At a Marketing Media Mums event last week, I learned about personal branding. I’ve never given it much thought to be honest. I’ve worked in magazine publishing for over 10 years and I love it. What else was there to know about myself? Also, I secretly thought it naff to do a ‘personal branding’ exercise (sorry, Becky and M3!) – I’m a person for goodness sake!
But after listening to Becky, who runs the network for busy working mums in marketing and media, she convinced me that it was important to define myself. Pick out the four things I want to be known for and arrange it in order of importance – think it’s easy? You go on and try it then.
Eight years ago, I’d say, without any hesitation, they were ‘magazine maker, journalist, writer and runner’. This was me with just the one child still making my way up the professional ladder. I was more focused on my career and less in tune with motherhood back then. With one child, I found it relatively easy to manage a full-time job, freelance writing, family and other things I wanted to do (like taking ballet lessons and learning French).
Then my world started to change. Although not as fast as the wider world. I went from one child to two to three, still clinging on to the ‘magazine maker, journalist, writer and runner’ version of me. In the workplace, I went from managing an editorial team of about 10 people to 30; and in the offline world I remained. While I was busy living my life, MySpace went from the hottest space to be in to getting bought by News Corporation for a shocking amount of money to who on earth is on MySpace anymore.
The world was changing, and it was changing fast. People were increasingly digital. Their reading behaviour was changing and magazine sales were sliding downhill. I started to worry about my skills becoming redundant and getting left behind. Yes, I may be very familiar with the vagaries of producing a print magazine but was that going to be enough? At a time where a socially connected blogger can write, photograph, film and edit, how could I stay complacent and chug along to the rhythm of the unconnected offline mass. Some of these bloggers have more influence over a woman’s buying decision in one blog post than a £4 magazine that only comes out once a month.
I’d hit a mid-life career/life confusion. Yikes.
After I started blogging and tweeting (sometimes a bit too excessively), I began to think differently about what I wanted to do and who I am. Instead of a narrow definition ‘magazine maker, journalist, writer and runner’, I wanted something wider and more holistic.
This is how I define myself today,
1. Content professional
2. Social media enthusiast
3. Working mum
4. Cake and bread maker
What is your personal brand? Have you ever given it any thought?