Despite what many corporate executives and celebrities seem to think, your public and personal identities are impossible to separate. While it’s not healthy to find your identity in your work, the reality is that in many cases, your work is an extension of who you are.
In the case of freelancers and small design studios, it is essential to brand yourself, as well as publicize your abilities.
How Can You Effectively Brand Yourself?
How should you get started with your personal branding campaign? Here are six tips to get you started.
1. Local Networking Opportunities
It today’s tech-driven world, it is easy to overlook the importance of face-to-face interactions, but it is essential for freelancers and small business owners to embrace old school networking opportunities.
Don’t pass up the opportunity to engage in true networking; be a good listener, have in-depth conversations, and communicating about subjects you are passionate about.
Seminars and trade shows can be excellent opportunities to network with others in your industry and make connections. Also, check out the local Chamber of Commerce or other business networking events. Use the chance to associate your name with your business – and let people see the ‘face’ of the company.
2. Social Media
Social media can be a powerful tool for branding yourself as an expert in your field. Create a “personal” account that is used for business-related postings. If you want to have a place for connecting with family and friends, consider making an account set to ‘private’.
Remember: what happens on the internet stays on the internet. Avoid long tirades and rants, off-color jokes, and photos portraying less-than-professional activities.
3. Reputation Management
Google yourself and see what comes up. Is there anything out in cyberspace that contradicts the professional image you’re trying to create?
If you can, remove anything that may be problematic. If there are items that can’t be removed from the net, bury them. Start adding quality content to various places around the internet so those things will get higher ranks in search engines.
4. Online Portfolio
Build an online portfolio of work to establish credibility and to share your work. A web-based portfolio is effective in not only making your work accessible, but in helping to introduce you (and your work) to potential clients through search engine results.
There are a variety of online portfolio tools available, ranging from free to premium services. Find the tool that is the best fit for your needs and start uploading your work.
Besides showing off your actual designs, think outside the box when it comes to portfolio creation. Why not highlight what others are saying about you and your business? Any time your projects or business are mentioned online or in the press, add those to a content—not necessarily design—portfolio.
- me: A free platform that allows users to upload unlimited clips, Clippings.me is a basic service that offers monthly subscriptions for additional features such as a downloadable resume or custom domain names. See how techie Jonathan Weinberg is using Clippings.me.
- Pressfolios: With cloud-based backups, Pressfolios allows users to upload 12 clips or PDFs through an easy-to-use interface. The attractive templates allow for customized bios and graphics as well. Additional uploads are available for a monthly fee. See how freelancer John Capone is using Pressfolios.
- Contently: This free platform is also a marketplace that allows users to upload portfolio items and allows brands and companies to search for individuals who may meet their marketing needs. See how business owner Monica Cardone is using Contently.
5. Content Marketing
Most marketing experts understand the concept of content marketing for a business, but it is important to use content marketing in the development of a personal brand as well.
Personal branding content might include guest posts, interviews that that mention the business, or video clips that feature you talking about your field.
If you are looking for suggestions on where to start, try Help a Reporter Out. This platform connects journalists with industry experts looking to share their insight on a variety of topics.
Find ways to build content that focuses on you – and allows you to use the platform to tie your personal brand to your company.
6. Expert Advice
You have spent countless hours becoming an expert in your field – use it to build credibility for both you and your company. Look for opportunities to speak at conferences, seminars or workshops. Offer to host a lunch-and-learn type event.
You know you’re an expert; make sure others know it too!
Investing time and energy into the development of a personal brand can payoff with long-term results. Be intentional about building a brand for yourself, and then sit back and enjoy reaping the rewards.