Brand Yourself Before Someone Else Does

On the first day of class, I asked if you own your domain name and if you have a professional portfolio online. If you don’t, you should. Run — don’t walk — to buy your domain name before somebody else snatches it up. You can build your online portfolio with it later.

Why is it important? Read “Journalism Students Need to Develop Their Personal Brand” by Alfred Hermida on MediaShift.

An excerpt :

In the journalism of today, the personal brand is becoming increasingly central to the prospects of a young person starting out …. So it is important for students at journalism school, and those starting in the fall, to develop the professional brand that will set them apart come graduation.

Further advice on “Building Your Own Journalistic Career Brand” comes from Joe Grimm at JobsPage.

And even more advice: “Journalists Must Build a Personal Brand: 10 Tips” from Mindy McAdams at Teaching Online Journalism.


9 responses to “Brand Yourself Before Someone Else Does

  1. I completely agree about having your own “brand name,” especially in the journalism industry.

    For me, it’s always been difficult having a name like Matthew Smith. There is nothing special or unique about it. The name literally belongs to thousands of other people around the world. It’s about finding what sets you apart and making it work for you specifically.

    It wasn’t until an assignment in Jeff Inman’s Magazine Freelance Writing class that I came up with a plan of action to make myself really stand out. We had to create Web sites for ourselves, and this meant creating a domain name. Most students used their names. I had to think outside of the box. Thus the Matty Factory was born.

    The nickname came about in a simple enough way. My friends gradually started calling me the “Matty Factory” because of how busy I always was. During the school year, I’d have any number of jobs and school work on top of my draining and life-consuming full-time job at Best Buy. Matty Factory, or M-Fact for short, stuck. And I wore it like a glove. Little did I know it would become my brand, something to set me apart from all the other Matthew Smiths out there. And thus far, it’s been working splendidly for me.

  2. you can buy domain names on godaddy for as low as $2.99, if you get it on sale. Here’s the thing, while domain names are cheap, the server space is a little more expensive. But, it’s only $4.95 a month. Godaddy is the cheapest I’ve found. Also, for an ftp client, godaddy will recommend Fetch. It’s 25 bucks. And totally unnecessary. Do a google search for free ftp client and Cyber Duck should pop up. It’s simple to use and free.

    My online portfolio has helped me tremendously in interviews. Especially, if the interviewee doesn’t know how to do it. Then you look twice as good.

    • Great tips, Autumn, thanks! I bought my domain name from GoDaddy for 5 years for $20, I think it was.

      Can you and Matty post the URLs to your portfolio sites? Might be useful for the rest of us to see how you’ve done yours.

  3. mine is
    it’s in the midst of a redesign but the old site is still up.

  4. We had a long discussion in a previous journalism class about having a domain name to brand yourself and house your work and resume.

    Isn’t it presumptuous to think someone will take the time to go to a website to look at your material when they’re sifting through hundreds of resumes? Why should they come to YOU, an applicant, when other applicants send their stuff to the employer at no added effort to the employer?

    I’m not sure if I’m playing devil’s advocate for conversation’s sake or if I’m legitimately asking, but I do like what Matthew Smith said above about his experience.

  5. I got an internship at the Iowa Homeless Youth Shelter this semester. I directed my employer to my website in my cover letter. The main chunk of my interview, a week later, was talking about work I had produced and put up on my site.
    No where on the application did she ask for clips or work I had done. I got the job because she looked through my work first, I was already ahead of all the other applicants.
    Also, I advertised my site on facebook and ended up with a freelance gig i never even applied for. An easy $200 in the bank.
    So I think it’s more presumptuous to think you don’t need a site.

  6. The last time I googled my name, a website for a stripper came up. She is apparently doing a much better job of “branding” herself than I am.

    Which seems fair, really. I mean. She’s a stripper, I’m a college student. She’s a professional entertainer, after all. And you can only do that work for so many years.

    But… doesn’t this “branding” yourself thing strike anybody else as a little creepy? Marketing ourselves like the latest deodorant or something? I guess I started looking at this line of work in the hopes of avoiding marketing, selling. Commercials.

  7. If you click on my name I think it goes straight to my url. Otherwise it’s 🙂

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