by Evan Whittaker
Personal branding is an important part of your success in the public relations industry. As with any profession, you are competing with a multitude of other individuals who posses many of the same skills that you do. So what sets you apart? Often it’s your personality, experience and professionalism. Unfortunately, these facets can be difficult to convey without meeting your intended audiences in person. But there is good news. A personal website is a fantastic way to showcase personality before meeting a potential client, interviewer or hiring professional.
Where to start
While creating a website can certainly seem like a daunting task, there are numerous tools at your disposal that can simplify the process. Gone are the days of slaving over a Notepad document to modify and insert line after line of HTML code. Instead, various platforms exist to take care of the heavy lifting and have your site up and running in a matter of hours.
The tried and true website creation software, WordPress boasts more than 11 years of experience on the web. With thousands of plugins and templates available for free, WordPress offers users tons of options for customizing the appearance and functionality of their sites. In addition, WordPress is one of the best blogging platforms on the web, allowing for seamless integration of your blog into your website. For more information, visit .
If you’re looking for a great combination of function and ease-of-use, Squarespace is another great place to start. Its website editor is deceptively simple for how powerful it is. Nearly everything you do on Squarespace is visual instead of text or code, making it an ideal choice for those who prefer a point-and-click interface for creating content. While its features are more limited than those available through WordPress, the gorgeous layouts and animations and simple designs make up for its shortcomings. Anyone interested in Squarespace should check out the website.
If you’re wary about using either of the above platforms but still want to create your own website, Wix might be the choice for you. Wix utilizes a drag-and-drop interface for website creation, which makes it incredibly easy for users to create a custom website. However, as this article from Biju Creative points out, Wix’s simplicity is a double-edged sword of sorts, as much of the customization options and features you might find with other platforms aren’t available. Still, for those looking for a quick and painless solution for a basic website, Wix shouldn’t be overlooked. Visit Wix to learn more.
What to include in your site
Your website is a reflection of you. What you include in your site should give visitors a professional impression of who you are and what you do. While there are numerous things that you can include in your site, here are a few solid options for content you should consider making available to visitors:
- A profile or ‘about me’ section with details about your experience and interests
- A portfolio or showcase of your previous works
- Your personal blog, which can serve as a sample of your writing style and interests
- Your resume, which can be made available for download for prospective employers
- Your contact information
by Nikki McClaran
The responsibilities for a public relations professional are endless and diverse, and with over 600 million websites, finding the right tools and resources to help with your workload can be more stressful than what it’s worth. Which website is best for finding the trending current news? Where do I go to manage social media? The possibilities are endless, and honestly, just overwhelming. Luckily for you, I have scoured the vast internet and found the sites that are currently the cream of the crop and will blow your mind in how they will help you as a PR professional.
Social Media: Buffer
Buffer is a free social media managing site, similar to Hootsuite and TweetDeck. Connecting Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, Buffer’s biggest strength is its scheduling flexibility specifically with its option to stagger posts. Want to post every Monday and Friday at 3 p.m.? Buffer’s user-friendly layout allows you to easily do so. An added convenience, Buffer will automatically shorten any link you insert to a bitly. Recently partnering with Google to upgrade its analytics, Buffer is a site to explore with its rising popularity as a social media tool.
News Sources: theSkimm
As a PR professional, keeping up with current news and trends is a necessity rather than a luxury, but some days, even scanning the local newspaper can seem like too much of a time burden. Fortunately, theSkimm, an informative and humorous daily email, is there to catch you up on what you need to know. Don’t discount it for its feminine touches because each emails contains a variety of topics such as current news, finances, sports, international affairs and pop culture. It also links directly to the original news source links so you can explore the topic more if it catches your eye. Subscribe, you won’t regret it. Want even more news? Check out Pulse, Vox and TheMuse.
Most of us will probably never go specifically into graphic design, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create infographics that make you look like a graphic design expert. Piktochart is a free designing website that allows you to create infographics, reports, banners and presentations that will truly make you stand out. In as little as 10 minutes, you can give an image to any of your big ideas with its pre-programmed fonts, images and templates. Test it out, you may be surprised at what you can easily create to bring your presentation or pitch to the next level. Want to keep creating? Check out Canva and HaikuDeck.
Financial literacy will not only promote you as a desirable employee but may even be necessary for your work responsibilities. If you’re like me though, trying to learn about finances is confusing and frustrating. To help get a basic foundation of knowledge, I suggest exploring the Investopedia’s tutorial section. A product of IAC, these tutorials offer articles that describe the basics of investing, ranging from topics such as bonds, investing, mutual funds and stocks. Once you have the foundation, head over to The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg for daily updates and trends.
There you have it–some of my suggestions for useful websites in the PR world. Think I missed some? Make sure to comment on which ones you love and they might show up on the next Nik’s Picks.