You Need A Personal Brand Website / by Kia Jarmon

Every semester I find myself excited when I head to the college campuses to share sessions on topics like you are a brand, how to create a career from what you love, and ways to connect passion with your college degree. I live for a good aha 'light bulb' moment. Helping students discover their blueprint and define success is a passion of mine and equally I enjoy providing professors with some additional tools to as they counsel students.

My first question—after introductions and small talk—is usually, "do you own your domain name?" Every now and then there will be a hand or two that pops up out of room of 20. I immediately encourage cell phones and tablets to come out to make the purchase. After moments of baffled looks, I answer the 'why'. So why do you need your own domain name to host a website? Simple. You are a brand; either it owns you or you own it.

But this conversation is not just for college students. Everyone should be an active participant in how they are introduced and presented to the world. Whether an entrepreneur, a 9-5'er, or a creative who toggles between both worlds, you need a place to house your expert.

Think of it this way. If you work a nine to five there will come a day when your employer may have to make a decision; lay-offs, demotions, or salary decreases. If that day comes, what do you have to lean on? I learned after I was a part of a second round of layoffs that it wasn't a matter of if but when. When would my day come? The beauty was that I was always preparing. I had (and still have) a personal brand site that listed speaking engagements, awards, blog posts that were slightly more candid then I wanted to post on my business site, and testimonials to prove my work (and value).

On the other hand, as an entrepreneur you may consider having your own site because you want to explore something different then your business or decide to close down shop. So how would you start over? If you have been building a strong brand then starting anew would be simpler then starting at ground zero.

Outside of my PR business, I have other pursuits that still focus on helping people share their brand but don't fit on my business website. I am able to share those thoughts and candor succinctly on my own website without presenting brand confusion to my audience.

So what should you place on your website? That will be different based on the desired outcome of the site. But generally you should have an about section, a place where you can give a quick 1-2-3 of who you are and how you benefit your audience. You should consider a case studies or testimonial page with evidence of how you have been valuable to your supervisor, peers, or clients. Next, I would consider a services or 'how can I use you' page, this will help people zero in on why you are necessary to their business or to be added as an employee to their company. Additional things to consider adding are social media links, references, blog posts, and workshop titles.

Use your personal brand site as an opportunity to elevate your expertise. It can only be a bonus when you have a career or own a business and even more valuable if you are looking to pursue either the former.

Cheers to sharing your expert on your terms!

Kia Jarmon is creator of brand depth + facilitator of ideas + curator of conversation + sculptor of stories at boutique PR and brand strategy firm MEPR Agency. She also loves connecting businesses & people to their heartbeat and coaches them through a Brand Mapping program, where they navigate their brand compass. Kia is a 25 year life-time member of Girl Scouts and daily she lives by the promise "on my honor I will try…to help people at all times". Kia is also a new mommy to a handsome son. She resides in Donelson.You can find more atwww.MEPRagency.com or www.KiaJarmon.com.