amyegsmith: the brand, the myth, the legend

Posted on October 14, 2011


Steve Buttry says in his blog post that “the opposite of brand is generic”. This made me consider how important branding yourself as a journalist is. It’s clear that the more media platforms you can use, the wider your potential audience. Connecting the different platforms simply by using the same user name and picture seems like a step in the right direction, so this is where I started.

However, reading further blogs about this idea of branding, it seemed it wasn’t as straightforward as I first thought. Jennifer Hellum blogs “You can’t know your brand as a journalist, if you don’t know yourself as a person.” So I need to decide who I am; much more complicated than changing user names and photos. I look through my past tweets and FaceBook photos and realise the person I’m publishing is not necessarily who I am, and it’s definitely not the first impression I want to make.

Fortunately, Joe Grimm clarifies a little in his post ‘Building your own journalistic career brand’. “Becoming a brand is not about logos or nicknames… You become a brand by being: Authentic… Exceptional… Valuable… Consistency…. Share”. Being able to build and work from these values will give me a great foundation to my brand. The task in hand is looking less daunting again.

Within a post from Online Journalism, a list is formed as to why now is a good time to be a journalist. Here is what features at number two:

“2. Write what you want and build a personal brand. Your editor doesn’t like what you have to say? Start a blog and post it there – if it’s interesting and well written, the world will notice.”

So building a personal brand means you can write what you want, when you want? I’m unconvinced by this. The ‘too good to be true’ ideal is kicking in.

Looking for further advice from additional sources, hoping to clarify how I should create my brand, I find Dan Schawbel’s post titled ’10 Ways Personal Branding Can Save You From Being Fired’. I find that he echoes what Joe Grimm had to say. He suggests becoming invaluable and indispensable, and to be the go-to-person on a specific topic. He also suggests building contact lists “before you need them”. This sounds more like constructive ideas to build my brand.

Terry Heaton quotes Seth Godin in his blog saying that a brand is “not a logo, or an ad campaign. It’s a shorthand for the memories and expectations we have about our interactions with a product, service, organization or person.” He goes on to say that “Brands are souvenirs of what happened. So, if what happens is that you tell the truth, show up on time, exceed expectations, surprise me, delight me, trust me, inspire me and give good value, what sort of brand is that?”

So what do I take away from this? How has this changed the way I put myself forward? I’ve changed my name on Twitter for a start. ‘HeyIts_Amy’ had nothing wrong with it, but changing to ‘amyegsmith’ fits with my brand. I’ve started building a contacts list, as suggested by Dan Schawbel. I now need to find my niche, and become “the go-to-person”. I also need to start thinking carefully before I tweet, so as to build a good reputation, and I need to ensure honesty and professionalism as I build said reputation, brand and portfolio. I’m in a great place now to build a potentially great brand. Look out for amyegsmith coming to you soon.