If there’s anything that life seems to repeatedly throw at me, outside of library fines and a lack of foundations pale enough for my Casper skin, it’s the proverbial “tell me about yourself” call to action. School applications, job interviews, first dates, social media profile bios, orientation icebreaker activities – describing myself seems unavoidable. While I rarely recite identical descriptions of myself, I do make a conscious effort to present myself with a specific area of expertise. As Desta states in The Lazy Person’s Guide to Personal Branding, “If you’re fighting to be a generalist, you’ll get lost in a sea of similar people.” In order to stand out as an original in a room full of other content creators, I’ve got to have a solid understanding of my niche, area of expertise and overall personal brand.
For reference, I consider Lauren Gleisberg to be a content guru in regards to establishing a personal brand. As a fitness and dietary professional, she is not necessarily within a communication field, but there is definitely an overlap based on how she represents herself. She utilizes social media and blogging to connect with her audience and continually contributes to the personal brand she has created. Lauren engages her audience in various ways, such as sharing her followers’ progress pictures on Instagram, hosting meet and greets, sharing her personal life through Snapchat, continually engaging interaction among her community, offering honest portrayals of how her own fitness journey is going on her website’s blog and so much more. When you search this inspirational gal on the internet, you’ll immediately know who she is and what she’s all about – and to me, that’s what successful personal branding is all about.
As a college student, I’m pretty confident that my niche will change over time as I gain more years of experience and become exposed to more opportunities. Right now, I market myself within the communication realm as being capable of all kinds of content creation. I narrow this down to written content if a role calls for specificity. Delving further into this niche, my area of expertise seems to fall within the scope of customer attraction, interaction and engagement through various mediums. While I could claim to be a jack of all trades capable of employee newsletters, media outreach, graphic visuals and other forms of content creation, I don’t want to become lost in the crowd.
My current and previous work experiences have dipped into various areas, but I’ve always enjoyed and excelled at work that allows me to focus on being a company’s voice to customers. One of my primary roles at the property development firm I work for revolves around creating a relationship between the company and its commercial and residential tenants. By establishing a company blog, sharing behind-the-scenes office activities on social media, personalizing email templates and other content-focused actions, I’ve been able to gradually change tenants’ views of the company in a positive way. These are specific actions that could help me stand out from general content creators in the communication realm.
My primary goal is to establish an authentic portrayal of my skills and reach potential employers. I would also like to connect with others in my field through engagement via my posts and social media interactions. I will measure my overall success through the number of comments and mentions I receive, as well as keeping an eye on likes, retweets and followers. I will also measure my blog analytics to see what kind of traffic I am gaining through my posts, and what topics seem to gain the most interaction with readers. Finally, I will be interested in the number, if any, of prospective employers that do reach out to me in some way.
In order to continually establish my personal brand, consistency is key. I make sure to update my LinkedIn profiles and social media profiles to accurately reflect my current work projects, prior experiences, interests and skills and I keep tabs on my overall online presence as well. Consistency is a big deal because I would hate to unintentionally send out mixed signals to employers in regards to what I’m all about. Continually generating quality content that frames me in a positive, professional light is also part of my personal brand plan, so to speak. By sharing current, relevant work samples I hope to stay one step ahead of others within my field.