The Must Read Bible: Be Your Own Best Publicist

“Without promotion something terrible happens…Nothing!” – P.T. Barnum

Indeed, what a terrible thing that would be for us PR majors- and hopefully one day great PR professionals- if there was no promotion. Companies, organizations, places, products and even people need promotion like a fish needs water. PR professionals use techniques and strategies to help improve the images of these companies and have become an essential part of their business. Everyone needs a publicist, even you. Yes, I said you. It is a reality that at this moment- with the way things are going in this economy- standing out is critical in this competitive job market. You must be wondering, how can I afford to have a publicist? Well, you can be your own publicist; in fact you can be your own best publicist.

Jessica Kleiman and Meryl Weinsaft Cooper are both PR pros who have been in the industry for a combined 30-plus years. Both women realized that even though there were books out that talked about ‘selling yourself’ or even ‘branding yourself’ there really weren’t any books out there talking about building your own personal image from a public relations perspective. Together they have written Be Your Own Best Publicist which is full of tips on how to make yourself stand out using public relations techniques.

The setup of this book is to clearly show you how to do three major things when being your own  best publicist and that is to prepare, project and protect. Here is a small recap about the book:

Prepare “A goal without a plan is a wish.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

  • In order to reach that professional image you want you must build a plan to guide you to your goal. Try building that plan backwards because without knowing where you want to be you won’t know how to get there.
  •  Once you have set those goals it is a good idea to set deadlines. It will help you push yourself to accomplish them and even if you miss the date you can move it to a new one.
  •   There is nothing more important when developing a plan than having a back-up plan, or several.
  • You should strive to be a know-it-all, but the good kind. Doing your research before meeting a potential employer is critical to feeling comfortable when talking to them. “There’s a reason why Google is a verb.”
  • Also, do a little soul searching. You must be able to know yourself- skills, attributes, qualities- and know what makes you, you. Without knowing yourself how will others know you?

Project “Your network is truly your net worth.”

  •  Building a strong network and cultivating those personal connections is a key element of success in any industry.
  •  “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” -JFK   This is especially true when you’re making contacts. Always try to do something for them, hopefully in the future they will reciprocate.
  •  Additionally, you need to be aware of what you wear, how you look and how you present yourself aesthetically. You don’t need to be the best-looking or best-dressed just make a statement- a good one- because how you present yourself speaks volumes of who you are.
  • Break though the clutter! Try to stay at the top of someones mind whether it be by staying in contact or showing your achievements – in a non bothersome way- you don’t want to get lost in the crowd.

Protect “You shouldn’t put anything down in writing that you wouldn’t want published on the front page of the New York Times.” – Unknown

  • Self-promotion is a very important part and you want to be remembered for the right reasons. Being consistently late, wearing inappropriate attire or even acting improper is not the image you want to send out to people. Be aware of how you put yourself out there.
  • Never underestimate the power of a thank you note, especially a handwritten one.
  •  Be aware of your social media reputation and what you put out there whether it be a comment about work or where you check in on Fours Square. One thing is for sure, HR people are going to google everything they can about you.
  • “Anything you say and do can and may be used against you in the court of public opinion.” With phones that take great pictures and have great film quality anything you do can be up on flicker or youtube in a heartbeat.
  •  Problem-solving should be your middle name. When a problem arises don’t see the negative side but view the opportunities that could arise from the situation.

And there you have it, a small recap of the book which contains hundreds of more tips and advice on bettering yourself for the professional world. “Be Your Own Best Publicist” is not your father’s dusty old business book. It is a relatable, inspiring and great insight into the public relations world while helping you discover how to put your best foot forward into the professional world. The book is quite amusing and contains great personal stories from the co-authors themselves- one of my favorites involves an Irish stew and Conan O’Brien incident- and various other stories from different professionals. I highly recommend this book to people who wish to obtain great insight into the public relations world and what it takes to make yourself stand out in the crowd.

Shirley Huyhua
Agency Staff Member

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12 Must-Have Networking Tips

Tomorrow is PRSSA’s Annual Networking Dinner and what better way is there to prepare for a networking event than to hear from an expert networker, Mindy Ferrentino Wolfe, President of Neptune Marketing LLC.

Mindy has won countless awards including, but not limited to Public Relations Professionals of Long Island Mentor of the Year award in 2009, was named one of the top 50 most influential women in business by Long Island Business News and presented the President’s Award from Soroptimist International of Nassau County both in 2008.

On Wednesday, November 2, 2011, PRSSA and PRestige members got the chance to learn tips and tricks to develop networking skills from Mindy. Don’t worry if you missed the meeting! Below is a recap of her twelve tips to networking:

  1. It’s all about relationship building. It’s not about giving out and collecting the greatest number of business cards.
  2. Follow up, follow up, follow up!
  3. Networking is not pitching- it is all about relationship building.
  4. Gravitate towards other “onezies” in the room.
  5. Effective networkers don’t wait for opportunities to come to them. Bo an introduction facilitator- be proactive.
  6. Volunteerism- altruism has it rewards.
  7. It’s about giving and not getting- payback will come!
  8. Hey, look at me when we’re talking! You can still work the room.
  9. Don’t sit with people you know.
  10. Effective networking requires investment time.
  11. Name tag on the right side.
  12. Never underestimate the value of a thank you.

Whether this is your first networking dinner, or your fourth, you can learn from Mindy’s tips. Make sure to build relationships with the professionals. You don’t need to talk to all of the professionals in the room; it is about the quality of the relationship not the quantity of professionals you speak with. When the dinner ends is when the relationship building can really begin. Email the professionals personalized thank you emails and connect with them on LinkedIn and/or twitter. The professionals attending the event understand the goal of student attendees is to obtain internships/jobs and make connections that can help them reach these goals so do not feel uncomfortable asking about internship programs or job opportunities- the professionals are attending to help you.

In addition to covering networking tips and tricks, Mindy shared with us what students can include on business cards: first and last name, phone number, email address, twitter, LinkedIn, and something to identify yourself (i.e.-PRSSA Member, PRestige Member). If you have networking cards, we encourage you to bring them to the dinner.

This year’s Networking Dinner is taking place today, November 6, 2011 at 8:00 PM. Professional guests include ESPN, Rubenstein, Hunter Public Relations, CJP Communications, Micah Jesse, and the American Kennel Club. I look forward to seeing all of you pro-networkers there!

Kim Caro
President, PRSSA