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Personal branding: How to market yourself for digital media

Does your CV contain your A Levels, BA (completed, or about to be), and summer work experience? If you have an internship in there that’s a huge plus. With all of that it’s still hard to get a job, but there are a few things you can do starting today to help you market yourself.

Getting noticed online doesn’t have to be about 20k followers on Twitter, or an influencer tag on your Instagram. You can use what you have learnt at university to show off your skill set. 

You will learn about:

  • How to get started with your own blog
  • How to “social listen”
  • How to make yourself look good on LinkedIn 
  • How to get started with public speaking

Start your own blog

Blogs are an extremely powerful tool to get your opinions, and skill level known to the right person. The digital world thrives on publishers like yourself – and it’s your turn to join in the conversation. An article on my first blog helped me land my first job in digital. A post titled “Changing the world one woman at a time” landed me my first editorial gig at a global product company. It showcased that I could write non-promotional educational articles. My first task was to write educational articles for our users, interview influencers, and eventually I took over the whole editorial team.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Find a topic you are passionate about. It doesn’t have to be a popularised topic at all.
  • At first everything you write will seem silly – don’t give up, be gritty and set yourself a weekly/monthly goal.
  • Your first blog won’t look anything like you imagined; don’t try to go too fancy, keep it simple and focus on breaking the barrier into digital.

If like myself you have no previous technical knowledge, this can be a slightly steeper learning curve, but luckily there is a dedicated open-source community called WordPress that will help you get all of the answers. I recommend you start by using a CMS (Content Management System) like WordPress, that has all of the support available for free. With WordPress you can build your own blog, and learn how to publish articles independently.

Resources for starting your blog

Also I want to encourage you to check out WordPress.org – the official website for WordPress.

Use social media WISELY

Use social media to educate yourself about trends, influencers, hot-topics. Don’t misuse it – or try and build a fake following. An experienced Digital Marketer will see right through that. However, having the latest information at the tip of your fingertips is always handy – you can use it to write a new article on your blog. Sign up to all available apps; Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram – be in the know. If you want to work in Digital Media, you need to know user count/usage trends.

Why is this important? At one of your interviews you might be asked what is the best engagement channel for a given audience. You need to know where the conversations are happening.

If you find a topic/area you are interested in – join the relevant online group, follow people who are making the most noise and engage them where you feel you can. A colleague of mine tweeted her way into her first job. Everything is possible.

Finally, be careful and don’t get sucked into the whirlpool that is likes, comments, followers. Remind yourself you are there to engage with the right people, to educate yourself, and understand the latest media trends. And remember – everything you post/do is searchable and will be found by your next employer.

Resources for social listening

  •  Here is a quick article that talks about some of the tools for social listening. It’s orientated towards companies, but you can use those tools privately too. 
  • Another very easy tool that requires no technical knowledge is Answer the Public. I use it personally (I used it for DFS), it gives you great insights into what people are googling. 

Set up your LinkedIn

If you have Microsoft skills listed on your LinkedIn you need to erase them, and read this section.

I want to share with you a chapter that really helped me upgrade my LinkedIn.  An excerpt from the BAMF Bible, where Man Goswami, Co-Founder of Trufan Inc talks about best practises for setting up your profile.

  1. Picture: Make it professional. Ensure your face can be seen in it. Ideally, no one else should be in it. It doesn’t have to be you in a suit, it could be you speaking at an event, or you with a prop that you want to make a part of your online brand (ex. coffee cup).
  2. Name: Just use your name and don’t include your occupation in it. You want to make your name easy for other people to find you and tag you in posts.
  3. Description below name: Make it a summary of your accomplishments_occupation_unique branding characteristic (ex. Espresso Fueled Entrepreneur)
  4. Summary: REALLY IMPORTANT. Please share your personal story in it and feel free to mention what you are working on right now and why you are on LinkedIn for (speaking, connecting with like-minded people, finding a job, etc). Put a way for people to contact you at the end of the summary. Include some media in the summary if you can (personal website, feature publications, videos, etc).
  5. Experience: Fill out your experience, volunteer experience and education. Beneath each job include a document (example of work product if possible) and a summary of your responsibilities and what you took away from the experience.
  6. Recommendations: This actually makes a difference to your profile as it affects your profile’s SEO (along with Honors/Awards and Publications). Try to get people you have worked with in the past or people you are currently working with to give you a short recommendation (make the recommendation tailored to an experience rather than you as a person only).
  7. Publications: Stack up your publications not only in terms of articles you wrote but articles that you are featured in. If you are quoted or featured in an article, add it under publications and make sure to tag the author of the article under the section “co-author.”
  8. Honors & Awards: Fill this up as best you can. Under each honor and award, don’t be afraid of stating how many people are given the award and how many applicants there were (if you know the number).
  9. Organizations_Projects_Languages_Certifications_Courses: All useless but feel free to fill in if you want to complete your profile and get the all- star ranking from LinkedIn (feels good!).

Here is a quick disclaimer. I have worked with some relatively unskilled professionals who look great on LinkedIn. Build your profile up (don’t lie), and open yourself up to potential recruiters. Top level recruiters can spot a “great on LinkedIn, not so great in real life” applicant a mile away.  

Public Speaking

Public speaking is scary – I agree. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t be good at it. Public speaking is a great way to share your knowledge, and build connections that last. When entering a new community to help market yourself you can start by finding an opportunity to speak at a local event. This can go a really long way especially if it’s being filmed. It can open doors to new event invitations, friends, and even job opportunities.

N.B. Don’t forget you can use the video of your presentation on your LinkedIn profile, and share across your social profiles.

Here I am in Croatia public speaking.

How to get started:

  1. Start by finding a topic that you are confident with, and an event where your audience might enjoy that topic. It’s 100% ok to do your first public appearance on knitting if that’s what you love, and your blog talks about how to knit a jumper for your dog. The first stage is gaining the confidence to speak in front of an unknown audience.
  2.  Use your initial presentation to apply for more speaking opportunities that can bring you closer to a new job. WordPress for example has WordCamps around the world, where individuals are invited to share their knowledge in front of the community. These events get you known across the global community of WordPress users.
  3. After a few presentations you might be more confident to send one in your job application, or if you find a presentation that you are particularly proud of, you can invest some money into paid promotion to get yourself noticed by the right audience.

What worked for me:

Public speaking was my chosen route to market myself. I am not a huge social media fan, and I was lucky that for my trial project at my first job in digital, I was set a task of becoming a brand evangelist.

A brand evangelist is a person who believes in your product or service so fervently that he or she aggressively promotes it to others.Neil Patel, Forbes.

My aim was to promote the product at these industry events, so I started by doing a presentation at a local customer happiness meetup. This then led to me presenting on 3 different continents, and being heavily involved in global event organisation. Public speaking can be a slower way of getting yourself noticed, but for me it worked with my personality, and skill set.  

I want to share with you my first public appearance so you can laugh with me. Here is the video of my talk titled “How Understanding the Nuances of the English Language Can Improve Customer Happiness”. I actually used the term “simples” from the meerkat commercial in my presentation!

Resources for public speaking

  • Kindra Hall is a world famous storyteller, but she does a lot of public speaking, and if you sign up to her newsletter she also sends tips on how to frame your presentations. 
  • Wired for Story is probably one of my favourite books. It helped me understand how to share information in a way so that my audience was captivated throughout my presentation.

Tell me something I don’t know

If you are already up to speed with everything above, I have a great book recommendation for you. It’s focused on small & medium businesses, and freelancers, but it’s an all round great read on creating an authentic brand. You can use a lot of the information to help get you started, and to better understand the importance of branding and marketing in digital. 

Human Centered Brand. 

Happy personal branding and if you have any questions, drop me a comment below, or head over to the contact page

Written by
Nevena

I am the creator of Digital for Students. I wanted to create a space to help Humanities Students learn more about digital careers. It's all the information I wish I had when I was throwing my graduation cap.

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