Brands have always been an important part of any economy. The word originated from the practice of branding of livestock in ancient Egypt. The purpose was originally a form of proof of ownership, but that changed once the potential of branding revealed itself. In the marketplace a good brand was always distinguished and that led to an increase in sales. Soon other practices started adopted this technique. Archaeologists found ceramics and tiles that had a brands engraved on them.
Thousands of years later and we still rely on more or less the same concepts to prove the quality of our products and services. Well, that’s because it simply works! During all that time brands evolved alongside our minds, and seeped into our everyday life beyond the marketplace. Now extensions of the same concept like personal branding or a brand profile are common.
This is a guide to help you stay ahead of the evolutionary curve of the worldwide market through personal branding.
What Exactly Is a Brand?
Personal Branding Is Important for Everyone
Creating Your Personal Brand
Step One: Finding Yourself
Step Two: Create Your Personal Brand Vision
Step Three: Building Your Brand Profile
Step Four: Constructing Your Personal Brand
Step Five: Cash in On Your Brand
What Exactly Is a Brand?
A brand is everything that sets an organization or a product apart. “Everything” includes symbols, logos, fonts, colors, slogans, or even the general aesthetic. It is in a way the personality of the organization that is displayed to the public.
For example: The 20th Century Fox logo before countless films is a stamp that marks a majority of the quality production films. The brand is so well tailored and advertised that whenever a movie starts no matter who produced it your brain automatically expects to hear the 20th Century Fox music. The brand has become engraved in the customer’s brain. This is what branding is all about.
The main use of branding is to advertise the company’s very existence and strengthen its position in the market. In order to show off our brand we need to communicate with the public somehow. In the end the brand is considered an intangible asset that adds to the value of the company. But how does a company advertise something that can’t be felt or seen? Logos, trademarks, jingles, and so on, are the language of communication.
The Importance of Branding
Creating a brand has proven to be the most effective way to create an ongoing relationship with the customer. This relationship is far more valuable to the business than any advertisement. A strong name in the market, in the end, has a monetary value of its own, regardless of the quality of the product or service.
For example: When you want to buy new sneakers, you will often find that the popular brands like Nike and Adidas are hugely overpriced when compared to lesser known brands. Is that difference in price all due to tangible differences, like materials and quality? You will find that that’s not always the case. The strong brand name contributes hugely to the pricing process.
To sum up, branding is a means of asserting the position in the market. It also, provides a way of free advertisement, as well as a way to increase value. The question now is: how can we benefit from this on a personal level?
Personal Branding Is Important for Everyone
If branding is set of methods used to create a lasting impression of a product or service with a customer, then why can’t we do the same with people? For instance, if you are applying for a certain job, you will be asked to present a resume. You may be required to go to an interview. Employers require that because they don’t know the person they are hiring; they need to know what you have to offer. In other words, you need to advertise yourself and your value in order to get opportunities.
It may seem like you are reducing yourself to a product or a service, but that’s not true. Close your eyes and visualize which path you want your career to take. You know you are capable of reaching that career goal. The truth is that people can never see what you see in yourself without you telling them. This is exactly what personal branding is all about; it’s your chance to show the world what you’re capable of.
Ways Personal Branding Can Benefit You
1. Getting Hired
Having a strong personal brand can multiply your chances of getting hired. The point of the application and interview process for employers is to get to know the applicant. When you already have a brand that they are aware of or can be aware of, that gives you a huge advantage over other applicants. Personal branding allows you create relationships with everyone that’s interested in what you have to offer. This makes you much more credible to prospective employers since your name is already out there.
Furthermore, finding jobs is much easier when you know exactly what you’re looking for and what you’re capable of. Think of your personal brand as your own reference book; all you need to know about you.
2. Attracting opportunity
Not only does personal branding make it easier for you to grab opportunities, it turns you into an opportunity magnet. The big brands in any market, like Pepsi for example, don’t need to go to you personally when you’re thirsty and convince you to have a can. When you are thirsty, you automatically think of Pepsi or other names. That is exactly what branding can do for you, if your personal brand is strong enough.
When your name’s already out there and associated with a certain field, you’ll find that employers will come to you. If two people are both skilled technical writers, and there is a job opening at a certain firm. You will find that the firm will reach out to whomever advertises his work the best.
Personal branding can make wonders for your social network outreach. If your personal brand is compelling enough, people will want to learn more about you. Your Twitter followers will increase, for example, if your brand is relevant to more users and offers them something different.
Networking is important because increasing your outreach means more people are watching you. The more eyes you have on you, the higher the chances are for some of these eyes to have opportunities for you.
4. Strengthen Your Business
Associating your personal brand with your business can boost your business’s potential sky high. Think of all the big names in the business world, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Donald Trump, and many others. A large portion of their company’s value is in the heavy name associated. Steve Jobs is the perfect example of merging his company brand with his own personal brand to exponentially boost both names.
Your company is much more likely to close deals when your name means something to other parties. People will want to do business with you just for the sake of doing business with YOU.
5. Knowing Yourself
In the process of building your brand you will find that you are also building yourself. It’s one thing to know that you have potential, but another to have it in detailed writing and said out loud. Successful branding in the end is a way of communicating things that otherwise have no words to describe. Employers will know that you can get the job done, and it’s not because you said “I can get the job done.” This certainty of your value becomes apparent to you before other people. This is the most valuable aspect of personal branding, discovering who you really are.
6. Social Value
There are much more perks to self-advertising than finding more jobs and opportunities. Having a valuable brand is attractive; others can notice the value outside the business world. In the end, It’s easier to make more friends when they already know your name.
Since the moment you first decide to build your personal brand, you will notice positive changes in your personality. You will become more focused, more organized, more confident. People can sense that, and they will want to watch you grow, because in the end people want positive influences in their life.
Creating Your Personal Brand
Personal branding is nothing more than expressing what was already inside you in a professional, and attractive way. Think about it as something you’ve always been working on, even before you knew what it was. Your personal brand isn’t some persona you put on before a business meeting then take off afterwards, it’s who you are. For that reason, creating a personal brand is a huge milestone in your career and your life as a whole. However, this shouldn’t alarm you, personal branding isn’t hard if you take the right steps and follow through with them.
Step One: Finding Yourself
You think you know exactly who you are until you’re asked to put it into words. For example, in any interview you will be asked about what kind of person you are. Unless you have a prepared answer for that, you’ll find yourself stumbling and just stating random facts about yourself. However, preparing an answer doesn’t make it any less real, but would make you seem more confident and focused.
Knowing who you are is the foundation of your brand. It determines the direction it will be taking, your brand vision, your target audience, and everything else in your professional and personal life. So who are you?
In order to answer that, you first need to be able to answer a couple of questions:
What Are You Passionate About?
It’s important to keep a record of this list throughout your life for many reasons. Personal branding is a gateway to success, and with success many people lose themselves. Let this list be your true north; a reminder of what drove you to this success. In this list you should add the things that if you have will mean you succeeded.
For example, you could be passionate about:
- The environment
- Helping others
- Making friends
- Making money
- Story telling
It’s important to be truthful with yourself. There is no calling more important than one you truly believe in. So if you want to drive a brand new car every year, then don’t be afraid to add that to the list. Your passions are the fuel to the unstoppable machine that is your personal brand.
What are your traits?
This is basically your personality type, not necessarily a list. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Are you goal oriented or haphazard? Are you an up-beat person? And so on. You must always be aware of what you are and aren’t capable of.
A lot of people want to be charming and social, party all night, go home and get work done, enjoy a quiet weekend alone in bed, keep everything well organized, while enjoying spontaneous adventures. But that’s just unrealistic. It’s much more productive to know what we got and use it for our advantage. For example, if you are an introvert, you could capitalize by getting more work done on the weekends.
How do you know your own traits? A good place to start if you’re confused is to take a big five personality test. Of course these tests are never 100% accurate, no two people are the same after all. They do, however, provide you with a footing on where to begin to look.
You could also get a second opinion for the sake of objectivity. Ask your friends, family, and co-workers what you’re like. They will all have a different outlook on you based on the nature of your relationship, and all very valuable.
What are your skills?
Your skills will be the core of you’re selling to the world. Your brand is much more than what you accomplished, it’s also about how you accomplish them. Here you should list the things you’re good at (the more, the better.)
These are all examples of skills a person might have, but when it comes to personal branding you need to be as specific as possible. Generalization may seem like a safe bet; in other words, more opportunities, but that’s not true. The truth is people relate much more to the technicalities, and so do employers. So instead what your list should be as specific as possible.
- Goal keeping
- Theoretical quantum mechanics
- Young adult fiction writing
- Microsoft office
These are all considered hard skills. There is another set of skills that are important to possess, which are soft skills. They are skills like:
- Time management
- People skills
These are skills that you cannot display directly, but through your actions. You need to be well aware of them and try to enhance them over time. Your skills are your personal brand’s product, after all.
What Are Your Experiences?
Personal branding is telling the story of you, in a relatable and professional layout. In order to do so you need to figure out what experiences influenced you the most and in what way. Your experiences, good or bad, are what sculpted your personality, equipped you with skills, and created your passions.
You can write down as many experiences as you can remember and how each one impacted you. A trip to Spain, for example, or a certain job, or even something traumatic, and so on. Another thing you could do is to cross reference your skills with your experiences. That way you can try to get a similar positive experience to enhance a certain trait or skill.
It’s important to know the origins of every aspect of your life in order to have some control over the future.
What Are Your Ambitions?
It goes without saying that if you don’t have ambition, personal branding just isn’t for you. As with any Brand, the first order of business is to establish a brand vision (see step two). You must figure out exactly where you want to take your brand. Yes, the main reason of building a personal brand is to open up new opportunities. However, these opportunities only present themselves to the ambitious. You need to have something to work towards. For example:
- “I want a steady five figure salary in 5 years.”
- “I want to be the CEO of my own company in 10 years.”
- “I wish to make a difference in my community.”
- “I want to have my own magazine by the time I’m 40.”
These are the milestones you create for yourself, and they’re important for many reasons. First of all, without a reward in the end you’re likely going to lose motivation and slack. Another reason is that these milestones are your own corporate strategy, everything you build has to be towards these goals. Finally, they are a way which you can assess your own progress.
“If you can turn your wants into your needs, you can do anything.” – Randy Jackson (another good example of successful personal branding.)
In other words, you have to need those ambitions to become reality, nothing else is acceptable.
What Are Your Priorities?
All your ambitions and all your passions aren’t of the same importance. You have to look at all of them and make a case for each one, then rank them. Those are your rules of conduct. For example, you care about becoming wealthy, but you care about the environment even more. At some point in your future both values will have a conflict, that is when you refer to your priorities.
No problem has no solutions. If your priorities stop you from progressing in your career, for example, you shouldn’t just give up. Instead, this should encourage you to think creatively. There is always a way to do the right thing. For this reason, selecting your priorities needs to be done carefully and with much thought. Put it in writing as a contract between your personal brand and yourself.
Step Two: Create Your Personal Brand Vision
Now that you have a clear idea of who you are, it’s time to know who you want to become. This is where you use every piece of information about yourself to customize a plan for your future. It’s not hard to say “I want to become an astronaut!” but not everyone grows up to be one, why is that? Simply because not everyone who said it understood where that desire comes from, what being an astronaut really means. Personal branding is not possible if you are promoting someone that isn’t exactly who you are. The point of the previous step is to explore yourself, now it’s time to use this information, but how?
Find Your Everest
“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche
Before you take any step further into personal branding, you need to ask yourself why you’re doing this. Is it to be successful? Successful at what? What is your calling? In order to figure that out you’ll use every piece of information you learned about yourself. Of course you can’t be everything you are good at and everything you are passionate about, all at once. But your goal should be to become as close to that as possible.
For example, if two people listed their skills as coding and painting, and their passions as traveling. Their paths are only limited by their creativity and desires. One might choose to become a traveling freelance coder, while the other to start her own coding company and create software artist assisting software. There is no wrong way here, but it’s important that your dream is all you, and that it’s without compromise.
If you’re struggling to find your calling, there are things you should know. Every skill, every passion, and every desire, will be a part of your brand profile. It’s only a matter of figuring out which aspects you will pursue professionally and which you will use to give life to your professional character? In reference to the previous example, she managed to incorporate both her skills into her professional vision. She could also use her passion for traveling to drive her software, like a portability feature for travelers.
So start visualizing where you’re going, and how the skills you have in your toolkit could come in handy. The more thought you put into it, the clearer the image of who you want to become will get.
Visualize The Peak
You can see the path laid ahead of you, now. You know which way to go. Now, it’s time to know how far you want to go in this path. Do you want to be a CEO of your own company? Do you want your brand to be a leader in renewable energy? Picturing your perfect career ending is the best way to remain motivated, as long as you still believe it’s attainable.
Many people have trouble visualizing their end game, especially if they just figured out their career path. A good exercise for this is to picture a newspaper article in your honor, what would the headline say?
Again, much like choosing your path, there is no wrong answer. The beauty of personal branding is that you get to choose your potential, as well as your limits. You do it so no one else gets to do it for you. There are many examples of people that find themselves progressing beyond their expectations in a career they didn’t choose. In that case it becomes harder to go back.
Plan Your Climb
Picturing your end game is only the easy part, the hard part is knowing how to get there. Personal branding, after all, is not for aesthetic purposes. It’s a practical means of achieving your goals. This is why you need to have a solid plan. But how?
First, you visualized your career ending, now it’s time to add all the details. If you want to own a tech company, for example. What kind of tech? Yes, it’s too early to write things in stone, but you need to convince yourself that it’s possible. You can’t do that without all the details.
The next step is to back track from the end point, all the way until where you’re standing now. Planning backwards helps you stay on track instead of jumping into the unknown. If, for example, your dream is to win an Oscar for best lead actor, you need to think “What happens before I can accomplish that?” You’ll need to be a lead actor, before that you’ll need exposure, and so on.
You can make many paths leading to the same ending. That way, when you encounter a hiccup in one of them, you don’t lose motivation. In the end, no matter how well we plan, we can never predict the future. Prioritize those different paths according to how you feel towards them.
The next time you imagine your career end you will also see clearly the path leading there. That makes success feel only a few steps away. You now have your vision, it’s time to carve the first words into your brand profile, which are your mission and vision statements.
Who Are Your Idols?
Before creating your brand profile, it’s not a bad idea to check out other successful people’s brands. You’ve already figured out which path you’re going to take; you can look for examples of success in the same path. Who would you learn from the most? Who would you consider on the same level of ambition as you?
Make a list of the people that come to mind. Then analyze their brands; what is their vision? What are they like as a person? Normally there is more to a person than what’s available on their Wikipedia page. That’s why you should analyze their work on your own, listen to their talks, and figure out what makes them unique.
Learn, but don’t imitate. Everyone has a different life experience, and no one can fill someone else’s shoes, let alone their ambitions. The whole idea of personal branding is establishing you, not anyone else. That being said, you shouldn’t be afraid to allow yourself to be inspired by other people.
Make a Statement
You know what you want, it’s time to let the world know. You can tell a lot about a company from their mission and vision page. It’s not only there for show, the first thing you learn when you get hired in any company is to believe in their vision. No company would ever be successful without first succeeding to motivate its own employees. There is no better way to motivate your employees than aligning your vision with their own. You should inspire the same thing with your brand.
A standard mission statement for any company should outline what it’s willing to do for its customers, employees, and its owners. In other words, a mission statement should talk to your stakeholders (yourself included) about your goals. When personal branding, your stakeholders are usually, your future employers, your peers, your partners, and anyone who will benefit from your brand profile, both professionally and personally.
The difference between a vision and a mission is that a mission states why your brand exists. A vision, however, is about your dreams and future for the brand if everything goes as planned. It’s less of a technical term, and more about what you want. If you’re stuck, refer back to your ambitions and passions in step one.
Finally, your vision and mission statements should be unique; they should only fit you and your personality. Try them out on someone else who shares your interests and qualifications. Your statements should also feel light on the tongue, and as natural as possible. Try saying them out loud as if you’re pitching your brand at a meeting.
Step Three: Building Your Brand Profile
You’ve done all the planning and now it’s time for execution. How do you turn all these ideas and plans into a persona that anyone can learn about? How do you present yourself to the world? This is what personal branding is all about, after all. In order to see your dreams and ideas become reality you first have to project them on everything related to you. You’ll need a strong online presence. You’ll need to stop thinking like an individual and start thinking like an entity.
Erving Goffman (the American-Canadian sociologist) devised a theory on self-presentation. He said that the key to self-presentation is to look at your life as a drama. In this drama you are the lead actor, script writer, director, and producer. In the movie industry, the film-makers can choose the way they wish their lead actor to be viewed. The same can be said about personal branding. No matter what your goals are, you get to choose the package you wish to be viewed in. This package is called a brand profile.
What Is a Brand Profile?
A brand profile is everything associated with your personal brand. Imagine your brand profile as a folder that goes to all your stakeholders. Your online persona is only a file in that folder. A brand profile includes things like your likes and dislikes, your hobbies, the way you dress, the music you listen to, and everything that belongs to you.
You need to, more or less, set a unified theme through your life as a whole that is aligned with your brand. For example, your brand personality can’t be all about productivity and energy while you barely leave your house. In other words, you need to live and breathe your personal brand and that’s through developing your brand profile.
Identifying Your Target Audience
Once you know what you’re selling, the next step is to figure out who you’re selling it too. The success of any business depends the market research done both before launch and throughout its life. A crucial part of this market research is defining the target audience.
In businesses the target audience is usually anyone or any entity that will buy your product or service. In personal branding you are selling your services. What’s the thing that you can do that people would pay for? Is it a certain talent or a skill? Is it your creativity? If your brand profile is a theatre, then what you’re selling should be center-stage with all the spotlights on it.
When you can say in one sentence what it is that you are offering, then you should immediately think “to who?”. Your target audience will be potential employers or investors or others. If you’re selling motivational speech for example, your audience will be listeners. There is no one answer for this; it all depends on your brand.
How to Target Your Audience?
A part of the market research process is always profiling the target audience. In other words, looking beyond their names and business titles, and knowing what kind of people they are. What are their interests? What is their age group? And so on. These are all factors that greatly affect the approach you’ll take when personal branding and subsequently building your brand profile.
If you’re innovating in the coffee brewing industry for example, you’ll need to identify the traits of your average targeted audience. What demographics are represented and by what ratios? Create a profile by choosing a representative for each demographic as an example. You can either choose someone you already know, or make a fictional character. Write down a list of attributes that make then unique, and what they mean to your business. Are they your peers, customers, or even other companies?
How to Influence Them?
After singling out your target audience, you need to find a way to make your brand profile attractive to them. Nowadays, when it comes to figuring out what someone’s interests are, there are many ways; and they’re all called social media.
Find your targeted audience on social media, or someone similar and follow them closely (not literally!). If you’re on twitter, check out the kind of accounts they follow. Check out the people they interact with and how they do it. What content do they like? What would they share or repost? Study their online behavior.
Take it a step further and figure out who influences them. For example, what kind of magazines do they read? Do they listen to a certain podcast? Or follow a newsletter? If you could somehow make your brand profile reach the mouths (or hands) of the people that whisper in your audience’s ears, then you will have succeeded.
This brings us to the most important issue: Creating the material that is capable of making your brand profile go viral with your target audience.
Step Four: Constructing Your Personal Brand
In this step we explore the different channels that are ideal to provide a stage for your brand. Until this point most of your work was to form an image of the personal branding process in your head. It’s time to project this image into the minds of your target audience. In order to do so you’ll need to be well informed on the different online and offline assets, and how to use them. The main idea is to associate an attractive charismatic persona, with expertise in a certain field or practice.
Become an Expert
Before applying to any job you need ask yourself: What makes an ideal candidate for this position? The answer is almost always, the person with the most experience and devotion to the tasks required. In other words, It’s always better to be a specialist in a small task than to be informed on many. This, for an employer, guarantees your full focus and in turn higher efficiency.
Besides increasing your chances in the job market, you should become a leader in the field to your peers. Your personal brand should always aim at becoming the gold standard when it comes to a certain issue. For example, if your brand focuses on weight loss, it would be better to specialize in herbal remedies or any other branch or approach. The next step is becoming a credible reference in that area.
The most practical way to convincing your target audience that you are an expert is to actually become one. This means reading everything new about your field, take courses and workshops, and if possible, get a degree in the field. You should always try to keep proof of your credentials and have them accessible to everyone interested in reading them.
Establish Your Online Presence
You might be wondering, if success was so easy, why are so many over qualified people unemployed? The answer is that it’s not easy at all unless you make it easy for yourself. Personal branding is an effective way of giving your name a push. Meaning that the job market itself doesn’t get any easier, but you are just getting better at it.
The first and most effective way of getting your brand profile out there is through the internet. We all use the internet and social media, almost all day long, but not everyone uses it professionally. Companies, for example, use social media in advertising and gathering consumer information. But how can you as an individual do that? Do you make an ad campaign about yourself? Well, yes and no. Personal branding in a way is a lifelong ad campaign. But not all of the rules of social media and digital marketing can apply to you, at least in the beginning.
You need to be able to identify your target audience and locate them on every platform they use, then establish yourself on those platforms. The idea is to have your brand name imprinted in on their minds when it comes to a certain topic or field.
Make a Name for Yourself
The first thing you need to worry about when it comes to creating your online presence is your name. Have you noticed how BuzzFeed for example, have the same name on all their accounts on different platforms? Consistency is a strong marketing tool, that allows your stakeholder’s mind to group all the impressions of your content, under one name. This increases that name’s value greatly, instead of having that value spread out across multiple names.
If your name is Sophie Jones, for example, you’ll want to secure a unique username that is available on as many marketing channels as you can think of. Even if you are not going to use that website or community, you never know where your stakeholders’ interests will shift. There is also a problem that if your name is used by someone else other than you on a different platform, there is a risk they might write or share things that are far from your values and harm your brand profile.
There are tools available that can check if a certain username is available on all social networks. Websites like NameChk or Knowem tell you if the username you chose is used and on which website. They also provide suggestions to related domain names that are available. The next step is to sign up and get these accounts under your hands.
Social Media Pages
When personal branding the most important thing is getting as much exposure as possible. That’s why social media pages hold great weight in your brand profile. There are essential social media channels that you must be present and active on.
Facebook, for example, is an invaluable tool when it comes to personal branding and advertising in general.
LinkedIn is the perfect place to start creating professional connections. It greatly increases your employment prospects as well as networking with the right people.
Choosing The Proper Channels
Although the most effective way to spread your message is to get engagement on as many platforms as possible, no one can be everywhere at once. It’s better to deliver quality content on specific platforms than to just post for the sake of advertising. This begs the question: Which social media channels should you choose? There are two factors to take into consideration when choosing the most suitable social media channel:
- Where are your target audience located?
The point of personal branding is to eventually get your brand profile in front of your target audience as much as possible. The fact is, every one of your targeted audience uses one or more social media platform on daily basis. For example, if you’re brand is music production related then they will definitely be on SoundCloud, YouTube, and Facebook. This is why researching your target audience is very important.
- What are your interests?
If you like to take pictures, then it’s a great addition to your brand profile to incorporate your Instagram account, for example. Any form of content can be used in personal branding, as long as you can link it with your brand vision somehow.
Secure Your Domain
Nothing says professional more than having your own website with your brand name on it. The fact is, people are more likely to do business with you through your website than a page or blog. Your website should be a solid representation of your brand profile. That’s why it’s important to secure a domain name as soon as possible; To keep the domain aligned with your account names on all the other platforms.
You can check the availability of your desired domain name through Check Domain or Go Daddy. Another good practice is to acquire domain names similar to yours, like the .net versions of it. Redirecting similar domains to yours gives your brand more security and “domain” over your brand name.
SEE ALSO: Extraordinary Brandable Domain Names
Create an Attractive Website
Your website could be the most valuable tool in your personal branding utility belt. It’s called your “domain” for a reason, it’s your space to claim. You get to decide the content, the way it’s displayed, the colors, the message and so on. It’s the center piece of your brand profile. This is why it is a very sensitive step in personal branding, because your entire brand will be judged by the quality and professionalism of your website, especially if your brand is web related.
The first thing to consider is hiring professionals if you are not capable of designing or developing your website. In the end, personal branding choices are done according to the return on investment. Yes, it’s cheaper to create your own website but you invested time and effort, and a good website is worth every penny.
Your website is an expression of your brand profile, that’s why the design and layout can make or break your brand. From Smart Color Selection, to font type and sizes, everything about the general aesthetic of your website should be well thought of.
Simplicity is key when it comes to personal branding. Your website should be to the point and informative. People have low tolerance for unorganized websites, or ones with too much noise. You wouldn’t like to spend time on a website with an unclear purpose or value.
NeilPatel.com is an example of successful personal branding using a website.
Imagine you created the perfect website and it got in the hands of a prospective business contact. The first thing they’ll do is check your “About Me” page. This page should include a brief description of who you are and what your brand represents. You should also include your mission and vision statements (from Step One).
The purpose of your About Me page is to put your brand profile into words. Your message should be clear and relatable, to urge your audience to go from there to your “Contact Me” page.
Compliment Your Brand with a Blog
There is a reason why blogging is a thing. It’s because people generally want to learn more and read about their interests. This is an opportunity for anyone who wants to reach people with certain interests. Again, this is why everything about your brand profile is based on your target audience research.
The purpose of a blog is to get people reading about topics relevant to them and to your brand. This shows the readers of your blog that your brand is aligned with their interests and needs. Creating a bond with your audience through a blog means your personal branding is successful.
Your blog can be added to your website using a content management software. WordPress, for example, is invaluable to any starting website. Besides the blog feature, it also makes maneuvering the site easier, through themes, templates and other free features.
Generate Quality Content
There are many ways to market your brand, but with personal branding you can’t just create ads. That’s why many refer to content marketing. Content marketing is basically creating and distributing content to specific people that contains valuable information. This method is superior to traditional marketing techniques in the sense that it actually provides certain knowledge or value to the reader.
The message you want to send with your personal brand is that you are an expert in some field. creating relevant content to that field can definitely send that message. In addition, search engines like Google scour the internet for content relevant to its users’ queries. There are certain algorithms that determine whether your content is relevant and valuable or not. This on its own opened the door for the practice called content marketing, that is beneficial for everyone.
Of course, not everyone can write engaging posts or articles, or simply don’t have the time to. You could hire content writers to write them for you. Again, the thing to consider here is your return on investment. Your content isn’t only your blog posts, but also everything you, as a brand, post online. Everything from Facebook updates to profile content should be professionally tailored to fit your brand profile.
For more on content marketing: The Advanced Guide to Content Marketing
Personal branding goes hand in hand with networking. The worth of your brand lies in its distinction from all the other brands in the field. That distinction comes from your ability to create an impression. There’s more to networking than making small talk and handing out business cards.
Who Do You Want in Your Network?
The first thing you do before any step when personal branding is asking yourself: Who is this move intended for? Same applies to networking. Who will be an asset for your brand? If you’re selling a tech service for example, then the most important assets to you would be tech bloggers and YouTube tech influencers and so on.
But don’t get caught up in the possibilities that your contacts will open for you, and forget the most important thing: What can you do for them? Imagine you’re in a business event and someone rising in your field came up to you, handed you a business card and asked for a referral somewhere. Chances are you’ll throw that business card in the nearest trash. Always include what you can do for your potential contacts as early as possible in the conversation.
Unfortunately, approaching others isn’t a skill everyone has. However, it’s a skill anyone CAN have with the right training and attitude. There are some basic soft skills that every marketer needs to have in utility belt. And that’s basically what we are doing, marketing our whole brand profile to people of interest.
Offline Personal Branding Tools
Now that you managed your online assets, you’re ready to get your offline tools in order. People tend to focus on their services and the quality of their products and forget their own personal image. You need to realize that you yourself are your most valuable asset. Once you start personal branding you and your brand become indistinguishable. For this reason, you must speak, eat and breathe your brand. For example, if your brand is about self-improvement, then you must first practice what you speak. You also have to be good at inspiring others through talking as well as writing.
Believe it or not your appearance and lifestyle play a major role in personal branding. A study in Harvard stated that it takes only seven seconds for a human being to make a first impression. This means that most of likability of a person comes from appearance. Remember that you need to be likeable to create a network of contacts that will be useful for you later.
The way you dress, your posture, your composure, even the tone of voice, are all parts of your brand profile. You need to give off a professional, assertive impression at all times. Not only is this good business practice but it also helps you remain confident and focused in your life.
Also See: 7 Ways to Appear Confident
Give Them Something Worth Keeping
Your second most powerful offline asset is your business card. You need to choose your business card design very carefully. It may seem outdated but when it comes to first time meetings, it’s much more professional to exchange business cards. The problem is: Will they keep it? Well, that depends on your card. Most of the time when someone hands yo
u a plain white or off-white business card with tiny font you lose it.
Your card needs to be unique. It needs to cause an impression the moment they glance at it before pocketing it. If you get compliments on your business card as soon as you hand it to someone, they’ll probably contact you. But how do you do that?
Again, think of your personal brand. What are the fonts you used? Do you have a catchy slogan? Always choose a design that relates to your field, in some way. But don’t let a complex design get in the way of the original purpose. Your con
tact information should be clear and in the front of the card. Use the back of the card for an attractive element; include a smart design or a slogan.
For Inspiration: 30 Of The Most Creative Business Cards Ever
Step Five: Cash in On Your Brand
Just to recap, you learned how to:
- Know what you want, what you’re good at and what your career path is.
- Identify and attract the people that could help you get where you want.
- Create a brand profile from scratch.
- Expand and enhance your online and offline assets.
How to Make a Brand Profitable?
Now you must be wondering: When do I get my return on investment, already? How do I make my personal brand profitable? To answer that you need to realize that by the time you reach this step you will have already noticed the positive impact of personal branding. From creating new contacts and friends, to actual employment opportunities.
That being said, there are still many ways you can generate profit while expanding your brand at the same time:
Personal branding is about focusing on that one thing that only you can do or at least do better than the rest. This is the backbone of your personal brand. Whether it’s a skill, product or a service, why not sell it to those who need it? For example, if you’re an expert in Photoshop, you can offer your designs for sale to companies who need them.
No matter what your area of expertise is, you can teach it for money. Let’s keep building on the Photoshop expert example. Once you are confident of your abilities and establish a network and presence in the field, you can become the mentor in someone else’s personal brand. Give workshops on advanced Photoshop, or how to profit from it.
Another profitable way to expand your personal brand is through webinars. Webinars are increasing in popularity in all fields, especially those related to tech. Of course you can’t get into the webinar scene until you first make a name for yourself as a web speaker. You can achieve this by co-hosting webinars with already established speakers and mentors. You need to engage with them and offer your services and value. It won’t be easy but, once you get your first webinar, it gets easier.
This is a guide for personal branding, but that doesn’t mean everyone who reads it will start to change their life today. People need inspiring stories, practical stories from the real world. This is why, most people turn to writing about their success story. It’s not a way to brag or make a quick buck, but it’s a genuine contribution to inspiring other people.
So if you’re good at writing or storytelling, you should consider sharing your experience with personal branding. Not only is it profitable, but it’s a good way of getting exposure and adding to your contribution to the field. That’s the point of personal branding after all; Becoming a pioneer in your field.
What Is Brand Equity?
Brand equity basically means the value of your brand in compared to other brands. For example, a coffee cup normally costs a little over a dollar. However, just by adding that famous green star logo, it almost triples in value. Why?
A well-established brand isn’t just about mass production or showmanship. It’s about a guaranteed standard of quality. McDonald’s didn’t start off as one of the largest fast food chains in the world overnight. The key is consistency in quality and ambition. You can do the same with your personal brand.
By proving your worth and the quality of your brand, time and time over, you will begin to become less of a salesman and more of a reference in your field. In the end, if your brand is based on empty promises and advertising, people will notice.
The Value of Personal Branding
Every entity values having personal brands within its structure. Movie producers for example, pick the stars sometimes before the script itself. Sports teams endorse their individual players’ personal brands on social media, because they know that this in turn adds value to their entity as well. You too can be as valuable and contributing to your field, if you first develop the exposure you need, and cultivate your name in the field. Eventually, you can become a pillar of the field and a reference that is worth millions.