Admit it. You’ve Googled yourself, and probably felt guilty about it afterwards.
But Pam Klier, former agent for Comedy Touring at Creative Artists Agency and executive producer for the Just for Laughs festival, says you should do it regularly. It’s all part of building your brand, and you need to know what’s out there about you. We spoke with Klier, who’s teaching a class on self-management and freelancing at Columbia College in Chicago, who shared these four tips for building your brand:
Businesses have them, and professionals should too. Klier suggests creating a mission statement for yourself—three to five sentences that hit on your past, present, and future. Your mission statement can include your goals, who you are, how you want to be seen, where you’re going, and how you want to get there.
You need to know where you are, and how others perceive you. Enter, SWOT: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Klier suggests taking a personal inventory of your strengths and weaknesses, and ask friends and relatives to chime in with external feedback. What are you great at? What makes you stand out? Where could you use more training?
It’s important to get an idea of what others’ impressions are, and the feedback can sometimes be very surprising to hear, Klier says. “Opportunities” are a chance to balance a weakness you’ve identified, Klier explains. For example, if the thought of public speaking makes you break out in hives, consider joining Toastmasters to gain experience and get more comfortable in front of people. “Threats” are simply asking who’s doing what you’re trying to do, and doing it better? Look at people you admire and see how they did it, Klier suggests.
Your online presence should be thoughtfully curated. “Be sure you’re putting out what you want people to see,” Klier says. Klier tells standup comics to make sure their online clips are updated and, if older material is not at their current level of performance, to take it down. Ask yourself: Does your online presence accurately reflect who you are now?
Curation is an extension of being aware of how you’re perceived, Klier explains. “You want your image to be consistent and thoughtful and what comes up at the top of a search to match that,” Klier says. So, go ahead and Google yourself. Now. We’ll wait.
The best way to get noticed is to create content people want, Klier says. Keep creating content on a regular basis, because you never know what’s going to resonate with people, she notes. By regularly updating your content, you’re showing consistency of your work, voice, and brand, Klier says.
[Image: Flickr user Zorah Olivia]