Posted on August 10, 2009
Journalists must build a personal brand: 10 tips
This post was inspired by one written by Joe Grimm, the longtime journalism jobs adviser. DigiDave (Dave Cohn) is a living example of this — and naturally, he has written a blog post about the topic. Ryan Sholin cautions us to be authentic in this pursuit — an honest brand is valuable; a fake or inflated brand is detrimental.
Here’s my advice for testing whether you’ve built a brand yet:
- People in your field should know who you are.
- Someone who Googles your first and last name should be able to find out who you are.
- Your online self-representation should demonstrate that you are a serious, ethical journalist.
- Samples of your best work should be linked to your home page or online (HTML) resume.
- Your real work experience should be easy to find and easy to scan quickly. People will want to check this for verification, so dates should be clear, not obfuscated. Example: “June – August 2006” is clear and honest. “Intern” is honest when “reporter” might not be. Consider “correspondent” or “stringer” too, when accurate. Lists of dodgy freelance work make you appear dodgy. Links to work add credibility. (Use PDFs for work that has been locked behind a pay wall or deleted.)
- Make sure your online pages can be read easily on various cell phones, including the iPhone.
- If you supply a link to a PDF of your resume, make sure the pertinent job or freelance-experience information is also available via simple HTML (not exclusively in the PDF). Word Docs are not good for online resumes. A Google Doc would be better.
- People who might want to hire you need to be able to find your contact info EASILY. Don’t make them hunt all over for it. If you supply an e-mail address, make sure you check mail at that address just about daily, if not more often.
- You need to be around, to be visible, to be seen — people should see your name in comments, retweets, etc.
- People online should point to you from time to time, as I have pointed to Joe, Dave, Ryan, Greg, and Lauren in this post. This confers authority on you. Brands rest in part on authority, in part on name recognition.
Anything I missed?
Joe Grimm said: “You become a brand by being: Authentic … Exceptional … Valuable … Consistent …” and by Sharing — your work, your knowledge, your considered opinions. That’s a shorter list than mine, and Joe has provided explanations of each one too.
The last time I blogged about this topic was almost a year ago: Promote yourself well, or fail.