Who are you? How do you describe yourself to other people?

Business cards are great – for when you meet in person. (I love the ones I have!) But you can’t send them out via email or snail mail. And email signatures are becoming so inflated, it’s downright annoying. (You know what I’m talking about. The 17-line email signature on every email message that includes your place of birth, how often you pick your nose, and a gajillion other titles.)

Personal branding, especially on the web, is about simplicity in messaging. A brand is an identifier, a way to understand something. It’s about creating a message and an identity for yourself that resonates with what you do. You may do way more than what your brand message says, but it’s important to have a clear description of who you are and what you do. More importantly, it should be simple for other people to understand.

How do you represent yourself? How do you tell your story?  If you’re developing a personal brand, we want to know who you are.

About | Me is an interesting site that’s pretty simple: an online landing page for you and your many online media outlets. A simple, streamlined page for all of your fun stuff. I find it useful. Here are a few image examples from the About.Me online profiles:

You can set one up pretty easily. It’s a great, simple first step in starting to build your online presence (you can do it with and without a blog, website, or other sites). If nothing else, this is a really good exercise for those starting out online, and a really great hub or landing page for people with multiple websites. Here are important items for consideration:

  • Imageability: Have a friend take good headshots of you. If you want to be involved in professional publications, networks, speaking, etc, you need professional headshots.  You can probably start with a friend taking decent photos of you in natural light, preferably outdoors somewhere; but definitely consider investing in good photography. Don’t lose business because you only have dark photos of you in a bar.
  • Storyline. What’s your catch phrase? What’s your one-sentence soundbite? Who are you, and how do you describe yourself to others?
  • Organization. What do you do? How do you talk about your multiple interests simply? List the things you do. Edit out the things that aren’t relevant to your current objectives.

Here’s my profile. I’m always working on it – I have a lot to learn about telling my story and creating an online presence.  Later this summer and year, I’ll be working with a few teams to craft my business vision, goals, and personal brand (for this website and more). You can always learn more.

Still not sure where to start? Begin with observation, research and studying. If you’re not ready yet for your own profile, browse through the catalogs of people. See what people are doing. See what you like – what do you respond to? Which people draw your attention? Why? Keep notes on why you find them interesting and what you like about what they say. Print out a few of your favorites as templates to use later when you develop your own files.

It starts with // Identity.

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