Personal branding encompasses how you are perceived in all areas of your life, including: your personal appearance; what someone remembers about you after an interaction; and how you are represented online – in social media, a professional website, and other services. In “Branding Pays”, Karen Kang suggests: “delivering a 360-degree brand – a clear and consistent delivery of your brand through all communications, gestures, and actions”. I would like to discuss ways you can develop your personal brand with a professional website.
As you create a professional website, you can choose from a number of templates; with a template, you have control over the style and layout, colors, fonts. Aesthetics and appearance play an important role in developing a personal brand. If you are a student, you might opt for a template branded by your school. If you are already employed, you opt for a template that relates to your field of interest; a lawyer will choose a different template than an IT professional.
Develop the home page of your professional website, so that it has all the functionality, content, and appearance to make a strong first impression. You can choose an application that best suits your professional background. My professional website has a timeline, so I can show my career progression; a student or recent college graduate should write an “elevator pitch” and/or show a video.
Much of your personal brand is based on communications. The content of your professional website should be crafted to represent how you want to be perceived, and again demonstrate whenever possible. An accountant should come across as orderly, so the content has short, succinct statements with references. A graphic designer should come across as being creative, so the content has tasteful statements with samples of work.
A professional website has built-in functionality to create a SEO (“search engine optimization”) campaign, where you can define your ecosystem or target audience. You try to influence when and where you appear in Google searches by defining a set of keywords and a description. For example, a lawyer might want to define his ecosystem by using the following keywords: Melbourne Florida, elder law, and estate planning; in his description, he might build some credibility by talking about his years of experience and clientele.
A professional website supports various types of media you can use to develop your brand. With a blog, you can write about your interests and let your personality shine through. With a video, you write a script, choreograph a scene, and deliver a message – all of which can have a strong influence on your personal brand.
You can write an “elevator pitch” to convey your personal brand. This is an opportunity to describe how you are a solution to a problem, discuss your value proposition, and present how your skills differentiate you from others (these ideas come from Ms. Kang’s branding strategy).
With a professional website, you have a unique domain that you can link to as a landing page from social media profiles – a professional website becomes your identity. So with personal branding, you should use social media for its intended purpose and develop a branding strategy across platforms.
A professional website should exude your personal brand. You can choose a template – style, fonts, color, and layout, use various types of media, carve out your ecosystem or target market, and write content that represents your branding strategy.
“Branding Pays” is a book written by Karen Kang Copyright 2013