Given the tumultuous year, we have had, filled with pay cuts and job losses, having a personal brand has never been more important. It doesn’t matter whether you’re searching for your first job or hoping to get a better one, looking for a promotion, changing careers, or growing an extensive network. In all these cases, building a personal brand can help you achieve your goals.
While building a personal brand isn’t easy, building a strategic brand that can help advance your career is essential. A good personal brand can generate new opportunities and connections that could change your life. Businesses are usually the first thing that comes to people’s minds when they think of a brand. However, all individuals have a personal brand. A personal brand is what people think of when they hear your name.
Your personal brand is also summarized by what pops up on search engines when someone looks you up. Ultimately, your personal brand is shaped by the kind of presence you’ve cultivated online.
Your personal brand should encapsulate both your talents as well as details of any businesses you’ve built. The best personal brands are unique and authentic. This is because your personal brand is ultimately supposed to build a strong reputation for you, both personally and professionally.
Before 2020, there was a slow rise of digital nomads, freelancers, and contract workers. By 2020 and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, about 43% of the US workforce was made up of those individuals. Since so many people are now working digitally, having a solid personal brand can help you gain clients and get paid more for your talents. As mentioned previously, a personal brand summarizes who a person is and what skills they have. This information can help you establish your credibility and trustworthiness.
Even when you are not consciously projecting your brand, the people around you experience you as a “package” of traits and capabilities. Like it or not, these people make decisions based on this impression. Those decisions can include whether or not to hire you, ask you to dinner, or promote you. At the end of the day, if your reputation does not accurately reflect your genuine brand, you are likely to miss opportunities or get taken advantage of.
Steps to build your personal brand
1) Figure out who you are
Your personal brand needs to be an honest reflection of who you are, what skills you possess, and your aspirations. In order to build an effective brand, it is imperative to determine who you are on an authentic and more profound level. Some questions that you can ask yourself include:
1) What drives you?
2) What areas do you excel in?
3) What type of work drains you?
4) What fuels you?
5) What type of work setting is best?
6) What industries do you find interesting?
7) Where do you see yourself in the future?
8) What impact do you want to have?
The answers to those questions may change over time. Even so, this is perfectly normal since your personal brand evolves as you grow. Additionally, you do not have to know how to answer all of these questions. You can ask loved ones, coworkers, and friends for their input. Sometimes it can be a good idea to consult others even if you are confident in your answers. Those people may see you more clearly than you see yourself, thus helping you build a more “holistic” image of yourself. Once you are aware of the different parts of yourself, you can begin creating an image that aligns with your answers. This image will, in turn, attract like-minded people driven by the same things that drive you and help these people to see your value clearly.
In addition to figuring out who you are, you also need to identify your values and passions. Values are the things that you believe are important. At their core, values define a person and determine their priorities. While each individual’s values are different, they are what a person generally relies on when faced with difficult decisions. Values also play a huge role in business, for example when you are searching for a new job. After all, when a candidate’s values align with that of the company they are looking to get employed in, they are more likely to get hired.
Determining your passions is the next thing you need to do when building your personal brand. Your passions showcase the ways in which you enjoy spending your time. A common mistake that people make is assuming that their current job is their passion. While this could most certainly be the case, you need to make sure that you don’t just automatically accept it as your passion without genuinely reflecting upon it. In order to build a personal brand, you must first identify your personal and professional passions. Examples include – but are not limited to – technology, accounting, graphic design, kayaking, family, and golfing. Values and passions are what help you determine where you want to be in the future.
2) Determine your unique value proposition
After figuring out who you are, you need to determine what sets you apart from others. If you are too similar to everyone else out there, your personal brand will neither be personal nor stand out from the crowd. When defining a unique value proposition, you need to understand your strengths and talk about them. You need to ask yourself what areas you have excelled in. Additionally, consider what compliments others have given you and what your talents are.
Determining what you can do better than others lays the foundation for establishing your unique value proposition. Once you have assessed your strengths, you can start to build your brand around these strengths. You can also share your expertise and highlight your achievements in your specific niche or industry. This will build credibility and establish trust.
Sometimes it can be challenging to turn strengths into a value proposition. If this is the case, there are a few ways that you can uncover what truly sets you apart. Firstly, you need to make your answers more specific. Generally, when people go into job interviews, the three qualities they will list about themselves are “hard-working, detail-oriented, and can get along with others.” So, to set yourself apart from others, you need to think about specific situations where your hard work or people skills have paid off. You then need to narrow down what aspects of your personality come together to make these situations a success. After all, while it is excellent to know your strengths, it is not helpful if you do not apply them.
Last but not least, you need to talk about your personality. While hard work is a strength, not all people who work hard are equally friendly, outgoing, and work well with others. This is why discussing your personality traits along with your skills will further help you to differentiate yourself from others.
3) Define your audience
Many people make the mistake of trying to appeal to all audiences. However, no matter how hard you try, it is virtually impossible for everyone to like you. For that reason, you must define your niche and then work to attract your target audience. If you are launching a business, then your personal niche should be well-aligned with your company. Alternatively, if you want to build a brand to further your career, your niche needs to be in a specific area of work. To determine your niche and target audience, you need to start out broad and narrow it down from there.
Your target audience can include; the people who will pay you, the people who will influence your clients, as well as your supporters. To fully understand your target audience, you should create a description, whether real or fabricated. This description will help you define each group and identify the target audience’s personal and professional motivations. Understanding your audiences’ motivations can help you better understand how to build a mutually beneficial relationship.
Some benefits to niche marketing include less competition, targeted expertise, and improved customer relations. For example, the number of SEO content marketing specialists for startups and small businesses is far lower than the number of experts in general marketing. If you are an SEO content marketing expert for startups, then you have a much greater chance of standing out and being successful.
It can take years for you to refine your knowledge in a broad category. Even so, if you target a specific niche, you can boost the authority of your personal brand and differentiate yourself.
4) Optimize personal website and social profiles
In today’s digital age, you need to get your voice out there to establish a personal brand. In order to do this successfully, you need to secure URLs, social media usernames, and other links that are the best fit for your brand before anyone else does. Building an active online presence includes investing time and effort into a personal website as well as any social networks that you have an account with.
Once you’ve done that, you need to optimize your personal website. If you do not have one yet, then you need to make this a priority. On this website, some things that you should include are an “about you” section, past experiences, and relevant accomplishments. It’s also important to include links to your social accounts, your unique value proposition, professional multimedia, testimonials, and clear calls to action.
There are four leading social media platforms for personal branding: LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. While you can either choose to use just one or use all of them, the most important thing is that all your social media platforms present a cohesive message.
5) Develop your content strategy
Many people believe it is a mistake to “give it all away” with free content. Why would anyone recruit or pay you if you give everything away? The reality is quite the opposite. By providing valuable content, you can prove yourself and showcase your skills to potential clients or business partners. To this end, the first step to creating a content strategy is to ensure that all content you post is genuinely helpful and insightful, establishing you as a trusted authority in your industry. Secondly, you need to research the subjects within your niche that are generating buzz. From there, you can jump on trends that are relevant to your niche so that you are part of the conversation.
Last but not least, you need to remember to try and cover all types of content. Different types of content can include podcasts, online courses, infographics, text, video, slideshows, and webinars. The most effective way to reach audiences is to share different types of content across all your platforms.
6) Consistently offer your audience value
Making stale content is easy, but creating content that is informative, entertaining, and genuinely helpful to your audience is a different story.
Creating helpful content takes a lot of planning and preparation. Plan out the material and ask yourself, “Would this be useful to me?” Is there anything else I can do to make this attractive to my audience?”
If you are looking for some extra help with creating newsworthy content, you can hire PR professionals to help you with this. Backed by a team of PR specialists, expert writers and certified designers, Pressfarm can create quality content for your brand.
Pressfarm is a PR agency that helps startups and companies of various sizes create quality content from email pitches and press releases to guest posts and press kits. All of this content can help you build a memorable brand image. In addition to helping you make a good impression with your brand, the experts at Pressfarm are skilled at doing effective content distribution to put your content in front of the right eyes.
By submitting your content to respected media outlets and startup directories, Pressfarm can help you to feature in relevant search results across different search engines. With a curated media list, you can connect with the best journalists in your niche and partner with them to share your story with the world. The best part is that you get all this and more wrapped in one of three affordable packages.
7) Build a community
While having a large following can seem impressive, it means nothing if none of your followers interact with you. Building a genuine sense of community requires you to establish a space where people can interact with each other.
This is a great way to set yourself apart from the competition. This also helps if you want to get your name out there and build genuine relationships with your audience.
Whether you are looking to generate business, boost your career, find a mentor, or you simply don’t want to job hunt again, a personal brand can help you achieve your personal and professional goals. While it can take a lot of time and effort, the payoff that comes from building a personal brand is immense. After all, a personal brand helps you to build a network of professionals who see your worth.