Do you want to be an expert in your niche? Thinking about building your personal brand?
A brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.
When people want to use your service or buy something from you, they need to understand who you are, what you stand for and the value you bring. So how to build a personal brand?
Why it is important to build a personal brand
In Social Media era, it comes to a relationship. People trust more people than companies. It’s more open and connected to the world. It’s your space on the internet. If someone wants to know more about you, they will simply google you. Often what they find will be your first impression on them.
A personal brand becomes bigger than just a personal platform. People who have most followers, fans, friends, recommendations they become a thought leader of the tribe and influencers of the future.
You can be an individual who self-employed or an individual working for a corporation. Beside of building the brand of the company you as a person can be a brand too. Even if you work for the organization if you decide to leave it you will still have value as a brand.
Building a personal brand will benefit you to:
- Have better clients or get a better job
- Be #1 in your marketplace
- Industry recognition
- Become an expert or/and influencer in your field
- Greater credibility
What personal brand do you want to create
Before you star building you brand you need to define:
- What brand do you need?
- Why do you need it?
- Who is the most important audience that your brand needs to speak to?
- What do you want to be known for?
- What is the “one thing” that everyone says you rock at?
- What are your passions and interests?
- What do you read about most often online?
- Will you still be interested in this particular area six months or a year from now?
When I first started thinking about personal branding, I had a lot of varied interests—writing, social media, email marketing, magazines, journalism, sports, productivity. These questions helped me realize that my natural tendency was toward writing tips and resources. I’ve since narrowed my focus there, thanks to the help of these questions.
Write down your “Only I…”
Jay Baer gives an example of how to build a brand from scratch by using “Only We…” formula of Mark Schaefer Find what particular thing you can do and finish the sentence “Only I (or We) . . .” That what your brand is all about.
If you don’t understand the one thing that you do different or better than anybody else, then you do not have a brand that is differentiated or distinguished.
Establishing your personal brand brings your to the point when you become an expert or/and a thought leader in your field in your company, city, state, etc.
Let’s see how to apply it to your brand.
What is your online personal brand
Choose a system to focus on. Even if you want to build your online personal brand, use both resources: online and offline. When you determine what you will focus on, you need to create your media presence.
It’s your short elevator pitch about yourself which you can use to present yourself and in your profile across all of your platforms
100 words about you
Write down key points about who you are. It will be useful for journalists, for example if you give interviews, publishing, do guest posting (e.g. you can use it in «about the author» area), etc. You may also extend it on about page of your website.
If you work for someone than a good resume will be a part of your personal brand
For your online brand, it is important to have your website and social media accounts. Get the website with your name and create accounts with the same name in the main social media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube. You no need to use all of them now, but take it first while nobody took before you. Maybe you will use them later. This will protect your brand name.
Check available names through domains and social media at knowem.com. Just enter the name you want to choose and it will show you where it’s free to use and where it is already taken.
The portrait that you put on your website and social media needs to communicate your competence. iPhone photo doesn’t count. Get a professional headshot, which will be your recognizable face all over social media.
Testimonials and recommendations
Often you talk about yourself in your profiles. Instead, share what other people say about you and your business. Ask about testimonials and recommendations. Get them from your clients, partners, mentors, etc.
Also, be ready to give them to others. The well-written recommendation provides an opportunity to build the relationship between you and another person.
Case studies and examples of your work
This is your portfolio, projects you have worked on. This is a result of your work.
When you write case studies, try to make a story, telling people what was a problem, how you solved it and what you’ve got. It will be great if you have a testimonial about it so you can show people’s opinion about your business too.
Articles and publications
Writing about your topic in popular magazines gives you a credibility. Use online platforms as well as offline publications. They both will develop a trust. Beside of that online magazines and blogs will bring traffic to your website and social media.
Printed publications are still more valuable, and they will reach an audience who is out of the social media world. However as you building your brand online, focus more on internet publications. It’s easier and will faster grow up your authority.
Look for magazines and websites which you can write for. There are plenty of them accepting guest posting. Write articles, comment others, give interviews.
Your achievements as the parts of your personal brand
Marketing and PR are not the most important in building your brand. The main things are your professional achievements. This is your brand.
Your results are also your credibility. They make you stand out of the crowd.
What you worked and working on is a big part of your branding strategy. Your projects are your portfolio. Make people talk about your projects and they will talk about you: organize an event, publish the series of articles, create your podcast, etc. Projects are more interesting for people. Bring an interesting idea, make thing happened and share with people.
Write an ebook or printed book. You may sell your ebook or offer it on a landing page as an exchange for readers email when they subscribe to your list. Or you can get your book published. In both cases, your book should give value to the people. Thus, it becomes a part of your brand, but not only «one more» book on the internet.
Useful guide from Tim Ferriss author of bestseller Four Hours Work Week:
Jeff Goins shares his experience of launching his book The Art of Work:
Certificates and awards
Certificates and Awards show that you are the master in your subject. Display them on your website and LinkedIn page. Mention them when you want to make a right impression to people. They rise your social media value.
Get certificates after courses or training. Paper and online certificates are both good. For example, if you starting with social media you may get the social media education at HootSuite University and get HootSuite certification plus a graphic badge for your website.
Getting them from the respected and well-known companies brings more value to the brand. Get the awards. Especially in your business niche. Look for competitions or get them for participating in different projects.
Be a top rated
To get into a ranking is cool. Be at the top of it is awesome. You get an advantage compare to your competitors. Look for Top 10/50/100 lists in your niche. There are few options get into a list:
- Apply for it, like in a Forbes Lists
- Be suggested by other people, e.g. Annual Top 10 Social Media Blog Contest
- Be selected by others for the high-quality content or your expertise. For instance, Klout is a website, which uses social media analytics to rank its users according to online social influence via the “Klout Score”. In May 2015, they launched Klout Topic Expertise and International Expansion
Become a speaker
Participate and speak at:
- Special events
You also can be an organizer of any of them. Especially now with a popularity of social media it’s easy to start your podcast and video tutorials. Good examples are Social Pros Podcast at iTunes by Jay Baer and Whiteboard Friday video tutorials by Rand Fishkin.
How to understand that you established your personal brand
First, you build your personal brand; then your brand will work on you. There is always something to improve and maybe you will want to expand your brand to more niches. However, let’s go back to our original questions: “What brand do you need?” and “What do you want to be known for?” The signs of that you achieved your result:
- People will mention and talk about you as an expert.
- They will write about you and your business.
- You’ll get awards and will be top-rated.
- Your income will be much more.
- You’ll have many followers, readers, subscribers.
- You’ll feel it.
Focus on social media, not advertising. Many companies waste away millions of dollars trying to establish brands with advertising. Too much money is worse than too little because when you have a lot of money, you spend a lot of money on stupid things like Super Bowl commercials. Brands are built on what people are saying about you on social media, not what you’re saying about yourself. People say good things about you when (a) you have a great product and (b) you get people to spread the word about it.
Building your personal brand needs a lot of time and effort. It isn’t only what you tell about yourself but more what people feel about you. It’s them own opinion based on what they hear from the friends, what they find about you on Google. They will look at the content you create, how you interact with people, what ideas you promote, who and what they will associate you with.
If you want to be known as an expert in a particular niche, post and share most of the content about your topic. What you do, especially in social media will affect your brand and knowing what brand you want, you may create a better vision of it.
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What do you think? Leave me a comment below, letting me know which of these tips is the most useful for you. Do you have additional ideas about how to build the personal brand?
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Marina Barayeva is an international speaker and coach who helps women entrepreneurs become recognized experts and confidently sell their services. She is also a TEDx speaker, has presented to audiences in Asia and North America, and has been featured in such media as ArtPeople, CCTV, China Radio International, and others.