Personal branding is the process of creating a distinctive image, reputation and unique proposition. Through personal branding, you are able to position yourself as an expert in your field, build trust and establish credibility and authority.
It’s often overlooked, but relationships are a crucial part of business and your personal brand.
This is because people need to feel they know, like and trust who you are before they’ll want to work with you (or buy from you!).
People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it – (Simon Sinek). So you must ensure that you share your story at every opportunity.
Map out a personal brand vision as a way to gain clarity. Think about what you want to be known for and work backwards from there. Focus on your strengths. Where are the gaps? What skills do you need to acquire? Who can you network with to help accelerate your progress?
These six principles will help shape your thinking:
1. Values – These will form the foundation of your personal brand and can include areas such as what motivates and inspires you.
2. Clear Mission – A mission statement will help clarify your purpose and the goals you want to achieve.
3. Strengths – Focus on your core competencies and continually invest in training and development to stay ahead.
4. Ideal Traits – These are the unique characteristics that define your personality and will shape how you outwardly communicate your personal brand to the world.
5. Reputation – These are the beliefs and opinions held by others about you.
6. Image – This goes deeper than the outward appearance of your brand image (colors, fonts and logo etc). It’s all aspects: online and offline presence, client experience, the clothes you wear, the words you use, photography etc.
By 2020, 50 % of the U.S. workforce will freelance in some capacity (Forbes, 2017). Jobs for life no longer exist, which means we all should be thinking about building our influence and becoming known for our expertise. After all, people want to do business with people, not faceless corporations. A strong personal brand will allow you to quickly establish your reputation. Whether you’re working a 9-to-5 job or running your own business, people need to be aware of your capabilities.
You’re at a huge advantage if you’re already proactively building your personal brand – the opportunities open to you are truly endless!
A personal brand will help you to:
- Stand out among your peers
- Charge a premium for your expertise
- Win more clients and boost the growth of your company
- Build a stronger network and have more opportunities presented to you
- Have people pitch you instead of the other way round
- Gain more credibility and authority
- Build a solid foundation for future success
I totally understand if you’re not naturally comfortable putting yourself out there. I’m a social introvert, so as much as I like meeting new people, I enjoy taking time to myself to recharge. I’d happily spend my spare time curled up on my sofa eating a slice of chocolate cake. But, being invisible does your business no favors! How can your tribe form a connection with you if you’re hiding? My advice to you, if you’re struggling with being visible is to start small. Challenge yourself to move outside your comfort zone a little more each day; gradually you’ll build your confidence muscle.
Don’t overwhelm yourself by feeling you need to be on every social media platform. You’ll tire yourself out in no time! Think about the social media habits of your target demographic and where they hang out; pick 1 or 2 social media platforms to focus on. Think about the messages you plan to convey. If you have more of a business audience, then LinkedIn is likely to be more appropriate than Snapchat for example.
Publicity is about telling a good story that resonates with your audience. Forbes is a great target to have and if you know me, you know I love to think big! However, it’s always best to start small then work from there, especially if you’re just starting to build your personal brand. PR is a long haul game, so it very rarely happens overnight. You may want to consider writing a guest blog post for a media outlet in your niche then building from there.