#CommsSchool Homework – My Approach To Personal Branding

This weeks #CommsSchool homework – which, by the way is a school put together by Stephen Waddington and Marcel Klebba to help educate PR professionals of all ages on how they can excel in this industry and build their own personal rapport – is to share my personal branding approach.

And what better a time, as I’ve just changed my domain and promised to steer my blog in a new direction.

Personal Branding – What Is It?

As a young PR professional in particular, personal branding is pretty much fundamental.

We operate in a saturated industry, and it’s hard to leave your mark – especially when you’re a junior. I was well aware of this when I was in university, and though I was driven to succeed academically, I know I had to have something extra about me if I wanted to stand out for the competition as a graduate. That’s one of the many reasons I started my blog – to put a personality to a name and also to leave something of a digital footprint.

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It took me a while to build it up to where it is now, but I’m pretty happy with how my ‘brand’ is starting to take shape.

Personal branding, in short, is having an associated personality.

For example, when I think of…

  • Orlagh Shanks I’d think of a successful PR blogger who really knows her stuff about beauty PR.
  • Scott Guthrie, I’d think of someone who really knows all there is to know about influencer marketing.
  • Marcel Klebba, I’d think of a fast riser in the industry and someone who’s especially talented in PR, social and digital.

But why do I think this? Well, not because I’m a stalker or anything like that. No, I actually associate this description with each of the above-named individuals because that’s the persona they’ve put out for the world to see.

That’s their personal brand.

Jess, What’s Your Personal Brand Then?

Personal branding is something that never came easily to me, truth be told. It comes down to things as intricate as having your own associated colours, fonts and images. But I’m far too indecisive to stick to one theme. (I’m trying, and I’m getting there, but I know my weakenesses). Let me demonstrate what I mean by that.

This is all I need to see to know I’m looking at Marcel’s blog, for example:

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I’d recognise that blue anywhere

And Orlagh’s impressive dedication sees her having her own Instagram feed for her blog, which examples super impressive branding and showcases probably the best (in my opinion) blog-promotion capabilities in our industry.

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Orlagh’s branding is a shining example, and pretty much where I aspire to be one day

The people I mentioned above, along with many others, do this level of personal branding tremendously well, but knowing myself I know this is somewhere I don’t excel. Therefore, I approach personal branding a little differently.

My new venture with this blog will see me blogging more opinionated content (for example, I’ve wanted to talk about my opinions of the high street for a while now – and I finally did it this week) and writing about what interests me in the communications industry.

But our brand’s shouldn’t be the same. They’re different, and that’s what makes us all individually successful in our own right.

Some famed PR bloggers are really good at writing advice for students, PR Place, for example. Others are great at documenting their lives and progression as PR professionals, such as Yana Milandinova. Me, I’d say my specialities lie in writing about what’s happening in the world, and more importantly – what I think about it.

How Intricate Does Your Personal Branding Need To Be?

Well, while I’d love to have my own really defined personal brand one day, I know that at the moment I’m too indecisive to stick to one colour or one Instagram layout. For now, I’m taking baby steps to define my voice and how I want to be portrayed as a working professional in my field.

My passions lie in PR, digital marketing and trending communications news. I think (I hope) I make this clear. Which, for now, is more than enough for me when it comes to personal branding.

I don’t think there’s one clear way in which you should go about your P.B. For some, they’ll build a blog, for other’s they’ll lay out a whole social media strategy. Personal branding can even be as simple as having a professional Twitter account and using it to build up a bit of a bio of yourself. Tweeting your own insights, as well as sharing others.

We’re very much small fishes in a big pond, it’s absolutely essential to have a great personal brand if you want to stand out in the industry and leave your mark. How you get there, on the other hand, is entirely up to you. And if you’re making a start, you’re well on your way. Personal branding is a long, long road. One that I’m not even sure has an end. There are endless ways in which you can build your brand. So what I’d suggest is starting small but thinking big – spot opportunities for you to develop yourself, and capitalise on them.

You’ll have built your own brand before you even know it.

The next #CommsSchool is on Tuesday 23rd April and it covers ‘Finding Your Community’. If you’re a PR student, or a PR professional (of any level). I’d highly recommend getting involved. You can meet some likeminded people, industry greats, and really inspiring individuals. Plus, you’ll learn a great deal too. If you’re not a member already, you can request to join the Facebook Group.


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