The following is a guest post by Kristina Allen.
There’s a lot of talk about creating and maintaing your personal brand, but what about humanizing it?
In a recent post I wrote, “Empowered employees make a brand humanized,” I discuss what a humanized brand is, saying: a humanized brand is one where customers associate the company with humans, not a cold, heartless corporation. A humanized brand has trust agents, people who are the face of the company.
Chris Brogran, who coined the term trust agents, says these are people who “build influence, reputation, awareness, and who can translate that into some kind of business value.”
Having a personal brand doesn’t mean you’ve humanized your brand.
A personal brand means people know who you are. A humanized brand means people care about who you are. It means people want to be where you are and do what you do. It means you can influence people and help them make better business decisions. It means you become unique and invaluable to your company (or future company).
Tweeting with industry experts, blogging about industry news, and attending local meet-ups means you’re building your personal brand, but what sets you apart? Yes, you being you sets you apart, but a humanized personal brand can take your brand to a whole new level.
Here are three ways to kick your brand up a notch and really humanize it:
Attach your picture to everything
Be sure to choose one image of yourself that represents you both personally and professionally. Corporate-like head shots are often boring and cold. Take off your suite and get comfortable. I’m not suggesting you wear cut-offs and a tank top, but going business casual reflects someone who is human and approachable. For fantastic examples of business casual pictures, check out Heather’s photo gallery.
Once you’ve chosen an image that you like, use it everywhere. Be sure to sign up for a gravatar so that your image shows up each time you leave a comment somewhere. Make sure your Twitter pic is this image.
Almost every place you add your name online should have your image attached. This ensures you’re more than just a Twitter handle or e-mail address. You are you, an approachable, professional, and smart human being.
It can be difficult to watch yourself in video or even just listen to your own voice on playback, but it’s a great way to really humanize your personal brand. Video marketing is an exploding market, and if you’re trying to market yourself, you better embrace it.
Creating a brief 1-2 minute video clip of why an organization should hire you over your competitors can really give you a leg up. Just be sure to personalize each video for the company and position you’re applying for. It’s such a great way to grab the attention of a hiring manager.
It also makes a lot of sense to simply video blog once in a while instead of writing a new post. Bonus points if you video blog and then post the transcript underneath. This ensures the post is indexable by the search engines, and also optimized for a person who might have a disability that prevents him/her from watching the video.
If you’re unsure of how to get started with video marketing your personal brand, check out some of the job candidate consulting packages Heather offers. She can personally provide you some great advice on how to get started.
Be your own content marketer
Do something your competition isn’t do. Create content that others aren’t yet creating. Maybe many of your colleagues hunting for a job are already tweeting, so why not try creating slideshare presentations? Or maybe your peers are already creating video content, so why not try podcasting? You could reach out to industry experts and ask them to provide advice to entry-level candidates in your field. Or ask them to guest talk about a specific topic in your field. This not only allows you to create consumable content that will enrich your personal brand, but also puts you in direct contact with those who can influence hiring decisions.
It also gives you another avenue to humanize your personal brand. When creating slideshare presentations don’t just use bullet points and stock images, write in a conversational tone and be sure to include a picture of yourself somewhere as the narrator.
Include your image everywhere you can.
You want people to know the person behind the text is a real person. Someone relatable, someone who can be engaged in conversation, someone real.
Create lots of content, humanize it, and attach your name to it. Have more than just a personal brand, have a humanized, personal brand that people can trust and relate to.
Kristina Allen is the online marketing manager at ion interactive, where she thinks and writes about post-click marketing all day. She is also author of the new blog, Humanizing Your Brand. You can tweet with her @allenkristina.