Personal branding is a hot topic right now and one that many employees of organisations often think doesn’t apply to them. However, personal branding isn’t just for solopreneurs or business owners. It’s important to be able to quickly, clearly and succinctly articulate who you are and what you have to offer – and that applies to both employees and business owners.
So what is personal branding all about and why is it important? Just like company brands, your personal brand is what sets you apart from others. It’s what makes you slightly different to someone else with a very similar skill set.
Building a recognisable, consistent personal brand will help you achieve your career goals faster – leading to promotions, recognition as an industry expert or spokesperson, and improved professional networks. According to leading American business writer, Tom Peters, “Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”
Whether you want to advance your career, improve your professional relationships, or build your sales pipeline, a clearly defined personal brand can help. So how do you go about building it? Here are five tips to get you started:
1. Understand your offer: personal branding requires an in depth understanding of your strengths, skills, passions, and values and the ability to use that information to stand out from your competitors. To develop yourself as a brand isn’t easy, especially if you’re not a natural marketer. Start by working out what makes you unique then build your story in terms of what you offer. Put together a comprehensive statement about you – this is your brand positioning or message.
2. Create a blog and/or website: this is a great way to share your expertise and initiate two way conversations with your target audience. Registering a website in your name helps you achieve consistency with your brand and contributes to increasing your name’s search engine ranking. Write regular articles to help your target market understand your offer. Reinforce your brand message, highlight what you’re good at and what you’ve achieved for others. The added benefit of online content is that when people like what they read, they will share it with their own networks.
3. Add value: every status update, picture, article and comment you share will contribute to your personal brand so make sure it aligns with your previously defined brand positioning. You can quickly strengthen your brand and help people understand what you offer with content shared via social media, your blog or website; by commenting on other people’s content; answering questions; joining chats; and engaging in LinkedIn and other online groups and forums.
4. Audit your presence: always think of yourself as a brand and maintain consistency with your message throughout all communications – this includes your Resume, social media profiles and other online content. Optimise your online content for search engines and review Facebook and other social accounts to make sure your brand is not being compromised with personal entries.
5. Maintain the rage: once your brand is defined, you need to consistently validate and maintain it. Just as large corporations work hard to maintain their brand image, individuals need to do the same. Every interaction or piece of information shared should reinforce your brand message. Make sure people believe what you’re saying by providing proof, transparency and consistency – don’t try to ‘be all things to all people’.
Whether you’re self-employed or not, defining and promoting a strong personal brand that sets you apart will help raise your profile and make you more marketable. Even if you are not looking for work – it’s a great way to build contacts for future reference, as well as mentoring, partnerships or job opportunities.
Would you would like help creating an online presence or Resume to support your personal brand? If so, please see our full range of Resume Writing Services, LinkedIn Profile Writing and Career Coaching Services.