A Professional Website Equals A Professional Image?

I came across an article entitled “How to build your brand, shape your professional image” that gives five tips for shaping your professional image:

  1. What is your focus
  2. Build a social media following
  3. Aesthetics matter
  4. Create a professional website
  5. Publish your work

For those of you who went to the site I linked to, the above tips are in the order that the other wrote them.  Here’s the order I’ve done it:

  1. Build a social media following
  2. Publish my work
  3. What is my focus
  4. Create a “professional” website
  5. Aesthetics matter

The tips that the author gives and the order they’re in isn’t bad, since I don’t believe she intended to have any specific order to her tips.  But here’s one thing I’ve come to realize personally: there is no one formula that works for everyone for a professional image.

This is because each industry has different standards for the people who work in them.  And within each industry, there are several different niches.

For example, I want to have books published some day.  And one of things that I was told/taught in while in college is that having a centralized site where I publish all of my blog posts wouldn’t hurt.  The theory behind this, or at least so I’ve been told, is that it would help me to build up an audience.

I am sure that people who work as professionals within the person branding and public relations community would have a mixture of different views on whether or not hosting a blog on my professional site is a good thing or not.  But the way I look at is that this way, everyone knows what topics are of interest to me currently.

And as for the rest of the tips, I constantly changing my website or tweeting about something new or constantly asking “Am I the same person I was six months ago?” I never really worry that I’ll forget my professional image.  It’s more of a, “will my professional image be the same in a month, a year or five years from now?”

Klout: A Way to Measure Your Brand

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Klout, it’s a website that’s designed to measure how well you engage people on social media sites.

Klout gives you a 90 day break down of your score imp at.  What’s helpful about this is the ability to see what day(s) you got the most engagement.  This is helpful since you are able to see what posts get the most engagement out of people who trust in your brand.

The break down looks like this:

90 Day Score Impact

The other useful thing about Klout is being able to see how each social network contributes to your Klout score.  Klout, currently, uses Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, FourSquare, and Instagram that help to identify your Klout Score.

My Network Breakdown
My Network Breakdown

How Klout plays into working on your personal brand is by seeing if you’re getting the most out of the social media networks you’re using.

Taking Stock of Your Current Personal Brand

For those of you in the same boat as me in regards of working on your personal brand, the best way to start is by taking stock of your personal brand.  This, in many regards, is an easy thing to do.

1. Make a List of Your Hobbies & Interest

A good place to start is making a list of your hobbies and interest.  Are you interested in books?  How about video games?  Do you love to sing?  Do you have a passion for cooking?

What ever your hobbies and interest are, make a list of them.  There isn’t a magical number of how many interests you have to have for your personal brand.  If you only have two hobbies and five interests, then that’s fine.  But what you should do is be specific about them.

Lets say you’re interested in books.  Break that down even further.  On your list, list the genres you like or specific authors or specific books.

2.  Describe Yourself using Adjectives and Nouns

Spend a good five to ten minutes just brainstorming adjectives and nouns that describe who you are.  Your list could easily range from being a book worm to an athlete to being dramatic.

There’s no right or wrong adjectives and nouns to use to describe yourself.  But if you’re having a hard time coming up with a list, you can always ask your friends.  They might be able to list of adjectives that you didn’t even think of.

3. Make a list of brands you use

The brands you use are as much a part of your personal brand as anything else.  Think about things you use:

  • Do you use an iPhone or Samsun Galaxy s5
  • Do you use a Nikon camera or a Canon Camera
  • The type of laundry detergent you use
  • The type of deodorant you use
  • Your favorite place(s) to eat

Believe it or not, even the scents from hair products, deodorants and laundry detergents you use have an impact on your brand.  I have a friend who would always tell me that I smell like fresh laundry and this was due to my usage of Tide with Febreze.

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Bringing it all together

The three lists you have made are your starting point for your personal brand.  The lists, especially the ones about the interests you have and the products you like to use, are things that you should be Facebooking about, tweeting about, YouTubing about and what ever else you do with social media.

This of course doesn’t mean that you can’t deviate away from these lists.  After all, the lists you made today will be different in six months, a year, five years and so on.

Personal Branding: What Is It & Why It Matters

I’ve been poking around for a good definition of what Personal Branding is.  And the following definition for branding, as a whole, from the book Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself seems to hit it right on the read:

A brand is an emotional response to the image or name of a particular company, product or person.

In the case of a personal brand, it’s the emotional response that people have towards a particular person.   Just by looking at characters in TV shows, we all have an emotional response to them:

  • Cristina Yang of Grey’s Anatomy as a driven heart surgeon, even when she was an intern.
  • Yoda of the Star Wars franchise basically as the wise elder

These are of course are just a brief list of many characters that one can draw upon as reference points as personal brands.  In school – regardless of whether it was middle school, high school or college – we remember which one of our classmates where jocks, nerds, goodie two-shoes, etc. and this is the power of personal branding.

Personal branding breaks down to the follow:

  • Your Personality
  • Your Interests
  • Your Habits
  • Your Hobbies
  • Your Job
  • Your Education
  • And so on

I can sit here listing everything that factors into your personal brand; but I would only be able to come up with only so many items to list.

So why is this important then?  Because in today’s day and age, one’s personal brand isn’t limited to just where they live.  With the heavy usage of social media, or even just search engines, it’s easier to find information about a person.

I recently Googled a classmate’s name and I was able to find an archived awards day article published in 1999 from the Ely Echo.  So knowing how to work and manage your personal brand is an important skill to have.

Personal Branding Blog Post Series

For those of you who tune in regularly, I’m sure that you saw that I published seven “brief looks” at several social media websites.  The reason, for those of you where wondering, is because I want to do a blog post series on personal branding.

The reason why I had started the personal branding post series with these brief looks is because in the rise of the usage of social media sites, they’ve become where a lot of personal branding takes place now.

I have a few ideas of where I want to start:Starting List of Topics
Granted, this is just a starting point and I am almost certain that I won’t run out of topics to blog about any time soon.

So please keep posted and coming back.