Your personal brand is much more than a logo or a catchy tagline – it’s an identity. When done right, personal branding can help you win new business and advance your career. But building your personal brand doesn’t come overnight. It requires commitment and dedication to working with the channels that yield the best results. The question is, how do you determine these channels? With the wide choice of options out there, choosing where to focus your efforts can be really hard. If you’ve already established a personal brand and you’re ready to take your personal brand to the next level, the following tips will help steer you in the right direction.
Create Valuable Content
Bill Gates once used the phrase “content is king” to describe the future of the Internet as a marketplace for content. Well, the future is here!
Content gives you an opportunity for shareability, social influence, and revenue generation. So, if you want to grow your online following, you need to focus on creating high-quality, valuable content and share it on social media and on your website.
Your personal brand is not what you say it is; it’s what people say it is. And when it comes to personal branding, building relationships and engaging can make a huge difference in how people perceive you.
Logically, social media is the best place to start. Here are some ideas you can use:
- Publish whatever type of content you create, from videos and photos to infographics and articles.
- Participate in conversations on topics and industries you care about on Facebook and Twitter.
- Join specific niche groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, or take it one step further and consider joining Slack teams.
- Giving away resources, downloadables, free access, etc., is also a great way to engage your audience.
Whichever strategy you choose, the key is to be genuine and stay human. Contributing only for the sake of extending your brand isn’t enough. You need to show that you really care about the topic and the community. And if the groups you join reflect the same or similar concerns as your brand, this should come naturally.
Focus on How You Share Your Expertise
You probably create lots of stuff and share it with the world for free. Now it’s time to think about how you can use it to your advantage. Here are a couple of tips to help you strengthen your reputation as an expert in your field:
- Creating educational content is the best way to position yourself as an expert in your industry. If writing articles is your thing, consider taking your best works and turning them into a series or even an ebook.
- Consider paying for getting published. Whether you’re publishing your content on Medium, Dribble, Facebook, or Instagram, you’ve probably noticed that getting any attention is hard. So, change the tactic and start pitching esteemed industry publications that would be interested in publishing your stuff in exchange for some cash.
- You can also create an email course to share your knowledge. Pick a topic you’re an expert in, then take your best existing content on that topic and edit it down to about 500 words for each day of your mini-course. Use an outreach automation tool to send a free multi-part email course and track which parts of your course subscribers are engaging with the most.
Offer Your Help
The best sign that your personal brand is really taking off is when other professionals in your field start asking for your opinion. This means that people have noticed your expertise and that they value your experience.
Remember the communities we discussed joining before? Use that! Offer people in those communities your help. Whether it’s reviewing somebody’s landing page or editing their newest blog post, make sure to provide extensive feedback that will be truly helpful.
And this is not where your help ends. You can also consider doing some free-of-charge work for nonprofits and participate in community projects. Even though this won’t bring you any financial satisfaction, think of it as working for influence. By sitting down face-to-face with people looking for help, you become an influencer, and those people will help spread the word that you are good at what you do.
Be Ready to Invest Some Money
Your content might be of the highest quality and super-entertaining but what good is it to you if nobody knows it exists? The world of content publishing is crowded so, as we mentioned earlier, sometimes paying for exposure is essential.
Set aside some money to promote your best work, whether it’s an ebook or that email course you built. Or even better, promote your videos. Do Facebook Live with valuable content and use paid advertising to push those videos to a wider audience. This is a great way to build your online presence and connect with people to build the ‘know, like, trust’ factor quickly.
But investing in your personal brand doesn’t necessarily have to be connected to promoting your content. Consider hiring a great developer to redesign your site, a graphic designer who will create a custom logo for you or a content writer who will rewrite the copy on your website.
As people say, you have to spend money in order to make money!
Sure You’re Everywhere
Once you have done all of this, you need to ensure that it all counts. Start by Googling yourself and if you’re not happy with the results, do everything you can to enhance your personal brand. Here are some ideas to help you:
- Refine your profile on LinkedIn. But be careful not to sound too promotional; instead, focus your profile on outlining clearly how you serve others.
- Have a website or personal blog where people who search for you online can see who you are and what you do.
- Go through slide decks from older presentations and ensure they are on Slideshare.
- Reach out to blogs in your niche and see if you can write something for them.
- Connect with other influencers in your field and start sharing your content via thought leadership platforms.
Everybody can have a personal brand, but if you want to stand out, you’ll need to do things your way. Is everyone else in your area hosting web conferences? You can host cocktail TED talks instead. Is everyone else sharing the articles they’ve written? You can share videos of your private life and work in order to create a genuine connection with your following. Document your working process, points of view and everyday life to spark curiosity and show that you’re someone real and that you really care.
While it is true that your personal brand is shaped by others’ perceptions of you, you can still modify those perceptions through what you present to others. If you start paying attention to what you present to the world, you can easily elevate your personal brand.
And don’t forget: Conforming is easy, but if you really want to take your brand to the next level, you must take risks and build something fresh. That way, you’ll establish yourself as a leader and attract the right people to follow you.