What do you want people to say, think, or feel when they hear your name? It can be a scary question to contemplate, but last week, Local Levo New York partnered with Marcos Salazar of Be Social Change and Annie Malarkey of Wix to answer it. With these steps to building your own personal brand and the tips for polishing your personal website, you’ll be branding yourself like a pro in no time.
1. Learn what you want and how your personal brand can get you there.
The hardest part about building your personal brand is figuring out what you really want to gain from it. As Salazar explained during his presentation, we need to know what we want and how we want to be perceived in order to communicate a brand to others. “You should be able to sum up what you do and who you are in a few key words that are easy to grasp,” says Madison Feller, event attendee and magazine features intern. These key words should represent what you want people to say, think, or feel when they hear your name. The easier it is for you to communicate what you do, the easier it is for other people to learn and understand what you do and pass that brand on to others. “This event was a great reminder that personal branding is all about education and not self-promotion,” says Jessalin Lam, event attendee, entrepreneur, and marketing and promotions manager.
Apply it to your site: Malarkey recommends including your resume in both its text and PDF forms on your website. That way the buzzwords you’ve chosen to describe yourself—which should most definitely be included in your resume—will be more easily searchable via search engine, but you’ll also have a pretty copy for potential employers or partners to save or print.
[Related: The Ultimate Guide to Personal Branding]
2. Inspire others with your personal brand.
The next step in building your personal brand is inspiring others to want to work with you. Before it’s possible to inspire anyone, however, you have to know who you want to inspire. “Who is your audience and what is your goal? Is it a hiring manager who you want to interview you? Is it an editor you want to work with? Figuring out your audience will help you streamline your vision,” Feller says. Once you’ve determined who you’re trying to reach, it becomes much easier to communicate what you can do for your audience. “People need to fully understand the value you provide, the skills and gifts you can share to solve problems,” Lam says.
Apply it to your site: Make sure the headshot on your website is well shot and makes you look approachable, Malarkey says. A friendly photo will invite your readers into your site and make them more inclined to work with you.
3. Grow your brand throughout your professional development.
So you’ve built the foundation for your personal brand and have a beautiful website up and running. Where do you go from here? Regardless of what path your career takes, you’re going to continue to expand your base of knowledge and expertise. Growing your personal brand is all about really owning you and what you know, so it’s totally cool to continue adjusting and developing your brand as you develop professionally. “It’s okay, scratch that, it’s fantastic to know your strengths and to shout ’em out loud! Be confident about your abilities and learn how to express those strengths with the world,” Feller says.
Apply it to your site: As you become more and more experienced, more and more people are going to want to reach out to you with potential jobs and projects. Malarkey recommends keeping your contact info easily accessible on your site—whether through an obvious “Contact” tab in your site’s menu or a footer at the bottom of every page—to make getting a hold of you that much easier.
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Photo: Astronaut Image / Getty Images; Annie Malarkey