Digital journalist or media professional? Building a personal brand is essential.

Building a Media Brand: Being Authentic and Standing Out

Modern society has invested so much in digital communications that the Internet and the media industry now are completely inextricable from one another.

Today, the general public’s perception of a journalist largely depends on how the journalist presents him/herself and their work online.

But with so many voices on the Internet, finding an authentic identity that resonates with a wide audience is much easier said than done.

“It’s become extremely useful for journalists to have some understanding of content marketing strategies, particularly when it comes to building strong brands, both corporate and personal,” wrote Adrian Ma, in Why Journalists Should Study Personal Branding for JSource.

To remain competitive in the digital age, media professionals must cultivate an online presence that is trustworthy and unique.

The proliferation of info

The ease of reaching audiences online has created a media channel proliferation beyond anything previously imagined.

The Nielsen Company produced an impressive graphic about The Media Universe, looking at the weekly reach of media options that keep consumers busy for more than 11 hours a day.

If you’re a media professional swimming in these waters, establishing a distinct brand is more important than ever.

Social media’s rise has created an emphasis on individualistic digital identities, and for many years, it’s become common practice for editors to push reporters to cultivate an online presence.

The true foe of digital journalists is obscurity. Getting lost in the deluge of digital voices can translate into difficulty finding work over the long-term.

Thankfully, authenticity is the special ingredient that all personal brands need to find their audience.

So let’s talk about authenticity

In recent years, authenticity has informed marketing campaigns across the globe, and consumers’ search for authenticity plays an important role in personal branding for journalism.

“For a brand to be considered authentic, it needs to be perceived as reliable, respectful, and real,” writes Ann Hodge in Brand Authenticity: 5 Examples of Companies Making a Profit While Being Authentic for Instapage. “We feel inspired by authentic brands and emotionally invested in their success, so we buy their products even when there might be less expensive alternatives.”

In media, once a journalist’s voice is fully defined, there are steps to take to ensure every aspect of their personal brand shines through online.

Modern media professionals communicate over a variety of channels, and all of those channels should reflect the personal brand of the communicator.

By branding social media handles, emails, and portfolio websites, media professionals can gain brand recognition for their work.

Using these branded tools, digital journalists and media professionals should seek out their audience and engage them. Social media allows for two-way communication and feedback, and it is essential that journalists interact with their audiences through these communities.

Looking ahead

Americans’ media consumption is on the rise.

This year, U.S. adults spend more than 12 hours with media every day. 2018 is the first year in history that digital media will overtake traditional media as the preferred choice for American consumers, according to eMarketer.

In a post from October of last year, trailblazing blogger Nicholas Cole speaks to the importance of personal branding in the coming years. He believes a personal brand will be required for media professionals.

“If you want to stand out, if you want people to come to you, if you want to be taken seriously, then you need to start investing in yourself and building your personal brand,” writes Cole.

The internet has given a voice to countless bloggers, journalists, and publishers, and now there will never be shortage of opinions and angles. But despite all of the content and stories constantly pushed out around the clock, there’s still room for authentic voices.

Regardless of how steep the competition may be, trust and quality will always keep your audience coming back for more.

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Julian Dossett is a freelance writer and black coffee enthusiast. He’s based in New Mexico.

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