By Amanda Miller Littlejohn, Founder, Package Your Genius Academy
Have you ever noticed how men have such an easy time telling others about their accomplishments? In meetings and on conference calls, they’re more likely to speak up and share out. Many men are also more comfortable being awarded for their career achievements, speaking to the media, or standing on stages to address a crowd than women are. But why?
Just as women are plagued by a wage gap, where we earn only a percentage of what men earn for the same work, we are also plagued by what I’ve coined as “the visibility gap” – a lower level of visibility around our work, success and achievements.
As a personal branding coach and founder of the Package Your Genius Academy, I work daily to help women build their personal brands and close the visibility gap. I teach them how to boldly go after opportunities for exposure and talk about themselves, their work and their accomplishments more confidently.
I’ve observed five surefire ways that we as women can STAND OUT and claim the recognition we rightfully deserve. If you’re struggling to be seen in your industry, use these tips to start closing the visibility gap for yourself today.
1. Create something new or unexpected that fills a gap and solves a problem. Perhaps that something new is simply a new way of doing things that is atypical for your industry.
For example, while working in PR, I started to notice how many people were having the same core challenges around positioning themselves as the Go-To Expert in their fields.
Instead of writing a report on white paper (the standard) I looked to the education, training/coaching industries for ideas and came up with the concept for the Branding Box, a home study personal public relations kit. It was novel for the PR industry and was certainly unexpected. It has become one of my calling cards and helped me get noticed as an industry innovator by both ADWeek and PRWeek.
PR Tip – once you’ve created the something new, tell your personal network, colleagues, and the media.
2. Inform others in a thorough, generous way. When you can open up someone’s mind around a new topic that could change their life, they’ll never forget you. When you can do that for an entire segment of your industry, you become unforgettable.
That’s why journalists and bloggers can become so well-known, well-respected and revered. If information sets people free and you have a treasure chest full of the info that people need, they will not only follow you but they’ll come to rely on you as well.
How can you inform others? Depending on your personality and your specific skill set, you could write a book or blog if you like to write, or you could raise your hand to speak on panels to represent your company. Pull together a presentation that you’re ready to deliver at a moment’s notice.
PR Tip – use social media to broadcast your messages, and don’t feel self-conscious about sharing. Remember, this is information that has the power to help others.
3. Inspire others to act – If you have the gift of motivating and inspiring others, you can easily stand out. Beyond the what and how, most people need a catalyst to help them get into action. They’re in a rut or they feel stuck, and if you can reignite them, they’ll never let you go. Think about Oprah’s long-running talk show, magazine and more recently Super Soul Sunday. People continue to follow her initiatives because she inspires us all to live our best lives.
PR Tip – there are so many tools to broadcast audio and video inexpensively, and you’ll want to use one of those mediums to inspire the largest audience. Try periscope or Facebook Live for video, or look into starting your own weekly podcast like I did with Package Your Genius on iTunes.
4. Connect others in your network – Beyond inspiration, our number one need as humans is to feel connected to other people. We are social beings who want to connect to others so if you have the power to connect a certain segment of your industry – maybe the professionals in your city or your industry – you will be remembered. If you can position yourself as the center of a community, as someone who can connect others to resources and to one another, you will stand out!
PR Tip – use platforms like Eventbrite to market, promote and sell tickets to your event. Reach out to the media to help you publicize what you’re doing.
5. Be Proactive about exposure – After building something new or creating opportunities for others to connect and grow, be audacious. Submit your work for industry awards. Submit yourself to be a speaker at conferences. Many opportunities pass us by because we simply don’t throw our hats into the ring. Put yourself out there to be considered for industry recognition.
PR Tip – Find a colleague who understands your work and story – partners nominate one another for future awards and recognition.
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