What is personal Branding?
Personal branding, what is it?
What would you want people to say about you or your business? If you know what people are already saying about you, is it what you’d want to hear? Building a credible and consistent reputation is crucial to gaining professional ground and growing your company. Personal branding isn’t just for famous people or big companies with iconic logos. Personal branding may benefit anyone who wants to start a company or establish herself as an influencer or thought leader. If you wish to sell a service or product, tell the story of your life, or fight for a cause, personal branding is your ticket. When you build a personal brand and name for yourself and business, you may ensure you create a killer first impression and put you ahead of the competition in your industry.
If personal branding seems to be an unapproachable task to you, think again! The key to personal branding is knowing what it is, how it can benefit you, and the simple steps to take. Personal branding is for virtually everyone, and you (Yes, you!) are more than capable of developing a personal brand that’s engaging, relevant, memorable, and unique.
What is Personal Branding?
Personal branding is so much more than a memorable brand or tagline. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Personal branding may enable you to promote yourself throughout life. A personal brand is a composite presentation to people of the experiences and skills you build that make you unique and set you apart from your competition. When you have a personal branding process, you’re engaging in self-packaging, but it’s not a set-it-and-forget-it kind of thing. You must continuously build and maintain your brand strategy to help, stay relevant, create a new experience, sustain your reputation, and image.
Why Is Personal Branding Important?
Exposure. Your personal brand is the personality you project to people throughout the world. The more you build and communicate your story and mission, the more exposure and experience you’ll get. Over time, your personal brand will make it easier for people who are looking to find you. Building a personal brand starts around showing up. If you feel like personal branding is putting yourself out there, that’s because you’re marketing yourself and your name.
Authority. A personal brand is one of the most essential tools you have to gain trust and credibility among your clients and within your industry. For example, when you create and communicate your brand and company across social media, members of your customers and audience may be more likely engage with your brands, spread your name, process, company, material, or media, which implies that they see value in what you have to offer. Personal branding is how you build expertise in your field.
Connection. If you can build a relationship, you can create a business. Because personal branding conveys parts of your personality, your audience will get to know you. Your audience is more likely to buy into your story, service, experience, or product if they know you in some way. Are you the person or individual that can help their work or career. When people are connected with your personality, they take action. They believe in your work because you show up and that’s important. It’s likely that your audience and many people are looking and do research on a brand before deciding to get help.
How to Build a Personal Brand
What’s so special about you? There’s a lot of competition out there, and you need to create a personal brand to help you stand out from the crowd. Your personal branding needs to convey what’s unique and exceptional about you. For example, compared to your competitors, you may provide a unique product. If that’s the case, 61 percent of consumers are more likely to buy from your personal brand and business. When we get into personal brands, creating an incredible first impression is a strategy for example. Many business owners may hide from their customers and their questions behind the company logo or brand instead of creating that first impression and showing their life.
Be clear on your core values. How you live one aspect of your life transfers to other areas, especially your business and personal brand. Values are the intangible things that drive your life, honesty, caring, or consistency. Create personal branding that reflects your core values so that they act as guidelines for the decisions you make. Therefore, it’s important to your personal brand to know what your values are. Keep in mind that values can change over time because what’s important to us varies. Any adaptations to your personal brand and business should reflect your changing values.
Know your target audience. It’s not enough to know what kinds of problems you want your business to solve. You should know which market(s) those problems affect the most. This leads to the task of identifying your target audience, which may be essential because your brand will be useful only to people who are genuinely interested in it. It’s critical for the success of your personal brand to do your marketing research so that you figure out what your audience wants, not what you think they want. One crucial step in audience analysis is to create a buyer persona, which is a picture of who your ideal customer is, their major pain points, and the demographic, market and psychographic factors that influence their buying decisions. Try to visualize the ideal person who makes up your target audience, those your personal brand will appeal to. It takes time when you’re new to personal.branding to narrow in on the one person or ideal clients that you need to connect with.
Find your niche. Suppose you have a cake decorating business. That’s great, but don’t stop there. As you likely understand, the market is chock-full of people who already do this. In building a personal brand, you need to figure out what’s so different about your fancy cakes. Finding your niche means figuring out what unique value you give to consumers that is different from all the other cake decorators with whom you’re competing.
Some experts say to carve out a niche, and then carve out an even smaller niche into which your personal brand will fit. This uniqueness will give you an incredible competitive edge. Suppose you want to be a cake decorator who creates wedding cakes, but not just for any old wedding. Your particular niche might be decorating wedding cakes for cosplay-themed weddings, and to help serious fans of Star Trek or Game of Thrones enjoy their one big day. Once you have your niche within a niche, incorporate this idea into your personal brand to convey your unique personality.
Be a niche authority. Once you’ve established yourself as a cosplay wedding cake decorator, consider that as your personal brand. Furthermore, you need to be consistent around your brand to establish your dominance and reputation in order to help others. Being a niche authority means that customers see you as the one go-to brand with expertise and experience. That doesn’t mean, for example, that, every cosplay wedding cake decorator can’t do the occasional traditional wedding. However, creating a personal brand isn’t about being everything to others. You need to do business and create material in your specialty consistently across social media platforms and other channels. Doing this will ensure you become an established authority in your industry.
Have a content strategy. Generating a process for creating your content can seem like a daunting task, but not if you have a plan. Your personal brand depends on it. A content strategy is a plan of action to help you translate your experience, insights, and learnings into publishable media. This plan is necessary for getting your message out there often and through the most effective channels. Make sure you’re aware of your budget for every webpage set-up or delegating your content to another writer.
It also helps your personal brand to have a primary goal for your content strategy, for example, increasing your reader audience by 5000. Although it’s crucial to create new content consistently, you don’t want to waste time and money on original content when there’s material you already have that you can adapt to fit your current needs. You can also waste resources if your content only reaches a handful of people, which is why establishing your niche to others, creating a persona in your industry, and tracking or your results and process are important.
Your content strategy needs to include a plan for reaching the most people with the least effort. There are plenty of ways to get your brand out there:
- Blog posts
- Collaborating with other bloggers or podcasters
- Video media (e.g., a channel on YouTube or Vimeo)
- Social media posts that lead to traffic to your content
- Reuse old media or material (e.g., compiling blog posts into an ebook)
- Member newsletters
Less is more. After all the work you put into building a personal brand, it’s most effective if it tells a whole lot with very little. We’re talking simple elegance here. A personal brand needs to use media and marketing to convey your message immediately, which is crucial, given most people seem to have the attention span of a fruit fly. Furthermore, you don’t want to commit the Presenter’s Paradox, which is including so many elements in your brand and message that minor pieces of information detract from your most significant strengths. Overwhelming your audience around this process is like overselling information to them, which is not what you want your brand to do over any media platform.
Give it away. When marketing, it’s usually fun to get free stuff; it’s also fun and profitable for your personal brand if you give it away. If you peruse the most successful brands, they’re usually building and offering a free guide, eBook, or short course for download at no cost. While this might be an excellent deal for the tire-kicking customer, it can strengthen your brand and business.time.com/2013/06/24/5-ways-companies-win-by-giving-stuff-away/”>increase your sales. If an individual downloads a free handout from you and likes what they receive, they might be willing to pay for more content from your brand. Giving away free stuff is also pro-social because it enables your brand to build a reputation of trust and respect with the target audience. Giving away free stuff is a great process for marketing and building a brand that serves your community or industry.
How to Build Your Personal Brand Online
If you want to attract any kind of online media or social following while marketing, then you probably already think of yourself as a personal brand or thought leader. When many people see your brand online over time, they’re really seeing you, and you need to present yourself in the best light. If you’re struggling to develop and promote your brand, social platforms like Facebook and Instagram can alleviate some of that struggle. Because it’s free in most cases and reaches vast audiences, social can offer the best platform to get the story of your personal brand out to the world. However, consider adopting a few online media strategies so that you don’t waste your time or resources as you build your brand.
Use multiple social media platforms. Posting a link to your blog on Facebook is an excellent place to start your process, but it’s far from sufficient. The idea is to be ever-present online. For instance, every time you post a new article on your blog, your followers on Facebook, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn should hear about it and take action. Video is important to your brand, too. Posting regularly on a platform like YouTube allows audiences members or an individual to get to see you, which means they’re more likely to visit your blog or buy what you have to offer. Multiple channels can lead to a strong social presence for your brand for a long time.
Be consistent across all platforms. We’ve already mentioned this piece of advice, but it deserves more discussion for you to take it here. Suppose you’ve dumped a great deal of time and resources into building your brand, but you still aren’t reaching as many people as you want. Usually, the biggest culprit while marketing is inconsistency. If you’re going to have a recognizable brand and want to be known, you need to deliver content regularly and post to social media on a reliable schedule, which ideally might be more than once a week.
Your brand also needs consistency in tone, voice, and visual appeal. If you feel like your brand conveys a certain friendly demeanor, then the world needs to see your brand bring this tone the same way in your blog, on your personal website, and across all your social channels. The same goes for color schemes or website formatting. In general, brand consistency encourages brand growth and will take engagement from an audience that will increasingly recognize you in the world.
Hook them with a stunning first impression. Say your brand is visually appealing, and your content is top-notch. Nonetheless, will your brand hold someone’s attention long enough before they click away? You have a unique story to tell, but if your brand doesn’t grab your audience within the first few seconds, they’re like fish escaping from your hook. One effective way that makes an online first impression is to promote your brand with a video. About 64 percent of consumers in the world tend to buy from a brand after seeing a video on social media. You can also improve your online presence through personal branding photography If you want to be known, you also can begin each blog post with a compelling story that has a strong emotional appeal and more impact.
Update, update, update! Once you hook your audience with your brand, you have to work on staying in front of them. Followers of your blog or social sites come and go in the world, so how do you make sure they remain interested in your content and brand? One easy way is to update your webpage, images, or the content and links on your blog. You’ll likely lose some credibility on your blog if you link to dated statistics. Also, people could get tired of your brand if they see the same color palette on your website that you’ve been using for the last five years. Keep it fresh, and they’ll remain engaged.
Leverage your contacts. If an individual once told you never to throw away a business card, you received some sage advice. You never know when or how a connection could turn into a relationship opportunity. Transfer this gem of wisdom to building your brand online. If you have a blog, keep track of your followers and create an email list to stay in touch with them, which includes regularly scheduled newsletters, quick email blasts, or media posts linking to your latest content. Import contacts from your address book and other email lists to connect with your social followers. Stay in touch with your contacts, and they’ll be more likely to get to know your brand better.
Stay active on your social channels. Has it been two weeks since you last logged on to your Instagram account? If so, you need to get back in there! Building your personal brand requires regular activity online. Post photos, videos, and advice that audiences and followers could find useful. Ask questions, start discussions, and leave comments on other blogs. Acknowledge every comment you receive from your followers. Just a few minutes of activity here and there can do wonders for building your brand loyalty and reputation.
Team up with influencers. Building a personal brand involves emulating someone who already has the results that you want. Is there a brand out there that seems to have the success you can only dream about? Consider partnering with them. The most successful personal brands are the influencers of social media platforms, which is perhaps the best platform for growing your brand.
Before reaching out to an influencer, note how they remain active on social media and use creative content and visual media to get people to engage with them. When reaching out, start by approaching influencers with whom you already have a relationship and ask if they’d like to collaborate. Explain why you want to work with them and the social and practical value you offer. Get comfortable pitching a few topics for future posts. A considerable outcome of the collaboration is being connected with an influencer’s followers and networks, which will only help you build your own brand for the public. Partnering with an influencer increases your credibility and authority, helping you win even more respect from people online and on your website. If you can get an influential person to talk about your personal brand, you have a powerful voice in your corner.
Track your results. It takes time and money to build a brand, you need to know that your efforts are paying off as well as where you’re losing ground. You can use Google Analytics or any other analytics tool to track online and social media activity related to your brand. Analytics could tell you the kinds of people you’re attracting and on what site. This information is valuable because it lets you know where you may need to make adjustments around social media or how to revise your content strategy.
Questions to Ask Yourself When Building Your Personal Brand
To make sure you’re looking nothing over, here are some questions to summarize the key aspects of personal branding.
- What is special or unique about what I offer? Now is not the time to fit into the mainstream. Figure out what sets you apart. What are your most valuable experiences and skillsets? Don’t be afraid to take some calculated risks around this one.
- What are my beliefs and values? Identify which of your values reflect your best self, and give you direction and purpose. Branding a person needs to be more granular than branding a business. How do you want to be known?
- Can I describe my niche one sentence? Make sure you have a concise message. If other people can’t explain what you do, then you have more work to do.
- Am I an authority in my niche? You’re not a cake decorator. You’re a Cosplay Wedding Cake Artist! Get more specific so that your people find you.
- Who is my buyer persona? Try to visualize and find what your typical buyer looks like, how old they are, what they want and believe in, and what challenges them the most as they live their life?
- What problems do I want to solve? Who is your buyer persona, and what are their most significant pain points?
- Should I update my brand? Do I have any broken links? How long has it been since I updated my videos and photos?
- Which influencers do I want to collaborate with? Identify which brands already have the results you want. Figure out what ideas or topics you can pitch to these successful people.
Your personal brand helps tell the story you convey to the world. It should help you stand out from your competition, allow you to connect with your audience, enhance your career, and help you garner trust and credibility from people online and in real-time. The key to creating a personal brand is understanding what you want it to do for you, and to use it consistently. For entrepreneurs and individuals in our culture being the face of and creating a personal brand can be easy when you know where to start and show up.
I’m so glad you’re here! If you’re planning a brand shoot, there’s a lot of work that goes into the planning process, and it’s hard
I’m about to lay it down, ladies. This post has been a long time coming and I’m so excited to share some of these ideas
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Tracy Graf is a communications coach with 17 years of leadership experience in senior marketing and public relations roles with prominent international corporations.
There is no better feeling than finding a perfect location to match my clients. There is no shortage of beautiful homes to photograph for my Denver real estate agent headshots, but it comes down to finding the right look to go along with their personal branding.