No matter where they are in the world, marketers everywhere are adjusting to a new economic normal in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
For many, that new normal includes being out of work and facing the prospect of starting a job search under less-than-ideal conditions. In some places, their efforts are helped by industry insiders rising to the occasion and starting referral lists to help them along. Those efforts, while helpful, won’t get everyone back to work, though.
For most marketers, their success or failure at landing a new position is going to rest solely on their own abilities and how well they’re able to communicate them to clients and employers. As has been pointed out elsewhere, marketers are uniquely qualified to accomplish this very task. One of the things they need to do before job-hunting, though, is to take some time to build up their personal brand so they can stand out from the pack and land the new job they want and need. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it.
Become a Content Contributor
A big part of building a personal brand is to establish yourself as a go-to thought leader in the field you specialize in. To do this, marketers have to get into the habit of contributing content to industry publications. The content can take whatever form suits the individual best, from helpful and informative articles to short-form how-to videos and podcasts covering marketing topics. The format isn’t the important part, though. The important part is that the content created has to be useful, unique, informative, and timely. It should showcase your knowledge and abilities, and spotlight what employers will gain by bringing you on board.
Showcase Your Personality on Social Media
Another key aspect of creating a strong personal brand is to take steps to let the world know who you are, in addition to what you do. One of the most effective ways to do that is to use social media as a platform to showcase your personality to the world. Doing so can let potential clients and employers know what kind of a cultural impact you’ll have on their organizations should they hire you. For that reason, always keep the following rules in mind as you post:
- Keep your tone consistent and positive
- Don’t overshare personal information
- Be engaging and encourage thoughtful debate with followers
- Be authentic
That last point is the most important one. Being yourself is critical to your personal brand because you’re trying to sell who you are. If what you’re selling is just an act, it won’t be long before you’re unable to keep it up and potential employers will start to pass you by.
Join the Industry Conversation
The marketing field is made up of professionals from all walks of life and with a variety of specialties. But as the aforementioned referral list makes clear, it’s also a community of individuals that loves the work they do and who care about others in the industry. That means one of the most important parts of building a personal brand as a marketer is to engage in the ongoing conversation that those people have online on a daily basis. Think of it as an exercise in digital networking on a grand scale.
To do it, it’s important to mingle among your peers online, consuming the content they create and commenting on it where appropriate. It’s also a good idea to become a content curator, sharing useful and well-crafted material with those you engage with regularly. Consider using automation tools like Buffer or Hootsuite to set and keep to a sharing schedule so you can attract a loyal following online. Then, always take the time to follow up on your shares, asking followers what they thought and encouraging discussion. Being at the center of a conversation among marketing peers is an excellent place to be if you’re working to establish your personal brand.
Establish a High-Quality Online Portfolio
At the end of the day, marketers are only as good as the campaigns they design and the results they drive. That’s why building a high-quality online portfolio of your work is an essential part of establishing your personal brand. It’s also the one component of that brand where it’s perfectly fine to be as boastful as you want (without being obnoxious, of course). Use it as a forum to show off your best work, go into details about how and why campaigns you’ve created were so effective, and to let visitors know where you cut your teeth in the industry.
If you hold any industry certifications or advanced marketing degrees, this is the place to demonstrate how they’ve given you the tools needed to pull off the work you’re featuring. In short, your portfolio is a place that ties everything about your personal brand together – it’s a living instrument that connects your personality with your design chops, planning and execution skills, and your professional credentials. In other words, if you’re the product, this is your showroom.
Consistency Wins the Race
The last important thing to remember about personal branding is that it’s not something you can get done in a weekend. It’s something you have to commit to doing throughout your career, continually updating your work and engaging with the community as you learn and grow. And the time it takes will pay off. As the current economic crisis demonstrates, you never can tell when you’re going to be in the market for a new job. So if you build and maintain a strong personal brand at all times, you’ll be ready to face whatever your career has to throw at you – and you’ll have a following that’s invested in your success and that will cheer you on as you go.