Personal branding basics and leaving digital footprint

In tonight’s Comms School session, we covered personal branding online and digital footprint. Here are the key takeouts from the session.

We’ve started off by saying thank you to all who got involved with Comms School.

Our Facebook community has reached over 500 members, a lot of people joined us for the live webinars, and we’ve seen some amazing work from PR students, but also practitioners! If you’ve not yet joined our community, do so — it’s free. You can watch the replay of the session on the Facebook group, too.

What is personal branding

In theory, personal branding is thinking of ourselves as the major brands. It’s having a set of values that we live by and it’s being “CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc.” The management guru Tom Peters put it nicely in his article for Fast Company in 1997.

In practice, personal branding is your online presence, social profiles and your blog or site. It’s what people will see on these sites — colours, headers, profile pictures. It’s up to you how you position it. Personal branding online is everything others see about you online.

During the session we noted that while some have the consistency between their blog and social presence, it’s not the necessity. What matters is authenticity. But more on that later.

Do you need personal branding?

Some of the benefits of personal branding include:

  • It’s easier to find online (SEO)
  • Job hunting
  • Your offline brand can better represent your online persona
  • You get to connect with people
  • It builds your credibility
  • It shows your area of expertise
  • Your work gets noticed and you leave a digital footprint.

We also gave a few pointers on where to start with personal branding. Some of these included:

  • Don’t overthink it – it has to come naturally
  • Keep it consistent
  • Be authentic
  • Share your views
  • Use multiple channels
  • Your online personal brand should only complement your personal brand offline
  • Creating a personal brand takes time.

Digital footprint basics

Start planning your personal brand online by heading to Google and typing in your name. Look at the websites that appear in the first frame of the search results.

You need to own the links to the search terms that are returned. The best way to achieve this is by creating a blog and profiles on social networking sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter. You’ll benefit from their existing search profile.

If you have a common name such as John Smith you’ll need to work hard. Our suggestion is either to create a name that describes your specialism or align yourself firmly with an area of expertise.

Rachel Miller is a good example of this approach with AllThingsIC. Andrew Smith uses his full name Andrew Bruce Smith and trades under the name Escherman.

Last session’s homework

We’ve seen a great volume of homework coming from both public relations students and practitioners.

This week’s homework

  • Now that you’ve your own space on the Internet, share your thoughts on personal branding:
    • How do you approach personal branding? Is your online persona different than your offline brand?
  • Share with @wadds @marcelkl on Twitter or in the Facebook community
  • We’ll feature some examples during the next webinar
  • Contact us if you’ve any questions.

Next session

Join Stephen and me for the next Comms School on 23 April 2019, 6:30pm BST. session on finding your community. We’ll discuss tapping into your niche, joining conversations, and explore the benefits of community. Join our Facebook community, where we do all our live sessions.


If you have any suggestions, would like to guest post or give me a feedback, feel free to email me at kl.marcel [at], tweet me @marcelkl or connect with me on LinkedIn. Thanks for stopping by, have a splendid day!