Harness Brand You with blogger and YouTuber, Gallucks
In our previous article ‘Brand You: Kick your career into the next gear’ we talked about the importance of personal branding when it comes to climbing the career ladder. Now, we’ve teamed up with fashion and lifestyle blogger, Gallucks, aka Joel Mcloughlin to bring you the ultimate guide to building brand you. With over 120k Instagram followers and 83k YouTube subscribers, over the past 7 years Joel has amassed an impressive work history with some of fashion’s biggest brands, opportunities he says he never would have received were it not for the strength of his personal brand.
Now, exclusively for BeginBig.com Joel offers up his expert insight into creating the ultimate brand you. So, read on and discover the key to creating your own career success.
When it comes to job hunting, things have changed a lot in the last 20 years, thanks to rise of the internet and social media. Today a CV and cover letter alone just won’t cut it, no matter how well-crafted. Can you believe 85% of hiring managers are more likely to invite you to interview based on your ‘brand.’ In other words, the information they find about you online? The question is, what exactly will they find? Very little? Drunken photos of wild student nights? Or an impressive blog, filled with engaging and insightful content? Well, that’s actually up to you. You have the power to control what they see, but only if you’re prepared to take action and nurture your brand. Yes, it will take time and effort, but trust me, the rewards are so worth it.
When I moved to London in 2013 to work in fashion it was unsurprisingly a real struggle. I experienced countless failed interviews, 6 to be exact, for major fashion retailers. I had worked in hospitality since I was 16 but no one seemed to want to give me a chance because I hadn’t worked in retail. Eventually my break would come, and it would be from the most unexpected of sources, my blog. My ‘brand.’
I first began blogging age 18 purely because I enjoyed it. Never did I imagine it would open so many doors for me, let alone ultimately allow me the freedom to work for myself. But, it would be my blog that would land me my first job in fashion, as a stylist’s assistant. And I didn’t even go looking for it, they approached me! Off the strength of my brand alone, I’ve assisted stylists on music videos, editorial shoots, tv shows and even The X Factor. I worked for the fashion app ASAP54 and NET-A-Porter, before leaving in 2015, to focus solely on my YouTube Channel and blog – Gallucks.com. For the last two years my brand has been my business. I’ve collaborated with the likes of River Island, been paid to travel the world and built a 122K strong Instagram following.
Now I’m going to share with you my secrets to branding success. The ones that will land you that dream job, or like me, help you make it on your own. Ready to get started?
Ok, I know it’s tempting to jump straight into the fun stuff, crafting a beautiful website that promotes you in all your glory, but just hold off for now. Before you even begin to start shaping your brand you first need to ask yourself some very important questions. The answers to these will form the framework needed to effectively build your brand, without which it will be all style and no substance. Effectively pointless!
Begin by asking yourself the following questions, they’ll help you to establish your purpose, plan and the structure needed to create your brand. I’ll talk you through each one.
- End goal? What do you want to achieve?
- Audience? Who do want to attract?
- Competition? Who else in your field is out there and what are they doing?
- USP or freak factor. What sets you apart from the crowd?
- What is your story?
- What do you want to say? What do you have to contribute?
- How will you communicate with your audience?
1. Establish your end goal
Yeah, I know the need to determine this might seem pretty obvious, right? I mean of course you aren’t investing precious time into building your brand simply because you just feel like it. You have a reason. Something you hope to achieve from your efforts. But what? Perhaps you have big dreams of working for a national newspaper or a Mad Men style advertising agency, or maybe you even plan on creating your own business. Your end goal can’t be ‘to earn lots of money’ because that shouldn’t be the reason you’re creating your own brand. I think that’s important to remember.
Try to be as specific as possible. Thinking in detail about your ideal outcome will naturally lead you to consider the next question – who your brand needs to reach in order to turn your dream into a reality.
2. Identify your audience
Say like me, you wanted a career in fashion. You dream of landing a stylist’s position at a huge fashion magazine. Clearly your audience would be those working in the fashion industry, right? The short answer? Yes. But narrowing your audience down to a single field is still too broad. You need to think about who specifically you want to reach? Whose radar do you ultimately want to end up on and how exactly do you plan on getting there?
In this instance, your answer would probably be something along the lines of: “I want hiring managers of fashion publications to view my brand. Most likely they will see it during the standard recruitment process of positions I apply for, but ultimately, I’d like to be found organically. I want to be headhunted. To impress and attract those I want to hire me, I will create content that will directly appeal to those with a passion for fashion, establishing myself as an authority on the topic. In doing so I hope to also attract offers of collaborative projects with big fashion brands that will boost my credibility and following.”
3. Find your freak factor
By this point you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve and a rudimentary plan to action in. Now comes the tricky part. Unfortunately and unsurprisingly you aren’t the only one out there trying to ‘make it.’ You’re going to need to make yourself stand out from the crowd. But how?
Start by researching a cross section of your competition. Ask yourself, what do they do well and what could they do better? What do they have that you don’t. But most importantly, what don’t they have that you DO! Basically, you need to find your USP, your freak factor, your edge, whatever you want to call it and make sure it forms an important part of your brand statement. It will give you a hell of a lot of help in standing out from the crowd. Remember that there’s only one of you and you’re different from everyone else.
3. Tell us your story
The most important aspect of your brand is your professional story, or brand statement. It’s the narrative behind what you do and why. It adds crucial content and emotional resonance to your work not to mention dimension to your character far beyond the capabilities of your CV. The key is to make it concise and compelling. Here’s mine:
Your story should reveal to the world who you really are and what you stand for. What you’re passionate about. What you value. Authenticity is everything. Don’t say you’re passionate about X if truthfully you are only mildly interested. The content you produce will be an extension of your story, and if you aren’t truly passionate about it, it WILL show. People can detect a fake a mile off and being outed as an imposter will only damage your reputation.
4. Craft your content
There are multiple ways to communicate your knowledge, distribute your content and promote your brand. Personally, I find the below to be most effective.
Blogging is one of the best ways to share your knowledge and views with others. For maximum impact I would recommend blogging 2 times a week. I did this before I had a YouTube channel – Don’t worry if you only have time to post once a month that’s ok, but try to establish a schedule and stick to it, that way your audience know when to expect your latest post and are tuned in ready. Consistency is key.
Stuck for content ideas? Write about what you love, I’ve found that more personal experiences and opinions make for a better read. Like I was saying earlier, you’re different from everyone else, so put your own stamp of individuality on everything you do. Networking and industry events are also extremely useful for any career, as they always say it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. (but you have to know a lot of stuff first aha).
If you are going to blog then obviously you need a platform to host it. You need a personal website – a central point for all your online activity. WordPress, Wix and Squarespace make the process super quick and easy. No coding skills required. PHEW! Do some research and see which one best suits your needs. What you feature on your website will largely depend on your chosen industry. My website for example, gallucks.com is built around my blog, but if you’re a graphic designer for example, you’re probably going to want to add a portfolio of some description to showcase your work.
Regardless of industry every personal website should include the following as a minimum:
- Your brand statement.
- ‘About me.’ Make yourself a little more relatable and offer your readers additional personal info, such as your career history and other interests.
- Links to all your social channels
- USP or freak factor. What sets you apart from the crowd?
- Your contact information. How else are those job opportunities going to come knocking?!
- For an added level of professionalism and brand awareness, I would advise buying a branded domain name and branded link shortener, for when posting to social media as these can increase click-through rates by up to 39%!
If writing isn’t your strong point consider vlogging instead, with your own YouTube channel. In fact, even if you do write most of your content, consider mixing it up with some Vlogs to keep things interesting. In some cases, the type of audience you are looking to attract will dictate your medium. If you are hoping to appeal to those in the journalism industry then naturally it makes sense to showcase your writing skills.
TIP: Whenever you create new content remember to share it on social media, which brings me to my next go-to branding tool.
Social media forms the foundation of many personal brands. It’s a fantastic tool for self-promotion. But be careful not to use it solely as a platform to broadcast yourself, but one to also engage and interact with like-minded people. It is called social media after all.
Here are some important tips to bear in mind.
- Be yourself: Let your personality show through. Authenticity is important.
- Username: Try and get the same username across all platforms/website to make sure people can find you easily.
- Don’t Spam: I feel like some people post too much too often, you need to keep your current audience happy whilst also attracting a new one.
- Be consistent: Use the same profile photo across all your channels and be sure to post your brand statement/bio on each. This will make you instantly recognisable and projects a better and more cohesive brand image.
Now comes the fun part. You’ve decided on the content you’ll create and the platforms on which you’ll share it, now it’s time to get creative with your brands visual identity. I’m talking fonts, filters, logos. All of it!
Begin by designing your logo. Canvas is a great tool for this, especially for those without access to adobe creative suite or just simply lacking artistic skill. Once you’ve created your logo apply it across all your social media channels and your website, which you’ll need to design next. Depending on the platform you use to build your site, you’ll have different free web templates at your disposal. However, if you find these too lacking or limiting take a look on Creative Market, where you’ll find thousands of awesome templates for a relatively low price. You’ll also want to establish a suite of fonts, which you’ll use consistently across your various channels. The fonts available as standard on your computer are pretty limited so again I’d check out creative market and also Pinterest, where you’ll find links to free custom fonts. Bear in mind, your brands visual identity should hit the sweet spot between being appropriate to your industry but also a reflection of your personality.
Whatever your design choices, the most important aspect of visual branding will always be consistency. Ultimately you want people to instantly recognise your brand, so everything from your logo, fonts, image choices and photo filters should be the same across all your channels. Take my website and Instagram for example, across both I stick to a monochrome colour pallet and, and the photos I post all share a similar look and feel. If you take nothing else away from this article remember this – CONSISTENCY IS KEY. Without it your brand just won’t work.
Good to go!
So, there you have it. My ultimate tips to building brand you. Be sure to keep checking back for further helpful content, including the beginners guide to blogging and creating your website tutorial.
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