Guest Blogpost by Diane Domeyer
Executive Director, The Creative Group
Marketing is not just for ad agencies and corporations. How effectively are you promoting yourself and your work? Just like businesses benefit from branding, so too can individuals. A consistent and compelling brand attracts clients; impresses supervisors and hiring managers; and leads to more assignments, responsibilities and job offers. But you have to pull everything together and package it well.
Here are some tips for improving your personal branding:
1. Build On Your Strengths.
What’s special about your work? What differentiates you from other professionals vying for a particular project or job? Does your portfolio showcase current trends and technologies? Can you articulate your contributions to a client’s or company’s bottom line? Does your personal style say something about you and your passions? Be sure to put your best work forward but also take time to articulate its meaning and value in specific terms. Keep this list of strengths in mind as you formulate your brand. Then ask a trusted fellow designer for input and feedback – you may pick up ideas that you’ve overlooked.
2. New Year, New You.
Are you as polished as your resume and portfolio? Your appearance doesn’t have to be Photoshop perfect, but how you present yourself during proposal pitches and interviews should fit the image you want to project. If your presentation falls a little flat, become your own next design project. For example, if you want to appeal to a high-end clientele, set aside your hoodies and jeans and invest in more fashionable apparel. Accessories count, too. Update that worn canvas binder with a portfolio case that complements your new look. Then you’ll be better prepared and presentable for your next meeting or interview.
3. Shine Online.
You work in a visual medium, so make sure you have an impressive digital portfolio. Physical portfolios aren’t going away any time soon, but they’re no longer the first thing most prospective clients and employers look at. So put your best work online, and make it easy and convenient to view everything in one place. Many sites host digital portfolios for free or a monthly subscription, such as Behance, Carbonmade and Coroflot. You also can create a personal website with hosts like Squarespace or Wix. Whichever approach you choose, include only your best and most recent projects.
4. You Are What You Tweet.
Search for yourself on Google, Bing or Yahoo. What you see is what prospective clients and employers will see, too. In addition to your online portfolio, your social media presence is a big part of your personal branding. So establish a strong online persona and tend it carefully.
Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are all popular and important personal branding tools. But you should spend time updating your LinkedIn profile, too. This social network is a top source for finding out who’s who, and it can also net you valuable recommendations and endorsements. Your personal branding may also require some digital spring cleaning. Aim for a consistent look and feel across platforms. And be sure to delete anything that could come back to haunt you, such as embarrassing photos or Twitter rants.
5. Get Out There.
To acquaint peers, clients and potential employers with your improved personal branding, promote your online profiles on your business card, resume and email signature. Include a link to your digital portfolio or personal website, Twitter handle and LinkedIn page. Then expand your networking. You can meet with other designers, volunteer to work or speak at industry events, and be a guest blogger on your favorite design site. Building relationships with fellow creatives could lead to more work.
Be sure you bring all these elements together into a cohesive package. Your personal branding should clearly declare who you are and what you do best. Then it can sell your creativity more effectively to the right prospects.