The Complete Guide To Personal Branding.
It’s important to build a personal brand because it’s the only thing you’re going to have.
– Gary Vaynerchuk
Personal branding is a powerful tool that individuals leverage in order to differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace.
When faced with the choice of two options in the workforce, or deciding on service providers, a strong branding presence can often be the deciding factor for most employers and customers when making hiring or purchasing decisions.
You can no longer be just another face in a crowd. It’s time to build a personal brand and standout!
THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO PERSONAL BRANDING: WHAT IS A PERSONAL BRAND?
A personal brand, like the branding for businesses, is the perception shared by others regarding an individual. It develops into the mental triggers associated with hearing someone’s name, seeing their face, and reading their articles.
There are plenty of strategies and tools that can be utilized in order to establish a strong personal brand.
In this article, we will explore the process that successful people utilize to discover, develop, and market their personal brand. These are the core components of personal branding:
1. Developing A Personal Brand Vision
2. Defining A Target Audience
3. Personal Branding Assets
4. Outreach (Blogging, Speaking Engagements, Interviews)
Throughout this article, we will share insights and links to other websites that provide additional help to individuals looking to develop their own personal brand.
THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO PERSONAL BRANDING: DEVELOPING A PERSONAL BRAND VISION
Similar to the process businesses undergo when developing or reinventing their brand. It begins with reflection and developing a vision of the future we would like to create.
By creating a vision of your personal brand, it becomes easier to find the right opportunities to say yes too, and more importantly the opportunities you’ll need to say no too.
After all, the purpose of creating a brand is to become the magnet for the opportunities we want out of life or work.
THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO PERSONAL BRANDING: UNDERSTANDING YOUR AUTHENTIC SELF
We are all born into this world and we all develop unique personality traits and skills that make us unique as individuals. Self-awareness allows us to recognize these traits or skills and leverage them.
A great process for identifying your authenticity is to create a document identifying individual strengths and weaknesses. (Click to see our one-page strategic plan)
Sometimes this process can be difficult. It can be of great benefit to discuss this list and amend it by having discussions with others.
Asking former clients, employers and even friends questions about why they enjoyed working with you and what value you directly brought into their lives.
THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO PERSONAL BRANDING: CRAFTING A VISION STATEMENT
Establishing a sense of direction is another great component of personal branding. We all have dreams, & goals.
Taking some time to write down our big picture goals, and strategically breaking them down into smaller more manageable tasks is a good way to go about this process.
After we have established an understanding of our authentic selves, and sense of direction, we can combine these two concepts into a vision statement.
THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO PERSONAL BRANDING: DEFINING YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
By creating a vision statement, we will begin to shape a sense of who we will need to connect with through our branding efforts.
Some additional planning is required to focus in on the specific nature of our target market.
Whether you are looking for a new client or a new company to work for. Establishing a clear picture of who these customers are and what businesses look like is critical to designing an effective personal brand.
What is important to them? How do they build trust? What challenges do they face on a daily basis?
THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO PERSONAL BRANDING: SELLING PRODUCTS VS FINDING A CAREER
Some people want to invest in personal branding for the purposes of finding a new career. Others are entrepreneurs and business owners looking to market their products and services.
Regardless of your objective, many of the branding tools remain the same. The only difference is how we decide to apply these tactics.
THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO PERSONAL BRANDING: PERSONAL BRANDING ASSETS
The nuts and bolts of personal branding are the assets you’ll use to convey your value and create a perception in the marketplace. There are many components in addition to the ones highlighted below.
However, we are going to dive into the assets that are most applicable in today’s business environment.
Domain Name & Website
Doing some basic domain name research is a great place to begin. Securing one for your name or something that aligns with your business goals. There are many websites on the internet that allow people to conduct a search, buy a domain and register for hosting.
In the modern business environment, people enjoy a central place to explore to learn about an individual or their products and services from their computer or mobile device.
Creating a website is probably one of the most important assets you can invest in. It can be a place to share your resume, list of services, contact information and any additional resources that are relevant to your goals.
Social Media Profiles
First, we need to choose the right social media platforms to post on. Depending on your personal or business goals you should do some research into the demographics of users on each profile.
There are too many social media platforms to try and stay up to date with. Trying to focus on all them can be a daunting task. Especially when getting started.
After we have established the social media channels that are going to be important to our goals. We need to start optimizing our profile.
Choosing a good profile picture is important and most channels have a cover photo. Hiring a designer to craft a unique cover photo that tells your brand message can often be a good investment.
Some other things to look into when setting up a social media page is the about us section(or bio) ensuring your website URL is easily located and any additional information that can help people learn more about you’re your career requirements, how to reach you, or your products and services.
Photography is a great way to distinguish visually from the competition. How many people on social media and their website have photos that either has poor lighting, not in high definition or lack professionalism as a whole? Too many!
This is especially important for your profile picture.
Ensuring your content has good quality photos and graphics is the next step.
Hiring a professional photographer for a couple hours and overhauling your social media profile picture and website photography is a great investment in your personal branding.
Business cards are still a tool that is utilized in the networking world. It’s a great place to share social media profiles, website, and all other basic contact information such as phone number, email and physical address.
Think of a way to differentiate your business card that aligns with your vision. Choosing similar colors and fonts that may already be used on your website is a great strategy.
The goal is to create a familiar environment for users and personality across all platforms.
Believe it or not, fashion plays an important role in establishing a personal brand. What clothing you choose to wear, tells your audience a bit about your personal value system.
Wearing a suit and business wear tells people you are focused on maintaining a very professional demeanor. Whereas wearing beachwear tells the story that you have a priority around being casual and relaxed.
Decide on a style that aligns with your professional goals. Steve Jobs wore a black mock-neck long sleeve T-shirt nearly every day which became a staple of his personal brand.
THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO PERSONAL BRANDING: SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS & BLOGGING
You at the point where your personal brand is starting to develop an authentic identity. You have an understanding of your core fundamentals and the visual style that you’ll use to represent yourself accordingly.
Now we need to start gaining exposure through the different mediums that exist.
Writing Articles & Blogging
The easiest way to become an authority is to start building credibility around the subject by writing articles on a blog.
Your blog should generally be attached to your website that sells products or has your resume. Although more advanced marketing tactics may include an external blog focusing on a specific topic that applies back to the big picture goal.
Start by doing some keyword research to determine what people are actually searching for (on search engines) in regard to the topic you are looking to discuss, and the level of competition for each of those terms.
It is best to target keywords that are relatively lower in competition, with a high volume of searches per month.
Sometimes it’s hard to find these terms, but usually, there are a few that can be found for each industry.
Create a list of 10 article titles based on the keyword research and start making some key points and writing out the rest of the content!
Being A Source For Journalists
Building backlinks and references is another great way to build credibility as an industry expert, which can generate a higher level of demand for your services.
There are some great websites out there. HARO for one, which journalist’s post article topics that they require sources for their own content.
Generally, the journalists give mention your name and provide a link back to your website. Some of the industry’s top websites post on HARO and can provide some great exposure for your personal brand if you have valuable insights.
Typically, there is a whole host of media sites that cover industry-specific news and insights. Reach out to editors and writers asking to collaborate on articles or for them to consult you on anything they have in the works.
Find Speaking Engagements
Speaking engagements can also offer a chance to connect with other industry experts and possible clients.
There are different formats, including panels for discussions with others.
Tradeshows can be another great place to pursue speaking engagements. There are generally thousands of exhibitors and attendees.
THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO PERSONAL BRANDING: CONSISTENCY IS KEY
This is why we encourage individuals to start the personal branding process by reflecting and establishing a firm foundation of values and principles.
With a strong understanding of the goals, we are looking to achieve and the values driving those goals we can create a visual style and verbal sense that aligns with this mission.
Our last final responsibility is to continuously act in alignment with these goals and principles until we have decided it is time to shift and reinvent our personal brand.