Whether you’re searching for a better job, looking for a promotion, considering changing careers or growing your network, building a personal brand can help you reach your goals. As marketers, we often market services and products but forget that we also need to market ourselves!
1. Figure out who you are
In order to build a personal brand that accurately reflects your personal and professional identity, you first need to know who you are. Be introspective, and create a list of your personal strengths and weaknesses. Ask yourself:
- Realize who you truly are, not who you want to be.
- Find what you are good at and not good at.
- Find what you are passionate about.
- Define your core values and beliefs.
- Who do you think you are?
- What kind of work do you do?
If you’re struggling to answer these questions, ask friends, family, and co-workers how they would describe you. Once you’re more aware of the different face of your personality, you can decide how to figure it out.
2. Determine what you want to be known for
Your personal brand is more than a reflection of who you are today; it’s a roadmap of where you have to go. In addition to understanding your existing skills and competencies.
If you became known as the world’s go-to expert on a specific topic, what would that be? The only way to create a compelling personal brand is by becoming the recognized authority in a particular area. Research the competition in that market and determine how you will differentiate yourself. What makes you unique? By leveraging your special gifts, you’ll be more likely to stand out from the crowd. Your personal brand should be an accurate reflection of your passions, skills, values and beliefs.
3. Be Authentic
Your personal brand shouldn’t be a persona. It’s not an invention. It should be authentically you. Figure out what makes you different. Then learn to embrace that uniqueness and use it to get people to pay attention and seek out your content over everyone else’s. People want to interact with people, and that means being real. Determine what you want your brand personality to be. Is it more casual or professional? Quirky or serious? The more authentic you make your personal brand, the more likely visitors to your site will resonate with your message.
4. Prepare an elevator pitch
As you begin to conceptualize your personal brand, spend some time crafting an elevator pitch, a 30 to 60 second story about who you are. Whether you’re attending a networking event or an informal party, having an elevator pitch prepared makes it easy to succinctly describe what you do and where you’re going (or would like to go) in your career.
Keep your elevator pitch brief by focusing on a few key points you want to emphasize. This could include that you’re looking for a new position, have strengths in a particular niche, or recently increased the value of your current department or company.
5. Develop a consistent message
What message do you want to consistently reinforce in your content and your marketing? Once you decide what it is, use the same message across all your communication channels. Consistency builds trust and credibility with your audience. In addition to keeping your tone and personality the same, use design elements (like your logo) consistently as well. Finding your unique voice and staying true to it is one of the keys to creating a powerful personal brand.
6. Personal Website or Portfolio
If you’re in a marketing or design field, it’s especially important to have a personal website or portfolio that provides essential information about who you are and helps visually highlight your work. You can create your own site using WordPress or among others. Small brands and business owners can also take advantage of helpful design resources like Canva to get started creating brand-specific content.
7. Build your social media presence
With so many different social media tools available today, your online presence will likely look different depending on the medium you choose. While your story should match across all platforms, once you know where your targeted audience is most likely to turn, you can redouble your efforts in telling your best story there.
Ideally, you will want to focus on one or two social networks in the beginning. It is better to select one or two carefully selected social networks and try post consistently on them. Developing a compelling personal brand can help you get featured in media, expand your network, attract clients and create a lasting platform—among other things. We all have a personal brand, whether we think so or not.
Reinvent Your Personal Brand As You Grow
As the digital ecosystem changes and your career evolves, so will your personal brand. Adjust your persona accordingly as you meet different people, find new networking opportunities, and grow in your career. As long as it reflects your professional life, don’t hesitate to create a brand that lets you shine.