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If you’re a journalism student, you’ve heard that you need to become a brand, but what does that entail? What makes a personal brand?
Personal branding has become a byword among journalists. Most professionals won’t work for one news outlet their entire lives, nor is that something they want. Personal brands have provided journalists with a cushion, something that gives them intrinsic value that is carried from job to job.
While many talk about the importance of building a personal brand online, the concept of the personal brand is often not explained.
Your brand name is the focal point of your personal brand. It’s how you identify yourself online and what people Google when they want to find you. For many journalists, it’s their names. However, if you have a common or long name, it is valuable to have a unique username that you use consistently around the web.
I use AramZS as my username online because my last name is so long. Spot.us’s David Cohn is best known as Digidave, no doubt because his name is relatively common. There are plenty of other examples out there.
It’s important that you put thought into who you are online. You need to make sure that no one else is using the name you want to use and that it accurately represents who you are.
Your brand includes all the places on the Web that you call home. With an ever-growing number of Web sites, you need to know where and what your Web presence is.
Make sure that you have one site, a blog, portfolio or just a static page, that is a central location that links out to everything else. You should also keep track of the sites you sign up for and promote the URLs of the sites and social media profiles that make up your brand; you want them to be the first thing to show up in a Google search.
Your avatar is the image that represents you online. In most cases it is a photo, though it doesn’t have to be. Even if you choose not to use a photo, you should use an avatar that is recognizable as a unique person.
Your photo is an essential part of your personal brand. You need to have a picture that conveys the image you want people to see. It should be professional, easy to use on multiple sites, and universally deployed across your personal branding efforts. Make sure that this is the photo you want future employers to see.
You may choose to use a personal logo or have a standardized color scheme. Many people will develop their Web presences with these elements in mind so that there is a consistent feel across a number of Web sites.
It is important that the content you create is of consistent quality and type. Part of being a brand is creating an expectation for a certain type of content. You want to find a niche and distribute content based on that niche. Link to leaders in your field and create your own content relevant to your interest. You want to become an expert.
If there are certain flairs that you include in your content, do so consistently.
I’m going to be going into more details about personal branding, so stay tuned!
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