People are hesitant to go out into the world with their message if they perceive that they don’t have 100% clarity on it. But here’s the thing: You may be clearer than you think you are.
When it comes to clarity, there are two important aspects to be aware of, and most people collapse them: Who are you? And what is your gift?
Who Are You?
The first key aspect of clarity is around who you are, what makes you unique and the contribution you want to make in the world. Again, the truth is, most people are clearer than they think about this. If you feel fuzzy on it at first glance, give yourself the gift of an hour alone with a pen and paper, and really look at this aspect.
I get it: You may not be crystal clear on all the finer details, and this task can seem overwhelming, but you do have a sense of who you are and the contribution you want to make. What makes you interesting that will grab the media’s attention? Here are some ways to explore it:
• Your Story: Everybody loves a good story — your childhood, your history, your family. Where did you grow up? The media loves to cover hometown heroes.
• Your Challenges: It’s hard to relate to people who have had no challenges in life. We root for the underdog or the guy who blows it, then finds a way to redeem himself. What internal or external dragons have you faced? What impossible brick walls have you had to climb over, dig under or blast through?
• Your Motivation: We love to understand what drives people to do what they do. What keeps you up at night? What pulls you out of bed in the morning? What is the driving force, the fire in your belly that keeps you doing what you do?
• Your Quirks: What’s a little odd or different? What are your eccentricities? What about you makes people laugh, roll their eyes or do a double take?
• Your Unique Insights Or Perspectives: How do you see the world, specific events or other people a bit differently than the crowd? Do you have a novel take on a particular topic?
What Is Your Gift?
The second key aspect of gaining clarity is around your gift and your message, and how that fits into the world and the marketplace. There is a distinction between knowing what the contribution you want to make is (an element of the “who are you?” aspect of clarity we just examined) and knowing which of your unique gifts, traits and abilities will get you there (i.e., how you can make your biggest contribution).
How do you package it? How do create language for it? This is the part where most people need the most support.
For PR to be truly successful, we must be willing and able to work on both aspects with our clients depending on their needs. What makes them unique? What are their specific gifts and talents, and how do they launch that into the world to make a difference for people and positively impact the greater good?
Here are some tips to begin crafting your key messages:
• Your Main Points: What are the three or four things the media needs to know about you or your work? If those main points aren’t obvious, begin with 10 points. Next, ask yourself: “If I could only have nine, which would I choose?” Keep eliminating until you have your 3-4 absolutely critical points.
• Problem/Solution: What problems do people have that you can solve? Start by listing a bunch of them — preferably problems that relate to your 3-4 main points. Which strike you as particularly juicy — the ones that keep people up at night? Next to those juicy ones, write how you or your product can solve them.
• Your Credentials: Why should anyone listen to you or be impressed by you? The media wants to know your most impressive credentials, including education, books written and awards received.
If you want PR, I suggest you step back and take some time to really explore which of these two aspects of clarity around your message and personal brand you most need support with:
1. What makes you you? We’re all unique. I know it’s difficult to see that sometimes, but it’s true for everyone.
2. How do the pieces of your life — your gifts, experiences, education and expertise — all weave together to support the message you want to deliver to the world?
Try thinking of your work in terms of the kind of impact you are committed to making. From this vantage point, there is often clarity, not only for you but also for the world. It needs your messages now more than ever.