We all spend the majority of our lives working for an employer, or if you’re a business owner, on the business you own. But what if told you that your personality is actually your business? That your primary work is not what you do, but who you are? Intrigued? It’s true. Whether you’re a businessman, athlete, musician or accountant, it’s important to develop a memorable personal brand. In this article, we’re going to share some ideas about what exactly is a ‘personal brand’ and how to create and maintain one.
What are the main qualities you should have for building your personal brand?
Be self-aware. That’ll help you with building your personal brand because knowing your best sides and being an expert in something specific will make you a superstar and will help you to feature it which helps to build a successful personal brand.
Speak up. Yes, by hiding quietly in the corner no one will notice you. Don't be afraid to tell your opinion and make a mistake. Mistakes are a way to learn, get experience and eventually achieve success.
Be genuine. There’s an easy way to have an original personal brand—and that is to be genuine and authentic. Millennial influencer and head of marketing at Popular Demand, Monica Lin, says “People can see right through a disingenuous act.” The more obviously a brand is a copycat, the more the audience will call out the perpetrator for it. Monica's personal brand experienced a huge amount of growth after she began engaging with her audience more meaningfully on Twitter.
Be consistent. Being consistent is very similar to having a narrow focus—it’s much easier to get recognized for one topic if you consistently create content and brand voice around it. Create something unique that people can associate with your brand and know it's you.
Be ready to fail. You need that failure because that'll help you to rise higher and learn from your mistakes. I love the phrase by Timothy Hoang, CEO of Stories By Tim, Inc.: “You’ll never achieve the best branding until you fail a couple times while pushing past your comfort zone.” The very best brands always come from repeated trial and error, mistakes and failures and not from instant perfection.
We know that building something new is not always easy and requires much patience, confidence, and motivation. Your financial circumstances can also play a role as well. However, to start your personal brand you don’t need any investments. It’s only you, your expertise, right positioning and promoting.
Let’s now specify who exactly needs to build a personal brand and why.
WHO NEEDS A PERSONAL BRAND?
In some ways - everyone does. Everybody has a unique “brand” and its corresponding value. It’s really up to the individual to determine what it is they offer which is unique. A personal brand represents a clear picture of the best you have to offer – the performance, contributions, and value your next employer or client can expect from you. In many ways, your brand is your career reputation and in some ways, a promise, of what can be expected of you.
A personal brand isn’t reserved for just corporate executives or famous athletes, musicians, or politicians. Of course, it’s helpful to have a public presence already, but not a requirement. In fact, many housewives have created incredible companies and brands from their kitchen table -- companies focused on health and wellness, children, food, and even financial services.
There are 3 basic steps for creating a personal brand:
1. Building a basic brand: building an online presence is the most important - mostly everything nowadays happens online. Start with checking your search results and modify any content that doesn’t fit your desired image or could damage your reputation. Unpublish or delete content that can spoil your reputation. The highest risk content is related to alcohol, drugs, unprofessional communication from your side, violence or any criminal behavior. After that, define who you are, how unique you are, and what are your professional goals. Your online presence should reflect your brand and expertise. Showcase your skills and achievements. Choose which platforms to use for your personal brand. Not every public figure is using all of them, it’s enough to start with at least 3 of them and stay consistent:
2-4 additional properties relevant to your industry
2. Building credibility & an audience: As you get used to creating content (blog posts, images, infographics, videos, audio clips or podcasts, presentations, status updates, etc.), start to publish it in places where your potential clients/audience spends the majority of their time.
By finding your audience, you have the opportunity to create and share something directly with the people who will get the most out of it.
And don’t be afraid to collaborate and partner with other like-minded people or people who are in the same industry. Collaboration is the keyword nowadays to boost your brand awareness and increase your audience.
3. Targeting Opportunities: Brand yourself as an active leader in your industry, and you’ll get lots of opportunities in your life: speaking events, partnerships, jobs, mentorships, promotions, etc. Your day-to-day routine should include regular networking, ongoing engagement, content creation and consistency in that, keyword research for your industry. You have to make unique, high-quality content to stay top of mind with your audience and to win more professional opportunities. You never know exactly how or when a piece of content that you publish will get noticed by the right person - it might be your future client, boss or business partner.
The key to audience engagement and growth is content creation with personal branding and uniqueness, so each time your audience sees your posts they learn something, get entertained or simply enjoy seeing your posts and look forward to a new one. Provide value to your audience, and encourage them to take an action depending on what your goal is. Your brand can earn you some money, so identify what services or products you can sell and create a certain call-to-action based on that goal.