In this digital age, if you want to stand out from the sea of other businesses, you will need to put a lot of time and effort into building up your personal brand.
Building your personal brand will open up the doors to more business opportunities, connections with peers in your industry, help you increase your influence online, and attract more customers to your business.
This is because once you have established a solid and recognizable personal brand, people will start to see you as an authoritative figure in your space.
What is a personal brand?
A personal brand is a broad set of traits, competencies, and values that are generally attributed to you by your target audience. Personal branding is mostly set in specific contexts, such as a specific industry, field of knowledge, sport, or social circle. A strong personal brand earns you trust, authority, and admiration. It will differentiate you from your peers and competitors and can be leveraged for promoting your personal and business goals.
Some examples of successful personal brands are, Opera Whinfrey in the self-help literature industry, Neil Patel in SEO, and Gordon Ramsey in cooking.
How to begin making a personal brand (day 1)
If you’re just starting out and you haven’t had time to establish your brand identity, it would be wise to start from there.
It’s helpful to think of your “brand identity” as a person. Every person has a name, personality, and physical characteristics that, combined together, make them distinct and recognizable from other people.
For example, there are lots of people named “Ben” with brown hair. But there the more features we’ll add to describe Ben, such as a “Ben” with brown hair who always wears band shirts, smells like menthol cigarettes, has an Australian accent, and snorts every time he laughs. It will be easier to remember this specific “Ben.”
And so it should be easy to distinguish your brand identity from your competitors, even if you both own ice cream shops in Seattle, Washington. There is something that sets your ice cream shop apart, and you’ll use your brand identity to communicate those unique attributes.
Defining your brand story and values based on your USP
Take a moment to think again about the USP (Unique Selling Proposition) of your business, which we first explored in the Research & Strategy article. Whether you’re a personal trainer, photographer, real estate agent, or lawyer, you bring your own unique experience, expertise, passion, perspective, and values to your work and business. No one can compete with you on that.
This is the reason that people will choose to do business with you and not your competitors. Your customers will relate your business’ story and values, which is something you must communicate as part of your identity
How to build your personal brand’s online presence
By now we’ve established how you can build an appealing personal brand. But a well-worked-out personal brand is just the first step. Now it’s time to push your brand into the world. But how do you breathe life into your brand? You do this by carefully building and managing your personal brand’s online presence.
Creating a solid online presence for your personal brand and business is super essential, especially since we are living in a digital age. Your online presence should consist of web properties you establish, such as your social media profiles, your website, your Youtube channel, and more.
1. Clean Up Your Digital Dirt
Everyone has a life, and for many of us, our lives are documented on social media. Most of it you didn’t even put up, but rather came from your friends and family. To tighten your personal brand you’ll need to clear away any old documentation that does not conform with the brand you are attempting to build.
Set forth, clean what you can on your own, and don’t hesitate to ask your friends and family to remove things on their end that simply got to go.
2. Participate in Professional Groups and Forums
Depending on the niche or field you intend to build your brand in, you may want to get active in relevant groups and forums. Making yourself known as a valuable contributor in online chat rooms and resources that are important to your target audience is a powerful way to build your personal brand from the ground up.
Get active, and invest time in helping your audience get what they need. Do this enough and they will start coming to you for advice. Do this well enough and long enough and you’ll garner a following. And that’s how brands pick up speed.
3. Use Online Graphic Design Tools to Create Professional, Branded Images
Once your website and social media profiles are ready to be seen by your future employer, use a graphics tool like Canva, Photoshop, Visme, or Figma to create professional cover photos, headers, slideshows, and infographics.
4. Create a Website / Blog
Creating a blog for your personal brand is a great idea, but keep in mind that it takes a lot of time to establish. Making a website is easy enough, with drag and drop website builders like Wix, Square, or Elementor (for WordPress), but creating great content that your target audience will like and come back for more, takes time and thought.
My advice is to set out on this endeavor as soon as possible because it can take a long time to create enough content for your website to become known to the right people, let alone a central meeting place. That said, the prize of having a known website among your target audience will shoot your status and authority through the roof.
5. Get active on social media
Social media is not one thing. There are different social media platforms for different audiences and you should establish yourself in the social media arena where YOUR audience is.
You may need to open a YouTube channel if you’re audience is centered around a visual common interest like video games or cosmetics. You may want to be in Reddit or in IMDB if your audience is into movies or Anime. And if your audience is fascinated by sports or photography then Instagram is your arena. If your audience is in constant need of information about a certain topic then Facebook is your go-to.
6. Create a Professional Email Signature
If you communicate a lot by email, then you’ll need an efficient way to bring your personal brand to each message you send. An email is considered an interaction with high attention. This means that most people direct their full attention when reading their emails, which in turn means that whatever you include there will be memorable.
That’s why established brands and professionals always have a great-looking email signature with their brand styles and their brand logo.
Making your own email signature is not a problem since you can use an email signature generator to make it in just about 5 minutes.
7. Network with fellow peers in your industry
If you want to really level up your personal branding, one of the activities that you should concentrate on is networking. If I can be honest here for a second, this is one of the areas that I totally shied away from but one that is already making a huge impact on my new brand because I didn’t fully understand the power of online networking.
The thing is…is that you cannot build a brand or business alone. You will need to start branching out and networking with others in your industry to really start getting your business and brand out there.
Cheers and Happy Branding!