YOUR BRAND IS WAITING
Regardless of how big or small your network is online, we all have a personal brand, and what you likely don’t realize is before someone agrees to meet with you for coffee, she's probably looking you up on Google. The results are in and there is no time like the present to polish up your online presence and start to drive the narrative of who you really are. I don’t want to be too simplistic, but the first step in developing your brand is defining your target. What is your goal? Every brand has a word or cluster of words they are shooting for. Coca-Cola? Refreshing, summer, or fun. Disney? Happiness, wonder, excitement. Apple? Smart, intuitive, edgy. Get the picture?
What is the word or words you want to own in the minds of the people around you?
If you aren’t sure, here is a great question to ask yourself. In fact, it’s the number one question in personal branding:
What do you want other people to say about you? If people were going to talk about you behind your back, what would you want them to say?
Your answer is the definition of your personal brand.
IT’S TIME TO GET TO WORK!
Here are 10 steps to kick your personal brand into high gear!
STEP 1: THE AUDIT
Try this exercise and Google your name right now. Most likely your LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram profiles appear in the first few results.
Do you have a professional headshot?
Is your bio consistent and clear across all your platforms?
Do you explain what you do and who you help in a few sentences?
Do your top 9 boxes of your Instagram read as a personal blog with random pictures?
Do you have a blog or site where you’re branding yourself as an expert in your industry?
Is your LinkedIn up-to-date with your most recent accomplishments?
Did you last tweet over a year ago?
Is every picture of you online a selfie?
You fix the above and already you will have a more polished online presence.
People buy from people, so be sure you are using your own words, your own voice and your own personal style in how you present yourself as a professional.
Next step is to curate the story you want to tell. We train people to do what we want.
STEP 2: HARNESS YOUR PERSONALITY
It’s the most unique thing about you and sets you apart of everyone else. Think about how can your personality help you share your knowledge with your target audience? Maybe you're extremely outgoing and extroverted, for example. You can use that character trait to illustrate your skills and to attract people to your personal brand.
ACTION: Make a List of all the personality traits that people you love have commented about the most. Ask your clients or customers.
STEP 3: GET TO KNOW YOUR STRENGTHS + WEAKNESSES
You have to embrace yours if you want your personal brand to come off as authentic. Many of the most high-profile personal brands have even made their narratives all about their weaknesses. Richard Branson never went to college and is dyslexic,
Be honest about what you know and what you don’t.
STEP 4: CURATE YOUR ONLINE MESSAGE
While authenticity is undeniably important for any personal brand, you also have to have boundaries. Before you begin to present your online persona to the world, decide what you will and will not share with your followers. There's no wrong answer — you have to decide what is right for yourself. My rule of thumb? Never post anything you would not want on a billboard.
STEP 5: BUILD A WEBSITE FOR YOUR BRAND
If you want to build a personal brand you need a website. That's your own personal platform from which you can share your digital products, blog posts, webinars, and any other content you think would interest your audience. Your blog is something you own. You don't own your social media profiles; Facebook or Twitter could disappear in an instant and take with it all of the content you have shared. While that's not a likely scenario, you still want your own property for online branding purposes.
STEP 6: PROVIDE VALUE AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY
It's extremely valuable to the people who follow your personal brand because they are interested in learning what you already know. For this reason, avoid sharing content that doesn't provide any value for the reader. If you are selling online products, you don't want to use your website or blog as a personal diary.
STEP 7: BUILD RELATIONSHIPS WITH WELL KNOWN BRANDS
Another great way to build your personal brand is to interact with other well-known brands in your industry. Find influencers, popular Knowledge Commerce experts, and entrepreneurs in related industries.
STEP 8: REINVENT YOURSELF
The great thing about personal branding is that it doesn't have to last forever. If you make mistakes while building your brand, you can reinvent yourself and present a new persona to your online audience. Just make sure that you share your reinvention with your audience and remain transparent about your goals, values, and beliefs.
STEP 9: PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR COPY
You could be the best in the world but none of it will matter if you cannot craft a message that resonates. Make it your goal to create value every time you type a word. Think about, not just want you want to say, but what value it will bring to the reader. How will this better their life, how will they want to consume it? Remember the best copy speaks like your customer speaks. It is great to position yourself as an expert, but people need to be able to relate to you.
STEP 10: SHARE, SHARE, SHARE
The thing is, as humans, we are drawn to other people who we can relate to. Your clients and your followers will go with you if they can see themselves reflected in your story.
Share an idea in progress
Share the process
Share your work
Share real experiences
Personal branding is really just sharing your story.
Are you ready to build yourself as the brand you know you were meant to be?