Category Archives: Personal Branding

5 things to include in your personal media kit

When I graduated college and entered The Real World, my first job was as an education and general assignment reporter. Not a glamorous gig by any stretch, but I definitely learned a lot about the ways people and organizations present themselves to the public. One really useful tool for this is a media kit.

Fancy! Click on the picture to see how it was created.

What’s a media kit? It’s an easily accessible compilation of information about a company, brand or person. Folks that are good at getting steady, consistent media coverage know that the media  expects certain information to be easily accessible, so they have media kits at the ready. And in this era of Internet searches, you should have a media kit prepared, too. A personal media kit, one that’s designed to let people know what you’re all about, and one that’s easily accessible for those who are looking for it.

A few situations where a personal press kit may come in handy:

  • a reporter needs to find an expert for a story
  • a nonprofit is looking for people to add to its board

So–what should go in your personal press kit? Here are 5 things I recommend:

1. High resolution photo–Your personal press kit should include a current photo of yourself that’ll look good both online and in print. That portrait studio pic you scanned and uploaded? Not gonna fly. Generally, the larger a photo is, the better it is. Here’s a good explanation of how high-res photos work.

2. Short bio— Your bio should be a paragraph or two that tells people the following things: WHO you are, WHAT you do, WHERE you’re from, WHEN you started doing it, and WHY you do it. Two great examples are the bios of the bloggers behind Birmingham Mommy.

3. Grownup email address–If your primary email address is still, it’s time to make a change. Your email is one of your most important means of contact, so it should reflect positively on you and your brand. Mine follows the standard FirstnameLastname format; other people incorporate their stage names or their blog names. Assess what’s best for you.

4. A working link to your internet presence– A website, a Twitter account, a LinkedIn profile or anything else you choose. The important thing is that when people Google you, what pops up is at least one site about you that you yourself control. Right now, I’m a fan of It serves as a central location for all of my online profiles (and it looks nice, too). And yes, people do connect with me through it.

5. Samples of your work— This could be a portfolio of your photography, clips of your writing, videos of your performances, products you’ve created, testimonials about your performance. The Behance network has a great gallery of portfolios for creative professionals.

Did I leave anything out? Do you have a personal media kit and if so, what’s in it?


when you think of garbage, think of akeem: why personal branding matters

If you’ve never seen Eddie Murphy’s cult classic, Coming to America, you have done yourself a disservice that needs to be corrected immediately. If you have seen it, though, you know that it’s one of the funniest movies OF ALL TIME. It’s about an African prince who slums it up in New York as he searches for his true love, and it’s full of quotables (two words for ya:  Sexual. Chocolate.). One of the most popular one-liners is delivered when Eddie’s character, Prince Akeem, is trying (too hard) to impress a coworker he has a crush on. After extolling his janitorial skills to her, he says, “When you think of garbage, think of Akeem!

And that, ladies and gentleman, is personal branding in a nutshell: When you think of ______, think of [Your Name Here].

"When you think of garbage, think of Akeem!"

When my friends think of anything related to communications, from writing and media to literature and storytelling, they think of me. As manager of my personal brand, it’s my job to make sure that colleagues, employers and potential collaborators are thinking the same thing.

Most folks agree that the idea of personal branding was introduced in Tom Peters’ 1997 Fast Company article “The Brand Called You.” According to Peters:

Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.

It’s that simple — and that hard. And that inescapable.

Fast forward to today, where Dan Schawbel has taken the concept of personal branding and applied it to the Information age. His book Me 2.0 (which I’m currently reading) teaches you how to discover and market your personal brand. If you can’t drill it down to just one thing, I highly recommend checking out  this post on Puttylike, a website for “multipotentialites”, i.e. Renaissance men and women.

Once you’ve decided on what your brand is, you should definitely start using the Internet to grow it, because that’s where people will be looking for you (and don’t act like you’ve never Googled somebody to find out what they’re all about. Please believe your employers do it too.). Who you talk with, what you talk about, even the way you talk–it all paints a picture of who you are.

So what does this mean? Well–it means that when people Google you, whatever comes up should be exactly what you want them to find. At the very least, you need to have a fully completed, up-to-date LinkedIn account; if you want to be really good, you need to have an active blog or an updated website.

But to get started, take a lesson from Prince Akeem and decide what you want to represent. Then Google yourself and see if it lines up.