Organization isn’t necessarily the glamour girl of anyone’s to-do list. We often organize in fits and spurts; the junk drawer never stays tidy for too long. Intentions of keeping a clean desk are forgotten the second we’re busy with other “real” work or, if you’re anything like me, often done as a way to procrastinate doing that real work. That being said, if you take the time to organize ahead of time the actual work goes so much more smoothly! When it comes to organizing your personal brand, it’s really no different. If you take the time to get things tidied up in advance, you’ll know how to respond on-brand when under pressure and you’ll have the tools you’ll need at your immediate disposal. Here are the three main aspects to personal branding that you can organize and define now so that you can better achieve your goals in the future.
Organize Your Voice
We’ve talked about voice before. This seems like something that you wouldn’t really need to organize after all one of the most important things is that your voice is authentically you! However, when it comes to branding and the public persona that you share with the world, I say never leave anything to chance. By defining your voice, you’ll be forced to evaluate your own values and goals as well as those of your target demographic. You’ll have a yardstick by which to measure future communications; a way to answer the question: “Is this on brand?”
Since we’re all different and all of our businesses are different, there’s no one-size-fits-all method for organizing your voice. You’ll need to do that for yourself in a way that makes sense for you and your brand. Things to consider as you work through this process:
Does my brand use “I/Me” language or “We/Us” language?
Do I speak directly to the reader/listener or use more generic language?
What tone aligns with my personal and professional goals? Does it also appeal to my target audience? Am I quirky? Straightforward? Funny? Serious?
Are there limits to my voice that I need to make note of? (i.e. if part of my defined voice allows some level of snarkiness, is there a line that I won’t cross? For example, I may be willing to be snappy but would never allow anything to be hurtful.)
Is my voice different than my competitors?
Is my voice one that my target audience would find compelling and authentic?
Does it feel authentic to me?
Once you’ve thought about these questions, plus any others that might be relevant to you or your industry - write down the answers! Even if it’s just on a little note card that you can pull out whenever you’re writing, responding to social media comments, or being interviewed, you’ll be thankful that you spent time defining what voice is appropriate for your personal brand in advance.
Organize Your Channels
You’re going to really thank me after this one. Here’s the takeaway: you don’t need to be everywhere. There was a time, and that time was just a few short years ago when we were all told that if we didn’t have a presence on every.single.social.media.platform. that we didn’t really exist at all. Brands that had no business being on Pinterest were pinning things and people with no understanding of Twitter set up an account that has now gone completely defunct.
In the present day, we advise clients that they should only commit to the channels they can actively keep up with and that make sense for their brand. Nothing’s worse than a Facebook page that hasn’t seen a post since 2011 or a LinkedIn account that dead ends three jobs ago.
Taking some time to clean up and organize your social media presence will have a big payoff. When people search for you, they’ll only see what fresh and new, where you’re active and engaged. Once you’ve decided which channels you’re going to commit to, here are some housekeeping tips to make sure things are organized:
Make sure your info or about section is complete and up to date.
Update contact info (phone, email, address, website).
Update graphics (recent headshot, fresh cover photo, etc.)
Do an audit/review of past posts and delete any that no longer are in the right voice (as described above).
Organize Your Branding
The last little bit of organization that will help you is in regards to graphics or branding. This is an easy area to let get out of control but spending just a few minutes organizing a folder on your desktop with all of your up-to-date branding is well worth it.
A current version of your logo in various iterations, sizes, and file types. Having this at the ready when someone asks for it will save you the pain of searching for it when you don’t have the time or (worse) sending an outdated version of your logo.
A current photo of yourself to send along with press releases, article submissions, etc.
A copy of a stock intro letter to your organization (or your resume if you’re a freelancer).
At least 4-5 stock photos or images that you can use as backgrounds for social media graphics. Ideally, these are branded with your logo or in your brand’s color scheme. Saving these in one place will make creating branded social media graphics so much easier than starting from scratch every time.
A copy of your brand style guide that defines fonts, color, acceptable uses of your logo, photographic style, patterns/textures, etc. Having a PDF of this in your folder will not only help anyone you have working for you stay on brand but will help you know that your color is #4f672f and not #ffd74f.
I hope these organizing tips will help you as you charge towards the close of the year. For me, October is usually a very productive time. I’m energized by the return of a routine that fall brings… and not yet bogged down by the onslaught of holiday madness. It’s a great time to spend getting organized or back on track, even if we know it won’t last forever. Do it now and when the time comes, you know you’ll have everything in place.