Adapted from #Qualified: You Are More Impressive Than You Realize
There are dozens of ways to build your personal brand online and the first step is to find what works for you. Identify what you’d like to share with the world—is it your resume, portfolio of projects, presentation videos, original songs, writing samples, t-shirt designs, or blog posts on your passion? Then choose your platform that aligns with what you want to share.
The first and easiest platform to launch your personal brand is your LinkedIn profile. Simply start with a professional photo and resume. If you already have this step down, you could level up with a personal branded website or leverage platforms that already exist. Read on for three creative ways to build your brand on existing platforms and communicate your passion like a boss.
1. Pump up your IG
Let’s say you’re passionate about yoga, meditation, and mindfulness. You desire to work for a wellness organization. Consider curating an entire Instagram feed dedicated to this passion. For example, you could include a daily video of a new yoga pose, or feature an inspiring quote relating to mindfulness. You might read articles by experts and each week share what you’ve learned in a post and photo that reflects your learning.
Not sure where to get these images? Pull from your own life. Check out Unsplash for free-for-use photos. You can even design an image on a free tool like Canva—a tool I absolutely love for designing quote tiles to feature on my personal branded Instagram.
Your posts don’t have to be professional or perfect. As many personal brand experts will tell you, brands constantly evolve. Your personal brand will grow as your tastes evolve and as your industry changes.
It takes a lot of courage to put something out there, especially in the world of social media where some people receive thousands of likes and your fledgling account may not be super popular right away. When it comes to a professional career journey, everyone has to start somewhere. While it may be impressive to a yoga studio if your yoga Instagram page has a ton of followers, there are still plenty of studios that would be equally as interested in a passionate new teacher who is still creating their Insta page and keeps at it. At the end of the day, they will see your passion, and your passion shouldn’t be swayed by “likes.” Truly passionate people do what they love whether other people take notice or not.
Then imagine the impression you will make when you can share your Instagram page that demonstrates that passion. Fast forward to your interview for your dream career and your personal brand is your differentiator—especially if you’re competing for a job against someone with the exact same resume, strengths, and skill set.
2. Show off your videos
Let’s say your passion is music. You play an instrument and produce your own tracks. You’re interested in a career in music production and dream of working with stars like Beyoncé. At an event at the University of San Diego, I once had a student raise his hand and share this exact vision. I loved it—dream big! When it comes to building his personal brand, many great platforms already exist for the music industry—YouTube, Vimeo, even Facebook live.
Before you can start growing your platform, first things first, you need a video. You’ve chosen video as your medium because it doesn’t scare you, but it still takes guts to hit “record” that first time. After that, it gets easier.
For this first foray, keep it simple. Record yourself playing your instrument. Record a mix you made and set it to an image. Or record yourself talking about whatever it is that you are currently learning about in the music production world.
If you’re passionate about music technology or pro audio, you could take inspiration from a publication like CNET and make videos where you geek out over the latest technology. As you read articles and books about music production, share what you’ve learned in a video. Show us how you put your learning into action by creating your first track. Every day you’ll get better and your viewers will be along for the ride. Meanwhile, you’ll start to develop your personal brand.
Now that you’ve created your first video, spruce it up with a thumbnail image (the first image that shows up and the one you can pin on YouTube to show for promotional efforts). Keep in mind there are free tools available, such as the free tool Canva, where they already have the YouTube dimensions and example template designs to choose from. No professional design skills needed here.
You’ll be surprised by how impressed other people will be by your free designed template and iPhone-filmed one–minute video talking about a new pro audio tool you’ve tried out. The fact that you put in the effort to do this courageous yet small act sets you apart from everyone else who is too afraid to put their passion out into the universe.
3. Start podcasting stat
Did you know that 14 million new people have become podcast listeners in the last year?* It’s my favorite way to build your brand because it’s a fantastic excuse to make courageous connections with people you admire in your industry, by asking them for interviews. Another advantage is that you can repurpose the video interview for YouTube, the audio for a blog post, and pull your favorite quotes for your Instagram. You don’t need any tech experience to get started; just a smartphone.
I believe anyone can start a podcast. Like uploading your videos to YouTube, creating a podcast is free and open to all. Keep in mind that Apple Podcast does require a submission and approval process, but you can easily stream your podcast on Libsyn, Spotify, or other platforms that have little or no barrier to entry. Not to mention, there’s very little overhead cost to get started. You can get started with virtually zero tools other than your smartphone.
You can edit your podcast using iMovie, which is free on Apple iPads or computers, or you can leave your podcast unedited and just go with it!
I can’t tell you how many people I know who have told me they would love to start a podcast. Set yourself apart by making moves. I promise you, if you set aside the time, you can make a podcast. It does not require a diploma, expertise, or experience. It only requires passion to fuel your creation.
Similar to video, podcasts range in format. Consider which of the formats works best for your goals: Interview or Q&A, Conversational, Educational, Storytelling. The interview format makes for a great excuse to make courageous connections with thought leaders in your field. Start with one fifteen-minute podcast and share it with the world.
Remember, your personal brand will grow over time. Don’t expect it to be perfect in a day; just like your career, it’s a journey! Discover more creative ways to build your personal brand with step by steps in my book #Qualified: You Are More Impressive Than You Realize.
* Peiser, J. (2019, March 6). Podcast Growth is Popping in the U.S., Survey Shows. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www. nytimes.com/2019/03/06/business/media/podcast-growth.html.
About the Author:
AMANDA NACHMAN: As the CEO and publisher of College Magazine, the trusted guide to navigating college, reaching millions of readers, Amanda Nachman empowers young professionals to achieve a career they love. She’s developed a career strategy over twelve years coaching thousands of students. It’s the same strategy that helped her to quit her boring day job and launch her dream magazine. Her graduates have gone on to careers at NBC, USA Today, Vox, Washingtonian, Us Weekly, National Geographic, and more. She’s also a TEDx speaker, keynote speaker with APB Speakers, and host of the Find Your Passion Career podcast found on iTunes and Spotify.