As public relations professionals, we represent companies and work to achieve their business goals. As individuals, the first brand that we should be representing is our own. Without a strong personal brand, it’s easy to blend into the crowd of your competitors.
What is a personal brand? One way to start thinking about your brand is to think about your story. Why did you choose PR? What made you into the person that you are today? What are your passions? Start by writing a mission statement about what your goals are personally and professionally. Let that be your guide to building your brand.
Your personal brand is what makes you stand out among the hundreds of your peers competing for the same career opportunities. Here are five ways to start building and strengthening your personal brand.
Get started by Googling your name. Your potential employers will be doing this, so you should start trying to control what they will see. It should be noted that if you are logged into your Google account or on a browser with your personal information saved, your search results may be different. Log into a different browser, a school computer or a friend’s computer to get the most valid results. If you have social media accounts, these should be one of the top results to show.
One of the most important lessons about your online presence is this: If you do not want your employers seeing what you posted, then you should reconsider what you’re posting.
You are accountable for your online presence, so think before you post or be ready to own it. It’s important to check up on the search results often to ensure that they constantly reflect your brand. When you Google your name, you should check the images tab as well.
Adjust Your Content
If you don’t like what you see when you Google yourself or if nothing even comes up, it’s time to start adjusting your online content to represent your personal brand. What do you want future employers to know about you? What skills do you have to bring to the table?
Start tweeting, making Facebook posts and creating content that reflects you and your brand. Showing that you know how to craft a social media post, write a blog and maintain these sites is valuable to show on your digital portfolio.
Create a Home Base
Think about where you want to send people to get to know more about you. Is it a social media page or a website?
You should probably have both. Creating a website can help you to display your digital work and resume. You can create one for free at wordpress.com. You can create a Facebook page to crosspost your blogs or your work as well. Learn how to do that here: https://www.facebook.com/help/104002523024878?helpref=about_content
Create an Identity
Now that you have a home base, you should start thinking about what you want it to look like.
You can start by creating a mood board and/or a style guide to see what kind of colors, designs and fonts you want to be using.
One of the first things you can do for your site to add a personal touch is make a custom header. The College of Journalism and Communications’ very own Sight, Sound and Motion professor, Kay Tappan has a great video on how to go about doing that. Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrL2JPLxg8M
It’s important to remain consistent with not only the maintenance of your sites, but also with the style of your brand throughout. If you love a certain font or color palette, then keep it consistent throughout your sites.
If you love all of the colors and fonts, then keep doing that throughout your site (But, also remember to think about who may be looking at your site. You don’t want people to be confused or turned off by the design. At time same time, be yourself. Be YOUR brand.)
Try to keep up with your posting consistently as well and keep the content relevant to your brand. Know that it’s okay to re-brand yourself too. If you feel that you have gotten to a plateau in how you market or represent yourself, you can change. Just follow our tips and you’ll be on your way!
Written by Jasmine Melendez; edited by Hannah Ross