master the Art of Networking

If you haven’t discovered this already (though chances are you have), most employers don’t care much about where you went to school or your grade point average. What they’re really interested in knowing is whether you can develop strong relationships and work well with others – because those traits translate very profitably in the business world.

So take that as more than a hint – it’s a pretty blatant signal, really – to start mastering the art of networking. Seek out groups, mentors and like-minded professionals within and outside your current field, and become a proverbial sponge. Soak up every last piece of advice! And of course, find ways to be valuable to others. True, you may not have the influence or power to “make it rain”, but you can certainly find other ways to stand out and demonstrate that you’re a valued member of anyone’s network – including those who will directly and indirectly shape your career journey.

3. Create your own Spotlight

Yes, the job market is competitive. But guess what? It has always been competitive, and don’t let anyone’s nostalgic reflection of the so-called “good old days” convince you otherwise. Hindsight sometimes isn’t 20/20 – it can be fictional as well.

So in light of this competition (which again, isn’t new and will never go away), you have a choice: you can wait – possibly forever – for the spotlight to find you, or you can create your own spotlight by showing prospective employers what you can do!

Now, just so there’s no misunderstanding: this isn’t about bragging or self-promotion. It’s about demonstrating that you’re investing in yourself, and that a savvy employer should do the same. Perhaps you’ll create a website that features your work (it doesn’t necessarily have to be creative/portfolio type work either – you can provide case studies of your projects and successes). Or maybe you’ll volunteer with a professional association or a community group. Whatever you do, remember: don’t be the best kept secret in your field! Shine on and see how many opportunities appear.

4. Learn the Art of Engagement   

Do you look at people in the eye when you speak and listen to them; not in an aggressive way, but in a warm, welcoming and open-minded way? Do you turn off your phone’s ringer when you’re engaging in a conversation?

Believe it or not, but the quality of your attention is enormously important and, frankly, valuable. Other people can literally feel when you mentally “aren’t there” (and even worse, they can see it when you’re checking your email in the middle of the conversation). In my hiring experience, it’s very refreshing to see a candidate who looks at me in the eye, and isn’t tethered to their gadgets. In fact, it often tells me more about them than anything they might say.

5. Audit your Social Media Profiles

And last but certainly not least…

If you’ve traveled in the last couple of years and stayed in a hotel, there’s a very good chance – it’s probably close to 100% — that you did some background research by reading reviews and seeing what other guests had to say. Well guess what? Travelers like you aren’t the only ones doing some background research: employers are, too. And they’re starting with (and sometimes ending with) your social media profiles – e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so on.

Now, this doesn’t mean that your social media profiles should be sanitized to the point of being generic. After all, they’re your profiles, and should reflect and express your individuality. However, this does mean that you need to audit your content and ensure that it’s “work safe”.

Essentially, for every post, tweet, picture or comment you create – on your social media profiles, and those left by you on other people’s or organization’s — ask yourself whether you’d want a potential employer asking you about this in a job interview (whether they will or not is beside the point). If your answer is yes, keep it. If your answer is no, get rid of it. It’s really that simple.

The Bottom-Line

Although this is much harder for a new college grad to see than it is for someone reflecting back on decades of experience, believe me when I say that the journey ahead of you is going to be far more interesting, exciting and rewarding than you can imagine – but that’s not going to happen by itself. You need to play a major part in your career story, and the 5 tips above will launch you in the right direction.

 

 

 

RSI ElevatorI’ve been advising clients for years to write about what they know and then include that information – where appropriate and bit by bit – into articles and books. I’m in the process of writing my first book now and will be including content, like this article below, in some form. What I love about articles and writing, is that the material can be re-purposed in so many ways – for blog posts, press queries, white papers, social media content, quotes and the list goes on.

Take a sneak peek (from Peak’s Island) at a new article:

5 Tips to Keep Your Elevator Speech from Getting Stuck Between Floors

As a corporate professional, you’re often asked “What do you do?” by current and potential customers, clients, colleagues and partners. In fact, next to “How are you?” or “Has anyone seen my iPhone?”, it might be the most common question you hear!

However, despite how frequent this question is in the corporate world, I’m always surprised to discover that some professionals don’t have their personalized Elevator Speech down pat. That is, they don’t have a customized, clear, concise and compelling answer to what could be the most important question they’ll be asked all day, all month – or maybe, all year.

Fortunately, creating a winning elevator speech – one that ensures you don’t get “stuck between floors” — is easy, quick and extremely rewarding. Here are the 5 things to keep in mind:

1. Aim High

Trying to summarize “what you do” so that it can be conveyed in about 20-30 seconds is easier said than done. After all, there are many important aspects of your professional life. What do you hang onto, and what ends up on the proverbial cutting room floor? The key to answering this is to aim high. That is, focus on the principles and priorities of what you do instead of the specifics and details.

2. Be Different

While the corporate world can be a serious place, inject some fun and joy in your Elevator Speech (for example, sometimes I introduce myself as “Rockin Robin”!). The goal here is to help you stand out and be remembered. Plus, it helps you quickly demonstrate that while you take what you do seriously, you don’t take yourselftoo seriously. That’s an attractive trait that sets leaders apart, no matter the industry, field or sector.

3. Add Energy

Obviously, what you say in your Elevator Speech is vital, but so is how you say it. Use action words to make your message energized, upbeat and enthusiastic, and always smile – even when you’re writing your Elevator Speech in an email, or communicating it over the phone. Believe it or not, this will influence your attitude, which in turn will positively impact your delivery in ways that you can’t imagine!

4. Focus on Solutions

Yes, your Elevator Speech is in response to the question “What do you do?” (or some variation). Frankly, however, the real question being asked is: “What do you do, and why should I care?” As such, your answer should focus on solutions. How do you help people? What service do you provide? What problems do you solve? Wrap your answer around the person who is asking, and you’ll instantly make a connection that could prove valuable to you both.

5. Have a CTA

In my experience, the most common problem with Elevator Speeches is that they don’t have a CTA (“call to action”). Now, by this I don’t mean that you should try to sell something. I simply mean that you should invite whoever you’re speaking with to take the next logical step in the relationship. Perhaps you agree to connect on LinkedIn, or to set up a time to chat further, or grab a coffee — the specific CTA is up to you, and will change based on the context. Just make sure you have one. Awkward, confused post-Elevator Speech silences are the enemy!

The Bottom Line

Creating and consistently using your personalized Elevator Speech – in person, emails, social media, over the phone and everywhere else – can give you a distinct advantage, help you stand out from the crowd, and take your career to new heights. After all, you already know the meaningful and important work that you do. Isn’t it time you shared that information with allies and influencers who want to be a part of your story?

If you’re ever stuck, call me.

I have this imaginary client whose name is Jane, and she’s an expert. I love working with her because she plays full out and though she’s scared of jumping out of her comfort zone, she does – letting me know how she feels along the way, alternating silent screams and more verbal phrases, many of which you already know.

I’m writing about Jane, because I’m working with 10 Jane’s and about 5 Bob’s right now – who are actively taking the steps necessary to ‘own their greatness.’ Here’s what they’re learning:

5 Ways to Own Your Greatness

  1. Acknowledge that your greatness is a gift and everyone is gifted in some way. Some gifts are talents, some are lessons that have been earned or learned. I believe that every gift has a message inside. You either open the gift or don’t. My suggestion is to open the gift because what you see can amaze you.
  2. Pony up to the fact that you are great, despite what your family, friends or colleagues may tell you. Eleanor Roosevelt said “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” When you were born, chances are your Mom and a whole lot of other people thought you were great – perhaps even more. Remind yourself daily of your greatness and soon you’ll believe it again.
  3. Give yourself permission to be different from everyone else. That’s part of your Promotional DNA which developed gives you your Unique Competitive Advantage (UCA). Find words, feelings and images to describe your UCA and think it, feel it, write it, and speak it. It will be your branding on the inside and on the outside, for the world to see.
  4. Share your message boldly, one step at a time – then by quantum leaps. Make an impression not only at in-person meetings but on social media, events, industry presentations, speaking engagements, and with prospects and clients. One of my favorite sayings is “Freedom Lies in Bold Actions.” Experience has taught me it’s true. You may want to see that for yourself.
  5. Remember you’re great but also who gave you your greatness. Chances are that you were sent here with a mission to accomplish something bigger than you – and if you’ve figured that out the hard way or it was delivered to you gently, on a silver platter, it doesn’t matter. When you acknowledge what you’re here to do and take action, there’s a certain peace involved, and with that peace and acceptance, the flood gates open.

What does this have to do with PR, marketing, sales and communicating? Everything. Your greatness is your message and your magic.

It’s time. The world is ready for you.

YOUR TURN

Where do you hold your greatness?

Are you the world’s best kept secret?

What’s keeping you from being ‘great’ and who is that serving? Better yet, why?

Please share your answers below.

RSI Slow PRIn the sometimes crazy world of communications, marketing and PR, we often find ourselves running from one project to the next, shifting gears, and diving into the deep to solve the latest crisis. Shooting from the hip, more or less – keeping with our March Madness theme this month.

It’s said that ‘slow and steady wins the race’ – but is there a race? Is it self-imposed, or are we caught up in our ‘to do’s’ without enough time?

Here are 3 Reasons to add SLOW PR to Your Toolbox, and Reap the Rewards:

1) “Haste makes waste.” I would roll my eyes when my mother would say this to me, but she was always right. Take the time to get your thoughts together, organize your material, and really know what your intention is with each project, and visualize your end game. We’re running and doing and sometimes miss the most important part of the ‘why’ because we’re in motion. Sitting still has its benefits. (It takes practice.)

2) It’s about the connections – not all about you. Granted, clients want the best from you, and you want to deliver the best to your clients, but you can’t do that without connecting with the right people. That said, instead of trying to connect with 50 reporters or JV partners (use your imagination here), connect with 10 – on a deeper level. Take time to know a little bit about them, including some personal info. The inside scoop is typically available on social media or from my electronic best friend, Google. Dig, scoop, research, be intrigued. Add tidbits of the human touch to break barriers.

3) Knowledge = Information, Data and Experience Use your past experiences and take your awareness to a new level to notice where you need to slow down. Are you talking too fast and not listening? Is your mind ten steps ahead of your presentation? If you’re with a prospect, are you looking around the room, not fully present? Really, why are you in a rush?

Slowing down is a wonderful exercise to be mindful about the connections you’re making.

Remember, we’re humans. For the most part, we’re the same. We look into someone’s eyes and get a feeling. We shake hands and either yay or nay our partner. We connect on many levels – in person and on line.

Yes, PR is positioning, and influencing and getting all of our ducks in a row – but it also involves the human factor.

Trust can’t be rushed. Love can’t be rushed and all good things take time. And so it is with PR.

My thoughts as I build bridges, connect dots and meet so many wonderful people with my work.

YOUR TURN

Where do you see yourself rushing in your communication? Is there a pattern?

Are your goals realistic or are you shooting for the moon? How’s that serving you?

What are the ways you can slow it down to be more in tune with your awareness?

Please share your answers below.

I’m slowing this wagon down, you?

RSI BlastingPastIf you believe that the competition will annihilate you, it will.

If you believe that you offer a unique service, perspective or value to help your target audience – use that as an inner power to propel you. What you believe will set the stage for where you want to go. Use all the bells and whistles you know of (and are willing to learn) to get noticed and make a mark for your personal or business brand.

Here are 3 Ways to Blast Past the Competition

  1.  Know what differentiates you from the competition and include that in your messaging and profile.  What’s your unfair competitive advantage (UCA). Let your target audience know your UCA in everything you do and wherever you go. Own your greatness and for heaven’s sake, don’t be the best kept secret in your industry!
  1. Be consistent in your promotion and shake it up.  At least 5 out of 7 days, be active in social media. And remember, B-O-R-I-N-G  and me/me/me never scores points. If you’re using automation tools, don’t use the same posts on all platforms. Vary the same messaging on different days, times and media outlets for best results.
  1. Pick 10 Influencers who you trust and ask them to ‘unofficially’ promote you.  Everyone has a team of supporters who will ‘cheer you on’ and recommend you as an expert or top dog in your field.  But, you have to ask to receive! Reciprocate for each other and be a resource of information, leads and potential opportunities in your network. Don’t have 10? Start with the top 5 and grow your circle of influence!

Of course, you’ll have to get out of your comfort zone to find the magic, take a leap of faith, set intentions and take bold actions to make a name for yourself.  It’s not all about working hard, it’s about working smart, and having fun while you’re at it.

Me? I like fun and competition – it makes us different.

And, in case you haven’t noticed, I’m into celebrating differences. Isn’t that what makes a personal brand distinctive?

Your Turn

Do you know your UCA? (Unfair Competitive Advantage)

What’s the criteria for your circle of influence? And, how do you keep them up to date?

Where do you get the 80% of content for your SM that’s not all about self-promotion?

RSI Boston Love (1)I’m a native Bostonian and have had the pleasure of knowing and loving Boston intimately — from my college days at Boston University, and as a more than frequent visitor having worked and played within an hour of the city for most of my adult life.

At 24, I launched my first real business in Boston (a lobby stand called Robbie’s Lobby in the garment district) which led me to open a small restaurant at the Boston Marine Industrial Park. Little did I know then, that I would be drawn to learn marketing, sales and PR in the cable television world, work with the Boston Red Sox and Major League Baseball, and start a PR and promotions company that works with Fortune 500 companies and helps experts across the country get recognized for their greatness.

Though I love to travel, I’m still a one city girl. I love Boston.

Somehow, when bad things happen to a place you love, you can’t help but love it more. And, from the front row of the VIP grandstand at the Marathon bombing, when your life and those you love are at risk, love becomes more important as loss looks you in the eye.

Closer than many, I saw Boston Strong — defending our city, our wounded and above all, our freedom.

I was inspired this morning by a friend who told me that “love isn’t love until you give it away.”

Let’s send and share our love with those who make Boston Strong, day after day.

Let’s send PR love to a city that bounced back after tragedy — with a fearless attitude.

Let’s send PR love to Boston, a city that has its twinkle back — for the world to see.

After all, ‘love isn’t love until you give it away.”

Your Turn:

What do you love most about Boston?

Do you have memories as a child about Boston that you’ll never forget?

Is there a story about Boston Strong that moves you to share?

RSI promote eventDeciding to host an event and share your expertise is a bold decision, and one that takes guts – so BRAVO if you’ve got an event slated for 2014!

Creating an event is one of the quickest ways to showcase your expertise to a group who may want to learn more about you, invest in your products or services now or down the road, or have an interest in ‘what you’re up to’, for their own professional growth. Well done, an event provides an opportunity to tell your story, up-level your brand and – let’s be honest, capitalize on your knowledge.

That said, you’ll want not just a boatload of people at your event, (whether it’s live or online) but a boatload of your target audience. They’ll resonate with your message and brand more than anyone else, and you’ll have multiple opportunities to make an impression and suggest that they become raving fans!

Here are7 Ways to Promote an Event in 2014  

1. Get Talking

Step away from the keyboard, and call friends and other people in your network who may be interested in attending your event. Even if your invitation is politely refused (i.e. due to a prior engagement or something to that effect), this is a prime opportunity to make a personal connection that could pay dividends down the road. It’s also ideal for reaching people who you don’t know, since you’re offering them something. Make it an easy, no-stress phone call with no end game in mind.

2. Get Visual

Create flyers and graphics for your event, and post them in an area frequented by your target audience. You can also send these in the mail (yes, the old fashioned way with stamps) to your targeted audience with a personalized post-it note.  Make sure that your graphics have a consistent look, and that the artwork can be re-purposed for invitations, banner ads, and social media.  This saves time, money, and gives your branding efforts maximum exposure.

3. Get Newsworthy

Submit media releases about your event to local news stations, magazines, newspapers and industry publications, as well as on-line blogs and distribution channels.  Be sure to be crisp and clear in your delivery, and include contact information for the press. If you have video, use it here as well. Above all, be media ready to capitalize on the publicity and opportunity for maximum exposure.

4. Get Dialed In

Find local radio stations and targeted blog radio networks that may be interested in an interview. Make your story compelling and be a fun and entertaining guest.  By following these simple guidelines, you’ll build a loyal following, get recognized for your expertise and be able to use the recorded interview in your own promotional strategy. And you’ll probably be invited back!

5. Get Social

Use the power of social media to your advantage.  Post targeted messages to your database and audience on a frequent (though not too-frequent) basis, using various platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube. You can also make a list of groups who might benefit from the event, and target them on-line. Keep in mind that it typically takes multiple impressions (a.k.a. touchpoints) before people notice a message and take action. As the best sales professionals advise: be persistent, but never pushy.

6. Get Wordy

Blog about your event, and ask others to do the same.  If you’ve been a guest blogger, ask your colleagues to give you a mention and share it with their list, and do the same with your social media contacts. This not only extends the life of your promotion, but it allows you to reach beyond your traditional target audience.

7. Get Hooked-Up

If you have a room that needs to be filled, consider asking fellow colleagues who are in a complementary — but not competing – business to publicize your event to their list.  Before presenting this type of opportunity, be sure that you have all the details outlined. Make it easy for your partners to promote you by providing pre-launch copy and emails, and copy for social media postings. Always strive to be a good partner, because your reputation will follow-you long after the event is over.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, if you apply some or all of the strategies above, you’ll:

  • Ensure that your event isn’t a “best kept secret”
  • Provide some valuable help by sharing your wisdom
  • Potentially fill the room with great new customers and clients
  • Have fun doing what you love!

YOUR TURN

What is the most challenging part of promoting a live event?

How do the promotional tactics differ from promoting a live event vs an on-line event?   

Do you typically have a team of people to help with the event? What are their primary roles?  

Let us know your thoughts — and KUDOS to those who dare to dream big, hosting their own event (live or online)!

Best of luck this year, and always!

RSI PR CoachI’ve been coached by a few fabulous coaches in the past five years and individually they’ve made a tremendous difference in my life and business. And, collectively, they’ve blown me way with their wisdom, guidance, practical advice and vision – to not find myself, but create myself!

You see, I have a vision for who I want to be, but frankly, it’s a world apart from the greatness my COACH sees. The best of the best have laser focus and insight to see your potential, much more than you’ll ever see. They don’t carry all that ‘old stuff’ and resistance that you do. Stuff like, ‘I can’t do it’, I stink at that, I don’t know the right people, I don’t have enough time, I don’t know how to do it – and, shall I go on?

But it’s not just killing those demons and saying ‘Sayonara’, a great coach offers ideas, solutions and has the experience to help get you where you want to go, and how to get there. With PR, that could mean help with media exposure, press relations, speaking gigs, social media positioning, and more. And, all together that means elevating your brand, increasing your recognition and leadership status in the marketplace, and ultimately increasing SALE$ – given the odd chance you’d like to make some money.

A PR coach offers real life practical advice and positioning on what works and what doesn’t to get noticed, customized for your particular situation and your goals.

Here are 3 Reasons You Need a PR Coach in 2014:

1) You see others in your industry who are getting media attention and mention everywhere, and you are sick and tired of this not being you; Plus, you’re way better than they are;

2) You don’t have the time, know-how, promotional zing or savvy to create effective pitches, press releases, media kits or use social media to influence your target market, or influencers you want to influence. Plus, it would take forever for you to figure it out;

3) As much as you hate to admit it as a recovering perfectionist and control freak, you just can’t do it all and be good at everything. You know that PR is important, and if there’s something you can do to make 2014 the best year ever, you’re willing to give it a try.

Where do you need the most help with PR?

If you had to choose one, would you want a stronger media kit, editorial plan for press releases and target mention, or the chance to be pitch perfect?

Are you more the spot coach type (consulting for specific problems) or would you prefer a longer relationship for three to six months to co-create a plan on how PR can help you increase your image (and opportunities).

I’d love to know your thoughts!

RSI Press KitIf you’ve taken the leap to become press worthy, first of all, Congratulations! It’s essential that you’re prepared to showcase who you are and your accomplishments, as well as be armed to present your expertise and story in a way that is professional, organized and interesting.

Every reporter has an audience they are catering to, and your expertise may be just what they’re looking for. It’s important that they know you’re the real deal!

A press or media kit (electronic or otherwise) can be as simple or as complicated as you choose. Content can also vary depending upon your industry, the type and amount of press you’ve had, where you’d like to be featured as an expert and how much information you’d like to share.

Electronic press kits, which are typically the most common, can be designed to incorporate the look and feel of your brand. Most often, they are located as a tab or link on a website, and that link can be shared when the press contacts you, as well as when you reach out to be interviewed. A media kit can also be saved as a PDF file, to be used as an attachment.

A media kit isn’t built overnight, so getting publicity and published articles should be part of continuous PR and promotions plan. Whether you start with a strong media portfolio, or are building one from scratch, the basics are important. Typically, experts aren’t featured on CNN or NBC from the get-go. They build their profile, just as they have built their expertise, taking advantage of every opportunity.

Here are 5 Essential Components of a Press Kit

1) A professional headshot is an important part of your media kit. Your photo should be recent — within the last three years — and it should look like you! If it doesn’t, there’s a potential trust factor at risk.

Presenting your photo to the world is part of the integrity of who you are. Look like you say you do. Your headshots should be used everywhere you brand yourself professionally, so make it a point to invest in them wisely. Depending upon your industry, lifestyle photos can also be added to your press kit. They add another dimension to your profile – your personality, which gives your image a life of it’s own.

2) You’ll also want to make sure you have an updated short and long bio. A bio should be written to not only say who you are and what you’ve done (aka a human do-ing) but also portray a picture of your essence. A reporter wants to know that you’re not only accomplished, but also human. Add some personal and fun facts to your bio. I have mentioned at different times that I was a beekeeper, had a dog Lucy, loved to travel and Greek meatballs were my specialty. Not all at once, mind you. The media is looking for a human interest side to stories.

3) For credibility, it’s important to also include examples of published articles, links to past media experiences, speaking engagements, and so on. If you’ve been interviewed in the media, or written about, include the link. It’s proof you’ve ‘been there and done that’. As you grow your media profile, you can edit your portfolio to include more powerful and recognizable brands. If you have none, start getting noticed with responding to HelpAReporterOut.com requests. I’m happy to share with you a format that works, time and time again.

4) Show that you’re connected on social media. The media loves to share. By providing working links to your LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, YouTube and Facebook page (if appropriate), you’re showing that you’re part of several networks with millions of viewers.

Make sure that your profiles are media ready and fine-tuned for the discerning eye. Whether you’ll be interviewed for the press or not, it’s important that your branding is consistent on all platforms. Take the time to complete on-line profiles, update missing information and delete any ‘offbeat’postings. Use this time wisely for a PR check-up.

5) Provide clear contact information. Make sure that you give the press an easy way to reach you. Typically, reporters respond by email, but if there’s a deadline or more information is needed, they’ll contact you by phone. Make sure they have your cell phone number and that your voice mail message, as with all social platforms, are ‘brand on.’

There are, of course, additional items that can and should be added to a media kit depending on the expert, what their specialty is, and where they want to be featured. Other items might include interview questions and answers, testimonials, speaker profiles, press releases, background sheets, credentials and so on. What’s important is that when you’re contacted, you deliver the same expertise and deliverables as in your press kit. There’s a learning curve for sure, but with practice you’ll be a pro in no time.

YOUR TURN

What does your photo say about you? Need an update?

If you were a reporter checking you out, what would be their impression?

What fun or interesting facts would you add to your bio that shows your personality and human-ness?

Thoughts? Share below.