Personal Branding for Change Makers
Let’s talk personal branding.
What is it? Why is it a thing? And does it make me look like a total tool?
Personal branding is a living and breathing representation of who you are, what you value, and your growth along the way. I often find myself answering questions about resumes, but I honestly believe that using your digital presence to your advantage today is one of the most effective things you can do to cultivate new relationships and opportunities. Since I shifted my social-media use to establish a personal brand, I’ve seen an abundance of opportunity come my way as a result. (I was even hired within 20 minutes of sending my website out!) We all know that being vulgar online or getting wasted, etc has no place on the internet (*deletes early 2000s blogs, cue the birth of snapchat) but rarely do we talk about the benefits of leveraging your influence online and amplifying your voice.
It’s YOUR platform. Share what you love. Share who you are.
“Whether you're a full-time employee, independent freelancer or business owner, your personal brand speaks before you. Being intentional about what you want it to stand for shapes the opportunities you attract. " - Shelcy Johnson, Forbes
Create and control the introduction of who you are when people google you online.
Stay top of mind as a thought leader in your industry.
Easily and effectively communicate what you stand for once your brand is established.
Connect with others passionate about what you’re doing and what you stand for through online networking.
More opportunities to get involved with the work you are passionate about.
It’ll take a lot of freakin’ time.
No more sharing random cute puppies unless you’re an animal right’s advocate. #offbrand
Convinced? here’s some things to think about.
What is your purpose? What value are you providing? What can people get from you that they can’t get elsewhere? What opportunities do you hope to cultivate? What do I want to represent?
EXAMPLE: My purpose is to build communities on and offline centered around creating positive social impact. The value I’m providing is creativity for traditionally non-creative sectors such as nonprofit and government. Audience can gain insight to marketing strategy and the personal development and continuous learning required to be a well-rounded strategist. I hope to cultivate meaningful opportunities in the realms of social-justice and poverty alleviation. I want to represent good, meaningful, purpose-driven work.
2. Target Audience
Who are you speaking to (how old are they, where do they work, what do they enjoy)? What type of content would bring them value? Who do they already follow? Where do they hangout online? It’s okay to have 1-3 groups, but EVERYONE is NOT your target audience.
EXAMPLE: My target audience are individuals based in the Southwest United States, ages 21-54, working in public service as community organizers. They enjoy volunteering, self-improvement, and staying up to date on social causes. Content that would bring them value is how to mobilize their communities for social impact, how to create content that stands out to influence their causes, and ways to implement self care in high-stress occupations.
What is my style? How do I want to represent myself visually without alienating my target audience?
EXAMPLE: My style is consistently creative but professional. I’m not afraid to show my more casual personality and be transparent about the issues I’m passionate about. Bright, fun, but minimal.
4. Social Strategy
What platforms do I need to be on to meet my target audience? What medium would I enjoy creating (video, articles, static design, etc) AND create consistently?
EXAMPLE: LinkedIn for industry-related articles and networking, Instagram to showcase creative and connect with audience on a more personable outlet, Facebook for ad targeting, Pinterest to drive traffic, Newsletter for more intimate community building.
5. Brand Messaging
How should I speak? What do I want people to feel? Do I need my audience to take action? What words do I want to stay AWAY from?
EXAMPLE: My tone is - conversational, transparent, reflective, educational, and optimistic.
Who should I engage with?
EXAMPLE: Followers of Ted, Skillshare, Masterclass, Seth Godin, Tim Ferriss. Employees of United Way, City of Phoenix, the Human Services Campus. Other marketing professionals, designers, photographers, writers, etc.