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Discussing The Power of Self-Branding with Daniel Cranney

We couldn’t be more excited to welcome our esteemed guest, Daniel Cranney, to our Champ Talks! 

Hailing from Bristol, England, he is not just a front-end developer and designer but also a passionate teacher. Daniel’s journey began at the young age of thirteen when he built his first website, igniting his fascination with computers and technology. Presently, he is leading a BA Media Production degree course and successfully running Spotlight Media, a corporate video production company.

We asked a series of questions from Daniel during our Twitter Space hosted by Neha Khan & Kulsoom Awan, Community managers at Social Champ to learn about his views and thoughts on the power of Self-Branding. 

Kulsoom: Can you tell our audience a bit about yourself, what you do, what industry are you in? And who exactly is Daniel Cranney?

Daniel Cranney: I ask myself that all the time. Yeah, I think I’m somebody who wears a lot of hats, really, I think, is how I would describe myself. I’m a teacher. I  teach a filmmaking degree. But on the side, I’d always done things like graphic design, web design. Sort of moved around as a generalist. Then I’ve gone all in, really, on development, and I joined Twitter around the same time as I learned to code, not long after, and just started sharing my work through. So that’s kind of who I am. 

Kulsoom: So let’s just deep dive into our topic of today, which is the power of self-branding. So can you tell our audience why self-branding is important in today’s digital world and its core benefits?

Daniel Cranney: Yeah, when I think about this topic, really, I’m a little bit cynical in the sense that when you think about branding yourself, it can feel kind of false, and it can feel quiet. I sort of learned that actually, I think all that self-branding is, is trying to emphasize who you are, and it’s emphasizing the strengths that you’ve got and the things that the experiences you’ve had, the skills that you’ve possessed, all the things that you can bring to different roles, different projects. And I think that self-branding is actually just about trying to understand who you are as somebody and what you can offer and then who that might be of value to. I think self-branding is just about emphasizing the things the values that you’ve got and putting those out there through content.

Neha: How does self-branding contribute to professional growth and career advancement?

Daniel Cranney: Yeah, I think that what it’s about doing is accepting that, in some ways, you don’t like to think of yourself as a product, but you are in some way trying to target an audience in the same way you would with a product. And I think that’s what I know the name is self-explanatory. When it says self-branding, it suggests what it is we’re talking about. I think it’s not just professional growth, it’s personal growth as well. I think that you can start to recognize what skills you’ve got and what strengths you’ve got before you have to package those things up. 

Neha: How can social media platforms be utilized to enhance personal growth efforts?

Daniel Cranney: I think it’s about finding the one that suits you. It obviously depends on the kinds of content that you create. You’re going to find that certain content goes down better on certain platforms than it does on others. But I think that actually viewing it not as like a chore, something that you need to do, like, oh, now I need to brand myself. I don’t think it should be like that. I think that some people view it like that because they see it as it’s going to be very labor-intensive; it should be something that’s quite good fun to do because it’s about presenting yourself in the right way and hopefully emphasizing the parts of your character that are good because that’s kind of what this is all about, right? You can have an opinion, you can voice who you are on social media, and I think that should be fun rather than a chore.

Neha: What role does content creation play in building an online presence and personal branding?

Daniel Cranney: I think over time, I just learned that you can actually consciously create content. So I started making videos related to things. I like learning new things, I like sharing it with people. I like teaching. So I think that’s what creating content is about; if you’re doing it, most people create content for free. And I think we must remember that most people will create content, and we do it entirely for free. Whether we create cheat sheets and put those out, or tweets threads, whatever, videos, YouTube, all these different kinds of content that goes out for free just because we love it, but I really do think that content creation makes a really big impact on you building you, I suppose building your brand over time.

Kulsoom: How can individuals use SEO to rank their content or to improve their visibility and personal branding?

Daniel Cranney: I think with SEO, it really just boils down to knowing your audience again, knowing the language that people use really, that comes naturally. I think if you’re actually going to be able to appeal to an audience that you’re trying to appeal to, you need to be a member of that audience to some degree. I don’t think you necessarily need to reflect the people that you’re making content for completely, but I think to some degree you need to know what you’re talking about, don’t you? If you’re making content on a particular topic, and especially if you’re trying to brand yourself and in some ways make your whole identity about that topic. So I think a lot of when we think about SEO. I think a lot of that will come naturally through just using the correct terminology and being in the right places, and starting to understand your audience.

Kulsoom: What are the common pitfalls to avoid when we are building our online presence?

Daniel Cranney: The common pitfall that people make with self-branding is they have no either visual identity or online identity. And what I mean by that is they either don’t get across any of the things that they’re actually interested in, so we don’t know anything about them beyond the content and even things like their profile picture just being something really random and just strange and it doesn’t say anything about them at all.

Neha: As a community manager, I’m seeking advice on effective ways to engage and interact with the audience to bolster my personal growth. How can I foster stronger connections and improve my skills in this role?

Daniel Cranney: I try to be quite authentic when I’m on my Twitter account. Really. And so I think that’s probably the key word really is authenticity. I think that it’s very easy to play a character, but I don’t think it’s easy to play a character for very long. the fact that I think you’ll gain in terms of growing a community and growing people around you who are actually interested in who you are by doing that, by being authentic and showing a little bit beyond what do you do apart from coding. Share the content and the things that you’re making with code and put it out there because that’s what’s going to engage people is them seeing that you’re making things that you care about, and other people will care about it; other people will support you on it, other people will get involved, they’ll give you feedback.

Neha: There are some points where we have to see some ethical considerations which we have to keep in mind when building an online presence and personal branding. So in your point of view, what are those?

Daniel Cranney: I think that it’s a difficult one because, obviously, we all know that there are copyright laws, and I think that goes without really saying that you have to be very careful around making sure that the content you’re sharing is your own and that you’re just doing due diligence.

We’d like to thank Daniel for being part of the #ChampTalks. His insights have made a significant difference, and we appreciate the time and effort he took to join us. 

If you missed it, you can join the complete session here.



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