Personal branding for journalists: Standing out from the rest

In this new age of information we are living in, journalism is going through a lot of changes. The fragmentation of the audiences in the radio and television and the continuing decrease of circulation among the newspapers are making the profession of journalist more unstable than ever. The rise of blogging and new media are changing the rules faster than you can write them, and the debate about what defines a journalist was never more intense. On top of that, the number of journalists in active is the highest ever, and more continues to graduate from universities worldwide. So what can a journalist do to survive?Personal branding is the answer. You can be no longer only a worker for hire, you must become a brand, your own, because life-long careers in the same company are becoming the exception, not the rule. If you make yourself an expert or eminence in your particular field of expertise, it’s more likely that opportunities will surface for you. There are many ways in which you can build your own brand, your online identity. It can be a literal translation of your offline identity or a whole new persona, although journalists should be public whenever and wherever they can. How can you do it?

First of all, you must embrace the new tools that internet and social media gives us. There is no point, in the long term, to label and dismiss the new interactive media as amateur (in the cruelest sense), lack of quality standards or not true journalism. Think of what journalism is. It’s not what journalists or university teachers say, it’s what journalists do. And what do journalists do? They seek and elaborate information and then make it avalaible to the public. That’s the simplest definition, the true core of journalism. And the new media provides the tools to do it in a whole new scale.

As you begin to develop the use of that new tools, you must connect with your public, wich surely is already connected and having a conversation. Write a blog, join a social network, participate in online forums… anything is valid to join your public. You should also know their concerns and doubts, so listen to what they say. Avoid the use of pseudonyms, be yourself and be honest, don’t try to hide your flaws or focus on your virtues neither. If you are great, people will notice without you telling them.

And after all that, start participating and make yourself known contributing with solutions for their concerns and answers to their doubts, or new ideas to keep the conversation going. As you get more involved with your public, your online identity will become your brand, and your public will become your community, And it’s then when you will stand out from the rest of the profession. Are you ready for that challenge? Clock is ticking…

Imagen: STL Social media guy