Whether you’re looking for a new job, courting new clients, or trying to demonstrate value in your current role, personal branding is what makes you stand out from the sea of people doing the same things as you. But how do you differentiate yourself, and not in a way that everyone else is differentiating themselves? One way that not many people want to put effort into is starting a blog. Even if you don’t consider yourself a writer, you have a voice, and sharing it can be one of your best personal branding tools.
If you’re a creative, you can use your blog to showcase your professional work and creative side-projects. If you already have a dedicated portfolio site, adding a blog with content on industry, creative, or cultural trends can underscore your personal brand and position you as an expert — like this fantastic all-around blog from designer David Airey that shows off all of his creative interests.
If you work in account/management, show off what makes you so good at what you do. Write about the latest industry changes, share best practices, or offer insight into business news. Account-guru Robert Solomon’s blog is an excellent example of how to turn your insight into value for your readers.
If you’re a junior creative, one of the great struggles is convincing others that your opinion is worth listening to. By setting up an aggregator-style blog (similar to something like Copyranter) and recapping news items with your own take, you can get instant credibility.
If you’re a freelancer, a blog can keep you top-of-mind with existing and prospective clients. Create mini-case studies to demonstrate how you’ve helped your clients succeed. You can also write “how I get it done” articles that invite participation from other professionals, like this post from former Crispin Porter + Bogusky wunderkind Sally Hogshead.
And no matter who you are, you can use a blog as part of a larger integrated marketing campaign to promote yourself and build awareness for your personal brand.
Ready to get started?
How to Build It
There are dozens of platforms that let you quickly put together a polished-looking site in an hour; no tech skills needed.
Many of them provide a free option that gives you a certain number of pages, but you can’t have your own URL – instead, you’ll have to settle for something like yourname.wordpress.com. And Wix, for example, shows third-party ads and Wix branding on free pages.
• If you only want to share visuals or other multimedia content, tumblr or Instagram allow for easy sharing, and both have built-in social components.
• If you want to reach a wide audience, try Medium. It isn’t exactly a blog in the traditional sense, but the online-magazine format lends authority to your voice. What’s a plus for some (or drawback for others) is Medium is content-only — there’s a single format, so you don’t get to play with how it looks or functions.
• If you want to create something customized and professional-looking, Squarespace is a great choice. Even with no coding skills, you can put together a lush-looking site with built-in functionality. If you want your own domain name, it’s the most expensive of the bunch, but it’s a solid investment if you’re a creative director or a senior professional (or want to look like you are).
To give your audience a reason to come back and engage with the site (and eventually, you), update your blog once a week, at minimum. Drive additional traffic to your blog by posting updates on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or wherever else it’s appropriate. It’s a win-win: when you post relevant, interesting content on social, people will like it and share it — giving you new ways to grow your own personal network.
Blogging alone may not get you a new job, new clients, or a new title (then again, it might) but it’s an impactful way to market yourself and improve your personal brand. When it’s part of a plan that includes a solid resume and social presence, you might be making a move sooner than you expect.
Lisa is a Creative Circle candidate and seasoned advertising copywriter who lives in Los Angeles. Her background includes both in-house and agency work on Fortune 500 and global accounts in the consumer and healthcare/pharmaceutical fields. She excels at words, fashion, and cats. If you want to work with Lisa, contact Creative Circle Los Angeles.