When I first start working with a client, they usually have a list of media that they want to be seen in but what many (especially smaller businesses) haven’t thought about is how much they want or are willing to share with the public. When I talk about public this means not only the media but also how you present yourself on social media, your website, when you go to a networking event if you give a talk at an event or have a stand at a show. Basically, any time you put yourself in front of potential clients or customers.
It can be tricky to navigate which is why it is important to have a clear idea of what you will and won’t share and why. Here are some of my top tips on the subject:
1. Be authentic.
Whilst you might not want to share everything you still need people to get a feel for the real you. Authenticity is about the way you share and being genuine. People can spot an inauthentic person a mile off and it won’t do you or your brand any favours if you try and create a whole new persona just for the business. Use your own voice and don’t try and be something you’re not. I remember when I first started out, I tried to make my website sound very business-like and corporate. I never felt comfortable with it, but I thought if you were in business that was how you should sound. The problem was because it wasn’t my true voice it didn’t really marry with the person people met, saw on social media or were looking to hire. It meant that I would get enquiries from the wrong type of people and businesses. They’d see my website then we’d chat, and they’d realise I’m not very corporate, I’d realise they weren’t my ideal client and things wouldn’t go any further wasting everybody’s time and it was my fault. Since I’ve changed my website and use my true voice, I manage to convert far more enquiries as people already have an idea of who I am before they speak to me and I still do get corporate work but now it is with businesses that have a similar energy to myself Remember you can be authentic without sharing everything.
2. Be transparent.
People often think that authenticity and transparency are the same thing but whilst they are similar, they are not the same. As I mentioned authenticity is how you share (your voice), and transparency is more about sharing deeply and what you share. What you share is up to you. Do you have a personal story you’re comfortable putting out there? Do you post about your family? Do you share pictures of your children, holidays, dog etc? There is no right or wrong answer, and it is all down to you and what you’re comfortable with. You can have more than one account and still be authentic and transparent. Whilst I would say I am both and do occasionally share images of my home life, holidays, pets, and my little boy I do also have another private page. Not because I have anything to hide but I’m just not sure my business followers need to see 500 pictures of my son or my numerous memes that me and my friends find funny.
Also, I like most of us have various levels of transparency depending on where I am and who I am speaking to. I might share more personal details in a one-to-one conversation at a networking event than I would on Twitter for example.
With the transparency also be aware of how you might handle any backlash, especially when it comes to the media. When working with clients if they are sharing something personal about themselves, they will often ask to avoid a certain publication and those that don’t ask to avoid said news source I advise them that the comments section can be savage. So, whilst transparency is great it is important that you know yourself, know your truth and are secure enough to manage any negativity that might come your way. Don’t let the potential negativity put you off if there is something you’d really like to share as firstly what you say might really hep somebody, it will give somebody that “OMG I’m not the only one” moment and I believe there are more good, positive people in the world than negative.
When you’re running a business, it may feel uncomfortable to admit that things aren’t going well, or something has gone wrong but when it comes to engaging with your audience a little vulnerability can go a long way. Sharing your ups and downs can make you more relatable. This is especially beneficial for small businesses as it can really help if people feel like they know who they are buying from. It can be scary putting the vulnerable version of yourself out there for public scrutiny, but it can also help form relationships and be quite liberating. Aside from PR I also do freelance writing and normally write first person pieces about my experiences. I won’t lie it can be absolutely terrifying, but it is also massively therapeutic and liberating.
To finish I would say when thinking about what to share for PR purposes consider.
Will others find it interesting?
Am I comfortable revealing this part of myself?
Does this fit with the message I want to express about me or/and my business?
I hope this has helped you decide what you want to share but if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Rebecca Slater is a PR Consultant with more than 20 years public relations experience. She is based in Staffordshire and provides support to businesses all over the country.
Find out more at www.beckandcallpr.co.uk or email email@example.com