Personal branding remains one of the best methods for increasing the visibility of a single professional or entrepreneur.
The Balance SMB states that personal branding is how you, as an individual, stand out within your sphere of influence.
A personal brand is a simple way for potential clients and business partners to know who you are and what you’re about. Just like a business, a personal brand is about marketing yourself as a unique individual.
Digital Marketing Blog defines personal branding as the art of developing a brand to market people and their careers.
In the case of most people, recognition doesn’t matter. They are content to be anonymous, even seeking it out actively.
For others, especially those that run a business, visibility is critical to landing new business.
Developing a personal brand is more than just what you do in real life. It’s a combination of your persona, your online presence, and the interactions you have with others.
Building a business can be challenging. If you’re starting from scratch, developing a business around who you are and what you do is essential.
But who ARE you, really? Most clients that approach you as a professional want to know who you are in an elevator pitch. Your personal brand helps them to distinguish you from the others that do something similar to what you do.
Standing out is just one of the significant elements of personal branding. Within many fields, name-recognition goes a long way towards establishing authority and credibility.
The more people that are familiar with your work, the more likely you are to land new business. Recognition, fame, and influence are only a few of the benefits that personal branding can afford. There are several other benefits, including:
Your followers, clients, prospective employers, and the rest of the world will get to know you based on what you bring to the table. The development of your platform will scale with the work you do, and as the amount of projects you work on grows, you’ll be able to scale your platform to suit.
Personal branding tells clients who you are immediately.
As your brand grows and you gain more visibility, it’s likely that you will attract more and more clients who actively seek you out based on your reputation alone.
Personal branding puts your name into the world and allows potential clients to get to know you and your work before they approach you.
What is your service worth?
Many entrepreneurs underprice themselves because they’re unknown. Getting a well-paid job requires you to be able to demonstrate your skills, and personal branding, along with a consistently updated platform, allows you to showcase your work uniquely.
By offering clients a chance to see what they’re potentially paying for, you can charge premium pricing and earn more for your time.
The value of a network comes from the connections you make with others.
A personal brand offers other entrepreneurs the chance to see the value you provide and what you can help them with if they connect with you. Leveraging your brand to build a network allows you to be the go-to person for questions within your specialty.
The media is always hungry for experts.
Having a personal brand that is easily searchable allows the media to find you and sets you up as an expert.
You shouldn’t underestimate how important being on the media is to your exposure. People who aren’t even in your field will be able to see you and appreciate your extensive knowledge about your industry or niche.
Having a personal brand sets you up as an authority in your field.
It builds trust with your audience and increases your visibility to those outside of your primary target demographic.
So, how do you create a personal brand that gets you the attention you need to succeed?
Developing a brand takes time and a lot of effort. However, if you want to be considered an expert in a particular field, this is where you must start.
Not only will creating a personal brand help your business grow, but it will also establish you as someone others can come to for advice on topics related to your industry.
We can break down the creation of a personal brand into a series of actionable steps.
The very first thing you’ll need to do when it comes to personal branding is to figure out where you’d like to be.
How would you like your audience to perceive you? Just like a commercial brand, a personal brand create a vision statement.
Your brand vision is a summary of your personality, skills, goals, values, interests, where you come from, and what stage of development you’re in. It seems like this might be a whole project by itself, but in reality, you’ll be trying to condense this down to two to three paragraphs.
Creating the brand vision is only half the work in this stage, however. The other half is aligning the brand with your values.
In any branding strategy, authenticity is of extreme importance. Your brand’s message has to align with your core values. The vision should already have your values set within it, so keeping your brand in-line with those values gives you a compass to ensure you know where your brand is going.
Entrepreneurs that are passionate about what they do tend to be the most successful. Your core values should outline what your brand does best. Combining your skills with your personality and aligning it with your values helps to give your brand direction and drive.
With a start point, an ending point, and a moving ‘vehicle’ to get there, you’re well on your way to creating your personal brand.
Even the most innovative products fail if they don’t have a ready audience to market to.
Your target audience is the people who would benefit most from your brand’s product or service. As with all commodities, the law of supply and demand affects your products and services. You need to find the demographic of people that want your services and are willing to pay for it.
Finding a niche where you can demonstrate your skill is the most vital part of your brand journey and offers you a target audience to aim at with your marketing.
You want to develop authority within a niche, and the more specific it is, the less competition you’ll have from others. Many new entrepreneurs cast too wide a net when they determine their niche.
If you think you’ll have a lot of competition within this niche, it might be better to be more specific with what you focus on. You want to become the authority within that small segment of society so that they will come to you for advice.
After you’ve figured out what niche you’re in, you’ll probably realize that there are a lot of brands already established within it.
You still have to compete against those brands, and the best way to do so is to establish uniqueness.
When you developed your vision statement, you outlined the core values that you and your brand represent. Now, you can use those core values to determine what sets you apart from the other competitors in the field. The personality traits and values that make you unique are the areas you want to focus on.
And as more and more people flock to the internet for information, establishing a digital presence is a must for anyone looking to develop a strong reputation.
Keep in mind, an online presence is more than the articles you’ve written or videos you’ve posted. It’s establishing a name to go with the brand. Logos and graphics, even color schemes, are essential to forging an online presence. Depending on what you’re aiming for, your logo, graphics, and website will reflect that.
One of the most overlooked yet vital parts of establishing a personal brand presence online is owning a website. This page isn’t another personal blog where you cover your daily routine. It’s a complete website, including contact pages, portfolios, product listings, and a marketing blog designed to attract new clients and inform existing ones.
By creating and promoting well-crafted copy, your site should compete with others to rank on the first page of Google’s results for a particular search term or phrase.
Your online presence isn’t just limited to your own website, however. To establish your authority and to reach out to others, you should contact other bloggers within your niche or related fields to guest blog.
You’ll introduce your brand to them directly, as well as promote your own blog and website through the profile links. Choosing a site to guest blog for depends upon the viewership and the impact.
Guest posting for a handful of subscribers won’t do much to increase your reputation so before pitching a blog, be sure their audience fits your niche, and that it’s big enough of them to make it worthwhile.
As mentioned before, a blog is a vital part of your website. Branded blogs need to do two things: inform their readers, and provide value.
In creating your blog posts for your brand, those two elements are essential factors in any content you produce.
By consistently offering value and information with your posts, you will start seeing your blog gain traction, and it will promote your online presence. People value their time, and they tend to trust brands that don’t waste it.
Social media marketing opens up new possibilities to increase your online presence as well as secure new leads for your brand.
Just like a corporate brand, however, personal brands should keep the same voice and tone as the rest of your branded material.
If you have a social media presence that is distinct from your own brand, use a different name, and only accept people who you know in real life as friends.
Your chosen social media outlet should appeal to your target demographic. Being in control of your social media posting helps to keep the brand’s message pure, and ensure that you don’t commit any social media faux pas that may lead to massive online fallout for both you and your brand.
Guest blogging and social media already do a lot to help personal branding efforts, but there are other less-explored methods of doing so.
Locally, you can leverage the power of business cards, even if they are a bit old-fashioned. Having a business card brings a level of professionalism, and can be seen as a status symbol to older generations.
Online, you can check out resources such as Quora or Help a Reporter Out (HARO). Quora allows you to lend your expertise to areas you’re knowledgeable in, while HARO provides you a chance to offer a reporter a quote which might appear on a news report or article. All of these help to make your name known as an expert or authority within your niche.
No man is an island, and even though the term “personal brand” might seem as though it’s all about you, it really isn’t.
All successful entrepreneurs have mentors, and finding someone you can pattern yourself after and learn from is crucial to your success. When your personal brand begins to gain traction, influential people within your field will start to take notice.
From there, you need to decide who’s help is the most important to you and where you want to be as a professional. Your mentor is there to guide you and help you achieve success.
In today’s society, people are tired of fake branding and false authenticity. Your brand needs to represent you as a person and should align with your core values and your beliefs.
You shouldn’t manufacture a persona to connect with others. Instead, tap into your real personality and use that to engage your followers.
Ultimately, you want to be the go-to person for your niche, and a name your clients can trust. If that’s the case, shouldn’t you allow them a glimpse at the real you?