I spent this past weekend at PodCamp AZ, a social media unconference for bloggers and podcasters. It was my third year attending, and I had a great time. I always walk away with new tidbits of information.
This year, I attended Carey Pena’s session, “Branding, Not Bragging.” Carey gave great advice on creating and promoting your brand. She challenged us to think about our personal brand, which is hard to do yet so simple – it’s who we are. Our brand is our personality, not our jobs. To promote your brand, you just have to be yourself. The best quote I took from her talk was, “The best branding is authentic branding.”
Someone at Carey’s talked asked if they should have separate Twitter accounts for their personal and professional lives. That question made me smile, because that was my question at PodCamp AZ in 2009. That year the lovely Heather Lynn Herr did a presentation about online personas. I was a 2L at the time and seriously questioning if I need one Twitter account that would be 100% professional and a separate account where I could be a little more outspoken and free with my thoughts. I posed the question to the room and the group responded with a resounding, “No!” They said it was better to rock on with my quirky, geeky, flash mobbing self because some people are going to love it and they are going to seek me out because I’m different, even in the generally conservative legal community. And they were right . . . about everything.
When I think about personal branding, I think about a question that Bill Richards asked me during an interview for a law school externship. He asked, “If you could do anything for a living, what would it be?” That’s a great basis for discovering what your brand is. Your brand is about what’s important to you, how you spend your time, and who you spend it with. Sharing those things gives the rest of a glimpse into who you are. And then when I need to hire someone, I’m going to go to seek out the people I inherently like first and their recommendations before turning to Google or a referral service.