Personal Branding: Crafting Your Social Media Presence | Kate Arends | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Personal Branding: Crafting Your Social Media Presence

teacher avatar Kate Arends, Founder, Wit & Delight

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      What is a Personal Brand?


    • 3.

      Defining Your Purpose


    • 4.

      Purpose Worksheet


    • 5.

      Purpose Worksheet II


    • 6.

      Defining Your Character


    • 7.

      Character Worksheet


    • 8.

      Defining Your Content


    • 9.

      Creating Engaging Content


    • 10.

      Defining Your Channels


    • 11.

      Channels Worksheet


    • 12.

      Channels Worksheet II


    • 13.



    • 14.

      What's Next?


  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Join Wit & Delight creator Kate Arends for a strategic class on how to create, evolve, and leverage your online personal brand for growth!

Over the past decade, Kate has grown her blog Wit & Delight to more than 3 million readers and expanded into a product line, brand consultancy, and more. What's behind her success? A thoughtful, strategic approach to personal branding.

In this 65-minute class, she explores the evolution of her blog to explain why an authentic personal brand is important — and how to optimize yours for what you want, who you are, and what success means to you. Each short lesson is filled with data and experience as well as specific strategies and examples. A special focus on social media keeps everything tactical.

Plus, the class includes exclusive downloadable worksheets to help you put every lesson into action! These useful PDFs will help you identify what sets you apart, how to be strategic about what you share, and how to set goals for your work. They're designed to use and reuse, giving you tools to rely on again and again.

This class is ideal for everyone looking to take their professional online presence to the next level. Whether you're just starting out in your career, looking to jump-start a blog or side hustle, or simply looking to learn more about branding, this class is the perfect place to begin.

Looking for even more about personal branding? Be sure to join Kate's first Skillshare class, Personal and LIfestyle Branding: Building Your Story!

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Kate Arends

Founder, Wit & Delight


Wit & Delight is an ongoing project created by Kate Arends. Founded in 2009, the lifestyle website has evolved into a brand that celebrates a combination of veracious expression and simple elegance with an approachable, yet edited point of view. Above all, Wit & Delight is dedicated to the development of it’s readers, promoting self discovery, mental health advocacy, and wellness topics as the foundation of a life well lived.

Wit & Delight reaches a million readers everyday, and has been featured in Martha Stewart Living, Women’s Wear Daily, Fast Company, New York Times, and Elle Decor, among other national publications. In 2014, Wit & Delight introduced a limited-edition product line with Target Corporation.

See full profile

Level: All Levels

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction: Hi! I'm Kate Aarons. I am the lifestyle blogger Wit and Delight. I'm here with skill share today to talk to you about using social media to build your online professional network. I started Wit and Delight in 2009. It was right after the stock market had its big meltdown, and I was a little bit worried about my job security, and I knew that with social media I could have a little bit of control as to who I was meeting, and build some freelance opportunities. The blog itself did prove to do that, I just started writing about design, I wrote about my own work, and slowly but surely that presence grew. It really began to become its own brand. And we've been able to parlay what was sort of a side project into a brand that now has a lot of great relationships with large corporations, we have our own product lines that are growing, and we've really been able to create something that is bigger than I ever really imagined. When I first brought up the word personal branding in my first job, my first agency job, a couple people laughed at me, because they thought you know what does that even mean, that sounds a little gross. I think really what it is it's replaced the idea of networking. And it really isn't about becoming internet famous. That's sort of the misconception when you hear the word personal brand. What's so important about it is it's replaced the resume. Your presence online says so much about who you are as a person, but also kind of the work that you do, and the things that you find interesting. Putting your best face forward you can meet people and open opportunities that otherwise wouldn't have existed. The class today is really about helping you understand what building a personal brand means, helping you navigate the hard question of, "What do I post about? "And then understanding how to achieve your voice, how to be your authentic person online, and then giving you a really great posting cadence and posting kind of outline to help you decide what platform to be on, how to use them, and the best way to build an audience or reach people on these platforms. 2. What is a Personal Brand?: Personal branding has become a loaded word mostly because it's become a bit of a buzz word, and anytime something becomes a buzz word, it kind of loses its meaning. Before we get into the class, I really want to talk about what I mean by personal brand. Personal branding is really about making sure you're taking advantage of every opportunity to meet people and find opportunities that otherwise wouldn't have existed. Personal branding is not about self-promotion. It is not about screaming to the top of your lungs about every great thing that you've done whether it be an amazing vacation that you went on or work that you've done. It's great to talk about these things, but it's important to know that personal branding is a lot more about the how you talk about them and the way that you weave it into the dialogue of what everyone else is consuming on a day to day basis. It's about thinking about yourself as a real person having communication like you would face to face versus a platform. The reason why personal branding has become so important and why you hear about it so much is the way that we work these days has changed. The Internet has changed everything. Being aware that your digital footprint is an opportunity to put yourself out there in a way that creates opportunity. As I've progressed in my own career and I went from being at the bottom of the food chain as a designer to someone who recommends people to go to different agencies, we get a lot of emails like who would you recommend as a copywriter, who would you recommend as a photographer. I have a network of people that I think of top of mind often because I follow them on social, and if I am looking for someone new or I am looking for another illustrator, the first thing that I do is I open Instagram. I look at Twitter. I look at the professional website and I get a sense for has that recommendation going to look as a reflection of me. So, I think that there's this sort of social currency that comes with finding people online, being a huge fan of what they're doing or their work and knowing that everyone is trying to help everyone else find great people. Finding good people is still the hardest thing for employers. It is the number one issue. When you talk to CEOs is finding great people, people who are passionate about the work that they do, and getting them in the doors and helping them succeed. We're going to take the idea of personal brands and we're going to apply a more traditional branding exercise to it, and it becomes interesting when we do this because it really is a little bit of an exercise into what you want and also how you see yourself. It helps you take an objective look at what you've done in the past and where your successes have been and what you want for the future. So, we're going to break it down into three categories. We're going to talk about your purpose, and what I mean by purpose it is figuring out how you define what you might do as a physical thing, whether it's shooting video or doing Google Analytics or building sets for plays. You look at that physical thing that you do and then you look at what the value is that you bring by doing that thing. So, if it is Google Analytics, maybe your talent really lies in looking at data in a way to see emerging trends, look at the different way people are communicating and anticipating what is next. Looking at things that you do and figuring out what you bring to the table that's different than everyone else, and that really is what we're talking about with purpose. With character, employers and people who hire contractors, they want to like who they're working with, and they want to have a good experience with who they're working with, and your personal brand oftentimes is that first interview, especially online, it's that, I'm I going to hit it off with this person. I've met enough people through the Internet to know that oftentimes I can tell if I'm going to like them just by their Twitter page, and it's weird how it often takes away that little sense of uneasiness sometimes if you have a sense for how they communicate and talk or even see the world on Instagram. So, character is how you present yourself, whether it's in your tone or how you talk and what you like. A lot of people like to get a sense for what people do outside of work because people want happy employees and they want people who they want to motivate them to have feel fulfilled. The last piece of this is the content piece, and that really is how you mesh your purpose and your character into what you're actually putting out there. The composition of the tweet and the sharing of the work and the building of the website, all of these things that are what people actually consume. So, by talking about the purpose and the character beforehand, it really helps guide the content in a way that you're making things that are going to ladder up to the dialogue that you want to be having with people. So, we'll go through all of those things today and we have some helpful worksheets in the way that you want to think about it. We have talked about these three things in the last video that I did for Skillshare, which was really about looking at your brand essence as a business, even if you want to vent a little bit more time on figuring out what you're all about. I would recommend doing that. This is much more about thinking about the work that you've done, the successes that you've had, and thinking about where you've really felt fulfilled, and then looking at what you want for the future based on those things. The reason why this is so important and I'll share my personal experiences is that I've found that oftentimes I'll jump to what I want for the future without looking at what I've done well in the past. Sometimes those things don't match up because oftentimes we take for granted our talents and spend a lot of time thinking about maybe we want to be. As your career evolves and as you have more body of work, it's easy to dismiss the successes that you've had. I've done this for myself moreover, more times in my career than I want to admit, and it's taken almost every year of me looking back objectively and saying, okay, this is what we've done and this is what has resonated with people. What does that mean for what we do next? Sometimes that means letting our work guide us in a different direction. When I meet with the people who are either confused about where they want to be going, or maybe I want to make a career shift, it's the number one thing we talk about. What have you done well? What have you heard people say, wow this is incredibly valuable. What makes you excited about the work that you're doing, and we try to find those nuggets and look at what does that mean for the next step. So, now that we have established really what personal branding is, we're going to get into the worksheets, looking at purpose, character, and creating this worksheet that's going to help you move forward into defining actually what your personal brand is all about. 3. Defining Your Purpose: So, defining your purpose. This is really not just about getting your name out there. It's about controlling the narrative around what you want people to know about what you do. What we're going to do today is this worksheet that really helps you look beyond the actual skill that you might write on a resume, and think about it as a folder for talking about content, talking about yourself, and moving towards a path that really is going to be fulfilling for your career, and open new doors and opportunities. So, I think the biggest takeaway from this is just to make sure that you do the worksheet with me. I'm going to fill this out as we go. We are going to really look at helping you figure out what this purpose is in a way that is going to help you move past maybe a roadblock that you have right now in your professional career, or if anything, help you talk about what you do in a really succinct and powerful way. So, really understanding your purpose does a couple of things for you. One, it gives you great talking points for maybe when you meet someone that is a potential good network opportunity, and it gives you a number of things around your own professional career. First of all, it gives you guardrails. It really helps you understand what it is that you really do and helps give you clarity around what that is. It gives other people clarity to make sure that you're known for a really specific thing in general. I personally have run into issues with doing too many things, and so making sure that we're able to talk about Wit and Delight where it's a lifestyle blog that really is about living well, and we create products around that idea and content around that idea has helped me talk about myself in a way where people can nod and say, ''Oh, okay. I understand that.'' Before, I would say, ''Oh, it's a little bit about design, a little about architecture, kind of stuff I like." That didn't really do much for me in terms of making more opportunities for collaborations. It sounded like I was embarrassed, or that my business was small, or that it was just a side project. I wasn't projecting confidence in what we were doing or my abilities. The first thing that I want you to think about is, what are you known for? If you were to think about what your friends would say. This is my friend, Renee. She's an amazing producer. Think about how your friends talk about you. A lot of times people who love us, or who are close to us, oftentimes see the the good things about you or the good things that you do even before you do yourself. So, think about what you're known for. Is John an amazing connector? What is it about you that people really say, ''This is really what he's about.'' The reason why it helps to think about it in that way is, usually the top things that come to mind for those people are that little extra special thing that you do really well. From a graphic design standpoint, what I learned from listening to other people was that, I was a good designer who really knew how to think strategically. That was my impetus for being different. For other people, it was, ''He's an amazing designer, and his topography is incredible.'' So, for that person, their career path went in a different way than mine did. It was because of that specific thing that they were better than anyone else or really shined at. So, what we're going to do is really think about those things and write them down, and what I call them is past successes. If it's hard to think about it in a way of like, what someone may have praised you for, think about what you've done for a client. What you've done recently that's been, you're really proud of that the boss said, ''This is really incredible.'' Even if no one praised you for it, you know that the work was really good and that you made an impact. So, that's what we're going to talk about. We're going to make a list of your successes, and I'm going to do this with you guys on the worksheet. 4. Purpose Worksheet: I hope you have your work sheet printed out. I'm going to talk through what my past successes have looked like here and you guys can do the same thing as I'm writing through. In the first column here, we are going to list three to five of our past successes, and this can be anything. As I look at what and delight I think the thing that I'm the most proud of right now is that we have really worked hard to post content regularly and in that case, it really is about increasing our ability to bring new people into the brand. That was really hard work especially with everything that we had going on. So I'm just going to say it. I did what I was supposed to do, I actually wrote content this year and then we increased our following. So, pretty basic but you got to like give yourself a pat on the back for doing those things. The next thing that we did was we've launched two product lines and that's a big dream of ours and it's a big deal. So I'm going to put that down. That's a step in a direction that I've always wanted to take it. So we've launched two product lines and a national retailer. The other thing that we did is we continue to create content that was about some of the struggles that we have around taking care of ourselves from a mental standpoint. So, that's something that's been hard for me to talk about but I've found that it's kind of intrinsically linked into the fabric of who I am as a creative person. So, we've continued to connect with people, just making sure that they're aware of how they're feeling mentally and then if they need help, they should get it. So I'm very proud of that. So those are three things. I think some examples for if you're just starting out in a business or you're just starting to want to freelance, this can be as simple as making a list of all the projects that you want to have in your portfolio or starting a social media account, like these are successes and I want to encourage you to put them down as successes because don't underestimate how hard it is just to get started, that's like the hardest thing and when it involves putting yourself out there in a public way, that's the hardest hurdle to take especially if you're creating something or if you're trying to reinvent yourself. Even if you wrote in your Twitter bio, creative director or if you said, "I'm an animator who's freelancing," or whatever you want to become like write that down. That's extremely important. It took me forever to get to that point. So, write stuff like that down. I'll give you guys a few minutes to do that. Now we're going to go into the column of talking about our contributions. This is different from the successes that you've had. This is how you've sort of created something that impacts more people than just checking something off your list of saying that you've done it. Contributions are around contributing to your community. It's impacting maybe someone's life in a way where you're either mentoring or you've sort of put time and effort into sort of creating something that's beyond yourself. This in itself often says a lot about the type of work people are kind of cut out for. If you really are about creating organizational and structures and making things sort of easier for people to work or you're a facilitator, oftentimes that signals that you would do really well in a corporate environment. If you are about creating things for people to experience or sort of making something that is around producing an event, I mean that to me says that you are someone who can juggle a million different things at once and that entrepreneurship is probably a path that would be really fulfilling for you. Why contributions are so important is it really does begin to look at what makes you keep working, like what really about that work makes you excited. What are your successes and your attributes? What really makes you a great employee or an employer? Where do those intersect? For Wit and Delight when I went through and did this, the first time I looked at our contributions was when we made a huge shift in our content strategy in 2014 and the reason why we did that was because we had had a lot of an uptick in traffic and a lot of new people coming to the site based on some product that we were doing with Target. I had really felt like Wit and Delight was becoming a little bit more of a drag to complete the content every day, I wasn't feeling as inspired and knowing that we were having a bunch of new people coming in to kind of figure out what we were all about, I knew I had five seconds to capture their attention and talk about what we were doing, and I didn't want it to be what we were doing at that time. I was missing kind of an authentic voice around, what's happening maybe not in the physical world but internally with people. How was our mental health doing with all this media? What was the projection of having a perfect life doing for people? We decided to really begin to write about struggles with that. We didn't get rid of the beautiful imagery because that's still very much part of who we are but we began talking about my own personal struggles with dealing with growing up, and mental health, and the things that I had sort of learned from going through that. So, that was a contribution. We began looking at ways that we could be advocates as well. That's just a couple of thoughts starters for you. I think that let's take some time to write the stuff down. I'm going to do it as well and I'll give you an overview of what we wrote down and then maybe help you guys work through that, this column as well because this is a hard one. So fulfilling contributions, we really took a look at where things were missing in the blogging community and that really was around vulnerability and authenticity and sharing more personal stories and in a way as we empowered people to be more accepting of their selves and one another. We became advocates for putting down your phone, that sort of movement we talked about, kind of taking a break from social media and understanding that it's going to be here to stay for a while because it is powerful, you kind of have to embrace it but also you've got to stay sane. So how do we do that? #PutYourPhoneDown. So we did that. Another thing that I'm proud of is we brought more people into Wit and Delight and creating an environment where people can come in and work where they want to and kind of like flexible work environment where people are empowered to take on the work that they want, aggressive work environment. If you're kind of struggling with thinking about your contributions, think about the way that you maybe made someone feel or things that you've brought to your office that only you could bring whether it's like you make people laugh because you put up the most hilarious memes, or you make a really great impression that brightens people's days. That stuff is part of your contribution. It's a reason why people hire you. Think about things that you felt like you really did this year that were like that added to your overall well-being. Those things are just as important for feeling like your purpose is being fulfilled. So, we're going to list our goals now and we're going to list our goals for one year, five years, and 10 years. Try not to get too hung up on the actual years themselves. What we're hoping to do is give you sort of the constructs to create some goals that actually ladder up to something that you would hope for in 10 years. The hardest thing about building something, building your career is knowing that it takes time and patience and a lot of these things take time and patience and perseverance and continued work. There are a lot of things that can get in the way of moving towards those things. That's why writing down your past successes are so important because those little things matter and it's really important to give yourself a pat on the back when you do them. So the first one should be somewhat attainable and within your reach. The second one should be something that you hoped for and know it's going to take a bit of work to get to, and then the last one should be about where you want to be in 10 years. A lot of times you don't know what that is, and it can be as simple as in charge of my own future. I think that that's okay to say especially if you are making a career change or if your ultimate goal is as you can see in your contributions is about doing something fulfilling or changing people's lives or working for a company that has a big social impact. So there is no right answer, it's just making sure that these goals are, there's some variety in there that will help you kind of get there. So short term, something that you are going to do this next year, mid-range, something that you can see the action plans and get to it's going to take a lot of work and then long term could be as simple as I just want to be happy or running your own unicorns start up whenever you want it to be. So I'm going to write my own down and to give you an idea of how the short, mid and long term goals work. Our short term goal is redesign the home page and open a studio, which we actually just did. For mid-range long-term goal, this is launch product in the lifestyle category. Right now we've got product that's kind of a little close to it but really getting into products that readers will take into their home and really become a brand that isn't as synonymous with our words, its physical product. So it scares me even to say it out loud but product development. When I write that down I think of how I need to email someone back about coming out to meet them and that stuff gets in the way of your everyday work. So, that's an example of like this should be something that's like kind of scares you a little bit but you want really bad. Years from now, I want to be building this to be a company that I'm proud of. I'm going to write down a company that kind of feels like the one I'm trying to build which is like Partners & Spade. They do retail and product development but they also are an agency that's kind of what I'm hoping to do. It's very scary again to say it out loud. Build a sustainable company. For you guys, as you write down your goals and look at this, I would also just save maybe print out a couple of these worksheets and revisit them as you think about this video and and maybe sleep on it. I like to revisit these worksheets each year. It's something that we do do. It's something I'm doing right now. It's where we filmed this as we're getting closer to the end of the year and that's always a good time to think about what you have planned and are you moving towards something that you want. 5. Purpose Worksheet II: The last thing that we're going to do and, the reason why I want you to maybe take some time to do this is, all of this stuff really should lead up to your purpose statement, and what you're doing, and where you're going. In Wit and Delites case, it's taken us a while to get to this place, but, our purpose statement is Wit and Delight is a Website designed for living well, creating a life well lived. For you that might mean that you are a branding consultant that wants to work with retailers on re-imagining the marketing department, that's very basic, but the idea is that, you are what you are, and then what do you really want to help people do. You maybe if you are in healthcare, you want to re-imagine the way that people understand how the insurance system works. I have a friend who's that's what she's trying to build right now, she's a writer, and she just says,"This has to be easier." There are big things, but, think about it as,"This is what I do, and this is specifically how I'm different, and really what I want to do for people." For us, it continues to be Wit and Delight is a lifestyle brand that promotes a life well lived. For example, if we have content that doesn't fit into that category, we look back and we say,"We shouldn't have done that." Or,"Why did we do that? " That's something that we'll be doing as a small group of people next week actually. We're going to go through the whole website and say like, "Yeah. This was our best." Some of the stuff didn't really resonate. Purpose statements change all the time, but that's an example of why they're important. Sometimes people take jobs to pay the bills, but that means you also got to take jobs that move you towards where you want to go. So it's one of those ways to just make sure you are following your dreams, and you aren't getting too bogged down by day to day stuff. It's very easy to get tired, or sort of feel like it's just about putting food on the table, or staying afloat, but there are a little ways that you can keep moving towards the life that you want for yourself, and the career you want for yourself. 6. Defining Your Character: So in this video, we are going to talk about character. Character is really about how you say things, about the tone in the voice that you are giving to your personal social media platforms. The example I always like to use is people wish that there was a sarcasm font, or ways to better communicate the things that in person are so quickly and easily recognizable. Character is in a lot of ways, the non-verbal stuff that we get from communicating with someone face to face, it's how people can read between the lines in the content that you post online. It is a little elusive. A lot of people say character is something that people take away from the content that you put out in the world. For example, people say, "I just get the sense that she's nighties, or that he's really he's funny but he's also a little bit introspective too," and it's the general takeaway of the type of person that's behind the account. What we're going to do today to help you guide that, or help you figure out what's important to you from your professional standpoint is to go through a worksheet that really is about attributes that you gravitate towards, or think are important in your work and in your life. We're going to rank them one to 10. What this worksheet really does is help you figure out what's important to you in terms of character. A lot of times people like to say well, "I am this and I am that," and it's less about having to be totally transparent as a person online and more about who you are as professional. Again, people don't have the opportunity to talk to you face to face. It is required that we think about this in a way that takes away the intonation and the benefit of explaining something in person. So, character really is about helping you make sure that people don't walk away from this and saying your sarcastic tone could be sometimes interpreted as being a jerk or being aloof and when really that's not who you are at all. Character is really about making sure that you can control that narrative and that it's helping you be self aware of what you might sound like, making sure you're communicating in a way that you intend to. You don't want to sound too scripted, you want to be a person. The ultimate goal for social media is for when you transition from the online person to the person that you'll be meeting in person that there's not that much of a huge transition, that you're able to give people a sense for who you are and they're not surprised when you sit down in front of them for maybe an interview. So, one of the roadblocks that I've fallen into and some of my other friends have fallen into is, you want to project the person or the job that you want to get. So, sometimes tat can come off as cocky or maybe a little defensive, or out of character. I think a lot of times people can sense when someone is maybe not being themselves or maybe being ingenuine. It's very easy to do that, because when you take away the human interaction, we're not reacting to another person in front of us, and that sometimes changes the way that people perceive themselves online. I like to say that this is about, thinking about social media, how you talk to someone one on one versus talking to an audience of faceless people, contributing to the people who are reading versus advancing your own network and yourself. So, it's a two way street, that's what social media is and I think that's what social piece of it is. So, that's why character is such a huge important part of your personal brand, is this is how you are perceived and how you interact with other people. 7. Character Worksheet: Okay, so the character worksheet. What I want you guys to do is read through all of the words on this page and circle eight to 10 that you feel are important to you whether it be from your co-workers or what you bring into the workplace, or what you value in your job. Write all those things down, or circle them. So, I'm going to go through and do mine here. I'll start at the top. For me, I like challenge, community is important to me. Creativity is, I would say that. Excellence is reaching a pinnacle. Having good work is important to me. I like freedom and flexibility quite a bit. I really value honesty and integrity for sure. Pleasure is important to my work. Let's see one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, so I've got one more, meaningful. Meaningful work, that's important to me. So, once you circle everything that you have here, you can highlight it, I want you to go through and try your best to label them one to 10 in order of importance. Think about what each word means to you. Do it a couple of different times. Some of these words overlap with one another, so make sure that you look at this and make sure you're not missing anything, if the worksheet's missing that adventure. The idea that you want to try something that's exciting or gives you a thrill. Spend some time with it, make sure it's important. What I want you to do is take this character worksheet, and begin to think about your own network now, where you're working right now, the work that you're doing right now. Does that really line up with the things that you value in character. That's one part of this worksheet. The other part is thinking about, so if these things are important to you, how are they intersecting with your life? How are you communicating with others or using your social media, personal brand to bring more of this into your life? That's the importance of that worksheet. I want to go through a couple more slides that relate to character that are my age like, hard and fast rules for executing social media content that resonates with people, and I think that that's really the overall goal. So, my first guideline, number one, is to be kind and I know that sounds cliche but kindness goes a really long way in the social media landscape. What you're looking to do from a professional standpoint, is connect with other people who have interesting careers or careers that are similar to yours and create a dialogue that is enriching for both of you. Kindness comes in a long way, just down the line, because eventually people begin to grow in their careers, opportunities come up and if you're having a relationship with someone who is in a similar field and you've got a great relationship going on with them, your kindness and your approachability is going to really help when they make that recommendation for you for that role. It never hurts to approach something with a diplomatic point of view. It's not about being necessarily politically correct or being vanilla. It's a lot more about being human and recognizing that social media isn't a place to bury someone who has a different point of view, it's just about connecting with people. So, this kindness piece is really just a reminder that you are communicating with other humans. Tip number two is to remember that confidence is not the same thing as cockiness. This is a good example for cockiness versus confidence. Cockiness is when you have to say, "I'm amazing at this and everyone says so." Confidence is sharing the work and showing, and and being proud of what you've done, and there's a difference between the two. Sometimes, you want to make sure that your work gets out there, that people share it, that that you get some feedback and you want to be very clear in that communication. Again, there's a person on the other end, they are following you because they find what you're putting out there entertaining and informative and engaging, and think about that when you put the work out there. What are they going to find most exciting about what you're doing? When you think about the person who's consuming it, it helps take the ego out of what you're sharing. Number three is speak naturally. This sounds like a no brainer, but oftentimes it's one of the harder things for people to do, especially if you're not a writer. I like to say, write like you speak. The goal of speaking naturally is really again, filling in the gaps where intonation and nonverbal communication doesn't exist. Number four really does parlay off of sounding like yourself. Be yourself, don't try to be anyone you're not. Sometimes, we like to think that if we project a certain image, maybe that will turn into this person that we hope to be and that can be very tempting to do on social media because you only share a little part of your life, and you can make it seem like you have these certain aspects, the certain life, and most oftentimes it's only a peek into into your life. But character, it really is about being who you are and connecting with people so they feel like they have a sense of who you are. I can say that it's a lot more gratifying to be on social when you feel comfortable with who you are versus trying to keep up with an image of someone who is not real. In general, genuineness is an attribute that almost everyone looks for in a person. When you're, not necessarily being yourself online or portraying where you really are in life online, people can sense that. They're pretty smart in terms of knowing what's real and what's not. Number five is, listen. It goes without saying that listening is an important part of being a good employee in your office. By listening, you get a really good sense of who is following you and how to interact with people in a way that is really engaging. You also learn a lot when you listen, and the engagement is better, especially if you show that you're reading what other people are doing and you're taking interest in what they're doing as well. So, being an engaged listener within the community is just as important as seeing something interesting, and that has added value. Number six, contribute to the conversation. Again, personal branding is not about talking about yourself all the time, it's not about self promotion. A huge part of it is contributing to the community that you are a part of. So, how do you add to that conversation to help other people grow and develop based on your collective experiences. So, whether that be sharing an article that you found really helpful and inspiring, sharing a resource that you might know that other people will benefit from, and do so in ways that you don't need to feel like you need to hoard all of your secrets. Sharing things with other people that have helped to you is the best way of showing one that you're confident too. People are going to be willing to share things with you that will help you in the future, and three I think you get what you put out there. When you do contribute to the community, people are much more willing to help you out when maybe you're looking for a recommendation, or you have a project that you want to have shared to their network. They are much more willing to help you out when you contribute something valuable. Number seven, don't hashtag overshare. You don't have to share everything. I think that there's something that's really important in having a little bit of mystique. People have a sense for who you are and they find what you're doing interesting, but they don't know you and they're not your best friend, and you don't have to share everything. I think that that shows good judgment. I think that shows respect for people's time and also makes you a little bit more intriguing and interesting when you're not sharing every aspect of your life. Eight, support others. This goes back to contributing something to the community as well. Get excited for people who have had successes. I follow a lot of people that I look up to and just get so excited when I see them, their businesses grow,, or they get a great promotion or they raise a bunch of money through funding. Try to remember that everyone goes through different stages in their life, and remember that it's okay to feel jealous, but you don't want to be necessarily envious or spiteful for someone else's successes. I think that again, is that pay it forward thing. Look at other people's successes as opportunities for you to learn from them, and support them along the way. Number nine is to stay grounded. They say that the worst thing that you can do when you have success is to believe your hype. I think it's important to keep two feet on the ground, especially if you find maybe something that you did goes viral, and you have a ton of success around this thing that you made. The pressure to make another thing like that is huge, and sometimes that can break people or make them rethink the entire process of what they're doing because they want to have that same reaction again. And the reality is that it's hard to do. It's hard to be that good all the time, even for people who are that amazing. That's why you see a lot of famous artists or musicians take a break because they need to find some space to make things again, and they also know how hard that is. So, staying grounded and remembering that working hard to create something that's great means being humble and remembering that you've got to go do it again. So, the last one, number 10, is don't compromise your values. Sometimes it can become tempting to maybe either overshare or write about something that might create clicks backed your website, or might be controversial. If you really do find in your character work sheet that, for like me for example integrity and honesty is super important value of mine, we have to remember that when we write content that if it compromises my values, it's going to affect my relationships to my followers. It's going to affect my relationships with people I work with. That being said, if you're all about creating a crazy Web site that's based on celebrity gossip, your whole set of values it's different, it's not to say that you have to be good or bad with your values, it's just understanding where you are in those and making sure that you're following that path when you're talking to people and creating content. So, that's it. Those are my 10 tried and true tips for being a human online and that really is all about character. So, keep this worksheet. Look at it. Try it a couple different times and maybe take a scroll through Instagram and Twitter feed afterwards and see if that's aligning with what you want to portray when you're writing those tweets. 8. Defining Your Content: Content is everything that you actually make and put out there, that's influenced by your purpose and your character. I want to talk a little bit about what makes good content. It is again, a phrase that gets overused, especially engaging content. I have a couple of ways of describing it that might help you break past the idea of engaging content is really just about an algorithm, it's really not. It's really about knowing your audience. What we'll do is, we'll talk about what content really is, we'll talk about how you define it for yourself, and then we're going to give you a really quick overview of how to make your own content strategy on a worksheet. That will include defining what channels you want to be on depending on the time and effort you want to put into this, giving those channels a role, talking about how often you want to post, and then talking about what your goals are on each channel. The first thing I want to talk about is just deciding how much effort you want to put into this. You don't have to overhaul your social media platform, you don't have to become a branding expert, and you certainly don't have to talk about your work all of the time. So, let's talk a little bit about the steps that make this a little bit more digestible for you. So, let's say you're really interested in updating your personal brand or your social media channel so your personal brand is tweaked a little bit. You want to make sure people can find to you. So, at the very minimum, I would say recognize that your public platforms on whatever channel are going to be looked at from an employer standpoint. So, at the bare minimum, making sure that in your bio's you have a link to your portfolio, and in the description, if you want to use these platforms for people for have an understanding of what you do, include that in your bio. It's amazing how often new people don't have that, or it's hard to find their contact information, when I want to hire them or suggest them for a writing job or something like that. So, it seems like a no-brainer, but there's been so many times where new people have just made it harder for me to find them. If you want to put a little bit more effort into actively courting people into your social media platforms, for one, either collaborating on the side, maybe you want to do a couple of side projects, and maybe build your network a little bit, or maybe in a couple of years, you're thinking about going out on your own or you want to make a shift in your career. It makes a little bit more sense to have somewhat of a strategy around how often you talk about work, or where that comes in, or where your interests that surround where you want to go come into your content strategy. The easiest platforms to do that on are the social sharing platforms that are Twitter and Instagram, and Tumblr has come in a place where it's a strong tight knit community, where you are able to do some back and forth and messaging and stuff like that. Snapchat as well. That's a little bit more of a closed off community, but it's still a great place to plan and meet people, and you can share the behind the scenes, look at what you're doing and the type of work that you're doing which can be super powerful. That's the middle of the road effort. I think it's more about just finding the right people, contributing to that conversation and then beginning to get your feet wet with them, sharing the work that you're doing. Then, the all in effort, as someone who uses their personal brand to keep work coming in, it's the marketing vehicle for sharing and distributing and being really involved in a community that is related to the type of work that you're doing. It's making sure that you're sharing content that is related to work that's important. So, for designers oftentimes it's hard to talk about the work that you're doing, because it takes work to finish it. You've sent it to the client, it's up and it's running and you're onto the next thing. Taking the time to say, "Hey we made this. It's cool," or maybe, "This is the process behind it," maybe you want to write a blog post about what it did or do a case study. More often than not, we'll get an inquiry and they'll say, "Can you give us an example of a project that's a lot like ABC," and we haven't done the work to package it all up and say, "This is what we do." So, by doing that you're really keeping up on your portfolios. So, there are different ways that you can get involved in putting the time and effort into the personal brand. Little, just put your bio, make sure your searchable, medium sized, get your feet wet, find new people to be in touch with, share a little bit about your process. Then, all in, it's building your social media platforms to be a heavy marketing aspect of bringing people into your personal brand and getting more work. There's a whole content strategy that you can apply to your content to make sure that that's up and running. So, you don't have to be all in, but to see the benefit of crafting the personal brand. 9. Creating Engaging Content: What we'll talk about next is engaging content. Engaging content is really all about making things that people are going to react to or maybe will start a conversation. This means, thinking about what you put out there through a couple of different filters. The first one is think about your content as an open ended question. This goes back to what we've talked about before, respecting the person on the other end of your phone. Think about what would be interesting for them. We want to do a couple things, you want to make sure you add value, you're putting something out there that one, it's great work, and two, it's going to take them to a place that maybe they haven't seen before or it's going to make them say, "Oh, I'm going to save that" or "I'm going to tell someone else about that", or "Oh, I just think that's interesting" or it made them laugh. So, think about the reaction that you want not only from what it says about you but also how people are going to be like consuming it. Make sure that it's original, that it's yours, that you've got a point of view on it. There's a lot of things that you can share that have a statement to them, but you can add some additional context. Let's say, maybe why you like this article or inspired your work in this way. So you can add to the conversation by sharing valuable content that's already been made by someone else but also giving people an opportunity to get your take on it as well. It really is just making sure you're adding value that it's relevant, it's timely, and it kind of fits within what you're talking about, what your purpose is, and it kind of completes your wild roundedness in terms of what your personal brand is about. The one thing I will say is that there is no exact formula for this. I think that's why it's so important to listen, put things out there, see if they react to it, see if it kind of creates a little bit of buzz, or see if you learn something about your work from it. More than anything, you want to contribute something of value and find other people who do the same. What we'll do now is we'll talk about figuring out what that contents strategy is and there's kind of a simple way of thinking about it. Especially when we are talking about personal branding, this isn't just about like product, brand essence and timeliness. This is about your profession, your personality, and your interests, and kind of where all of those things intersect. So we have a little Venn diagram of what I just what I just articulated that you guys can kind of look at. We've talked a lot about your professional interests are. In the work sheets that we've done we've talked a bit about what your personal interests are and how they relate to your profession. That would be in kind of how you contribute your professional successes will be kind of your professional attributes and then your interests. Your interests are sort of what is layered on top of it. They're the things that are kind of part of your life that make you a person and those to me are things related to your values and kind of what interests you, and that in a lot of ways is how sometimes people pivot in the way that the careers that they have or in their fields of expertise. In my example, I used to do a lot of branding for alcohol companies, and so I knew a lot about wine and spirits, and kind of this male dominated world, and I wanted to move into retail, and design, and kind of interiors. So, I began to post a little bit more about things that interest me in that field versus knowing kind of about the food and beverage industry as sort of my expertise. You can kind of figure out ways to use your content strategy to parlay into a whole different community that can result in work in that field. So take a look at that Venn Diagram that's another good thing to take a screenshot of or think about as we talk about kind of what type of content you want to be posting. 10. Defining Your Channels: So, the first part of crafting your social media content strategy is choosing your channel. It's not about being everywhere all the time, it's about selecting the right channel for you. So, this really does come into play when you look at your purpose, right? So, if you're in the visual industry, you're probably going to be wanting to be on a platform that is really, you know, it serves a lot of purpose with visuals. So, Instagram is super important for anyone who has a visual component to what they're doing. Inner Pinterest is really important for that and videos as well. If you're a writer, Twitter is incredibly important. Having a blog is important, having a portfolio is really important, and that's what I found that a lot of writers are people who do really great strategy in writing. I can't find any examples of their work anywhere. So, that's one of those things to think about. Having a place for your voice is really hard, it's important. I like the slide that you've taken from the internet, but it basically goes through all of the channels and explains some in a really fun way, through the eyes of maybe a doughnut brand. So,Twitter is really all about like what you're doing right now. Facebook is where you declare what you like. Foursquare is about where you were. So, it's really thinking about these channels is the way that you use them, and that's really what this slide is meant to illustrate. You also should think about where you are most comfortable. For a lot of people, writing tweets is a huge challenge. What do I put in a 140 characters. I would say, you don't need to do everything. If you know you are not great at taking photos, think about maybe posting on a Snapchat or something like that where it's not so much of a gallery. So, go where your skills are best because it's really all about just getting stuff out there. A lot of times people say, it should be perfectly crafted, perfectly done, but someone in this school of thought that, it's better done than absolutely perfect. What I want you guys to do as we talk about content strategy is I want you to print out the worksheet, get it in front of you, and we're going to talk about specifically each column in this worksheet, and I'm going to give you a sense of what we mean by channel strategy, what we mean by defining a role for the channel, and then we are going to fill these in as we talk about. 11. Channels Worksheet: Now that I've talked to you a little bit about channel strategy, I want you guys to take some time to think about what platforms you like, what platforms you think you should be on, and I want you to write them down in the channel category on the worksheet. I'll do it as well. So, for our channels, we know our Wordpress blog home is most important for us and we call that home base. In terms of what that role looks like, that's for us, that's where all of our content lives, it's where all of our long form stuff lives, it's where people go when they really want to understand what we're doing. If you're a visual artist or if you have a portfolio, this would be your website. If you're a writer, it would be your website. It could be a Vimeo page if you want to share videos there. It's somewhere where someone can get a body of your work. I would say that you would want to put in the role category here, this is home base. So, the next channel you want to think about is, where does this content go to become shareable? Where do I tell people that I want them to go to my website to learn more? There's two places that you do this. If you're a visual person, it's usually Instagram. You can share a photo from there within the caption and say, "Look at this cool thing I just did." You could show the video. You can say, "If you want to see more," it's the most basic way that you get news of your work out there. So, IG and for us, that is our gallery. All right. It's the quickest way to see the things that are inspiring us. Instagram, for you, might be where you share your process or things that you're working on right now and get people's input on what's happening right now. In a lot of ways, I think it's a very engaging platform for people to see what you're interested in, how you live it and how you interact with your work. Same thing goes for Twitter, that for us, it's our platform where our voice is, it's our soapbox, it's where we really talk about things that interest us outside of our brand. Then the last channel that we're going to add to our sheet is Pinterest. The reason why we have Pinterest here, and you might have Reddit or something like that, it's where our content goes to go viral or be shared. So, it's necessary, it's just where people might run into the content and find it and then find you in a way that might be authentic. So, as you look at your channels, I want you to think about them as like a target that emanates out. The first platform you're right down to be, home base, where do you put all your content. The second one should be how do you get people to come in to your site or tell them about what's going on. The third one should be about where you talk about things that inspire you. Then the fourth one should be how do you put the stuff out there and have it go viral and have new people come in to what you're talking about. So, take some time to think about them and also think about how much you enjoy using them and how often you can use it because we want to make sure you're putting together a channel strategy that is actually executable. The biggest problem is that we have people who want to do too much, too fast and it's a lot of work to make stuff. So, even if you just have two platforms on there, that's great. If your home base is Instagram, that's great, too. It's just making sure you understand how you're using that channel. The next thing that we need to do to finish our content strategy is to talk about the type of content that you're posting. I call them defining content buckets. You can't talk about one thing all the time because that becomes a little bit repetitive and oftentimes, you know that you need to post and it's hard to on a whim. Say, "Okay, well, what can I do? What should I talk about?" The content buckets are meant to give you guardrails so you know the type of content that you need to make. Then also make sure that you're talking about a variety of things that are going to educate your followers and also create interesting and engaging variety. What I like to tell people is you can think about what you do for a living and think about all the different processes that go into it. For a lot of people, there is the end product, so you share maybe the work that you're doing. To get there, you have a process, too, right? So, there's a process of making the thing. Those are two content buckets. You can share the end result and then you can share the process. There's also inspiration, so things that really inspire your work, that's something that you can talk about. Then the other thing is that you have it around the content buckets. Your local community, talking about what's going on there, what's happening around you that is really interesting, supporting people in their events as you're going to, become a part of that community by just contributing and sharing and being around it. So, that's an important content bucket. Your experience as in your personal antidotes, making sure that you're adding some humanity to your content is important. So, what I want to do now is alongside each channel, I want to talk about the type of content that would go in each of these buckets. So, in our case, with our website being our home base, this is where we would talk about almost all of our content buckets. So, we would talk about finished work. We would talk about our process stories. We talk about our inspiration. So, almost all of our content buckets happen within this home base. It might not be the case for you but really list everything that you would want to do there. Do the same thing for each one. So, for me, Instagram is really about how I live and actually execute the things I'm inspired by. So, in the terms of what that content bucket means, it's a lot about my personal experiences. We round that out with finished work or things that we're doing but really, if we're looking at Instagram being the gallery of things that are interesting to us, that's really that content role. For Twitter, knowing that we want this to be our soapbox and that's where we talk about a lot of different things, this is really where we talk about process, inspiration, and community. Then for Pinterest, if this is really about sharing viral work, we want to make sure we do our finished work here. We want to do all of our inspiration. We want to do things, maybe share some of our personal content from Instagram, maybe how we've actually executed those things. You might want to do that there so, process. My process for the content buckets have come from posting for a while over a long period of time and also looking and seeing what people have been reacting to. It's important to set some groundwork for what you would like to do, especially if you're just starting out and then look back and make tweaks based on that. We're able to really compartmentalize what we're doing because we've been doing this for a long time. But know that this is just ways to help you make decisions as to what to post, to make them happen faster, to make it easier for you to decide what to put up, and then really help you maybe finesse and tweak what you might have already been posting to be a little bit more effective. 12. Channels Worksheet II: Step three is all about sticking with the schedule. It becomes important to at least have a goal for how often you post and also have an understanding of that frequency does relate to higher numbers of engagement. There's more content, there's more opportunity for people to come in and see what you're doing. Posting cadences, to make sure that you're continuing to commit to sharing and to help you remember that. If you do put in the work, the following does shift and change and turns into something that's really enjoyable to have and to be involved in. If you're just starting out it can seem like a huge issue to amass a following. I remember that very well, but just know that the cadence is meant to keep you going, and just remember that if you continue to go, the people will come. Especially if you have good content. The biggest thing to remember when you're filling this out is, try to come up with a posting cadence that is realistic for you. If it's one blog post a week, or if it's one putting up work every quarter, make sure that it's doable. On WordPress, we know that this is where we post long form content. One of our goals was to post more often for a while, it was maybe once or twice a week, because that was how much time I had. We know that if we post five times a week, the traffic goes up. So, that's our goal right now is to post five times a week, and that's a big goal for us. For Instagram, we goal ourselves to post once a day at optimal times. Instagram now has insights you can see when most of your followers are online, so you can choose to post during that time. We've found follower growth has come with posting multiple times a day, even with the algorithm. Two to three times, s long as it's an interesting content, just make sure that you're not posted just for the sake of it, that it does align with what you think is interesting and talking about. So, that's the caveat out there. So, one or two times a day. Twitter, we have multiple times a day, and that's something that I personally like to use to talk about what's going on in culture. We talk about everything, from, a lot of stuff with what's inspiring us, a lot of stuff with the process like what we're doing right now, and then the community quite a bit. This is a broad wider array of stuff. Pinterest is a platform we like to use multiple times a day, and it really is about process and finding things that inspire us. I'll use it as often as I am working on a project. We like to say just get on and get inspired over a lunch hour, and that kind of like see that sort of an enjoyable personal thing. Posting cadence and having somewhat of a schedule is really meant to help you keep going, help you remember that the more that you contribute to the channels, the more you get out of them, and to keep you honest with doing it. For us it really helped us streamline all the stuff that we wanted to talk about it, and talk about, and give it an actual structure. For me, I knew I wanted to be getting stuff out there, but it was, I was doing it off the cuff, and we were missing things, when we weren't giving giving a game plan, or laying down a game plan. Hopefully that helps you guys give some structure to when and how to post. The last thing we're going to talk about is, really listening to the community that you're building, and understanding the community on each of these platforms. They tend to be a little bit different. By considering your audience, you can tweak, and evolve, and get insight into the work that you're doing to create better content, and evolve your business. What I want you guys to do within each one of these boxes is, talk about exactly who's reading the content in each space. For example, the people who are on our blog are people who are loyal and delight fans. They really connect and resonate with the brand. They've followed us for a long time. They are very interested in the long form personal content that we have there, and so therefore, we say these are the loyalists. These people are consuming all of our content. The Instagram followers are the the people who are much more interested in the visual nature of wit and delight, and they're very interested in how that intersects with my life. The Twitter audience is definitely we found is here for my voice, so they tend to like that. It's not just about wit and delight content. It's commentary about what's happening in the world. In a lot of ways these are people who are very probably the loyalists part of things. It tends to be a bit smaller of a network. They're there to want to know about news, and they want to know about things that are more unlikely be the humorous side of things; music, a pop culture, things that are on the cusp of what mix of lifestyle. Then the last thing on Pinterest, this is definitely about people who want to find inspiration or find tips and share, they tend to be less loyal, they tend to be a broader range in age, and they tend to maybe not know what wit and delight is, and maybe never been to the website but they like that inspiring content that we're finding from other people. They are very much interested in the visual eye candy, but they also want to have some social currency to share. Like I found this a really great recipe, or I found this, new way to lay out my bedroom, that solves the problem of where this weird window was. They tend to like tips, things that are easy to reference and things that are shareable. We have my final worksheet here for you guys. We have a really great example of what our content strategy looks like, so you guys can have that as reference. Has pretty much everything that we do including more stuff than I have voiced over here. Feel free to look at that when you're filling out your own content sheet. Feel free to scoot back and look at other slides that are in this presentation to help you think about your content strategy, and take time with this. Put in your platforms. Look at your analytics, see where when you're posting more, what is happening, maybe you post something and lose a bunch of followers. Take a look at what that looks like, and be self-aware and assess how that relates to your values. Sometimes we post something that doesn't resonate with people, but it's important to me, and I look at that and think, " Oh, it's okay, maybe it didn't resonate with them, but I got a lot out of it." It doesn't have to be all about seeing your followers increase, as long as it aligns with your values. That's content strategy. 13. Conclusion: The last takeaway here is to remember that you need to keep an open mind when it comes to thinking about where your personal brand can take you. You've taken the time and gifted yourself the time to sort of look back at what your successes have been, to look at really what contributions you've made and I think that when you do that it's important to really look at what you do well and where your talents lie, and sometimes that means going in a different direction. The good news is that there's never been a better time to be out in the world sharing who you are and what you are excited about and the kind of work that you do. I think there's sort of this law of gravity if you will is that if you work hard and put yourself out there opportunity happens. I haven't met one person who has done that and hasn't found work that's fulfilling. So, I wish you guys good luck. I hope that you do the worksheets and revisit them anytime that you need to and hopefully look forward to talking to you guys again about another topic. 14. What's Next?: way.