When we talk about personal branding and your online presence, we focus on your Facebook account, Twitter profile, LinkedIn profile, and more. But those are just four parts of the branding equation. The fifth element is arguably the most important — you. Your personality, as well as your passions, play a crucial role in helping potential clients and employers get to know you and your professional capabilities. Although it’s your own personal brand (as well as “what’s for dinner?”), there is still a science to creating a compelling brand strategy and persona. In this post, I’ll show you how to create a strategy that will help you better connect with the people who matter most — like your future employer.
Define who you are and what you offer
Personal branding is the process of creating and cultivating a specific image to represent you as an individual. The idea behind personal branding is that it can help a person stand out from the crowd, which can make them more employable or popular. For example, top fashion bloggers have built up personal brands that are recognizable around the world. This has led to many opportunities for them, including modeling contracts and product endorsements.
A personal brand can be useful for any person who wants to enhance their image and make themselves more appealing. Creating a personal brand starts with defining your goals. For example, you may want to enhance your popularity among employers so you can find a new job or get a promotion.
As part of the process of creating a personal brand, you’ll need to carefully craft your social media presence so that it reflects your goals. This means you might need to go through your old posts and remove anything that could damage your image. In addition, you’ll need to stay active on your profiles by posting content regularly.
The way you present yourself in public is also an important part of creating a personal brand, so make sure you’re always dressed appropriately for any event. As you’re building up your personal brand, try to network with influential people in various industries.
Identify your target audience
Nail down who you want to be, who you’re trying to reach, and what it all means.
In a nutshell, your personal brand is the combination of your skills and experiences that add up to how people perceive you. When you’re trying to define it, think about your online presence and how you’d want people to describe your work. This can help clarify your goals, because if you know how you want to come across, you know what steps to take in order to make it happen.
Before you can develop an effective personal brand, though, it’s important that you answer these questions:
Who are you looking to reach? The best way to approach this is by considering who might be interested in or need the skills or insights that only you can provide. What do they care about? What are they looking for? The more clearly defined you can make your target audience (or audiences), the easier it will be for those people to find and become fans of your work.
What does it all mean? Put another way: What is your unique value proposition (UVP)? Asking yourself this question forces you to think about what sets you apart from other people offering similar services.
Create a name for your brand
Creating a brand name is the foundation of your business. The right name will convey a message about your products and services and what you want people to think about when they hear it. So, how do you come up with a great brand name?
Don’t worry if this sounds daunting; it doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are some simple steps to creating a personal brand:
Create a name for your brand. You can use your own name (if it’s memorable) or combine your first and last names together. If you want something else, brainstorm words that describe what you do and try combining them together to make a new word.
Make sure the domain name is available. Go to GoDaddy and search for the domain name to see if it’s available as a .com, .net or .org. If not, keep brainstorming until you find something you like that is available as a domain.
Buy the domain name and set up email addresses with that domain.*
Build a website or blog
Your personal brand is what you’re known for and what people seek you out for.
But how do you create a personal brand?
You may be surprised to hear that creating a personal brand is not all about the stuff you create, but more about the stories you tell. Your work is just a medium through which your stories are told. When someone says, “I love your book! It’s so inspiring,” they’re not necessarily raving about the style of your writing, but the story you told with it. The same goes for any other medium — apps, movies, music and even dance.
To build a personal brand (especially if you’re in a creative field), there are two things that matter:
You need to create consistently
You need to tell stories consistently
The best way to do both is to build a platform for them — your own website or blog.
Your website should be where you create and tell stories consistently. This doesn’t mean that you have to update it every day (although if you can, it would be awesome). What it means is that no matter how infrequently you update it, I should be able to see consistency in your message over time.
To create your own personal brand, you need to write consistently.
Blog at least once a week.
Create content for your blog.
Write guest posts on other blogs.
Write articles for online magazines.
Promote this content and yourself via social media.
Be active on social media
When you’re getting serious about building your personal brand, you need to identify the social media platforms you’ll be active on. You don’t have to use every network. It’s best to focus on one or two where you can make an impact and connect with your audience.
Here are a few tips for choosing the right social media platforms for your own personal brand:
- Be where your audience is.
- Choose where you can add value.
- Make sure your target audience is using it — and so are influencers.
- Consider how much time you can devote to it.
- Pay attention to where competitors are present and active.
Build relationships with influencers and industry experts
To be effective, a marketing strategy for your business needs to include both relationship and direct response elements. It’s not enough to simply run direct response ads, or send out coupons or promotional offers. Your marketing strategy needs to include building relationships with influencers and industry experts that can help you sell more products.
How do you build strong relationships? The easiest way is to start commenting on the blogs of people in your industry who have a large audience. By adding valuable comments and engaging with these people, you’ll develop a following yourself by making yourself more visible.
If you’re looking for new influencers in your industry, start by scanning Amazon.com. The most influential authors in any given niche tend to be published on Amazon.com because they are already perceived as experts by the public.
Network with people in your niche
People love to share their ideas, and they will more likely than not be happy to help you build your own brand. This is especially true if you have helped them build their brand.
The key here is to create a partnership. You are in this together. Only then can you expect them to help you reach your own goals, because they know that if you do, they do too!
Keep in mind that people want to converse with people, not business pages. And people don’t like to share commercials, they like to share what interests them. So, If you want to get the word out and start spreading the good news about your business or product, it’s important that you also share what other people are saying about it, even if it’s negative (just don’t be too defensive).
Keep your information up to date
To create your own personal brand, you need to keep your information up to date and be consistent in what you post.
*Your name: Keep your name the same on all platforms. Whether it’s a nickname or a real name, stick with it. Make sure your name is spelled correctly.
*Your photo: Your profile photo should be a headshot of you smiling and showing your personality. It should be cropped close and show just you (i.e., no ex-girlfriends or pets). You should use the same photo across all of your social media accounts.
*Your bio: You need an elevator pitch that sums up who you are, what you do and what you’re looking for in 140 characters or less. Make sure it’s consistent across all platforms.”
By following these steps (or as many of them as possible), you can build a lasting and profitable personal brand. It’s up to you to make that happen, however, which means taking the time to do things like developing a consistent voice, effectively using social media outlets, learning how to write blogs, participating in online directories and forums, heading out for speaking opportunities, and more. The payoff, though, is well worth the effort: you’ll stand out from your peers and be seen as an expert in what you do.