As a professional specialising in integrated marketing, I’ll admit that when I first heard of personal branding a few years ago, I did let out a little disgusted shudder. Whether that was because there is a British tradition of unwillingness to shout about how great we are from the rooftops (complete with jazz hands) or more a natural wave of imposter syndrome, I’m not sure.
What is personal branding?
For those of you who aren’t acquainted with the concept of personal branding, I’ll explain. Personal branding pretty much does what it says on the tin. It’s your personal brand of everything that’s you, or at least the view of you want to be presented to the world. If you imagine a personal branding site as being similar to meeting a stranger at a party and engaging in small talk, you’ll be on the right track. So, what you do, why you’re good at it, and then also, what you’re interested in and what makes you tick.
So, yes, while it may on the surface appear slightly big-headed to have a personal branding site (although handing a card with the details on it can stop small talk with boring strangers), there are a considerable number of potential rewards to be reaped from having one.
Should everyone have a personal branding site?
That very much depends on why people want one to start with. If you are involved in many different things, projects, charities, companies and hobbies, you may want a place that you control that can house all of that information neatly. “But what about Linkedin”, I hear people ask, a personal branding site is not a replacement for a Linkedin profile. A personal branding site is partly about self-expression and let’s face it, the Linkedin profiles templates have not been built with that in mind.
Let’s talk SEO
While the dark art of SEO is something that is whispered about in corners by web designers and marketing specialists, and SEO is the subject of a whole other series of blogs, it’s worth noting that a personal branding site can boost the SEO of your business sites.
Creating a personal branding site which links to your current business websites, will create useful backlinks which will, in a nutshell, move you up Google. It also gives you the opportunity to have your name linked with other key terms.
Improve your value
After my initial disgusted shiver, I embraced the concept that personal branding is there to tell everybody about all the things that you’re good at. To that end, a personal website is a fantastic place to collate it all. While I obviously have my Not Another Marketing Agency work, I’m not just a one-trick pony.
Alongside successfully running the marketing for a large number of companies and consulting for others, I’ve also been known to dabble in gardening and self-sufficiency (points to blogs on her personal branding website, see what I’m doing here). I also love art, graphics and photography, so there’s a holding spot for my art website on my personal branding site. And then there are my social enterprise interests; in between juggling family life, cats and rabbits, I am also the director of a Not for Profit (don’t panic, I do still find time to breathe).
While this may all sound horribly pretentious and critics may argue that I’m blowing my own trumpet, you could also argue that these aspects of my life are the ones that should be shouted from the rooftops. They help my potential clients to learn more about me and decide whether they want to receive home-baked cake as well as marketing advice at meetings.
Take back control of your image
Having your own personal branding allows you to take control of your brand image and gives you the security of knowing that the information that is available about you online is firmly under your control, as much as reasonably possible.
Additionally, having your own personal branding site makes it easier for recruiters to get hold of the details that you want to feed them instead of relying on social media trawls (come on, we’ve all done it).
Boost your confidence
Ok, I’m going to say it, blowing your own trumpet by having your own personal branding website is a sure-fire way to boost your confidence. Pinpointing our wins and successes, sharing and recognising our skills and talents, not desperately trying to remember when you received that 10m swimming badge (was it 1985 or 86) is the best way to give you the confident glow you deserve.
Go on, treat yourself.
Are personal branding sites just another fad?
Who knows! Does it really matter? PB sites can be set up relatively inexpensively, Tabitha the MD has set one up as an example to show people. It is doing her no harm and has finally given her Woman V Rabbit a home after a couple of false starts. If you’d like to discuss how you can market your personal brand, she’d love to hear from you.