Whether you create it or not, personal branding exists. Something is already being portrayed and said about you, your business, your brand. The question is will you help direct that narrative? It is up to you to guide and steer that narrative and image toward what you actually want your brand to represent. To build in a way that differentiates your brand and sets you apart from your competitors.
What is a Personal Brand?
A personal brand is quite the same as a business brand. We will talk more here about a personal brand as every business truly wants to identify on a personal level anyway. This is much easier for smaller companies or individuals as they are commonly closely linked with the owner.
The reason for this identity push is people want to do business with people. We make decisions based on things such as integrity, expertise, trust, and other traits of an individual. It may be someone’s adventure or sense of freedom or simplicity that draws someone in. These traits attract certain people to you—just as in a personal relationship.
A Personal Brand is the persona you communicate to the world. This will include the words you speak and stories you tell. The actions you take—how and why. The image people see—way you dress and carry yourself. Essential your personal brand tells your story for you.
Why Create a Personal or Business Brand?
If you already have a personal brand by default then why create one? The answer is simple really. You want to control the narrative as much as possible. It helps to keep you on message in everything you do. It helps you portray consistency, trustworthiness and helps you stand out in a crowded marketplace.
The trick behind creating your personal brand is to make it authentic. Make it who you truly are. And, just because it is to reflect who you truly are and what you stand for does not mean it does not take a little effort.
Being authentic does not mean you do not need to work at it. Or define it. It is easy to think if it is who you are authentically anyway, then why would you need to create it. Couldn’t you just do you then?
The problem with not defining your brand is we as humans get lazy sometimes. We also get stuck in unconscious patterns. We loose focus. That’s why you may at times find yourself dressing in ways that don’t really match who you are or eating or lounging or saying things in ways that do not align with who you really are. It happens to all of us. It is part of being human.
With a personal brand, you put in the work to identify exactly who you want to portray, authentically, to your potential clients.
This brand will keep you on track and focused. Create simplicity for yourself and your clients. Help you to be easily identified and remembered. It also lays the groundwork for content and builds trust with your clients. With a brand you know how to easily show up on social media and other platforms.
How to Create a Personal Brand: 7 Steps to Define
Creating your own personal brand will take some serious thought and personal reflection. Dedicate the time to answer the questions below and you will be on your way.
1. Define Your Brand: What do you want people to say about you? How would you want them to describe you? What do you want to be known for? What are your areas of expertise? What sets you apart? Answer these questions fully. Then, envision yourself as that person. Is it authentic? Can you visually see yourself? What do you look like? What do you do?
2. Define Your Best Client: It is important to also know who your are speaking to. By knowing who and what you stand for you already have a good idea. Who is your best client? What are they looking for? What do they need? What are their pain points? How can you help them with those?
3. Define Your Issues: What issues will you be seen as the authority? What issues do you care about? What fires you up? What is your stance on these issues? These should relate to your area of expertise and business. Define them and them set out to own them!
Define Your Communication: How do you best communicate now? What are your strengths? What type of media do you personally enjoy? How do you consume news? How will you communicate to your audience? How will you show up? Videos, blogs, vlogs, social channels, etc. Determine how and where you will show up and own them!
4. Define Your Reach: Setting up your communication is the start. You also need it to reach those predefined clients. Define the keywords that match your brand and match those to your SEO. Use SEO as a priority in every piece you create. Identify the best hashtags to reach your audience on social media. SEO and hashtags help you niche down your message and deliver it to a larger, more targeted audience.
5. Define Your Networks: How will you mix with other influencers in your field? How will you connect with possible clients? What events or groups? Where will these be, online or offline? How will you connect once you are there? How will you add value? How will you show up and be authentic? How will you build actual relationships and not just hand out cards?
6. Define Success: What will success look like to you? What are your goals? What are your goals for each step you take? For posting on social media? Your blog, vlog, or videos? What are your goals for each networking event? Set your goals in measurable, specific terms and measure them. Know what is working and what is not. Review and tweak often.
How to Stand Out in a Crowded Economy
The first step in standing out amongst any crowded economy—and they are all crowded today, whether it’s your hometown or online—is to nail and execute your personal branding. Beyond that there are other steps that will build on your brand and help you stand out and be memorable.
1. Show Authority: Use what you know to establish your authority and expertise with your audience. You may reach out with your blog, vlog or videos. This may include creating a podcast or Youtube Channel. If you are just starting out in this arena, start small and build on it. Whatever you do, do it with consistency. It is far better to post or publish consistently (every day or two times per week or weekly) than to post randomly—or to start only to find out you do not have the time to commit.
2. Be Seen: Show up in other places as the expert and be seen as a thought leader in your field. This may include speaking engagements, guest appearances on a blog or in print, or on tv or on a podcast. Perhaps a guest instructor or an interview on social media. The aim to be seen as a go-to expert in your field. This helps reinforce your brand and credibility.
3. Share your Stories: Know your stories and share them. As you set up your personal brand you will uncover and define your own personal brand Storie. How you got here. Why you do what you do. What you believe and how you do it. Share those often. Break them down into digestible pieces and share them. Help people get to know, connect with and remember you.
4. Show appreciation: Do not forget about the clients you already have or those you acquire along the way. Show them appreciation and continue to strengthen the bond. Find your unique way of doing this. Make sure they know they are appreciated and seen.
5. Be Social: Use social media to your advantage. No matter your personal preferences use it for your business reach. Make your social media time about keeping to and sharing your brand. Stay focused and on brand. Share yourself. And, keep it consistent. Your social channels are like your very own magazine or an invite into your own networking event where you get to set the stage.
And, always remember, you do not own your social platforms, they do (instagram, Facebook, etc). So, at the same time try to connect off those platforms on your website. Ultimately a goal should be to collect email addresses with added value (you own the lists) to continue the relationship with your potential clients on your terms.