The first thing anyone does after meeting or getting an email from someone new for the first time these days is Google them. You want to control what comes up at the top of the search. Having your own website is the best way to make sure that you control the message that comes along with your name. One of the terms that is thrown around most often is ‘Personal Brand’. This is what people associate when they think of you. Having your own website allows you tailor that message to exactly what you want. Sure, you have your social media channels, but think of a website as a hub for all your work and contact info laid out in a clean, precise manner.
When you are looking to start or advance in your journalism or media career, having your own website is the best way to show off your work. It doesn’t matter your specialty, you can be looking to become an on-air person or a print journalist, the fact is, you can use your website to showcase your best work and who you are as a person. If done well, it will make potential new contacts, employers or hiring managers want to reach out and find you. In today’s marketplace of shrinking newsrooms and fewer and fewer media jobs, you want to be able to stand out from the crowd. I talked in a previous post on how you can get noticed. Creating your own website is a major start.
Ok, so where do you start? Getting started is a lot easier than you may think. Start with your own custom domain name. You want something like TaylorShold.com rather than TaylorShold.Wordpress.com. It looks much more professional, not like you signed up for something on a whim to post a few blog entries. I’m not knocking anyone who is using the latter, it’s just my personal opinion. Hosting a website can get a little costly if it’s something that’s just sitting there collecting figurative dust. If you take advantage of this online space, it’s worth every penny. Digital trends posted their list of top free and premium website builders that I recommend you check out HERE. Do a little research on the type of builder would best suit your needs. You don’t want something photo heavy if you are someone posting mostly print articles or vice versa. Personally, I use Word Press and host SMG through Netfirms. At first, it may seem a little daunting to fill an entire website with content. I know with the type of Word Press template I use here, you needed to have a few different articles or posts to start filling up the categories of the site. Don’t rush into anything. Let your site sit for a month or two while you curate your best work before you share with your social networks.
You may think that by starting your own website may be a little narcissistic. Who wants to come to a site and read all about you? If you’re doing it right, that’s not what you’re doing. Sure, there will be sections about who you are and what you do, but the site is a place to show off your best work or allow people to connect with you. Charles Pooley is the Founder & CEO of Workfolio and he posted a great article on WorkItDaily. He says: “People will find your website either because you gave them the address personally or because they were looking for you online. They came to your site because they wanted more information about you, which makes your list of accomplishments informative rather than boastful.”
People are seeking this information and you are providing them with what they want to know. If they didn’t care, they wouldn’t be on your website in the first place.
It always baffles me when in this day and age, it’s hard to find somebody’s email address. If you are just starting your career and don’t really have much of a following, you shouldn’t be worried about getting bombarded with tons and tons of email. A lot of really well respected writers post their email on their Twitter pages and in the body of their articles online or in the newspaper. They welcome reader comments and feedback. Sure, a few unpleasant emails may come your way, but a quick hit of the delete button can take care of that. Don’t make it hard for someone to reach out to you. It would be a real shame for an opportunity to pass you by because someone couldn’t get in touch with you easily. I have seen a lot of portfolio websites for young journalists or media professionals without their email address posted or a contact form embedded on their site. If you’ve gone through the trouble of creating a space to share your work make sure people can reach out effortlessly.
An example of the perfect website for those looking to share their portfolio and pertinent information is that of PR professional Vittoria Natarelli. She offers who she is, what she does, her contact info and all her appropriate social media links as well as a portfolio of her work. Go over to her site and take a look at what I mean. It’s clean, it’s simple and it’s effective. Her personal branding is on point and when you link to her social pages, the theme is consistent with the same profile pictures and message. Vittoria told me that “personal branding should be an ongoing and maintained focus even if deemed “unnecessary” in a given moment. It’s much easier to review and edit an established presence when you need to pull out all the stops, than to have to start from scratch. Now, I need a website for potential clients to reference. A lot of my business has been referred and often their first impression of me, other than what they have heard, is that website. It now acts as the confirmation that I’m a professional who knows what they are doing.”
Promote Yourself via Shold Media Group
We have amassed a very large media following with this group and now offer a place where you can post your work on this website. If you don’t have the time or the skills to create your own website or hub, let us do it for you. Just get in touch with us and we can create a space for you to share all over the web…the best part? You get a space here on SMG and your work gets promoted weekly via our social media accounts. Interested? Get signed up HERE and let’s help you land a new gig.
Keep at it. Make sure you are keeping your content fresh. If your website is like Vittoria’s, you don’t need to update it often. Just when you have something new that you’re really proud of. Please, make sure your links stay active and that when people click on them, they go where they are supposed to. If you are blogging on your site, don’t want to be going months between posts or updates. A lot of people will say you should post on a regular schedule but life gets in the way and this is the internet, there are no schedules, post when you have something you are proud of and want to share.
The most important thing to take away from this article is that you want to present your best self. Create a professional looking site, one you’d be proud of having potential employers look at. Post your best work and make sure people are able to contact you. With that, you’ll be well on your way to having the success you’re working so hard to achieve.
You can find me on Twitter @tshold
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