We’re all personal brands. Our agendas may differ, but we seek the same things: recognition, respect, influence and success. Personal branding is no trend. It’s social media, publishing, marketing, sales, work, play, passion and everything you read about all rolled into one.
With that in mind, I submit to you personal branding is something you need to understand. It’s something you need to develop deliberately — even if what you’ve been doing and saying to this day has been largely accidental.
I’ve done a lot of reading and research on the subject and found when I get in conversations about personal branding, Michael Hyatt’s name comes up a lot. A former publishing executive, Michael shares his wisdom via a blog, podcasts, video, books, information products and speaking.
I’ve gathered some great tips for getting started with personal branding. The first five come from a presentation I heard Michael deliver.
1. Define your audience
The focus of your blog — and all your content — must be your readers. What are their needs? What are their pains? You could guess, but you’ll run the risk of being wrong. An ideal way to remove the guesswork is to conduct a survey. Ask a few specific questions to uncover demographic and psychographic information.
As a result of your survey, you’ll be able to profile your audience and work toward developing more focused content.
2. Create a clear value proposition
What can you offer your audience? Do you offer resources to help people work smarter? Do you offer leadership insights? These are just a couple of examples. Create a succinct and simple answer and you have your value proposition. You may have to experiment with your value proposition and revise it from time to time. A clear value proposition will serve as framework all of your efforts.
3. Write a compelling brand slogan
Remind yourself of the level of noise in media today and recognize how critical it is to make a strong impression quickly. A great way to address this challenge is to distill your value proposition into a slogan. At my site, I write, “Turn on the power of online marketing.” How can you summarize your brand promise in a concise slogan?
4. Get a great portrait
Presenting a great photo of yourself helps establish credibility and build trust. It also helps you connect via social media. Get a great headshot that captures the real, authentic you. Invest in a professional photo shoot or if you prefer not to part with the money, hit up a friend with a quality camera and a command of portrait photography. After reviewing the photos, pick one headshot to use on your website and across all your social media networks.
5. Establish a look
Any memorable brand, your personal brand included, should look consistent. Using a variety of logos, colors, and fonts will confuse your audience. Develop a look for your personal brand with a professionally designed logo, a pleasing color palette, and a limited menu of fonts. Apply the standards you create to everything — your website, business cards, advertising, etc.
6. Find your voice
A goal in the development of your personal brand should be building a tribe — that is, a growing community of dedicated fans. You have to discover how to express yourself as the unique individual you are. This isn’t merely a one-off task like getting a nice looking head shot. It’s a process. Don’t try to become the writer version of yourself. Just be yourself. Write like you speak — when you’re speaking to ONE person. Make it someone you speak to often and feel 100% confident about expressing yourself to.
7. Create an email list
Personal branding is largely online marketing. The most valuable asset an online marketer could ever hope to have is an email list — people who have raised their hands and declared, “market to me,” or perhaps, “keep me in the loop.” Develop a compelling offer such as an eBook or webinar you’re willing to give away and create a landing page where you’re able to capture the email addresses of your readers.
8. Dial into the dialogue
The age of the marketer’s monologue is dead and gone. All of the people behind great personal brands are great conversationalists. They listen and respond.
Only foolish old marketing die-hards believe advertisers talk and consumers listen. Encourage your customers to chime in via onsite polls, surveys, blog comments, forums, reviews, chat, and of course, social media. On your path to becoming a revered personal brand, your goal should be to ignite meaningful, brand-adjacent conversations in your community.
9. Build a circle of influencers
There are a variety of ways you’ll build your influence as you build your personal brand. Accelerate your influence by leveraging the authority of other authorities.
Create “roundup” content that recognizes authoritative leaders and their work. Call on experts to contribute to your content. Create communities of your own on LinkedIn, Google+ and other social media. Ask people you know to introduce you to people they know (a.k.a. networking) and look for partnership opportunities.
Publish lists, for example, and books or blogs you’ve read. Ask for guest post opportunities. Share the content of influencers you admire.
10. Create content
Creating content to showcase your expertise must be at the core of your personal branding efforts. Focus on sharing your knowledge. At the same time, don’t fear having a strong point of view. Take a stand. You might not appeal to everyone, but that’s not the goal. You want to ignite the passion in the right people. Use a variety of media types to accommodate the different preferences of your target market such as a blog, podcasts, webinars, presentations, eBooks, and videos.
11. Give of yourself generously
Essentially, building your brand is about making new friends. What do friends do? They make themselves available to you and give you the best of what they’ve got. Make yourself available to your peers and organizations. Give thanks to everyone for kind acts of any kind. Ask the people you meet what you can do to help.
12. Connect and stay connected
The development of your personal brand, and ultimately, your ability to capitalize on it is derived from the connections you make. Make networking part of your daily routine and seek to expand it continuously. Follow up with new connections you make promptly, stay in touch, and always follow-through on your promises.
The benefits of creating a powerful personal brand are many. An effective personal brand wields influence. Understand how to develop a personal brand and you’re likely to enjoy a steady stream of ideal clients, rewarding partnerships, leadership opportunities, greater credibility, and higher perceived value.
Have you started creating your personal brand? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.
Photo credit: Big Stock Photos