Let’s face it. The world’s gone digital, ya’ll. This means the entire concept of building a strong personal brand has become increasingly important. It doesn’t matter what you do or what industry you work in.
Maybe you’re an entrepreneur, maybe you’re an artist, or maybe you’re a professional sink installer––whatever it is you “do,” think of cultivating a compelling personal brand as your key to opening the door to new opportunities and elbowing your way to the front of a crowded space.
Keep reading as we explore this idea of personal branding, discover why it’s just so darn important, and cover a few key tips to help you start building your own brand.
Personal Branding Demystified
Your personal brand is you, in a nutshell. It’s the unique combo of your skills, experiences, personality, and values that makes you “you” and makes you different from Joe Schmoe two doors down.
Think of your personal brand as how you present yourself to the world, whether online or offline. It’s a snapshot of your professional identity, and it can heavily influence how others perceive you, both as a person and as a business.
By building a strong personal brand, you can establish credibility in your industry, attract more of those golden opportunities, and make a lasting impression on your audience and customers.
Still not convinced? Keep reading. A strong personal brand can help you:
Gain Recognition and Industry Clout
There’s something to be said for the value of consistency, and that includes a consistent personal presentation of yourself across all the digital platforms you want to be found on.
The art of consistency makes it easier for people to remember and identify you as you reliably project your unique qualities out into the world. The upside is that increased recognition can lead to more chances to network and collaborate with some really cool people!
Strengthen Trust and Customer Confidence
As branding expert Jeff Bezos once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” A compelling personal brand can help you establish trust and credibility among your peers and potential clients. Street cred, if you will. And we all know that people are way more likely to work with someone they view as authentic and knowledgeable than a stranger they know nothing about.
You Control Your Online Rep
An online presence is essential in this digital world, at least if you want to be found by potential customers. The nice thing about a well-crafted personal brand is that it allows you to mold your image and manage your online reputation proactively, ensuring you present a consistent and positive face to your audience as much as humanly possible. How you want to be seen by your audience is within your control.
Attract Cool New Opportunities
When you focus on creating a personal brand that resonates with your audience, it inevitably leads to new professional opportunities with like-minded people. That might mean new job offers, interesting speaking gigs, or even brand collaborations and partnerships just by showcasing your expertise and helping you stand out in your niche as someone different and noteworthy.
Fuel Your Personal Growth
Building a personal brand involves a hefty dose of self-reflection and a deep understanding of your strengths, weaknesses, failures, and passions. The entire process of creating your brand can lead you through new levels of personal growth and give you a clearer sense of direction in your chosen career or profession.
5 Tips for Building a Compelling Personal Brand in 30-minutes Per Week
If you’ve never thought of crafting a personal brand for yourself, now is as good a time as any! Below are a few tips to help you get moving in the right direction.
1. Define Your Niche
Settle what you want your niche to be, and determine your USPs by outlining your passions, strengths, and areas you excel in. Doing this can help you define your target audience so you can tailor your messaging to meet their needs and expectations.
For example, say you’re a marketing professional. That might mean you choose to specialize in content marketing for startups, or it could mean you specialize in email marketing for big box stores. Maybe it means both!
2. Develop a Visible Online Presence
Create a consistent and professional online presence across various platforms, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and your own website. Most importantly, your own website because that’s the only digital real estate you actually own, and you don’t want your brand to be at the mercy of social media platforms that could go belly up at any time.
For the social platforms you do use, be sure your profiles are up-to-date and polished to showcase your expertise, accomplishments, and a dash of personality. Some good “inspo” for this are successful personal brands like Gary Vaynerchuk or Marie Forleo.
3. Create High-Quality Content
Valuable content that demonstrates your expertise and helps others is key as you build your brand. Content like this might be in the form of blog posts, articles, podcasts, or even videos if that’s your style and preference. Not everyone is cut out for creating videos or speaking, and not everyone is cut out for writing content. Pick the lane that works for you, or hire people to help you if you want to forge down a path that’s not your gift.
Just be consistent in whatever road you choose to take. By consistently providing valuable content, you can establish yourself as an authority in your field. Take Neil Patel, for instance. He is known across the interwebs for his comprehensive guides on digital marketing, and he’s built his brand by consistently providing quality and insanely helpful information to his audience.
4. Engage with Your People
Great ways to engage with your audience are through methods like social media platforms, blog comments, industry-related forums, and even networking events. Make a point to respond to questions and comments, and always be open to feedback. Doing these things can foster strong relationships with your audience, and those relationships will strengthen your personal brand.
5. Don’t Be Fake
Authenticity sometimes sounds like a buzzword; it gets thrown around so often, but it’s used because it’s so important. Being authentic is crucial for any successful personal brand because that’s the whole point of the word “personal.” You can’t be personal if you aren’t you. Be true to yourself and your values, and let your personality shine through in your content and all of your interactions with your audience.
Potential Challenges to Building a Personal Brand
Nothing in life comes without challenges, especially if it’s something worthwhile. A few of the most common challenges when building a personal brand include finding your niche, maintaining consistency across platforms, and managing your time effectively. Below are some tips to help you overcome them.
- Finding Your Niche: If you’re just starting out in the world of business and branding, it’s important to take time to reflect on your passions, skills, and experiences. Consider conducting a personal SWOT analysis to identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This analysis can help you nail down a niche that aligns with your values and expertise.
- Maintaining Consistency: Develop a personal branding strategy that outlines your goals, target audience, and the platforms you plan to use. Consider creating some kind of content calendar to map out your posts and ensure consistency across all platforms. Tools like Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule content in advance and maintain a cohesive brand image can be helpful.
- Time Management: Set aside dedicated time for “personal branding activities”, such as content creation, social media engagement, forums, and networking activities, whether that’s online or even attending in-person events. Break online tasks into small, manageable steps and set deadlines to keep yourself on track.
The reality is that building a strong personal brand isn’t a one-and-done kind of thing. It’s not like creating a website and calling it a day. Building a brand that matters and resonates with your people is an ongoing process that requires dedication and commitment.
Start today, commit 30 minutes a day, and with a healthy dose of persistence and authenticity, you can build a personal brand that propels your career forward in ways you may not even be able to imagine yet!