CPD23: Branding – a piece of cake?

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CPD evidently now stands for Cake & Professional Development. Image courtesy of M i x y on Flickr

Last week, I celebrated one year of tweeting using my missrachelsmith Twitter account! I’ve also just reached the 6 month mark with the missrachelsmith blog. The turning of a year is often a good time to reflect on the year past and think about the year ahead, so week 2 of 23 Things for Professional Development, and Thing 3: Consider your personal brand are quite timely for me.

Now, communications and marketing is kind of my bag, baby, so in theory, this personal branding Thing should be a piece of (tweetanniversary) cake. But for me, using social media for professional development was kind of an organic thing which just happened. I never really planned or structured my personal online ‘brand’. So what do my current professional social media profiles say about me?

What I think

Well, I think that I present myself in quite a straightforward way. Both my blog and my Twitter account are named after me and I also proudly display friendly mugshots of myself (although the photo I’m currently using, taken during the Toon (lib)TeachMeet, maybe isn’t the most obvious).

I write about what I’m doing at work, about professional development activities and about ideas I have about libraries and information. I don’t go into a huge amount of detail about out of work stuff, but I don’t divorce my work life and my personal life entirely, as it tends to creep in. And I write quite honestly; the whole point of my CILIP Chartership work is to be reflective, and that means telling you how I feel about the things I’m doing, as well as what I think about them.

I definitely think that there’s room for improvement, however. Visually, my blog and Twitter account don’t look all that enticing and a strong online visual identity could be easily achieved through using consistent headers and backgrounds. I’ve also been keeping an eye on my blog stats in recent weeks, and a lot of people seem to find their way to my About page, which currently tells you very little about me. These are things that I need to look into and would be quick improvements to my personal online brand.

What my colleagues think

I decided to be brave and go for the optional extra activity, so I asked a couple of colleagues for their opinions on my blog. My colleague Vicki called it (and I quote) ‘the most professional blog I’ve ever read’. I’m guessing this is because there are other people at my workplace who blog – see Helen’s Bright Inside, a blog about interior design, or Ben’s bloggin’ bones, subtitled ‘musings of unremarkable idiot’, for example –  and don’t write about professional stuff at all. But still, as I’m blogging about work, professional is kind of what I’m aiming at, so I was fairly pleased with that response.

What Google thinks

I’ve learnt that I’m not amazingly easy to find or ‘googleable’ – I blame this mainly on having the world’s most common name. I did consider changing my surname as a teenager, to something a bit more exciting and glamorous, but my mother was quite offended when I suggested it. Actually, if you search ‘Rachel Smith’ on Google, you mainly come up with results relating to an American beauty queen (don’t be fooled – if I looked like that I wouldn’t be doing this job).

Can I improve my Google result rankings? Well, I’m sure there’s a few SEO-type rabbits I could pull out of my library marketing hat, but I don’t think I can improve my visibility that much, without changing names. I’m planning to use the missrachelsmith ‘brand’ for at least the course of Chartering, but maybe I should rethink this further down the line, as and when my blog and twitter activities have a change in purpose/emphasis.

And lastly, what do you think? I’d love to know.


Written by missrachelsmith

July 1, 2011 at 12:42

Posted in CPD23

Tagged with , ,

One Response

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  1. I like the missrachelsmith name – simple and to the point. Also I definitely agree that your blog looks very professional – it’s easy to read and clearly laid out.

    Laura Steel

    July 1, 2011 at 12:58

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