What is Self-Branding? How to Build a Personal Brand?
We have already over mystified branding, thinking about it only in relationship to companies. So what does it mean to have a personal brand then? For starters, branding can mean a symbol, a name, a sound, reputation, people, a color and so much more.
Your personal brand is what you are known for and what you use to define who you are and what you do. No longer are companies the only entities that invest into building a brand. The trend of self-branding has become popular among celebrities. It has also proven to drive a successful marketing strategy.
By doing personal branding, you market yourself in within your career as a brand. It is a constant process of establishing an impression or a prescribed image that you want people to have in their minds when they think about you as a person.
Not having a personal brand is like not having an identity that sets you up for success. It puts you at a disadvantage in your career and business. There is immense power in self branding. You can take your personal, professional and business life to the next level if you do it right. Not only that, it’s also a requirement if you’re looking to grow your business and its reach. It is also a must if you are looking for a better job or to be noticed in your field. The simple reason behind that is because branding can give a strong sense of identity and the values you stand for. Branding is a sum of all the experiences, skills, values and the characteristics that make you who you are.
The truth is that everyone has their own personal brand, regardless of whether they are aware of it or not. The only thing that makes a difference is whether they build this brand consciously or unconsciously. What we should all be striving for is a powerful and attractive personal brand. It should be an authentic display of the most engaging aspects of your professional activities and your character. Which is why it’s important to put our focus towards cultivating a brand that is defined by our behalf.
Here is a list of ways how self-branding can bring a big change to your career and business. I’ll also show you some of the best and most basic ways to building your personal brand. Without further ado, let’s get to it!
Gives You More Confidence
Building your personal brand requires authenticity because only then will it work. You’ll have to find your authentic voice in the process and create something out of it. You will have to become more rooted in the real and unique you, which will benefit every aspect of your life. This will also build up your self-esteem and self-confidence. Finding yourself in a truly meaningful way is the best thing that can happen to you.
It Has Amazing Power in Online Networking
If someone on LinkedIn for example wants to hire you, they’ll be much more likely to reach out to you if they know what you stand for. With an attractive brand, people are much more likely to find you interesting and someone who’s worth to be connected with. By developing your personal brand, you’ll consistently gain more followers and people will want to know more about you. It’s a great way to spread the word about who you are and what you do.
It’s Has a Powerful Effect In Person Too
Branding is also investing and trusting in your personality. Sharing the multiple faces of your personal brand, such as your inspiration, your passions and your proficiency especially will make people want to connect with you. Most of them will want to do business with you as well. If you have some assets and achievements to back it up, it will only make your personal brand more powerful.
It Builds Your Business
Let’s tackle the most obvious reason as well. Clients and vendors are much more attracted to businesses that have a leader with a strong personal brand. Some of the best examples are Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates or Donald Trump. Their companies wouldn’t have gotten this far and grew this big if they themselves didn’t a have powerful personal brand shining its light on the path. These people know what they stand for and make that clear to people wherever they appear.
It Leads Opportunity To You
Your personal brand is like a light beacon for opportunities. If it’s good, it will attract clients, vendors, customers and people in general. It will even attract a company who wants to hire. You might get job offers from companies where you didn’t know the position was open. More importantly, personal branding can open up opportunities that you didn’t know were out there. The clearer image you can paint of who you are and what you have to offer, the more people will have a reason to offer opportunities to you. Having a part of your brand noticed by somebody can cause something new to happen that you didn’t foresee.
It Can Get You Hired
Social media is one of the places where you will be building your personal brand. It is also one of the places it will get you the most success. That is because most companies post their job offerings on social media before they post it anywhere else. About 66% of hiring managers use Facebook to look for new employees. They do this simply because they can find out a lot more about who you are than what they see on your resume. If they take their corporate culture seriously, they’ll want to know if you will fit in with the rest of their employees.
Most companies won’t hire people who don’t have some sort of online presence to show. You probably have a social media presence already. Now is the time to make some changes to it and create it more professionally. If you’re not managing your online reputation then you are actually working against your business.
It Will Let You Make New Friends
Personal branding won’t just benefit the professional aspects of your life but your personal life as well. Meeting new friends is all about attraction. With personal branding you can show more of yourself and allow people to connect with you on a personal level. People are very much likely to reach out to you when they read one of your posts, articles or any other type of unique content you produce. You might even land a few dates too.
It Can Take You To The Next Step
Every step you take towards building your brand is really just better establishing yourself within your field. The most important thing in focusing on personal brand is helping yourself. Personal branding has the power to let you break free from your personal status. It can break new grounds and open up new opportunities for advancement.
Building up your new profiles, creating content about who you are and what kind of work you do, and establishing your goals and having a brand strategy all at once might seem a bit too much. But it’s a slow and steady process. You can do it with baby steps and once you have established a firm foundation, you can build more on it. It will also give you a roadmap to follow and make the process easier to manage.
How To Define Your Personal Brand
Defining your personal brand is like deciding who you want to be and what kind of impression you want to make. Which is why the first step is considering and defining the exact impression you want to make in your target audience’s mind. That audience can be other professionals, clients, hiring agents or all of the above. So, to be able to make the exact impression you want to make, you’ll first have to know a few things about them.
Where do they hang out? Where do they meet? What are they looking for? What do they like? What kind of challenges and problems do they face? If you can meet them where they are and show them your value, you can build a good reputation for yourself. Being known among people who want the best for their clients will open numerous opportunities.
Branding isn’t at all about selling. It is making yourself available for other people, such as other professionals, clients and so on. So it’s important that you frequently update your accounts on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. By keeping a subtle balance between work related and personal updates, people will see you as a professional but still personable individual.
Here are a few simple tips for establishing the mindset for your personal branding efforts.
Treat Yourself As a Brand
Acknowledge that you already have a personal brand that you have been building all your life. We don’t get to choose whether we want one or not. Everyone has one! The important thing is to become conscious about it and start building it as we’re rising higher in our professional lives. A powerful personal brand can help us make progress a lot faster. A personal brand is an alignment between who we want to become, who we actually are and how people perceive us.
Reflecting On Yourself is a Priority
Stopping and taking a good look at yourself to figure out what’s working and not working in your life is important. Trying to weed out things that aren’t working in your work life and in your relationships can free up space, space you can use for a lot of other things. Discovering and building your personal brand is discovering and building yourself. How do you live in this world? What do you stand for? How are you feeling about yourself? What kind of connections do you form with others? How do they respond? How do they see you? This is the process of figuring out who you actually are. It requires you to look deeply within yourself.
Define Your Target Audience
With a clear vision of yourself and your brand, you now have to figure out who your audience is. If you’re looking to get hired by a company, you should optimize your overall look and message for hiring agents. If you’re building a business, then you should optimize it for potential customers. Think about who would be the most likely person who would want to buy what you’re selling. Defining your target audience is one of the processes your business goes through as you work your way towards success.
Once you are clear about who you are and what your brand is (let’s say a marketer with a flair for writing), it’s time to let everyone know it. Just be mindful about how you do it so you don’t over-amplify. It’s not about having the most people hearing your message, it’s about the right people hearing it. Every subtle thing you do on social media and other platforms or speaking engagements will steadily build your brand. Platforms like LinkedIn are a great place to start spreading the word.
How To Build a Personal Brand
Once you have done the necessary digging within yourself, it’s time to show yourself as a marketable brand. The numerous things you need to do in order to get your brand on track might seem overwhelming at first, but don’t go crazy just yet. Take a deep breath and relax. Baby steps are the way to walk on this road. Think of it as an ongoing process that you’ll consistently have to conduct. It should be like breathing. There’s no need to rush it. You just need to keep doing it. Everything you have to do to get your personal brand going can be broken down to three individual steps.
- Creating a Base For Your Brand – Build a powerful online presence that backs up your qualifications. When someone looks at it, they are able to confirm that you’re an expert in your field.
- Building Your Audience and Credibility – Put your strong online presence to good use by having your content published in popular blogs and on influencer’s posts. Once you’ve expanded your content’s reach, build a relevant audience. It’s the key to unlocking new opportunities.
- Aiming Your Brand at Specific Opportunities – The ongoing process and goal of personal branding. Keep creating content and nurture your relationship with your audience to create fresh career opportunities for yourself.
1. Creating a Base For Your Brand
Build a powerful online presence that backs up your qualifications. When someone looks at it, they are able to confirm that you’re an expert in your field.
Taking a Look at Your Search Results and Clean Them Up
First things first. Type your name into google and do a search on it. Check out what comes up, but don’t worry about it. If it’s something from a school event you participated in 10 years ago it might come as a surprise. If they aren’t relevant to what you do now, it could hurt your reputation, so it’s time to make some changes. Some of what you find might make you a bit anxious but keep going. See what kind of content attached to your name would damage your professional reputation. College party photos included.
Once you’ve looked through all the results, it’s time to get rid of any damaging content. Start with the easiest, such as images, posts, videos, and comments, anything that you wouldn’t want a prospective client or hiring agent to see. Go through all the social media profiles and websites you might have uploaded something to. Eliminate anything that doesn’t fit in the new image of your personal branding. Get rid of anything that shows the following:
- Criminal behavior
- Drinking or Drug Abuse
- Over the top party photos
- Any nontraditional views regarding religion or politics
- Sexually explicit photos, videos or texts
- Any unprofessional behavior in general
Build Up Your Online Presence From What You have
Now that you have a fresh canvas to paint your new personal brand on it’s time to get to work with your goals in mind. You need to build your online presence out of profiles and a set of personal websites. The first thing to do is showcasing your assets. This would make up about a single website and about 10 professional profiles on websites where your target audience hangs out. By building 10 profiles you’re curating the key search results on Google’s first page. So it boosts your visibility by a great deal.
But it would be hard to come up with all 10 sites right off the bat. So here are some of your best options: Facebook, Twitter, About.me, Medium, Pinterest, CrunchBase, Google+, YouTube, BrandYourself, Vimeo, Tumblr, Quora, Instagram and more. There are a few things you should share when setting up your profiles on either of these sites.
- Your expertise and what you have produced so far with it.
- Writing down the achievements that make you proud.
- The moments when your work was publicly recognized.
- The times when your work was acknowledged privately by your peers and clients.
Optimize your profile on these sites, so it will be much easier for people to directly find you through search engines. Do the following:
- Completely fill all your profiles and validate them.
- Include your location if you can.
- Include your name in H1 Tags.
- Include any keywords and metadata relevant to your expertise.
- Use your full name on every website you register on.
- Write about yourself and what you do in first person whenever you can.
Whatever your goal is with building your brand, let it be getting a new job, earning more, or networking, be sure to answer these questions. The most important thing is to leave people with the impression you want to give them when they search for you in Google or on Social Media.
On your social media page or on your website, greet them with a statement of who you are. Something like this: „I am a creative who provides content for growing startups and online companies in a flexible manner that fits their culture and budget well.”
Once the statement has been made, you should give them proof of your achievements with something like the following:
- Adding 3 testimonials from your previous clients.
- A diploma or a whitepaper of your very first office.
- Weekly blog posts about creating high quality content.
- A statement of your talents and area of expertise.
2. Building Your Audience and Credibility
Put your strong online presence to good use by having your content published in popular blogs and on influencer’s posts. Once you’ve expanded your content’s reach, build a relevant audience. It’s the key to unlocking new opportunities.
Once you got comfortable with creating fresh content such as blog posts, articles, videos, infographics, podcasts, it’s time to start publishing them on third-party websites. Even if it is another blog, a news site or LinkedIn, publish anything that is related to your field. Don’t be shy and reach out to other influencers in your industry. It will give you a great boost if your work appeared on their profiles as well as your own.
To build credibility through your content and third party websites, the first and most important thing is understanding your audience. Once you’ve done this a few times, see which one of your content pieces perform best. Take them out and replicate the parts that did best.
Keep track of all your content pieces on different platforms and see how much engagement they got. Analyze the data you see as much as you can to see if you notice any particular patterns. You’ll want to find out which kind of content piece appeals to the audience the most on the particular platform you’ve chosen.
Always have a plan on what content you’re going to publish next and base the decision on what works best. You should replicate the posts that perform well and avoid those that people didn’t engage with.
3. Aiming Your Brand at Specific Opportunities
The ongoing process and goal of personal branding. Keep creating content and nurture your relationship with your audience which will create fresh career opportunities.
This is the ongoing game of personal branding, which requires you to remain a thought leader. You can do that by constantly producing unique and high-quality content. You never know which content piece will resonate well with a potential business partner who will reach out to you. By doing such branding in your industry, you’re opening numerous possibilities for yourself such as:
- Speaking gigs
- Guest blogging
Personal branding is the way to go when you want your career to build traction. You have plenty of free tools at your disposal and the rest is made up of your expertise, hard work and patience. Rest assured that putting in work to your personal branding will have long term results.