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Developing Your Personal Brand for Professional Development

By Carolyn Hennessey posted 03-14-2024 16:01

  

Developing Your Personal Brand for Professional Development

By: Peyton Tackes

Director of Marketing, Ross · Scalise Law Group

I’m going to open with the best advice I can give: 

Build your personal professional brand before you need it. 

As marketers or business development professionals, our focus all day, every day, is building the reputation of our clients, the executives, and our firm. We usually think about ourselves last, and it’s understandably hard to shift that mindset. As the ever-prevalent #OpenToWork banners remind us, however, we need to make the time to invest in ourselves. 

I started prioritizing my personal brand and career development about 10 years ago. Setting aside time to invest in myself and my career has given back to me tenfold over the years. One of the biggest gifts is that from the time I built my personal brand and subsequent network, I have never felt trapped professionally. 

Where to Start

Legal Marketing Association  

Not a sales pitch but industry organizations like LMA are a fantastic way to build your network. You may have no idea who I am but I’m writing this article to you now because I joined LMA, reached out to the President to see where I could contribute, ended up on the Communications Committee, and volunteered to write this article. Don’t just sign up for industry organizations, get involved. Get to know the people behind the curtain and ask how you can help. 

Non-Industry Organizations

I’ve been a member of organizations like Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and American Marketing Association (AMA) for most of my professional career. Being remote and therefore not expense-approved, I also have exchanged membership fees for brand and marketing services with local organizations like the Chamber of Commerce. 

Volunteering your time and expertise to organizations that are outside your industry give back in two main ways: 

First, these organizations are a great place to try new things and test out different platforms or mediums. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t like anyone to see their rough draft, organizations that operate outside your industry can be a safer place to experiment with writing blog posts, creating videos, or speaking at events.

Second, these organizations provide you insider access to marketing ideas in a room that isn’t full of your competition. I’ve used many creative angles that I learned from others in these groups. 

LinkedIn

If you’re in the legal or legal marketing world, come hang out on LinkedIn with us. I cannot adequately express how beneficial building my network on LinkedIn has been. As a remote Marketing Director whose firm is in Austin, Texas, LinkedIn has kept me connected to others in our industry as if they were at the office with me every day. I engage with my connections by writing and responding to posts about trends they are seeing, press opportunities that may make sense for each other, awards that are coming up, and most everything that is relevant to our unique world. It’s a great place to be able to talk shop with others in our space. 

Media

Look for opportunities to pitch yourself as an expert. The same way you find reporters and outlets for others, look for yourself. Tailor your bio to the publication’s style, and reach out to the reporter in your space directly. Let them know you love their articles and that you’re available if they ever need an expert on an area in your wheelhouse. 

Inside Your Firm

This is especially true if you work at a large firm. Get really good at something and figure out how to teach it. Maybe it is social media, or pitches, or speaking engagements… whatever it is, figure out how to show the lawyers at your firm how to do it. Offer to teach a quarterly (or monthly if you’re a real go-getter) webinar. 

You also could suggest a topic that is simply interesting - I once taught a case study on GE’s brand development, relating it to why they were one of only 2% of companies that had been on the Fortune 500 list every year since its inception. It had nothing to do with our company but people who were there still come up and remember me from it five years later. The objective is to get your name and presence known as an authority on something. Be seen. 

I get it. 

The last thing my brother-in-law, who is a chef, wants to do at the end of each day is cook dinner. And we face the same issue as marketers. But it’s at our own peril if we forget to use the tools we have mastered developing business for others, for ourselves. 

If you liked this article, follow me on LinkedIn where I post tips like this a few times a week. 

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