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Self-branding tips from Tavis Smiley

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Only weeks after Tavis Smiley lost his job as host of Black Entertainment Television’s “Tonight With Tavis Smiley” show, the affable host was deluged with job offers. He soon had new shows on Buena Vista Television and National Public Radio and served as a correspondent for “Good Morning America” and “Primetime Live.”

In hindsight, Smiley realizes that he recovered so quickly because he had become not just an individual but a brand. Here’s how you can brand yourself:

1. Find your niche. Pinpoint the themes that keep popping up in your life and what you are known for. Zero in on your unique strengths and passions.

2. Look for a market for what you have to offer. Analyze the success of people who do what you would like to do. Don’t be afraid to think like a niche marketer as you define a place where you are most in demand, even if it is narrow and well defined.

3. Seek professional assistance. Solicit feedback from experts; talk to a professional career coach or mentor.

4. Promote yourself. Volunteer as a speaker. Establish an Internet presence. Make the most of local media to increase your visibility.

— Adapted from “Brand Yourself,” Ann Brown, Black Enterprise.

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