In this guest post sponsored by our friends at Domain.ME, learn the value of building your personal brand as a creative professional and 3 key steps to get you started. Illustrations by Oleg Shcherba from Ouch! ✨
If you’re a Marvel fan, you’ve probably watched most of the movies or TV shows in their collection—especially Phase Four. You might know all of the characters, the crazy Reddit theories, and you can’t wait for the new Thor: Love and Thunder.
Now think about your friends—the ones that are not into Marvel or maybe just watch it because it’s popular and they love going to the movie theater. I’m going to assume you know a few of these people. I know I do. Here’s the thing: When talking about The Avengers, I noticed most of them recognize names like Iron Man, Thor, and Black Widow. They might even mention Captain America and Hulk (or the big green guy), but the one name they will almost always forget is Hawkeye.
It’s a serious branding issue, one that Marvel is completely aware of. So much so that in their recent TV show Hawkeye, Kate Bishop (future Young Avenger) explains to Clint Burton (Hawkeye) that he has a branding problem which is why no one likes him, and that he should do something about it—which is absolutely true! Her efforts convey the entire meaning of the Hawkeye series as a whole, an attempt to turn the least marketable Avenger into something more. And they succeed in that, to a certain extent.
While Hawkeye may not be looking for more attention, Kate is, and she learns from his branding mistakes. As a result, she starts building her personal brand at the very beginning of her career (first season in the MCU) which is something you should do too.
Phase 1: Discover and define your personal brand
Imagine that a handful of key people in your industry get together for a dinner party and your name comes up in conversation. Wouldn’t it be nice (and great for your business) if you could pre-determine what they say about you? Of course, it would. That’s the power of a personal brand.
Remember, it’s not about putting on a show for the masses, it’s all about engineering a powerful reputation amongst the key people of influence in your industry.
If you’re starting from scratch, try to summarize three aspects of yourself—aspects that you’ll want to be reflected in your personal brand. Your brand will be a driving force behind your career, so it should make you feel alive and uncompromised. If it doesn’t inspire you, how can you expect it to inspire others to want to work with you?
📌 Pro tip: You don’t need to appeal to everyone
A common issue people run into when developing their personal brand is trying to appeal to everyone. This shouldn’t be your goal. By doing so, you risk appealing to no one. More importantly, you’ll potentially miss out on new clients who would’ve otherwise been drawn to your brand. Ignore the people that don’t mesh with your aesthetic and work towards better servicing those that do. It’s about sorting, not convincing.
Phase 2: Build your online presence (put yourself out there)
From Twitter to podcasts, blog posts, to Dribbble, it’s important to get your voice out there to establish your personal brand. Your first step should be to secure things like URLs and social handles that are the best fit for your brand before someone else does. This includes both your personal website and any social networks you choose to join.
Once you define how you’d like to present yourself via a personal brand statement, commit to memory and share widely. Whenever you’re asked to introduce yourself or write a short biographical summary, refer to your brand.
Designing a personal website (or a portfolio) is another important way to start broadcasting your brand. Think of it as a corner of the internet dedicated solely to your skills and life updates. Then, create social media pages, business cards, and email signatures that not only capture your personal brand sentiment, but also direct peers to your personal website (or portfolio) to learn more. Having an interconnected online presence helps people find you online and showcases your most favorable assets.
📌 Pro tip: Get a personal domain name
Choosing a domain name for your personal website is an important decision you’ll have to make. Investing in a personalized domain name is critical to owning the search results that come up when someone Googles your name. Remember, potential clients and employers will do their research. Having a personalized domain that links to your design portfolio will enable you to own the results that come up when anyone searches your name.
Choose a personalized domain name that speaks to who you are. We recommend .ME, a trusted domain extension that many creatives from around the world have already chosen as their online home. .ME allows you to brand your website, blog, or portfolio with a domain name that’s just as unique as you!
Phase 3: Become the go-to expert and constantly deliver value
Create content that positions you as the star of your brand. Try to create content that engages and disrupts—content that makes your audience to stop scrolling. Check out hashtags in your niche, and start scrolling through social media Reels to see what type of content surfaces to the top. Come up with a plan: Pick a theme for a specific day, for example, where you can dive deep into a topic. Then, just share from your heart. Don’t be afraid to be unconventional. Take risks.
Publish your thoughts via blog posts or articles (like this one) so that you can become known (and, fingers crossed, respected) for your ideas.
📌 Pro tip: Don’t forget to treat your website as your central pillar
Everything you do on the internet should link back to your website and it should always be up to date. That way, you ‘own your name’ online so when people search you, they find your website and see the content you want them to.
Start building your personal brand today
It can take decades to build a reputation in your industry organically. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard someone say “I’ll just let my good work speak for itself.” Two or three years later, despite consistently creating good (and hard) work, they’re still struggling. The reality is, in today’s hyper-competitive market, being good at what you do isn’t enough.
Your personal brand is essentially your reputation. Whether you’ve worked towards intentionally developing it or not, you have one. So, why not work on it? After all, if you’re going to be an Avenger, why not be a recognizable one! ■
About the Author: Biljana Martinić is a dedicated Content Creator/Writer at Domain.ME, the international tech company that operates the internet domain “.ME.” Her articles focus on balancing information with SEO needs—but never at the expense of providing an entertaining read. With a music playlist for every silly occasion, she considers herself as some kind of a song sommelier. The last dog she’s seen is always the best dog she’s ever seen.