Freelancing / Graduates

Why we should all be building our own brand

I did it. I finally coughed up the cash, got my head around domains, found a website builder, and spent a Saturday evening several weeks back building my own website. A website all about me – how vain. I bought www.amypackham.co.uk (luckily no one else had bought it yet), and started populating it with everything about myself, from my previous work (still working on it), to what I’m doing now. And I’m pretty chuffed with myself.

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I should have done it earlier, I know I should’ve. I actually intended to do it a lot of times, but paying out money for a domain is somewhat depressing – yay you have a website but your bank account – especially if you’ve just moved to London and need to learn to make your pay cheque last – probably isn’t best pleased.

So why did I do it? I feel like my posts recently have had this similar underlying theme – believing in yourself and achieving things that you never thought you could. Opening your eyes to the opportunities that yes, actually – you could start something up yourself. Being your own boss. Not necessarily confining your career dreams to that magazine or newspaper, but thinking bigger and coming to the realisation that your career aspirations might be changing. I’m obsessed with reading blogs about it, chatting to people who have done it themselves, and finding ways in which experienced journalists have done it. They’re not all freelance, some of them have fully-fledged businesses and clients using their skills as a journalist to pass on to others. It’s such an exciting time. And it’s exactly why my little website has come out from the domains of the internet.

Building a brand for yourself is professional, creative, and also the potential foundations of creating something of your own in the future. What sorts of things do you (your brand) like reading and tweeting about? What’s your language style like? What topics and subjects do you like writing about? What’s your Instagram like – are your photos a set-style? Do you blog about certain topics? What do you feel really strongly about? Do you let people know this? Creating this brand is easier on social media, and you’re demonstrating to a public online audience, exactly what YOU are about. Building my own website and domain is the first step in me doing this.

I think your brand can include everything – from your written work, to how you display yourself on social media, to the people you interact with and the things you read. This might seem ridiculous and completely unrelated to journalism, but I really don’t think it is. Gaining an online following of those who believe and associate with your ‘brand’ will be the thing that can help you do something on your own. Look at bloggers and YouTubers – their whole career is focused around how they present themselves on social media – they gain followings, advertisers want to tap in to those followings – it’s the foundation of a business.

Now I’m not saying that building a brand is only necessarily if you want to work for yourself – but it will be attractive to future employers who can see that you are taking yourself as a creative individual, seriously.

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