Celebrities and huge companies aren’t the only ones who benefit from a good public relations campaign. Smart workers and business owners employ a public relations strategy of their own. Do you have one? Good PR will help you develop and grow relationships, gain more influence on the job, and land on your feet quickly should you ever find yourself out of work. It’s not about being a shameless self-promoter, but instead being a pro-active manager of your own image. It’s about being a communicator people trust. Here are five steps to get you started.
1. All PR is not good PR.
There’s a saying that all press is good press, meaning it’s better to have people talking about you than not noticing you at all—even if they’re saying bad things. This may work for celebrities who get rewarded for bad behavior with book deals and new TV shows, but it rarely works in the real world. Don’t be a magnet for drama. If you don’t know what you’re talking about, stay quiet until you get your facts straight. And know that being self-centered in a work environment that prizes teamwork will not do you any favors. “Me, me, me” doesn’t go over well in the business world. Be very intentional about the image you present. Protect it. Polish it. Then, present it.
2. Communicate your wins consistently.
Businesses put out press releases. You should too. Call them memos, e-mails, tweets, whatever. Communicate! Target the audience you most need to reach in order to achieve your goals. In many cases, this means your boss. If you own the business or work with customers, it means your clients and prospects. It isn’t about bragging, but communicating consistently. Keep your boss in the loop about where you are on a project. That way, she’s not left wondering and can relax knowing you’re on top of it. If you have an idea that will save the company time or money, mention it. Better yet, outline how it will save time and money, then present it.
3. Collaborate and celebrate others.
The difference between shameless self-promotion and good PR is the focus on relationships. When you genuinely celebrate the wins of others, you strengthen relationships, build trust, and learn from them as well. Don’t go it alone. Instead, build connections that will empower you to reach your goals more quickly and easily than you can alone.
4. Don’t tell your business—or anyone else’s.
While you want to be intentional about communicating your progress and strong ideas, be quiet when it comes to sharing the details of your personal business or private office matters. Tune in to what’s going on around you, but don’t get sucked into office gossip or take sides. If you do, you may eventually find yourself on the wrong side. If someone gossips to you about others, you can be pretty sure they will gossip to others about you. Gossip can backfire, so make a decision not to participate.
5. Be kind. Be bold.
Notice I said be kind, not nice. Nice is bland. Nice is often not even authentic, and people notice that. Instead, focus on being kind and gracious to people. Tell the truth, but be gentle when you tell it. Being arrogant, disrespectful, or obnoxious may get your point across, but you’ll eventually pay the price. It is interesting to note that one of the top strengths of leaders is love and compassion. This may be, in part, because we feel close to and trusting of those with such qualities. To stand out, be bold in your own unique way. While teamwork is essential for success, leaders also know when to take a stand rather than following the crowd. If you do, soon the crowd—and the opportunities—will be following you.