Personal branding is part art and part science. You can and should learn as much as you can about it from true experts in the field, but at the end of the day, you’ll most likely make important self-branding decisions more or less from the gut.
That’s okay, perhaps even preferable to a rigorous, data-driven approach that fails to capture the nuances of your public position.
But it shouldn’t detract from the boring-but-essential grunt work that a truly comprehensive personal branding effort requires. Case in point: getting yourself and/or your company listed on as many relevant online directory sites as possible.
These five high-visibility directories are clutch branding aids, and you’d do well to familiarize yourself – even those not directly relevant to your profession or personal image – before you go any further.
As perhaps the most comprehensive open-source repository of self-produced corporate and professional profiles, LinkedIn is absolutely an online directory site – even if its “social” aspects get more attention from rank-and-file users. Don’t take it from us, though: take it from LinkedIn’s own marketing team, which produced this handy guide to LinkedIn branding in 2016.
If you work in the entertainment industry or an entertainment-adjacent field, there’s a good chance you’re entitled to an IMDB profile. Don’t assume that this honor is reserved for on-screen talent only; essential behind-the-scenes personnel qualify as well. Prominent entertainment attorney Helen Yu of Yu Leseberg earned her IMDB stripes as production counsel for a handful of films produced in the early 2000s, for instance.
About.me is your place to shine without worrying about typical social media conventions. Use it to highlight your personal story on your own terms, and to surface interesting details about your personal and professional life that might not make the cut on buttoned-up platforms like LinkedIn.
Crunchbase is the go-to directory for entrepreneurs, investors, and executives. Though it has long since outgrown its original tech focus, Crunchbase remains a crucial branding aid for anyone who’s even thinking about seeking seed capital for an early-stage enterprise. Its impressive Domain Authority is irresistible for up-and-comers in need of a serious visibility boost, too.
Superpages is a digital version of those thick phone books of yore – a high-visibility platform to surface your contact details and personal information for those looking to get in touch with you. If your brand is built around perennial availability, you can’t afford to neglect a directory site like Superpages.
Branding Is a Marathon, Not a Sprint
No matter how your personal branding effort unfolds, you want to approach it like a marathon – not a sprint. Split larger brand-burnishing projects into manageable tasks, then celebrate the successful completion of each as a miniature victory. Consult regularly with personal branding experts in your personal and professional lives; there’s nothing like hard-won experience to highlight what you’re doing right (and not so right) to get people to remember your brand.
Most importantly, recognize that your personal brand isn’t going to blossom overnight. It took years to get to where you are right now; what’s a little more time to get to where you need to be?