Every hour of every marketer’s work day is focused on preserving and promoting their brand’s story. As our white paper Brand Stewards Unite: Best Practices for Showcasing & Protecting Your Brand explores, your communications’ success depends on the continual maintenance of your brand values, audiences, and voice.
However, whether we like it or not, we also have another brand to worry about: our personal brand on the social web.
When it comes to your personal brand, are you cultivating it or letting it be defined on your behalf?
In a perfect world, our online brand would be an exact reinforcement of our real-world reputation. But with so many social networks out there for us to live on — and so many sophisticated tools to hone those spaces — it’s a far more arduous process to synchronize these two versions of ourselves.
Building Your Online Persona
In a recent webinar by the Poynter Institute, branded content consultant Melanie Deziel emphasized the importance of presenting yourself online in an intentional and coordinated manner — for the benefit of your career.
Strategic personal branding helps make your expertise known, can increase your job prospects, bring about new opportunities, and help set you apart in your industry, she says.
It also can help you manage your reputation.
“Branding is not something we should approach with skepticism,” says Poynter’s Ren LaForme, who moderated the discussion. “If you don’t take control, people will decide on their own.”
For some, building an online persona comes naturally. For others, it’s not so second-nature.
To start auditing and enhancing your online persona, here are Deziel’s six steps to powerful self-branding.
1. Find Clarity
A personal brand helps define your unique value to those around you. It tells people what you excel at, what you stand for, and how you can deliver. But to be truly successful in communicating your online brand, you must have a clear understanding of yourself.
The first step, says Deziel, is defining what you want to be recognized for. To do this, ask yourself a few key questions: What are you an expert on? What do you want to be known for? What do you want to learn more about? What do you want to teach people?
The answers to these questions will help you focus attention and effort in moving forward.
To better visualize your story, Deziel suggests mind-mapping your expertise and passions. Can you list five to 10 topics that you’re known for and trusted to talk about? What are some adjectives that you’d like used in characterizing your brand?