Building a Strong Personal Brand
Branding isn’t just the key to success in business–it’s just as important for individuals wanting to expand their professional opportunities. Although a lot of us don’t put a conscious effort into developing our personal brands, neglecting the importance of one’s personal reputation is a big mistake given the nature of the Internet.
It’s often said that people are made famous by their deeds, but that doesn’t present the whole story. If you don’t take control over your personal reputation online, you’ll probably end up having others creating one for you. Furthermore, a personal attack can cause serious damage to your reputation. For these reasons, you need to work hard to build and protect your personal brand. That way, you’ll have everything you need to find a better job, earn recognition in your field and even improve your own life.
The online magazine SEO Visibility recently published the following helpful guidance on establishing and maintaining a Strong Personal Brand.
Know Your Message
Corporate brands create mission statements, which are typically packaged in the form of elaborate presentations associated with specific colors, styles, and tones. In many ways, personal branding starts off in much the same way.
Just as a business has its mission statement, you also need to decide what you want to be known for. That means knowing what your long-term goals are and having an idea of the steps you’ll need to take to reach them.
The strength of a personal brand hinges on authenticity. You need to be more than just a person with a résumé. By prioritizing your values and identifying your passions and strongest traits, you’ll have the foundations in place to build a strong personal brand.
It’s often difficult to get exposure when you’re just starting out. On the other hand, you’re not likely to get anywhere if all you’re doing is hiding behind a computer. You need to take steps to make yourself visible and accessible, and that’s something you should be doing both online and offline.
As far as online visibility is concerned, your online presence typically starts with your social media profiles, particularly in the case of personal branding. However, there’s one online platform you can enjoy complete control over–your own website. By having your own website, you’ll be able to create a valuable resource for building your reputation while also presenting a strong sense of professionalism.
Creating a profile on LinkedIn might increase your visibility, but there’s a whole lot more to the process than that. You’ll also need to be social and present, lest people start forgetting about you.
It’s important to remember that social media is not purely a marketing channel. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of advertising, but you also need to remember that you’re an individual, not a company. People, such as potential employers, clients or business partners, are interested in the real you.
When engaging with people on social media, through your website and any other online platform, you’ll want to get into the habit of responding to any questions promptly. Remember, personal branding is not only about what you say about yourself–it’s about how you talk to others.
Anyone can say they have X number of years of experience in a certain field or write a huge list of past employers or clients. However, such information alone is not likely to make much of an impact. Far more important is being genuinely authoritative by demonstrating that you know your industry inside and out. After all, personal branding and authority are inextricably intertwined.
To position yourself as a recognized authority in your niche, you’ll want to get down to publishing content and building meaningful relationships with influencers. Among the most effective ways to build authority is to write a blog and/or post articles in the capacity of a guest blogger for well-established industry blogs. By sharing your expertise and advice through blog posts, you’ll also have more content for the search engines to crawl.
How do you become a trusted source of information about your industry? Publishing authoritative content and actively reaching out to the right people are, of course, very important, but that’s not everything. You also need to be in there for the longer term, and that means being consistent.
It takes months or even years of sustained and consistent effort over time to build a strong personal brand. That means you’ll want to be committed to regularly checking your social media profiles, responding to emails and, if you’re blogging, publishing new posts on a strict schedule. If your strategy suddenly changes direction or, worse still, you disappear entirely for a period, you may end up having to start from scratch.