5 Steps to Building the Brand of You

personal-branding-bahatiThe day after I resigned from my previous employer a little over a year ago, rather than focus on landing a new job or sleeping in, I did what most Gen Xers do when facing a mid-life career change, I started a blog.  I wasn’t exactly sure what kind of blogger I wanted to be.  All I knew was I wanted to write.

About what?  Anything I was interested in: technology, social justice, music, the environment, cool apps.  Pretty much, everything including the kitchen sink.

At the time, I didn’t realize my desire to start a blog was a result of me wanting to reclaim my identity and set the stage for a brand building strategy focused on moi.

After being employed with the same organization for seven years, I felt like so much of my time had been spent focusing on my employer’s mission, vision, goals, objectives, and strategies, I lost sight of my own.

What is my mission statement?
What do I value about myself?
What goals and objectives do I have for my career?
Do I have strategic initiatives I want to embark on?

A Girl on a Mission: How to Write a Personal Mission Statement

Since I would no longer be identified by a generic title (“meet the communications specialist”), function (“she manages the website”), or company affiliation (“I work for ACME Corp”), I hired myself and got busy building the brand of Bahati.  Given the fact that my second career centers on content marketing, I thought this would be a great opportunity to implement some of the strategies I’d eventually spearhead on behalf of my future clients.

1. Personal Blog

Blogs may be ubiquitous, but they are one of the best tools for launching the brand of you.  Whether you choose an old standby like LiveJournal, or a more popular service like WordPress, blogging allows you to tell your story the way you want it told.  At a loss for words?  Don’t fret.  Microblogs like Twitter,  Instagram and Tumblr have taken the world by storm and allow for less wordiness and more creativity.

2. Interactive Portfolio
By the end of the second week of my new journey, I stumbled upon a free digital publication site called YUDUfree.  I thought this would be an ideal way to showcase a custom designed, interactive career portfolio I had been working on.  If you’re not a graphic designer, there are a host of free portfolio hosting sites you can choose from.  Whether you create it yourself or opt for an online tool, your main goal is to provide a novel, digital representation of your career story that engages and informs.

Click to view the full digital publication online
View Bahati Banks’ Career Portfolio
Self Publishing with YUDU

3. Social Media

As a social media enthusiast, I can’t say enough about the benefits of building the brand of you by liking, following, tweeting, posting, sharing, and pinning relevant content that represent your interests.  Below are virtual wormholes to my socmed channels to give you an idea of how I promote my brand. You don’t have to join every new fandangle social networking community that pops up.  However, social media has become standard operating procedure in brand building and content marketing for businesses and individuals, so, get comfortable with it.

4. Professional Website

If you are currently in between jobs, unemployed or underemployed, listen up!  Every professional should be able to say, with confidence, they’ve acquired some skills to pay the bills at some point in their life.  Regardless of your profession, having a professional website that highlights your career journey can only enhance the brand of you.  Not only will your website demonstrate your enthusiasm and tech savviness, it may lead to unexpected opportunities if you follow some of the tactics companies use to promote their brand.  For example, incorporating a blog, videos, e-Newsletter, or webinars about your industry and/or profession.  Which brings us to the last point.

5. Thought Leadership

Don’t be frightened by this buzzword.  It’s just a fancy way for saying, ‘write, talk, or create stuff you know about.’  If this still sounds scary, well, it is.  Positioning yourself on front street as an advocate of this or that is a frightening thought, especially if you don’t consider yourself a leader.  With that said, it’s also important to recognize your unique opinions and ideas about the things you’re passionate about matter just as much as the folks in the C-suite.  Whether you’ve held a position for 5 years or 30, you have an opinion, right?

Still on the fence?  Read my previous post about Zach, the 12 year-old founder of Grom Social.  In under a year, his site has garnered the attention of major news outlets as word gets out about his Facebook like social networking site for kids 4-14.  Bottom line, you are never too young to lead or voice your opinion.

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