As a communications professional, whether you’re an on-air personality, spokesperson/media relations manager, or have another role in the field, you have at some point considered developing your personal brand and fine-tuning it. As a former newsroom employee for 5 years and current communications director, this is something I have dealt with extensively on both personal and professional levels, and hope to continue improving on throughout my career.

If you’re a spokesperson or communications manager for a company, organization, or elected official, it’s important to know your audience and keep it professional. In my role, I serve as a communications director for several elected officials at the county level. My job involves crafting social media posts, issuing press releases or statements, and cultivating relationships with local media outlets. It’s extremely important to carry yourself professionally and leave positive impressions on those you interact with. This will help create a positive image for the individual or organization you represent, while also helping you build your own network. As far as job opportunities go, you never know when one could come up. If people already know you, and you have managed to leave a lasting impression through your work or interactions, it could be enough to set you apart from the others applying for a particular job.

It’s also important to utilize social media properly. The beauty of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other platforms is that they allow you to create an image and leave it with thousands of people. In my case, it helps elected officials demonstrate what they are doing throughout the community and share important updates about what may be happening in county government. If you work for a company or organization, it can help you reach your customers or target audience. Getting comfortable with social media and realizing the reach potential it has can be extremely beneficial to building a brand. On a personal note, the same general rules apply. If you’re hoping to land a new job or want to maintain a professional image, you should be very selective about what you post should a potential employer come across it. In the communications world, being familiar with all of the latest social media platforms is usually a bonus when it comes to selling your job skills.

The last piece of advice I can offer when it comes to creating a personal brand: be genuine and don’t be afraid to adapt if something isn’t working or doesn’t feel natural. As I often remind myself— it is okay to consider something a work in progress!

Katarina Schmieder grew up in the Attica, NY area and graduated from Alexander High School in 2010. She then attended Genesee Community College for 2 years, where she became heavily involved in the college TV and radio stations and newspaper. She transferred to Medaille College and graduated in 2014 with a BS in Communications. While at Medaille, Katarina participated in a number of internships at local TV stations, including WKBW and Spectrum. After graduation, Katarina went on to work in the local news field, spending a year at Spectrum News as a news assistant and several years at WIVB-TV as an assignment editor.  She left the TV business in 2018 and currently serves as Communications & District Director for the Minority Caucus of the Erie County Legislature. Outside of work, she enjoys exploring the Buffalo restaurant scene and spending time with her husband, Capital Tonight’s WNY Political Reporter Ryan Whalen, and their rescue dog, Ernie.