"I've done it again.
This time will be the last.
I know I said that last time but I've definitely got it now."
If you're thinking I've lost the plot, you're not far off. In this movie called 'life' where each of us are lead characters in our own right, I seem unable to define my role.
A month before I started OPELLO someone recently asked me what I "do" and I hesitated. For some reason the term 'freelancer' just feels like a precursor to something more significant. So out pops the first thing that comes to mind, which happens to be my passion: "I'm a filmmaker."
Now that claim is true. I create promotional videos for educational institutions and small to medium sized businesses (or SMEs as they're also known). However, I am also a career skills consultant; providing a bespoke CV and cover letter service along with interview techniques training. Then recently someone (quite cleverly) identified what I do as 'brand consultancy'. Cue deep sigh.
Since deciding to give freelancing a go I must've told a dozen people, a dozen different things when asked to describe how I make a living. Vistaprint and Moo are making a killing from me considering the number of different business cards I've ordered in the last few weeks.
...and this brings us back to the start of my story.
I'm sat in front of a laptop screen changing my Linkedin job title. Again. Changing my Twitter bio. Again. Ordering business cards.
What I'm going through is a brand identity crisis. Sound familiar? Concerned it may happen to you? Well help is here in the form of my 5-step plan to help you define your personal brand:
- Write your bio. Do a two-paragraph summary of your professional and personal life in the third person. This will allow you to take a step back and hopefully remove any awkward feeling from talking about yourself. Pretend you're a journalist who is writing an article about you for a major newspaper. Use all at your disposal: your looks, personality, education, job title(s), hobbies, passions, talents, awards, charity work, family life.
- Read your bio. Find a quiet spot and pretend you're reading about someone else. How do you feel about this person? Are you impressed by what they've achieved? What do you feel this person should change about herself?
- Make a word cloud. Pull the keywords in your bio that really summarise your story. Make bold the words that appear more than once or hold stronger significance to you.
- Tidy it all up. Chances are, you are very active in some form of social media and now that you have defined your personal brand, you will need to go into all of your profiles and update the information to reflect your newly defined personal brand. Your profile text should be very relevant to who you are and your pictures should also be “on brand”, which essentially means consistent both in appearance and tone.
- Give it a test drive. As you start to find your brand's voice, reach out to a blog or writer you follow and ask to provide content. Many times, bloggers and magazines (especially local press) are looking for content and are happy to give you some space. Make sure when you are pitching a story idea that it is not overtly promotional and that you have a distinct point of view on the subject.
Discovering your brand identity is a rewarding exercise that encourages defining the best version of you. It will allow you to perform better in every area of your life, no matter what you do.
Now what was it you said you do?
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