I’m a documenter by nature. I think if you’ve known me for even a little while you can understand that I place a lot of value in remembering specific details of moments in my life. I’ve always been like that, but when I started a blog this part of my personality was amplified. Over the years I changed my blog to my website, which you can learn more of on my About page. As I have grown so has my personal brand and I’ve recently stepped into a new era of developing a brand as a professional in PR. I think I was really lucky to get in the game early (2009!!) so I have had plenty of time to figure out what I want my domain name and brand to represent.
I actually bought hollyhoehner.com in October 2015 after a CEO of a communications firm, who was a guest speaker in one of my PR electives, told us that if we don’t have our own domain we were already behind the curve. He was right. There is no better way to create your personal brand than by what you put on the Internet. Your brand is how you present yourself, online and in person, and the characteristics that set you apart from the rest. Everyone can benefit from personal branding in their professional career. Everyone. It’s an easy step to make yourself more marketable to employers and show what you can do without needing a specific opportunity to do so. Personal branding communicates that you have initiative and that you are confident in what you have to offer. I’ve learned a lot along the way through trial and error, so today I’m going to give you some tips on how you how you can begin forming your own personal brand.
How to Build Your Personal Brand
- Ignore the fear of putting yourself out there and embrace vulnerability: Easier said than done, I get it. There have been many times where I have been nervous to post something because it’s so personal and even if no one reads it, it’s still out there to be found. Even to this day I get a little hesitant to press “post” on certain posts. But here’s the thing: transparency builds affinity and I want people to like my brand. When you are true to yourself while creating your personal brand people will see that and connect with it, which is the goal. Besides, nobody wants to be stuck keeping up with a fake persona. It’s easier to be yourself. Sometimes you just gotta go for it and nobody can fault you for that.
- Define your brand by writing a mission statement for yourself: Do you like baking? Build your brand around your awesome baking and people skills. I like PR and lifestyle elements with a classic twist, so that’s what I focus on. Before I launched this new phase of my brand I wrote down a list of what I wanted my website to reflect about myself. From that list I created a mission statement. Everything I post goes back to that list and mission. It may take a while and little trial and error to figure out who you are. My biggest tip is to write what you would want to read or share things that interest and relate to you. What are your passions? How do you want people to talk about you? What do you have to offer that makes you unique?
- Keep it consistent and sell it!: Consistency is so important in personal branding. Every social media account under your name should communicate your brand. Profile photos and descriptions are the easiest way to stay consistent on every platform. Use the same photo and description for everything. When you’ve posted your content it’s time to share that with your social media community. I share each of my posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest so I’m reaching different audiences. You have to, again, ignore the fear of sharing yourself and just do it. Brands don’t wait for people to come find them and neither should you! Putting your work out there will help you find people who have similar interests and make new connections that could benefit you sometime down the road. You just never know who is looking, so prepare to always be promoting your brand and what makes you indispensable.
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Holly Hoehner is a public relations senior at the University of Oklahoma. She considers herself more of a Russell Westbrook than a Kevin Durant and enjoys learning about and participating in the digital age, blogging about anything that comes to her mind and creating witty Instagram captions. Holly was raised a die-hard Sooner fan in Edmond, OK.