Personal branding. But personal branding? What is a personal brand? It’s about not leaving the success of your business up to chance. Website Blog graphics Social media content Business cards Other branded memorabilia The goal is to ensure that there’s consistency across all your marketing channels. Take a look at this website page and note how many times the words “You” and “Your” are used. Find an influential mentor I’ve rarely met anyone who has achieved substantial success and did not have a mentor. Concerning personal brand building, there’s nothing better than having a high-level relationship with an influential person. Do the work When I started in the marketing industry, I didn’t set out to build a personal brand. For many people with substantial personal brands, the story is not much different.
Do you ever think about someone like Oprah Winfrey and wonder, “How did she do it?”
What did she do to become such a prolific personality?
And she’s not the only one.
Gary Vaynerchuk, Tony Robbins, and Richard Branson are all larger-than-life characters who own their spaces.
Not only that, but they seem to have secured their positions of influence.
I’ll tell you what.
There’s no black-and-white answer to how they did it.
Some would say they were lucky. Others would say they outworked everybody else.
I’ll admit that these are two crucial pieces of the puzzle.
But there is one more critical common denominator.
We all know how important a brand is to business.
But personal branding?
That’s a whole other phenomenon.
It has never been more fruitful for a regular person to do work at the service of their personal brands.
The results can be remarkable.
Here are a few numbers that show the impact of personal branding on sales and marketing:
And I’m not just talking about slapping a logo on your content and hopping on podcasts to get your name out there.
I’m talking about ensuring that your actions, messaging, and every mode of self-expression brings you more authority.
That’s where the influence lies. That’s the power of branding.
In this article, I’ll give you the best ways to grow your personal brand.
Before we do that, let’s get into what personal branding means.
What is a personal brand?
As Amazon’s Jeff Bezos points out, “branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
Here’s what that translates to.
You have a personal brand whether you consciously build it or not. People are going to talk about you no matter what.
Personal branding is about controlling the narrative. It’s about not leaving the success of your business up to chance.
In the end, you decide what the world thinks, feels, and says about you.
If you think about that, there’s nothing more powerful.
If you don’t take control of what’s being said about you, your brand will be more vulnerable to misinformation.
In case you don’t think that’s a real problem, just take a look at how many people report reading fake news on social media sites.
It happens more than once a day!
Now here’s the thing:
You can’t just fabricate a story and decide, “This is who I’m going to be.”
It has to be an authentic expression of you.
Otherwise, there’ll be a disconnect with your audience, and you won’t have a personal brand with lasting power.
So what does all this boil down to?
It means you can’t outsource your brand. You can’t leave it up for debate.
You have to take hold of how you present yourself.
I’ll show you how.
Let’s get into the most effective strategies for building your personal brand.
1. Begin with your personal brand story
There are many ways to grow a personal brand.
Some of these strategies may apply to you, while others may not be the best bet.
This is the one step that is non-negotiable.
Without a story, you have no brand.
The shoe brand Toms is an excellent example of a compelling brand story.
The company exists to improve lives and give back.
The tagline “One for One” can be found across all of their online platforms, including social media.
Your personal brand story is centered around two key elements.
- Who are you?
- What would you like to achieve, and for what purpose?
Figure these two things out, and you’ll have a compelling story to tell the world.
Since these questions are a bit generic, let’s get into some details.
Who are you?
Consider these questions.
- What are your interests and passions?
- What are your best personality traits that you’d like magnified?
- What do you value the most?
What would you like to achieve, and for what purpose?
Consider these questions.
- What is your mission statement?
- What would you like to achieve?
- What legacy would you like to leave behind?
- What words do you want to evoke when your name is mentioned?
The success of your personal brand depends on how honestly you answer these questions.
When you’ve got your brand story ironed out, condense it into a 2-3 sentence elevator pitch.
An elevator pitch is a succinct and persuasive pitch about who you are and what you do.
The visual elements of your brand also tell a story.
A study showed that brands that used visual storytelling centered around a specific brand character saw a boost in Facebook engagement.
You can also see above that not all brand characters fared well for engagement.
That shows the importance of split-testing your visual elements to see what your audience responds to best.
For your brand, I recommend capturing some professional headshots.
Use them across all your online and offline audience touchpoints.
That’s the most fundamental expression of visual storytelling.
You can take it further by having consistent branding elements wherever you have a presence.
- Blog graphics
- Social media content
- Business cards
- Other branded memorabilia
The goal is to ensure that there’s consistency across all your marketing channels.
In one study, more than half of respondents attributed the substantial growth of their businesses to brand consistency.
2. Pass the search engine test
You’ve got your story figured out.
Before you go full-throttle in shaping your personal brand, you need to audit yourself first.
The story that you want to tell has to be aligned with what’s already out there.
The simplest route is to do a search engine test.
This is about cleaning up your online presence. You want the best version of yourself to be out on the web.
If there’s anything negative, now is the time to take care of it.
Step #1: Do a Google search for your name.
Here are a few quick tips.
- Ensure that your name is placed in quotation marks when you conduct your search. Otherwise, you’ll get results for any web page that contains your first or last name.
- Clear your browser’s cache so you get the same information that everybody else would get when they search for your name.
Step #2: Browse through the results.
Go through as many pages as you can.
If you have a common name, this may be a bit more tedious.
What are you looking for?
Pay attention to any articles and negative press that don’t reflect the vision you have for your personal brand.
If there are articles that you’ve written on your website, you can easily delete them.
If it’s hosted on someone else’s site, you can kindly ask them to delete it. You can also offer an…