Freelancers and Business Owners: Create a Personal Brand Across Your Resume, Media Kit, and Social Media
If you’re a freelance content creator, a social media influencer, a small business owner, or otherwise part of the gig economy, you’ve probably given some thought to personal branding. What is personal branding?
Personal branding has been described in the following ways:
- “Personal branding is the effort to communicate and present your value to the world.”
- “Your personal brand refers to how you promote yourself.”
- “It is the expertise, experience and personality that you want everyone else to see about you.”
Think of the branding used by your favorite restaurant, retailer, or product. Perhaps iconic examples like McDonald’s golden arches, Amazon’s smile logo, or the Nike swoosh came to mind. You would probably recognize the font and imagery anywhere. The color scheme can even set a mood and bring the company to mind.
That’s what you want for your business. Today, we’ll talk about creating a brand identity through your resume, media kit, business cards, and social media. Keep reading, as these are points of contact that no influencer should be without.
Start With the Basics: Your Resume
Based on the above definitions, your resume is the most basic form of personal branding. Through it, you communicate your abilities and values. You use it to create the first impression with your potential employer.
You may be thinking, “I’m already in business and creating my brand – why do I need a resume?” You can use your resume as a starting point for “the look” you want your brand to have. Putting your credentials on paper will also help you to think about your values and abilities.
View online resume templates for inspiration – will you use bold blocks of color or simple, stately, classic lines? If you already have a logo or color scheme, design your resume to match in color, style, and font (though you won’t include the logo on your resume).
You can start with a pre-designed resume template or create your own with professional colors for your resume.
When you design your resume, you can take things a step further by creating a matching cover letter. Then, save a letterhead template from the cover letter that you can use as branded stationery for business correspondence.
Remember, the style, color, and image selections should be carried throughout your branding. Make note of the colors (including the RGB color codes) and fonts you use, save your logo images, and make screenshots of examples you’d like to emulate.
Creating your Media Kit
Influencers, artists, and content creators will find a media kit or press kit especially useful, and they can come in handy for any type of business. Consider two different types of media kits.
For influencers and freelancers, the media kit is like a hybrid of a portfolio and a resume. In other words, you are acting as a media outlet, and your media kit outlines your credentials. It should include your name, contact information, a photo, a biography, and information about your audience or abilities.
For example, a social media influencer should include key statistics such as audience size and engagement, as well as demographics. A freelance journalist might include a list of major publications they’ve written for or major events covered.
You may also want to include a press pass ID badge for journalists or photographers. If you are self-employed, you can create your own press pass.
For other types of businesses, the media or press kit is a bit different in content but still very important. A business press kit gives the press – newspapers, websites, and broadcast media – a resource to learn about the company.
It should include public relations contact information, press releases like news articles, product launches, or awards, an “about us” section, biographies and headshots of business owners or leaders, and downloadable files of logos, photos, and videos that can be used royalty-free in an editorial setting.
The size of the media kit should range from one to a few pages. PDF files are recommended, as they can be printed and mailed or viewed on a device without losing their formating. Use JPG and PNG files for the image downloads.
Business Cards and Other Print Media
When you hand someone a business card, it should represent your brand.
When someone buys your product, the packaging should represent your brand.
When they walk into your store or receive a postcard in the mail, the advertising matter should represent your brand.
As with the elements discussed above, your print advertising media should continue to use the fonts, logos, and colors that you’ve selected for your brand. Each item – a business card, a billboard, or a product wrapper – becomes a point of contact. It makes your brand’s mark that much more indelible on the viewer.
Do you really need a business card? Simply put, yes, you do. Sure, your information is available online, but an individual might forget your business name after speaking to you. A physical business card reminds them of your conversation and directs them to your website, social media, etc.
You can find templates for business cards, item packaging, signage, and more, such as these free templates from iBrandStudio.
Your Website and Social Media
So far, we’ve given a lot of attention to items that you will place in someone’s hands or inbox. But what if they come looking for you? Your online presence is extremely important to your brand, as it is the first place many people will come into contact with you.
There are a few ways in which you can brand yourself across platforms. First, think about your website. Is your logo at the top of the page? Do the colors, fonts, and layout match those that you’ve used elsewhere? When a customer clicks on your webpage they should immediately recognize “where” they are – that they’ve stepped into the ultimate realm of your brand.
Next, think about your social media accounts. Most platforms display your profile picture as a small, round thumbnail. Do you use the same logo or photo across platforms? If not, consider changing one or more platforms so that they all match. If your logo contains text, make sure it is readable at this small size – or omit it from the image. Then, you’ll be readily recognized.
Next, is your username recognizable and similar across all platforms? For example, do you use your personal name on some, your business name on others, and some catchy phrase related to your business on others? Any of the above – name, business name, or catchphrase – are appropriate, but they should match across platforms.
If the name you’ve selected isn’t available on a particular platform, try to change it as little as possible. For example, you might add “_official” at the end of the name, keeping the content before the underscore the same as on other platforms.
Third, most social media sites allow you to place a banner image at the top of the page. As with the other media, this banner image should represent your brand and be consistent or similar across platforms. You can use tools like Canva to format your photos, add logos, and text.
A final aspect of your social media branding deals with your posts themselves. Each time you post something, make sure it matches the values of your brand.
Don’t alienate portions of your customer or client base with highly polarized content – unless that is part of your brand. Make sure your posts are relevant and therefore interesting to your audience.
You might also consider the look of your posts. Some brands do all their photos with a similar style or color scheme. Others use the same photo filter on every post to achieve a similar effect.
You can maximize images for Pinterest or Youtube by overlaying text. You can even create large images in your Instagram post grid by posting six or more partial images in a specific order. See some examples here.
Finally, once your online presence is thoroughly branded, scroll through your old social media posts and blog posts. If they are not a match with your current brand, edit them or delete them.
Creating your personal brand identity is an important process, but it can also be a fun one. Your personal brand is a way of communicating your identity, values, and business goals with the world. Good branding can help you increase your business prospects.
First, decide on the public face of your brand – the colors, fonts, and images you will use. Then, consistently apply these elements to your resume, media kit, business cards, advertising ephemera, website, and social media.
About the Author!
Tina Morris is a Communication and Public Relations Manager at Resume Coach. An enthusiastic of all forms of communication and interpersonal relationships, Tina Morris is helping the online CV builder and cover letter tool Resume Coach to become a reference for job seekers in the US market.