This article was last updated on September 5, 2017
Why brand yourself? A brand can easily be taken as your mark upon the world, your uniqueness made public for the entire population to see and to acknowledge. A brand is a combination of your core abilities, skills and character traits. Branding yourself is not only a business action. It’s a journey of self-discovery. Taking this expedition into the depths of your self will bestow on you enough insights and valuable knowledge to help you market yourself to the world in a passionate and notable way.
People tend not to see their true self because of the “mask” they wear in order to hide their flaws. Sometimes the mask becomes too tight and people can’t even differentiate between the mask and themselves. The irony is that most of the times those imperfections are their true qualities that should be revealed. This illusion must be dispelled before any true self-discovery may begin. Therefore, after taking this inward journey you can start developing your own brand by following these 8 steps:
8 Steps to Build Your Online Personal Brand
Create Your Brand’s Story
First of all, you should write down the words and values that represent your brand. It’s important to be honest and authentic when choosing these words because your story will be shaped according to them.
As a brand, you should have a story that gravitates around your core values. Your brand must create an emotional bond with your public. In order to create such a strong connection with your audience, your story must be genuine, otherwise people will sense it immediately. The truth is that if you want your brand to last, you must bury its roots deep inside the cultural program. Take McDonald’s as an example. They were the ones who transformed the burgers into a national food, making it part of the US culture.
Audit Your Personal Brand
One of the easiest ways to review your personal brand is to search for your name online. When searching, you should make sure that you open a new and private browsing window, so you will receive the same results as anyone else. Try tipping a celebrity name and see how their first page looks. Usually, the first page includes a Wikipedia page, a Facebook page, and plenty of other stories. Look up your favorite celebrity and take their example. Another way of auditing your brand is by searching for various combinations of your name using keywords that are relevant to your brand’s mission. Leveraging the right keywords will improve your SEO and will help you gain more attention.
Establish Your Brand Awareness Strategy
An excellent brand awareness campaign is made out of valuable and strategic written content. In order to reach a high amount of people, your content must be loaded with keywords that are relevant to your overall topic. The majority of new people that start advertising their personal brand tend to promote themselves all the time, this being a major mistake. By doing this, you will damage your integrity as a brand and you will irritate your audience until they will no longer be interested in what you have to say.
If, for example, your brand focuses on the food and drinks industry, you should take some time to find relevant information about the topic while connecting with other people who are established in the same field. You can even try and collaborate with these people in order to get a win-win situation in which both of you are improving your brands. Value and consistency are the main keywords here. If your content offers value and is also posted on a consistent basis, more people will start associating you with that topic. This is how you can become an authority in any specific field.
Build Your Communication Skills
Building a brand requires excellent communication skills. Being able to communicate well and express your thoughts in a relevant and cohesive way will consolidate your authority on the subject and will increase your overall reach. In case you are a shy person, you can join a speaking course. You can also join a writing course and begin exercising these techniques until you feel prepared enough to impress the world.
Stories are powerful persuasion techniques. When giving a speech, using relating good stories will make your presentation more persuasive and interesting. Everyone likes stories, so if you present a message that you want to be remembered by your audience, you should insert it subliminally in your story line. By doing so, your message will instantly reach your audience’s subconscious minds and therefore will be much more effective.
Bother Important People
The whole point of personal branding is to make your name know by many. Therefore, you should make your appearance at conferences, fairs, and different events. Begin introducing yourself to all the right people. Before doing this, you should find influential people in your domain of activity. So what’s the next move? Well, just talk to them. It’s that simple. Don’t worry, as the worst that can happen is getting ignored. But imagine if somehow you manage to come across a person with the same values and beliefs as you. The rapport would be incredible.
Moreover, if asked nicely, he might be able to boost your brand’s awareness so much that you wouldn’t even believe it. This is not such a mainstream method, and it probably won’t bring impressive results in the majority of cases. Nevertheless, everything depends on your ability to communicate well enough to get their attention. It’s a bold method, so use it wisely.
Join Social Media
Think about social media as the free and perfect platform where you can positively promote your brand. The purpose of social media is sharing, so go ahead and share articles, blog posts and achievements that are appealing to your target audience. Keep in mind that you should always pay attention to the consistency and uniqueness of your content. Each post must contain the same level of value as the previous ones.
Let’s take McDonald’s as an example again. Are you aware of their prime secret? Well, it’s consistency. They deliver the exact same burger in each of their restaurants all around the world since 1955. You should do exactly the same thing with your posts. There is another aim of social media, and that is, connecting with people that are in the same industry as you are. While you are following them you can easily make yourself noticed by getting into relevant conversations and by using trending hashtags. Everything you post on social media should represent your brand – remember that. I’m using what I call the “Forbes Test”, so if I wouldn’t want to see it in Forbes, I won’t post it myself.
Create and E-mail List
Personal branding is mostly supported by online marketing. An email list is one of the most valuable assets that an online marketer can own. Why is this? These are the people that decided to be kept informed regarding your development as a brand. Therefore, these are your core fans that have accepted you for good. Of course, this strategy can’t be put in practice from day one. However the sooner you start gathering e-mails, the better.
After publishing around eight rock-hard posts, and after getting a little more confident with your social media business page, its e-mail time. You should start by thinking about a product, like an eBook or a webinar that could be given away in return for sign-ups. Some companies take email marketing as old school marketing method, so they never take their time to grow an email list. They couldn’t be more wrong. Email is the most trusted way of connecting with people. Therefore, use it!
Offer and Live Your Values
Always keep in mind that your actions speak louder than your words. Everything you say must be put into action; this is the only way of maintaining your integrity and reputation in front of your customer’s eyes. The knowledge that you offer to your audience will always represent you, so keep your legacy upright. Zig Ziglar embodied all the core qualities that you need to own in his quote: “The foundation stones for a balanced success are honesty, character, integrity, faith, love and loyalty.” Bear in mind; never compromise your values, not even once.
By using these 8 steps, you should be able to develop your personal brand in a quick and efficient way. But remember, these steps won’t be of much help if you don’t put them into action. With a lot of work and dedication you shall become an authority in your domain, attracting attention and accumulating enough influence to maintain your development in the longer run. Everything depends on your motivation and your will to act. Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Nothing is impossible! Therefore, take your time, work hard, and prepare yourself for the best!