10 Ways to Build Your Personal Brand (and why you should)Oct 6 by Kimberly Aris
When you think of what defines your personal brand, you realize that this term is an abstract representation of what you market yourself as. Your personal brand will help an audience discover who you are, what they have in common with you, and what sets you apart from all the others. In other words, your personal brand is your business card, that’s why you have to be your own PR manager.
Depending on the field that you’re specialized in, you’ll have to choose the one thing that you want the audience, clients and potential clients, to know you for. This one thing shouldn’t be about you as an individual, but about you as a business! What do you have to offer that sets you apart from the competition? If you’re a video producer, then capturing the essence of a whole concept within a visually stunning 3 minute video should be part of your personal brand.
Deciding to take control of your personal brand, giving it a solid foundation, and continuing to maintain and polish it for the better, is what will put you on the path to success. By investing in your personal brand, you’re creating a reputation for yourself, which will incorporate the skills and abilities that your clients will expect from you.
In the era of online marketing, the word of mouth has become a much larger influence on one’s reputation. If recommendations from your family, friends, and close connections were the only things that influenced your reputation back in the day, now you have social media, platforms dedicated to promoting work in different domains, and the ability to share one’s experiences with your business as your main personal branding tools.
Once you take hold of your personal brand, you realize that you need to do more than just find clients. You need to find the clients that will give you the possibility to grow with them, to share the same views, and that are seeing you as a valuable addition to their business.
If you want to play an active role in consolidating your personal brand, here are some of the basic things you must check off of your to-do list:
#1. Give your brand a meaning
Take the abstract factor out of your personal brand. You have to decide exactly what your brand is going to stand for. Take a moment to reflect on how others view you and your business. Focus on the positives and be realistic when you decide which skill or characteristic makes you become a valuable asset in a client’s project.
Is your best feature being highly flexible in finding the perfect solution at lower costs? Does your exquisite time management allow you to stand out for clients that work on tight deadlines? Choose something that represents you at your best!
#2. Choose a specialty
Rather than being the Joe of all trades, choose a skill and aim for perfection. And after you become the best that you can be at that particular task, market yourself as a specialist! A business consists of so many diverse tasks, that it is merely a fantasy to think that one person can deliver high quality work on all aspects of the project. That’s where you come in and present the client the offer of guaranteed top notch deliverables, due to your profound knowledge in that particular field.
And if you can’t find a skill that you’re confident about specializing on then start out with learning one. You can find courses and loads of resources online to help you build and expand your knowledge of a niche.
#3. Create a bio
Much like a CV that you hand out when applying to a job, a bio is a written down depiction of your work history, education, awards, relevant successes, and interests, all available at a glance for those interested to see. Creating a professional bio allows you to stay visible and to market yourself continuously on LinkedIn, and at events that are relevant to your niche.
A well written bio, which you update at each achievement that helped you grow your personal brand, is like a gift that keeps on giving.
#4. Start a blog
An active blog can be an inexpensive, sometimes free, resource that you can use as a personal branding tool. By creating content that further promotes your business ethics and skills you’ll give potential buyers the chance to get to know you and your business beyond the point of formalities. You’ll give them a chance to get insight of what makes you ideal for their business.
Apart from that, creating new content constantly will give you the opportunity of take advantage of SEO terms. A blog can bring you new clients, and all you have to do is include your contact information for business proposals. And if interaction is more down your alley, then go on the newsletter route, and keep your audience engaged with useful information and promotional deals.
#5. Stay connected through LinkedIn
In order to take control of your online persona, the first step is controlling what stands out the most when potential clients do a quick research online. And that’s where LinkedIn plays a huge role, as it has become the source of trustworthy information pertaining to individuals and businesses. You can build an efficient LinkedIn profile by listing the achievements and past projects that have helped you improve your skills. An excellent tip on staying connected through LinkedIn is to include recommendations and testimonials of your past employers/clients.
#6. Work on your PR skills
Although some might find it difficult to talk about themselves, especially when meeting new people at networking events, it’s important to overcome shyness. Building your personal brand will require you to develop your socializing skills. Learn how to briefly describe who you are as a professional, what you do best, and what your interests are.
It will take a lot of practice, particularly if you’re not an outgoing person, but it will pay off in the end. You will be able to productively interact with people wherever you are. Your “PR skills” will make your presence at conferences and meet-ups that are relevant to your niche, a personal branding success.
#7. Have an active social media presence
Social media platforms are gold mines for positive self-promotion! It is a free outlet where you can share business related accomplishments, your blogs, or relevant information, all for your audience to discover. An active social media presence allows you to further develop your personal brand, by giving the audience even more information about who you are. The way in which you approach social media communication will say a lot about you.
If you want to stay professional and show readers what makes you the best at what you do then do that constantly! And if you like interacting with people and maintaining a conversational tone go ahead and do it! Just make sure what you’re sharing is beneficial and constructive, as well as an accurate depiction of your brand’s message.
You should also keep an eye on social media trends and personalities that are relevant to your business. Contribute to a discussion and put your opinion out there for debate!
#8. Expand your professional network
Actively building a reputation means that you also, consequently, need to expand your professional network. Take advantage of every chance you get to meet new people in your area of interest. This is the point where personal branding stops being just a business related activity. You can widen your circle of friends, you can learn new things, and share experiences with like-minded people. These are the people that will first and foremost show interest in your personal brand and even help you grow it through recommendations.
#9. Turn down offers
Once you’ve decided what your personal brand stands for, don’t hesitate to turn down offers that don’t say the right things about you as a business. This is a reputation that you have to protect, so saying no to projects or social media stances that don’t advantage your brand is sometimes necessary.
#10. Be consistent
Although what you put out in the world for everyone to see represents the base of your personal brand, your actions and the quality of your deliverables will speak louder than that.
That’s why being consistent in how you manage your personal brand, through the people you associate with, and through the projects you successfully complete, is essential. Show potential clients that research you, before making you an offer, something worth paying for!