Building the Brand of You: Where to Start

Last month, I published the first part of a series on personal branding, a topic I think is incredibly important for young PR professionals. In that post, I talked about why a personal brand is important and how it can help pros build their career. Today’s post will look at where to begin in building your personal brand.

Branding used to be reserved only for brands and celebrities, primarily because brands were built on what people said about you. The media had to talk about you and other people had to create buzz around your brand. Thanks to the internet and social media, self-publishing and self-promotion is the new norm.

The first thing to do when you’re ready to create your own brand is to think about what you want it to say about you. Where do you want your career to take you? What do you want people to say about you? A personal brand is all about building and cultivating a reputation that will precede you.

Sit down and brainstorm where you want to see yourself moving forward, what path you’d like to take your career down and who you want to be. Do you want to be the fun, spunky fashion publicist or the studious, driven environmental spokesperson? Whatever you want to be – make it so!

After you figure that out, it’s time to think about how you’ll make it happen and how you’ll project yourself to the world. What social media channels will you use? What topics are you interested in? What other brands and people will you follow and engage with? How will you engage with other people and brands? Will you start a blog, participate in Twitter chats or hangouts? The opportunities are endless.

Your personal brand should be a reflection of you, not a fictional character you create. Your career goals should influence your methods, but you shouldn’t present yourself as anything but what you are. If you don’t currently have the experience or knowledge to participate in the social sphere as what you want to be or as the professional you’d like to be, spend some time to learn and boost your experience with internships, freelance work, books, research or by joining a local professional organization, like PRSA or any of the many advertising, PR, marketing and communications organizations with chapters all across the nation.

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