A Publicist's Tips for Controlling Your Public Image

Photo Source: Photo by Ethan Haddox on Unsplash

There’s a lot of amazing content being created these days. From networks to streaming, films to indie projects—it’s hard to keep up. The best part is that audiences everywhere are discovering seriously talented actors who they’re excited to learn more about so they head online, do a search and, depending on what they find, possibly become a life-long fan.  

Whether you actively work on it or not, your public image is out there for anyone to find. And in case you didn’t realize, it’s also synonymous with your reputation. Since both can take years to build and only minutes to tear down, it makes sense to start paying attention to what’s out there about you and how you can influence it.

To help you understand further, here are five things to remember about your public image as an actor, and how to control them as best as you can.

1. Consistency counts.
When a fan, reporter or industry decision-maker is searching for you online, it’s imperative they instantly find you! Seriously, they should know they’re in the “right” place because they recognize you instantly. The easiest way to do that is to keep your online persona (or brand) consistent, cohesive, and updated.

Are you consistent? Review your website, bio, EPK, social media accounts, demo reels, and more, making sure they all have an easily identifiable and similar tone. If you’re going for a light-hearted, comedic feel with your website, make sure everything reflects that. Use the same photos, short bio, colors, fonts and more to create a unified impression online (and off) that is consistent and distinctly you.

2. Authenticity always wins.
People want to connect with “real” people. That’s why your public image should feel like an extension of your true self. There’s no need to put on a false persona—those days are over. But I’m also not suggesting you must expose every detail about your personal life either. Simply being honest and genuine is the smartest way to develop a solid public image and gain long-lasting fans.

How do you do that? One easy way is to share more about organizations, causes, and events you love. If you’re a volunteer at an animal shelter, post images from your days spent working there or share articles they publish. Not only will it reveal more about you to fans, but it might also grab a little more attention for the organization and the animals, too.

READ: What Every Actor Needs to Know About PR

3. Sound bite mastery.
Part of your job is to keep friends, followers, and reporters updated on what you’re working on so you better get used to talking about your latest projects in a clear and catchy way. I suggest becoming a master at speaking in sound bites, a brief response that offers up details in an informative and memorable way.

Are you a rambler? Try preparing a few soundbite-style answers to common questions before you head out for press interviews, red carpets, and public events. These often include all the basic details like: Who is your character? What happens in the film/show? When will it be released? Where can we watch it? Creating a 2-3 sentence answer for each of these in advance will help you shine like a pro.

4. Professionalism speaks volumes.
Nothing affects a person’s image more than their behavior. If you get into a Twitter war, talk negatively about a project, or fail to show up for a press interview, these could all have an adverse impact on your overall image. Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stand up for what you believe in, it just means be aware of how others might perceive your decisions and demeanor.

Do you deliver like a pro? When it comes to the press, realize that if you tell a reporter you’re going to send them a photo, forward them footage or get back to them with specific details, you better deliver quickly. Reporters have deadlines and causing someone to miss theirs is a sure-fire way to irritate them. Don’t make promises you aren’t 100 percent certain you can keep.

5. Stay active.
Fans love keeping up with actors and social media makes it easier than ever even if it doesn’t always feel that way. With new platforms launching practically every day, it seems nearly impossible to keep up. Don’t panic! Instead, concentrate your efforts on fewer platforms so it’s easier for you to stay active without burning out. What you don’t want to do is go M.I.A. as it’s the fastest way to lose fans.

Which platforms should you use? The ones you like the most or that you think your fans will be most active on. Choose two to start and build a steady pace for sharing. Post once a day or 10 times a day as long as you create a consistency that meets your fans’ expectations on that platform.

Think of your public image as a long-term investment. A little strategic and steady input can reap huge rewards later.

Tammy Lynn
Tammy Lynn is the lead publicist and founder of Spotlight PR Company. With nearly 20 years of experience working in the public relations field, she has helped thousands of actors build career buzz and share their talents with the world.
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