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It's no longer enough to rely on simply being a good teacher. In the age of social networking, you need to look and sound like a top-notch expert in your field - and then some. Let's face it: job security for teachers or stability for businessmen isn't what it used to be. As I've said many times before, we live in an era when even the best teachers are expendable.
Of course, there are still "lifers" who will have careers at their schools until they retire or die (I was one of them). Most educators, however, were not blessed with that kind of security... but you don't have to follow the crowd. You can create your job security or business stability by actively creating online visibility as a thought leader in your area of expertise.
You can bet that the people who will be doing "in-house" jobs at your school district, or the ones who are hired to fill a vacancy created by a teacher's departure. They do their homework first. They look you up online - and if they don't find anything there, they move on to someone else.
So how do I create this "personal branding?" Let me count the ways of the importance of personal branding:
Personal Image as Though Leader
Create an image for yourself as a Thought Leader (someone whose ideas are worth paying attention to) by blogging about what you know best - educational topics that are of importance to administrators, teachers, and students.
You don't have to start a new blog to evaluate the importance of personal branding; just write thoughtful posts on topics that are of importance to your audience, and when you write about them make sure you include keywords that describe who you are (e.g., Title I Specialist, Elementary School Teacher, Texas).
Presence in the Online Community
A blog with lots of high-quality posts will improve your online visibility - in other words, it'll define what people think when they hear the name "Mary Smith." The long-term goal here is to build a reputation for yourself as a source of information on high-profile educational issues.
You want administrators and teachers across the country looking up Mary Smith whenever an issue comes up that's related to Title I funding or teaching strategies for elementary school children.
Go beyond just blogging. Write articles for Thinkfinity.org. While there aren't a lot of visitors to this site, it's an important marketing "stepping stone" that will help you build a reputation as someone who's willing to share information.
Strong Voice and Opinion
Making podcasts and videos are other effective ways to brand yourself. They not only convey your messages but also present you as a human being. It creates a close tie with the audience and eventually generates trust.
When people hear your voice, they get a sense of how you think and speak... which is part of what makes up your "personal branding."
Connection Brings Communication
Create a profile on LinkedIn, but don't just leave it at that. Connect with other educators and administrators who are in your network. When you connect with someone, set the privacy of that connection so that it's visible to other people in your network.
This may feel uncomfortable at first, but LinkedIn is one of the best ways to show the world what you're doing... and by connecting with others on this site you'll be able to build a "network" that will help promote YOU when opportunities arise.
Here's an example: I've been teaching for 17 years now and I'm connected to over 400 educators on LinkedIn. Whenever there's a job opening within my district, I see it online because my contacts share it with me - many of them don't even know how they're sharing it (they just know that their sharing setting is set to "all" and they're not trying to hide anything from me).
This constant flow of information helps me stay on top of opportunities as soon as they arise - which makes it more likely that I'll be able to land a job than someone who's not "connected."
Way of Continuous Improvement
Look for blogger workshops near you. These are usually offered by library systems in larger communities and are designed to help educators learn how to create a blog... but what many people don't realize is that these workshops provide valuable tips on how to brand yourself as an educator.
Check out this article for a list of some of the bigger bloggers in education, along with links to their blogs. Read their blogs to learn how they use blogging to brand themselves.
Streamline Your Personality for Reputation
Develop a top-notch personal website. While this is probably the most difficult branding strategy of all, it's also one of the most effective ways to build a reputation for yourself as an expert in your field. When you are evaluating the importance of building your personal brand nothing can beat a personal website.
There are numerous resources available on the internet about how to start personal blogs, search engine optimization of blogs, and marketing. Rather than being in limbo between hundreds of choices, pick the name you trust most and follow it.
Landing a job isn't the only thing that's made easier by personal branding. Once you've built an online reputation for yourself, it's much easier to get people to buy into your ideas or come up with new suggestions for professional development.
We live in a world where teachers need to be collaborative to meet the needs of all students - but there are still too many situations where we're not willing to share our knowledge and support each other.
Personal branding is one way that school districts can encourage teachers of different backgrounds and experiences to work together... which will help improve outcomes for children everywhere.
Don't forget, you can get a fully automated USA based dropship website, built for you, in whatever niche you want, in 72 hours or less. Go to https://learn.dropshipusa.io/webclass to register for our free webinar that will teach you our secret dropship model, and how you can get it built for you in only 3 days!