Professionals inherently recognize the power of branding, but many stop short of applying it on a personal level. Whether you work in marketing, advertising or otherwise, putting yourself on the market begins with brand positioning. As with any credible brand, this effort requires taking time to think about your skill sets and how to strategically share them with the world. But before you feel like David against Goliath, remember that the same principles that apply to large corporations can inform the individual experience when it comes to building your personal brand and finding your industry voice.
Choose a niche and align it within your organization
The first step in self-marketing is practicing what you preach. There is no better way to give credence to your ideas than to embody them. Evaluate your strengths and passions and align with your employer’s goals. Your position doesn’t have to directly align with your interests, but you should be channeling them in some way. If you feel strongly about philanthropy, wellness, or women’s empowerment, find a cause and put your ideas to action.
Define your mission statement and develop a content strategy around it
Content marketing is an invaluable tool to build your brand. Use it to create insightful, keyword-rich articles and post them to your personal website or blog. It’s important to make content creation a regular practice. Set aside time at least once a month to pull together longer form content that aligns with your mission statement.
Social media is another component of your branding campaign. Ensure you have appropriate accounts and that you are posting on platforms where your audiences engage. Some resources and tools allow you to schedule posts and receive alerts when content gets posted that aligns with your interests. You can even create unique graphics to accompany your posts. The beauty of writing content once means you can repurpose it. Pull out key highlights from long-form content and blogs into smaller, digestible chunks and schedule posts at regular intervals to amplify your message with a broader audience.
Overcome modesty. Share your success
Extra, extra, read all about it! In a women-centric industry, I speak for most of us when I say that it can feel “braggadocious” or “unladylike” to share your successes and show off who you are. Women are indoctrinated to be humble and self-deprecating to avoid “norm violating,” but this mentality is no longer normal. Consider creating a brag book or portfolio of successes, praise, and letters of recommendation to share with current and prospective employers. If that sounds overwhelming, take a moment each week to document any accomplishments or achievements. I bet if you look back over the month, you will have some extraordinary successes to share!
Become a brand ambassador
Marketers are frontline brand ambassadors who are shaping the overall brand experience. I’m biased, but I view marketers as the lifeblood of the company; they help shape external messages and craft meaningful content.
Determining how to promote yourself can be tricky, but developing a brand is a way to control career development and proactively manage perceptions in the marketplace. Your brand is your reputation; it precedes you. People know exactly what they will get when they engage with you, so set expectations for what you will deliver. Ultimately, this pipeline of interaction will open doors to new opportunities.
Make your voice heard now
If you take anything from this article, remember that the most challenging part is getting started. Some people may feel this isn’t essential; they don’t have anything valuable to say, or “it can wait.” Maybe yesterday was the best time to start, but the second-best time to start is today.
Be introspective. Realize you have something to say. Be strong enough to communicate your opinion and contribute to discussions. Even when it’s uncomfortable, push yourself into the spotlight, and empower yourself to lean in. Life begins outside of your comfort zone, so push yourself to take risks! As you build confidence, you will uncover your personal and professional passions, and your strengths. Stretch your limits to find and nurture the areas that interest you most.