Building a “personal brand” was something of a novelty just a few years ago. Hardly anyone talked about it because most people either worked for employers or were in the trades. There was hardly any need for it.
These days, though, things are different. Having a personal brand is probably the only way to succeed in the modern economy. Otherwise, it’s hard to differentiate yourself from everyone else.
What Is A Personal Brand?
Before we get going, though, it’s worth thinking about what a personal brand is, and what it means.
Essentially, a personal brand is a way you present yourself to the world, both online and offline. It’s a mixture of your skills, values, personality, and reputation and what makes you unique.
For most people, a personal brand is a tool that helps them achieve their personal and professional goals, such as landing their dream job, attracting new clients, or growing their network. Entrepreneurs rely on them to flesh out their social media audiences and gain more viewers. They’re something audiences can cling to when trying to differentiate you from the mass of alternatives available online.
Why You Need A Personal Brand
You need a personal brand for several reasons. Here’s a rundown.
Stand Out From The Crowd
A personal brand isn’t just your public face. It’s also something that makes you unique. In today’s competitive and saturated market, you need to differentiate yourself from others who offer similar products or services. Otherwise, customers will continue to go to the people they know, and you’ll miss out on all that business.
Personal brands also help you attract people with similar passions and interests as you. This way, you can become a community leader and build a tribe. It’s a mechanism for showcasing what you can do, know and add to their lives, and what you believe.
Not all personal brands immediately differentiate themselves. However, you’ll want to find your niche pretty quickly so people know what you offer and how you can help them.
Avoid the temptation to copy what other people do. You don’t want to look like a clone. Be yourself and allow everything to fall into place naturally.
Build Trust And Credibility
A personal brand also helps you build trust and credibility. People buy from people they know, like, and trust. It’s just human nature. Therefore, showing some of your personality online makes it more likely people will come to you in times of need, when they need services like yours.
A personal brand can also help you create a consistent and authentic image across different platforms and channels. Again, this can add to your reputation and make more people want to seek you out.
Technologies, such as blockchain, were supposed to eliminate the need for trust. However, that mainly applies in the realm of finance and money, not knowledge, expertise, and insight. What’s more, it’s the latter areas where the real value is being added. The goods economy is shrinking while the intellectual and talent-based economy is increasing.
Boost Career Advancement
Of course, you can also use a personal brand to advance your career if you don’t want to go down the strictly entrepreneurial route. Personal branding lets you build a reputation as a reliable and knowledgeable professional. Eventually, you could become the go-to person in your field.
In a career context, building a personal brand is all about becoming “that person” everyone goes to when they have a particular problem. As in the business world, you’ll have competitors. But if you develop a personal brand, head hunters will pass over them and come looking for you.
Attract More Opportunities
Following on from this, building a personal brand also helps you find more opportunities and develop deeper business relationships with people. For instance, it lets you expand your reach and visibility. It also helps with collaboration, partnership, or exposure. In other words, once you start developing a personal brand, other people in the space are much more likely to seek you out and ask permission to work with you.
You don’t usually know what doors a personal brand will open for you, but they can be considerable. For instance, people might invite you to speaking engagements, media appearances, or awards.
In essence, personal brands help you build your network. The more you self-promote, the more people become interested in what you have to offer, and the value you can bring them. In time, this attracts more opportunities. People in high places start noticing what you’re doing and use their power and influence to give you a leg up. If you keep offering value to people, your success won’t stop.
Ultimately, exposure is a primary driving force behind your income. If you can put yourself and your ideas in front of more people, they will get used to you and eventually come to see you as the person they should go to when they want problems solved. You’ll discover clients are willing to pay you a small fortune if they believe you can fix issues for them that nobody else can solve.
Building a personal brand can also help you grow personally and professionally. It makes it easier to clarify your goals, values, and vision, and align them with your actions.
It all comes down to your sense of self. The more you can step into a personal role, the more you’ll believe it is true, and the more convincing you’ll appear to others. You’ll have a sense of confidence about what you’re doing and you won’t ask permission from others to be successful. Essentially, your personal brand allows you to become the fullest realization of yourself right now instead of putting it off into the future.
It’s also an opportunity to learn. For instance, at the start of the journey of building a personal brand, you might not know anything about writing. Consequently, you might find resources on sites like Blogger Tuesday showing you how to become more accomplished and engage your audience.
Additionally, you might not know how to set up a social media channel or promote it online. Again, setting up a personal brand corrects this. You can learn as you do it, picking up tips along the way from successful entrepreneurs who’ve done it already.
Personal growth will continue as long as you accept new challenges. And building a personal brand is precisely that.
How To Start Building A Personal Brand
We’ve seen why personal brands are important, but how do you actually start building one?
As you might expect, there are no hard and fast methods. Everyone is unique. However, there are some general steps those looking to sell themselves should follow.
Define Your Goals
The first step is to define your goals. You should write things down like:
- Who you want to reach
- How you want people to perceive you
- What you offer that’s uniquely valuable
A personal brand should reflect who you are as a person privately, but you can adjust it slightly if you want it to fit your audience better.
Identify Your Area
The next step is to think about what you’re passionate about and how your personal brand should reflect this. Consider what problems your brand solves and what makes you different from others in your field.
It’s okay not to be different if you solve a problem better than your competitor. But that’s hard to achieve.
The step after that is to create your content. The material you produce will define your personal brand more than how you look or the services you sell. It’s your audience’s opportunity to get to know you better and learn about what you stand for.
As you’re creating your content, you’ll need to consider:
- The level it is at – advanced, intermediate, or novice
- How you’ll distribute it. For instance, the platforms and systems you’ll use to get the message out to people.
- How often you’ll create and share your content. For instance, whether you’ll put out articles daily and how long you’ll spend writing them
- What skills or value you want to bring to the table to provide real-world practicality for your audience
Target And Engage Your Audience
Related to the previous step is how you can interact with your target audience and build relationships with them. Again, there are multiple ways to do this, including videos, one-on-one mentorships, and coaching.
You will engage your audience the most when they feel naturally aligned with you, and you solve their problems. Consider feedback, testimonials, and other methods to find out what they think about your services and how you can improve them.
Monitor And Improve Your Brand
The last step is to monitor and improve your personal brand. This is something you’ll want to do continuously as you develop and move forward.
Think about the metrics and indicators you will use to track your progress. Try to come up with KPIs that will tell you if you’re on the right track or if you need to change your course.