Personal branding is my thing.
It’s something I innately understood from the beginning of my professional career.
But, I do realize it doesn’t come naturally for everyone. And, since it’s such an essential process in building your leadership and credibility, I wanted to dedicate an entire article to growing your personal brand.
If you’re looking for a promotion, considering transitioning to a different career, or searching for a new job, having a strong personal brand can catapult you toward your goals.
No matter where you are in your career, having a well defined personal brand is important. It’s something you have complete control over and will differentiate you from the rest of those in your space.
It’s your story, and only you have the experience to tell it.
What Is A Personal Brand?
“Personal branding” is a term thrown around a lot on sites like Linkedin. But what does it mean?
You are your own company, your own brand. You have a unique set of values and skills that define you and advertise what you have to offer. By sharing your story across platforms like a blog or social media, you show potential partnerships, clients, and employers what you bring to the table. The more effectively you’re able to translate who you are, the more successful you’ll be. It doesn’t matter if you’re an employee, a freelancer, or a CEO; you need a personal brand.
Here’s the thing, there are a bajillion people online. And, they’re all trying to be seen and heard. It’s a bit noisy.
Having a strong personal brand sort of propels you closer to the top of the heap. Because not all of those bajillion people are working on their personal brand, with just a little effort, you’re leaps and bounds ahead of half a bajillion of those in your space.
When you establish your personal brand, you carve out a well-suited space for yourself.
Read: Humanizing Your Brand
How To Build Your Personal Brand
“Find your voice! Avoid chasing shiny objects that aren’t on-brand for you. While there are best practices, the most important part of personal branding is to find what makes you YOU, the value you bring to your life and work, and how that translates to your network.” –Jenny Calvert, Senior Manager Brand Services, Hermann
You want to create a personal brand that will not only attract a specific targeted audience but will be a standout against your competition. It might sound easy enough, and it can be.
With your branding, your goal is to establish authority in your space. And trust.
Who Are You?
So, what’s your superpower? Writing, sales, code? Then dig deeper. What do you specialize in within that space? There. That’s your superpower. Grab a pen and notebook, or open a new document. Create a list of your skills and experiences. What are your likes and dislikes? What type of work ignites your flame, and what snuffs it out. How would others describe you? Lastly, what kind of work do you want to focus on? All this information can be formatted into a well thought out bio you can use on your social profiles and your websites ‘About’ page.
What Do You Want To Be Known For?
It’s human nature to want to be acknowledged and appreciated. What is it that you want to be recognized and appreciated for, both in work and life? What vision do you have for yourself and your personal brand?
Read: Using Linkedin To Promote Your Brand
Who Is Your Audience?
“Become intentional about how you spend your time and who you connect with. Consider the value you’re able to offer someone by adding them to your network and vice versa. Especially when it comes to social media. We only have a limited amount of time, energy, and resources. So, you want to be mindful of how you spend yours to be as impactful as possible.” Chantelle Marcelle, Senior Marketing and Customer Acquisition Manager, Hermann
Do you have an idea of which industry you’re best suited for? Or, if you’re going after contract/freelance work, who are you targeting? Are you trying to get noticed by recruiters? CEOs? Thought leaders? Once you have that piece nailed down, you’ll find it’s easier to create how you’ll need to tell your story.
Building your personal brand isn’t just about knowing who you are; it’s also about understanding who the audience is that you’re looking to connect with. And, that target depends on what you’re trying to achieve.
Knowing who you’re going to be talking to will help frame your messaging with every piece of content you publish.
Who Is Already Doing Well In A Similar Space?
Brands need to do competitive analysis, and your personal brand is no different. Find out who your competition is, and what they’re doing.
Also, lean on those considered to be industry experts. Connect and learn from what they are doing. Many are always teaching how they’ve achieved success.
Network and Connect
A lot of your career opportunities will come from your network. Which means, you must build one—both online and in person. Linkedin is an excellent place to network, as are local in-person networking events.
“Things I’ve learned: quality and quantity together will supercharge your growth. Diversify your content formats or types/topics of posts, so your posting always feels fresh. Focus on growing engagement, not followers. Followers will come. Engage with people if you want others to engage with you. People forget the golden rule, and you’ll gain way more by being interested in people than gaming the algorithm to gain followers.” James Gerber, Vice President Account Services, Crackle PR
In-person networking means you need cards to hand out. You can get some made that are moderately priced through sites like Moo cards or Vistaprint.
Make arrangements to meet people for coffee or schedule phone calls. Stats show that over 85% of jobs come through someone met due to networking.
Be Present Online
In today’s internet climate, if you’re not online already, you’ve missed many opportunities. Have profiles on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook. Anywhere your industry is, you need to be. Don’t just have a stagnant account. Take a little time, every single day, and work it. Share relevant 3rd party content, as well as your own—tag people in your posts. And make sure to strike up conversations in the comment sections.
Word of advice: have a personal website with an ‘About Us/Me’ page, ‘Services/Resume’, and an email capture or a way to be contacted.
Revisit And Refine As You Grow Your Personal Brand
Over time, you’ll add new skills and experiences. Make sure to keep all your information up to date. Having excellent branding isn’t just for companies; it’s for you, too.
Nurture your personal brand, and watch as opportunities grow!