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Getting Started with Your Personal Branding
Posted on September 2nd 2014
Personal branding is a practice of marketing themselves and their careers as brands. It can have many long-term and short-term benefits. Such as, helping you find a job, improving your overall professional image, and utilizing your Google search results when potential employers, colleagues, or clients search your name.
How do you get started? Here's some tips that will help you master (or at least beginner to master) your personal branding, and how you can utilize different channels to show yourself, your skills, and what you have to offer off.
Offline Personal Branding
When many people think of personal branding, these are often the things that come to mind first. Mainly because they are the more traditional methods that most people have grown up seeing or using.
To start yourself off you are going to want to think of a brand image you'd like to have carried across any of your platforms. For some people this may mean designing, or having someone design a personal logo, for others it may mean to just have particular colours, fonts, and photos that will be carried over on all channels. Start to think about what you'd like your brand image to look like.
Resume and Cover Letter
This is one of the first places you'll start to implement your brand image as we talked about above. Make sure that your brand colours, logo, fonts, and anything else, all carry over on to both your resume and cover letter. Make sure to not overdue it as you still want it to be clean and professional, but just because this is usually a printed document, doesn't mean you should forget to implement your personal brand on them.
It doesn't matter if you aren't quite sure where you'll hand these out but it's guaranteed that eventually, having business cards are going to be useful. You don't want to have to scibble your contact information on a napkin at an event that may accidently get thrown out. Brand your business cards as you would your resume and have them with you at all times.
Online Personal Branding
Your online personal brand is sometimes thrown out the window. Mainly because many people either don't have the time to manage it, or don't realize that your branding offline should also be consistent online. Taking advantage of your online channels can drive great results, and help create a great reputation for yourself.
This is the most common online channel that most people have that they can utilize with their personal branding. With the exception of channels that not just anyone has access to - like your Facebook profile, or a locked Twitter account, you should be utilizing your other channels to showcase you.
Change your profile photos, header/cover photo, and your profile description to all be in line with one another. Use the colour palette that you laid out when starting your personal branding in your profiles, and make sure your profile description is descriptive and informative. Direct your followers to somewhere they can gain more information, like your website, or your LinkedIn profile. Take advantage of the maximum amount of characters you have on LinkedIn and Google+ and utilize that to showcase yourself even more.
Remember that when someone hops to your Twitter, to your LinkedIn, to your Google+, etc. there should be consistancy with photo, information, and colours/logo.
Not everyone is going to go out and develop a website on their own. Often this step is alot more difficult to the average person. Even though there are easy ways to setup a website, if it's too above your head, and you think it will end up doing more damage than good, lay off having one at all.
If you are capable of pulling together a website, or working with someone who can help, this can be a great tool to generate leads, and showcase yourself. Since I've developed my own personal website I've seen optimal results from clients, employers, and other people within my network.
Just like your social networks your branding should really be showcased through your wesbite. Just like when you go to the Coca-Cola website, and then visit their Twitter account, you see the consistency. You want to work to build that consistency and recognizable image for yourself personally as well.
This is a great addition to add to your website, or if you don't think you are able to develop a website, this can be a great alternative. Having a blog allows for you to not only showcase that you are knowledgeable about your industry, but also your passion for other things (for example, I write reviews on my blog too), and your ability to write, which is obviously an important quality to have in ANY job.
Build your blog as you would your website, and/or social accounts. Make sure you consistently are contributing content to it, and use this as a platform that you can direct traffic to from your social media accounts, and your business card, resume etc.
Linking your offline and online presence together so you can begin to build a recognizable reputation for yourself will benefit you in the long run, no matter which field you're in. Having consistency articulates professionalism and unity. You want all your platforms, whether online or offline to work together to compliment one another in order to achieve the results you are hoping for.