When thinking about personal branding, my first thought is of a quote from Michelle Obama that she wrote in her memoir; Becoming.
"If you don't get out there and define yourself, you'll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others."
I believe that is true, but I'm also of the opinion that there is a little more to it than that.
I believe that there is a need to define yourself and what you stand for, however people are always going to define what you do and it is only the most successful personal branding in which how you choose to be branded matches up with the external perception.
I am now just over four weeks into my blogging journey and as of yet my personal brand is still in the process of being defined.
Therefore, for the meantime I would like to talk about why I set up this blog and website instead. I did so for many reasons but the main ones are:
It is therefore my hope that this is the basis of my own personal brand; standing for reflection, inspiration and learning! I also believe that I stand for collaboration and innovation. These are the areas that I am passionate about and would like to be known for and it is these attributes that fuel my writing!
I would also like the opportunity to briefly talk about my website design here too. I've created the design of my website to reflect my personality. I'm very proud to live in Shropshire and so I visited what I believe to be one of the prettiest places in Shropshire; Ironbridge to take a photo myself rather than to upload a generic photo. I like to be authentic and make the effort, I believe in attention to detail and hard work and I believe it's these extra touches which showcase who I am! I also try not to come across as flashy both through my website and myself. I like to let my work, my writing and my personality do the talking rather than being over the top and distracting from the content.
As for the perception of myself from the viewpoint of others? This is something that will take time! My blog and website are only just over a month old and so for now I look forward to continuing with my journey; posting about areas that I find interesting and important! On this note, I am a big believer in feedback! If you have an opinion on me then please don't hesitate to let me know, I'll add in my contact details at the end of this post.
The other point I'd like to look at is the perception that we all have an online and an offline personality. Platforms such as blogs and social media have of course given us the opportunity to show ourselves as a different person online. Whether that be our true selves that we feel unable to show in our daily lives or whether that is a created personality to separate us from our real life selves! Each one of us is different, we all wear different hats for different situations! But which version is true? I believe that they all are! Whether created or not, each portrayal of our personality is a part of us, someone we wish to be, someone we are or someone we choose to hide.
Personally however, I don't believe I have an online personality and an offline one. My online personality through social media and blogging is the same personality I would hope that you would identify in person. My personality division is more dependant on how well I know someone. As I begin to trust people, I let more of my personality show through, my close friends will likely give you a different view on who I am than maybe you would maybe find out at our first meeting. There are aspects of myself that some of you know and some of you will find out more as you get to know me!
I am however, a very open and friendly person, I am more than happy to share these aspects with anybody I meet! So if any of you reading this have questions or want to know more, ask me! My interests and passion are wide ranging and I'm more than happy to chat about these with you. There are many ways to connect with me. You can send me a message through the contact section of my website or drop me a follow or a message on Twitter and LinkedIn!
This weeks Comms school task set by Stephen Waddington and Marcel Klebba was to write about your writing habits. I'm an avid writer and reader so I'm hoping I can outline the process of how I write to give others some help and advice with their writing.
For this blog I wanted to try something different so I've turned my writing habits into a 10 step process you can see on the infographic below!
Blogging has always been both an interest and a challenge for me. I've always been someone who enjoys to talk and write but knowing what to say to interest others is something I've always found daunting.
It's something I have tried before and like trying to shop for a pair of jeans, I've just not found the right fit for me!
This last month however has been about developing as a person; pushing my boundaries and breaking past areas of discomfort. I've started to tackle many demons such as public speaking and confidence, looking to make an active effort to push myself. I have been lucky that at a time where development is at the forefront of my mind that two amazing opportunities came my way.
Firstly, an initiative known as Comms School which is run by Stephen Waddington and Marcel Klebba via Facebook which looks to bridge the gap between learning and practice, in order to help people who are looking to develop their skills to get ahead on their careers.
It's quickly become an amazing and diverse community of people wanting to learn various communication skills such as blogging, content creation and personal branding.
The first webinar from Comms School; Blogging 101; gave me a new insight into blogging and also reignited the thought of blogging for me but despite this I still had the same old thoughts at the back of my mind; this is something I want to do but will anybody think what I have to say is relevant? Important? Interesting?
Which leads me on to the second way life gave me a push in the right direction... A Twitter chat session #PowerAndInfluence, this is a Twitter community run by the inspiring Ella Minty which I've had the pleasure of joining in with in a previous session regarding AI in PR.
Last night's session was 'Back to School' talking about the need for communities like Comms School and featuring Stephen Waddington and Marcel Klebba. Initially sitting on the outside reading others comments I thought this is my chance to join in and ask for some advice and so I tentatively asked the #PowerAndInfluence community on their thoughts about confidence and blogging and almost instantly I was surrounded by some of the most established, talented bloggers within communications and other areas encouraging and offering some fantastic advice about blogging.
The most important piece of advice I took from all the responses I received was to write what comes naturally to you and what you are interested in, so going forward this is my intention; to continue to break past my comfort zone and to talk about areas important and interesting to me such as AI in PR, communications, reputation, crisis management, new technologies, brand management and much more. And I hope that what I find interesting will also resonate with others out there and go onto to inspire others to blog, in the same way that I've been inspired by some of the most fascinating people along with a helping hand from life!
I also want to add that the support I have received has been incredibly overwhelming! I wanted to take this opportunity to thank some of the inspirational people I've had advice from over via Twitter the last few days!
Thank you Stephen Waddington, Marcel Klebba, Ella Minty, Rachel Miller, Deb Sharratt, Hannah Claffey, Gary Taylor, Kirk Hazlett, Sarah Garner, Dr Joyce Costello, Rebecca Benn and Robert G. I'm in awe of all your work, if I can accomplish even a small percentage of what you've achieved I will be incredibly grateful!
I also would like to take the chance to say thank you to the wonderful team of lecturers I have supporting me at the University of Wolverhampton. In particular Hajrija Dergic, Sarah Williams and Lisa Burbidge-Brown. You three continue to inspire me on a daily basis, I'm incredibly fortunate to be able to learn from you all.
I'm so excited to see where this leads!