1. Remember the seven second rule. You have 7 seconds to make a lasting impression, Collins says. He cites studies in which researchers show images of an individual for a split second and ask respondents to vote up or down on whether they like the person or not. “One blink, and we’ve already decided. After seven seconds on a site or watching a video, customers know whether or not they want to engage. So why not engineer a truly captivating first impression that leaves them wanting more?
2. Get branded or get labeled. If you haven’t made an effort to communicate your mission and vision clearly across all your interfaces, both with images and words, you leave it up to other people to do it for you. If you fail to present your image congruently and consistently, people think you are incongruent and inconsistent. 
3. PR without a strategy is dangerous. These days everybody can call him/herself an expert. Therefore effective PR has become a matter of context. In what media were you featured? What stages do you speak on? Who retails your product? People form an opinion by the context in which they see you. This brand environment shows the level you play at and is likely more important than what you say about yourself. Context should be strategically designed, not left to chance.
4. Content is not a commodity. “We often violate good manners in the way we interface. You should be courteous with people’s attention spans. Don’t wear them out,” Collins says. Publish content in your original voice, where the quality is up to the highest standards of your brand. Become a trusted resource for your customer. If you only post for volume or search engine rankings at the expense of genuine content, you will permanently devalue your brand.
5. Are you positioned “inside the bubble” or “outside the bubble?” Almost every business has its “bubble.” CPAs, cosmetic dentists, email marketers, you name it. They all have their own niched ecosystem. Within this bubble, there are experts that are well known inside, but not known in the real world. 
6. Consider the Gatekeepers. Communication should be tailored to your customers and, at the same time, consider the gatekeepers of your industry. Gatekeepers are the high credibility columnists, reporters, social media influencers and authorities whose opinion and coverage can edify your (or your products’) credibility. “How do the people who could give you your big break view how you engage with your audience?” Collins asks.
7. Ask yourself, “Would Elon Musk do that?” Who do you emulate and how do they show up in the press? What do they say and how do they say it? These answers will give insight as to the media you target and how you should voice your communication.
8. Branding is a team sport. “Few branding decisions are actually made in the marketing department,” Collins maintains. “Almost every business decision will somehow affect your brand.” “These days our B.S. meters are very finely tuned. We can’t fool anybody substantially about who we are anymore,” he says. 
9. Avoid brand suicide. “Especially when you are just starting out, it could take only one bad mention or one bad appearance to make or break your reputation. You need to build a strong reputation in a credible context so that the one inevitable mishap will not jeopardize your entire business.”
10. You can die from overexposure. Collins is opposed to the kind of visibility I call “random acts of PR.” Only mainstream brands can benefit from mass and rapid visibility in the mainstream media. “When a product becomes a commodity and its value proposition is ubiquitous, any visibility and every mention could be good.” But for most businesses and entrepreneurs, clear communication and strategically selected outlets are much more important than the number of appearances of your image or name.

No-fail Law of PR

Chris Collins at work at a photo studio in Hollywood, CA (Image courtesy of branddesigner.com)

“It’s always sad when clients fall back into old habits and fail to execute in line with their new branding,” Collins says. “In this regard it really helps to have a strong team or a publicist or somebody who becomes the guardian of the brand to run the marathon with you,” he continues. “To get the full benefit of a great brand, you need to have the discipline to stick to the communication style that best fits you.”

Cheryl Snapp Conner is a member of CEO Space Faculty. She is the author of the Forbes eBook Beyond PR: Communicate Like a Champ In The Digital World. For information on her company’s  Content University program readers can visit www.ContentUniversity.com