You are your brand

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What is the first thing you do when you get an email from someone you don’t know? You Google them. Just assume that many editors will do the same when you pitch to them for the first time. What is the impression they will get of you?
Find out by Googling your own name in brackets and see what comes up. Ideally, there are at least some clippings of your work among the results. Beyond getting stories commissioned and making sure they end up online, there is not much you can control there.
But what you can –and certainly should- control is your own personal portfolio website. Whether you build a custom-made page from scratch or prefer an existing tool, the most important thing is that your brand is out there, consistently.
Some simple tips :
  • Make sure that your profile image is the same across all platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and your own website for example).
  • Try and keep the same profile name and URLs for everything as much as you can. Using your full name generally makes the most sense as that is what will show as your credit on your work externally: you are after all your own brand.
  • Readymade portfolio tools for journalists often offer a free basic version with paid premium options for those who want more storage or design possibilities. They require no coding experience and can be used by simply creating a login and custom URL and upload your PDFs and web links to your work.
Examples of journalist portfolio tools include Contently, Clippings.me, Muckrack and Pressfolios. There is a handy tool to compare the different platforms on style, lay-out, backup and sharing options.
If you prefer to create your own portfolio from scratch, it is worth doing some research into the content management systems out there. Many ‘theme’ builders offer pre-designed portfolio templates for free or a small one-off cost (usually between 10-50 USD, depending on the design).
Check out the portfolios  of other freelancers and make a shortlist of the styles and features you like. If you decide to use WordPress, Googling “portfolio themes WordPress” will give you plenty of examples and inspiration for your own page.
We’ll talk in more detail about how your personal brand can work for you in your freelance business during the Journopreneur Workshop on 5 September. Info & booking here.