The PR Maven on PR, Social Media and Personal Branding
- How has PR evolved over the last 30 years?
PR used to be very much focused on media relations and journalists were the gatekeepers to access the public. Now, with social media and the web, we as PR people are able to publish our own content on behalf of our clients. We post on social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram. For one client, a college, we are using SnapChat to communicate with the students. Social media has opened up a whole new world of communications options, yet we still honor our relationships with the media because Journalists are very influential and credible sources of information for the public.
- When did you start your own PR agency and what is your primary focus?
I started my agency back in 1991! That seems like so long ago….it was in the last century! My primary focus at the time was in tourism and outdoor recreation but over the years we have expanded our business to focus on health care, education, economic development and service businesses like law firms and banks. I have a team of 12 professionals and we create strategic marketing communications plans which we call “Marshall Plans.” I have a trademark for that term. We have a three month process we go through with our clients to help them create a customized plan to achieve their marketing goals. Once we create the Marshall Plans, we help our clients implement them including an ongoing PR program, building or improving their website and social media platforms, organizing special events and doing speaking engagements.
- In recent years, you have been doing personal branding. What exactly is that?
In this day and age, everyone has a personal brand. Just yesterday I had a phone appointment to speak with a resort owner from Vermont. Before our conversation, we had both Googled each other’s names to check out the other person’s credentials and background. Personal Branding is the practice of intentionally crafting the way a person shows up on social media. I have a 12 step process I go through with clients that starts with writing their personal brand manifesto and doing an audit of how they show up when you Google their name. If you have a common name such as John Smith, you want to be sure people can find you instead of all the other John Smiths in the world. Personal branding is about discovering your ‘superpowers’ and making sure you leverage them to connect with the right people and opportunities in your life and career. I believe that discovering what your superpowers are, and making sure people know about them, is a key to happiness in life and in your career. If your life’s work is all about something that you love to do and that benefits others, then you will be happy. I believe that helping others with their personal brand is my own superpower and I’m glad that I discovered that at a time in my career that I could focus on it. I am Certified by an organization in NYC called Reach Personal Branding as a Personal Branding Strategist and a Social Branding Strategist.
- How has the web impacted PR?
The world wide web is just that: it’s this incredibly powerful network that connects people and organizations all around the world. It has allowed people to connect with other people around the world who are interested in what they have to offer or who do the same thing and want to share knowledge or expertise. If you are in a niche business in one part of the world, you can put it out there on the web and people can find you through a Google search. PR is now all about communicating through the web about what differentiates you or your clients. That’s the essence of branding, and PR is a great way to build a brand. For example I have a client in Skowhegan Maine who has a grist mill where she makes flour for baking bread and other delicious things out of wheat, rye and other farm-grown grains from Maine. The business is called Maine Grains. Its owner and founder, Amber Lambke, has been able to connect with others around the world who are doing the same thing as she is, as well as customers and media people through the World Wide Web.
- What advice do you have for small business owners who want to do their own PR?
I actually have a book coming out soon called PR Works, and it’s all about how to do your own PR! The book includes tips and techniques to create a strategic PR plan, and to get your story out to your targeted audiences through social media and the traditional media. I recommend that small business owners connect with their local media and maintain open communications through press releases and face to face meetings and visits. Getting involved with local organizations like the Chamber of Commerce and Rotary is also a good way to raise your profile and connect with the media and the public.
TIP: Relationships Matter
In this day and age, I worry about young people who think they have real friends just because they have friended someone on social media. I believe that social media is great for extending a relationship once you have met someone, or for researching someone before you meet them, but true relationship building only happens face to face. When I meet a new person, I try to learn as much as possible about them including their background, their interests and their families. One of my own superpowers is being able to retain this information and connecting people with others I know who have similar interests. I call it my “Mental Rolodex” … it’s my database in my mind of people, and what they do, where they are from, and how many children or pets they have. All the relationships you have in your life add up to your own personal brand. Your brand is the way people think about you, and the more people who think highly of you, the stronger your brand will be. I work hard at that for myself and for my clients. It’s something I am really passionate about.
About Nancy Marshall
Using her enthusiastic personality and boundless passion for what she does, Nancy Marshall helps clients exude their brands to achieve their goals.
Her agency, Nancy Marshall Communications (NMC), specializes in helping for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations to raise their profile and achieve their marketing goals through a 65-step strategic marketing communications planning process, which they call The Marshall Plan®.They help their clients create their brand manifesto and identify targeted audiences, then strategically identify the best way to connect their messages with their audiences in the most effective way possible. Their arsenal of marketing tools includes public relations, marketing, advertising, website development, internet marketing, trade shows, and direct sales. They specialize in tourism/economic development; health care/medical; and education/nonprofit clients.
As The PR Maven®, Nancy works one-one-one with executives, authors, consultants and others across the country and around the world who want to define and communicate their personal brand through public relations, speaking engagements, social media and other means of publicity. By defining your personal brand manifesto, and then raising your profile through news media and online websites and social networks, her clients are able to differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace.
In 2011, the Maine Public Relations Council presented the Edward L. Bernays Award to Nancy. This award recognizes and honors the state’s top public relations professional. Over the years, NMC has won numerous awards from local, state and national organizations, recognizing outstanding work and community service.
Nancy enjoys giving speaking engagements all over the U.S. and Canada, sharing her message about relationship building through PR and social media.
Her book, PR WORKS, will be published and distributed through amazon.com in February 2015. Aimed at small business owners, the book is a step-by-step guide to doing your own PR and social media.
She is a graduate of Colby College with an MBA from Thomas College. She is the mother of two college ski racers, Craig and James. Nancy loves outdoor recreation, especially skiing, bicycling and swimming.
Email Nancy at email@example.com to learn more.