Branding is the process of defining, visualizing, and communicating what makes you, your business, or your product stand out. Having a cohesive brand is very key in order for you to continue to build your network for either professional or business endeavors. What makes a personal brand special is that it is tailored and unique to you. It’s what helps you stand out and what draws people into what it is that you’re selling or working on. In this blog post, we’ll be talking about steps to building a personal brand.
What is a personal brand?
A personal brand is the skills and accomplishments that make you who you are but are also what people remember you for. It’s how you project your ideas and values to your ideal audience that formulates to them who you are, what you stand for, and what you want people to know about you.
Everyone has a personal brand. What makes someone’s personal brand stronger than someone else’s is how they package it up to connect to their target audience in such a way that drives new opportunities and sales.
Why is personal branding important?
Your personal brand is your lasting impression on whoever it is you connect with. It’s how people remember you even if you aren’t talking to them. It’s how you establish meaningful connections with others. When you’re in the early stages of building your business, the way you will connect with your audience initially is through your own personal brand and your own story. People connect with people. Your brand is what establishes that connection and is what will separate you from other competitors that are within your niche.
In your professional life, establishing a personal brand is important as well. It’s how you start to build a reputation in your company amongst your direct and non-direct coworkers. The reputation you build within your company can also help expand your network outside of the company too. Having a good personal brand at work will allow your name to be in rooms that you never thought to be possible.
The benefits of personal branding
Once you’ve established a strong personal brand, you can almost immediately reap the benefits of it. By focusing on building a strong personal brand you’ve also committed to focusing on the people who connect with you. This can lead to better opportunities, more sales, and increased brand awareness that positions you as an expert. For me, when I took the time to invest and put more of a focus on my personal brand, I have been able to:
- Land a new job that increased my salary by 13%
- Work on global campaigns with fashion designers
- Land multiple speaking gigs
- Grow my following and pivot across different niches
- Collaborate on many projects
By building a personal brand, you’re building trust with your audience. That trust is what will lead you to more sales and will help you leave a lasting impact. That impact that you leave will continue to grow and evolve as you continue to grow and evolve as it pertains to your brand.
3 Key Elements of an Effective Personal Brand
No matter what direction your brand takes over time, there are three core elements that make up your personal brand. Those are your brand heart, positioning, and personality.
1. Brand Heart
Your brand heart is what drives your brand and will fuel how you will show up. It is what is central to the core and what should be a focus as you engage with your community. To understand the heart of your brand, you have to dig deep.
While you may have started to build your personal brand because you want to leave a lasting impact, you need to look deeper to understand what that impact looks like. What type of impact are you trying to have on the world and how will you make sure that happens?
Understanding the heart of your brand will fuel you to always show up even though it may be difficult. Your brand heart can be broken down into these three areas:
- Mission: This is your why. It is what drives you to build your business.
- Purpose: This is what makes you stand. This is your reason behind why this is your mission for your brand or business.
- Values: This is what your brand aligns itself to. This should be something that is showcased through your work and through your content.
2. Brand Positioning
Once you’ve identified the heart, it’s time to understand how you will position yourself within your field or niche. Your brand positioning is what is going to differentiate you from your competitors. This is how you want to communicate across social platforms to attract your ideal clients and followers grow your audience and improve your business. Your positioning could be specific to your niche or it could be simply what makes you the most equipped to help someone.
For me, my positioning in how I help my clients stems from the fact that I can combine analytics and creativity to build customized strategies. When you understand your brand positioning, you’re able to better understand how you can help your clients.
3. Brand Personality
Your brand personality is how you are going to speak to your potential clients. When creating content, this is how you want to communicate. Your brand personality may be slightly altered depending on the platform that you’re creating on, however, the core of who you are speaking to should be the same on every platform.
For example, on social media platforms like Instagram or Twitter, you may focus on showcasing more of who you are because that is going to be what attracts your audience to you. However, if you’re on more SEO-driven platforms like your blog or YouTube, you should be focused on creating content that is geared towards funneling people to your services and showcasing what it is you want to be known for and what you want to drive revenue off of. All of your platforms should match the same personality and voice that will connect with your audience on an emotional level.
How to build your personal brand
While building your personal brand is a continuous process, here are the steps that you can take as you continue to grow your brand.
1. Clarify your brand identity
Understanding yourself in terms of your core values, your positioning/differentiating factors, as well as your voice will be a stepping stone in terms of understanding what type of content or solution that needs to be created that will convert. Some tips to get you started identifying your brand are:
- What do you do?
- What are your core values?
- What makes you different from other people?
- What is your “why”?
2. Build Your Online Presence
In order to establish a strong personal brand, you need to have content that will back it up. Establishing a powerful content strategy will ensure that the content that you create will be aligned with the goals and values that you have for your brand. Creating content can flow through three steps:
I. Brainstorm your content ideas
Use the information and your interactions day to day to inspire you as well as do your research across different platforms to see what is trending as well as what people want to know more about.
II. Plan your content
Map each idea to 3-5 content pillars, or overarching themes of the content that you plan on talking about. Also set goals for your content so that you can best gauge what type of content you want to create. Certain questions that you can ask yourself for each topic that you brainstormed:
- Can I teach someone about this topic?
- Can I inspire someone by sharing this story?
- Can I spark a conversation?
- Can I entertain others?
- Will this help me promote myself?
III. Create content
Choose one platform, either on social media or on your own blog, to start creating content and then start putting together the words and visuals that will keep people engaged and wanting more. Here’s an example of my content marketing strategy for my personal brand.
3. Develop An Audience
When you put energy towards building an online presence, you’re going to start to connect and build an audience of fans who will rave about you as well as repeat customers for your business. The key to building an audience can be broken down into two steps:
i. Engage with your audience
Your content creation doesn’t just end when you hit publish. You need to start engaging with your peers and your followers to amplify each other so that you can start to build real and genuine relationships. This is going to help you expand your reach and have your content in front of more and more people.
ii. Analyze your content
Once your content has been put out there, it’s important to understand how it’s performing over time. Certain questions to ask yourself as you review your content are:
- What worked really well? Did I expect it to go well?
- What didn’t work well?
- What can I repurpose in a different format?
- Am I hitting the metrics that I set to hit?
When you start building a personal brand, it can definitely feel overwhelming. Over time, however, your brand will start to form and take shape and you will start to feel more and more comfortable with showcasing your expertise to the world. If you would like some clarity when it comes to building your personal brand, get in touch with me today so that you can learn what steps you need to take next.