The Importance of Building Your Personal Brand
When you think of building a brand, many people think of a company, product or specific service. The truth is, we all have our own brand and cultivate the power to stand out. In fact, in most industries, it’s highly encouraged to promote your brand in order to succeed.
What is a personal brand? It’s the culmination of what you do, how you deliver it, and your reasons why. Building one is not a simple task, but get it right, and you’ll experience your own positive allure that people can’t help but be drawn to.
Follow these steps to get started:
1. Discover your opportunity.
Before diving into your personal statement and messages, take a step back and ensure you're delivering the right value. think about the needs of people within your chosen industry.
What are their goals?
What do they struggle with?
What do they care about?
Now think about your own characteristics, strengths, and the value you’ve built in your career. How are you able to best help these people? Next, study the competition. Does your value serve a need that they cannot fulfill or are lacking? If you see a lot of competition in your area of expertise, think about how you can deliver in a way that’s noteworthy and distinct, what’s your unique?
Once you've found a need you can serve, that sets you apart from the competition, you've found your opportunity.
2. Get to know your audience.
From this point on, everything you do should start with your audience; find out as much as you can about them. Start with standard information, such as social demographics, then dig a little deeper. You need to know their beliefs, values, hopes, and challenges. Engage with them on social media and ask for their feedback on a regular.
The most important thing is to identify who your core audience is; you shouldn't try to appeal to everyone. Determine which audience segment is most likely to become a long-term customer and advocate for you. Those are the people to focus your efforts on.
3. Define your values and be authentic.
It's important to give your audience a clear picture of your personal and professional values, and stay true to them. Authenticity is the core of personal branding. You want your audience to trust you and tell their friends about you. Keep your values at the heart of everything you do, from how you interact with people to how you publish blog posts. The key is to always be consistent. If you're saying one thing and doing another, it will cast a doubt on the authenticity of your brand.
4. Craft your message.
Consider how you speak and deliver your messages also as a reflection of your brand. Start with crafting a short personal statement, or your “elevator pitch,” that summarizes your brand in a memorable phrase. The message should connect with your audience by reflecting on the people you serve, the values you embrace and the results you achieve.
If you’re stuck, one place to start is with customer testimonials. Often times, the phrases other people use to praise your work are what you should use to describe yourself.
5. Find your own style, and be good at it.
Instead of following the crowd, use your own style and uniqueness to attract the clients you desire. You don’t have to do things like everyone else, in fact, using your unique strengths will help bring new people to you. However, you must commit to sticking with it. If your brand shows a strong and consistent track record, more people are likely to stand by you and come back for more.
Connect with as many people as you can within your industry, especially respected thought leaders. This will open more doors, help grow your social following, and build up your credibility. Once you’ve built up relationships, try collaborating with others by creating content together and sharing your audiences.
Building a personal brand certainly takes time and effort, but they pay off is worth it. It can be a long process, but if done correctly, your value will shine through and your audience will begin to associate your name with success.