By Seth Price
The concept of building a brand is not new. While we normally think of brands as companies or products, people are brands, too. In fact, you’ve been cultivating your personal brand since childhood in the form of word-of-mouth reputation and your digital footprint. Today, the stakes are higher than ever: when people make incorrect assumptions about who you are,it impacts the sales of your products, services, and opportunities for career advancement.
In today’s hyper-connected world, creating a personal brand means so much more than redesigning your website. Whether you realize it or not, a new version of your brand is emerging on the social web, shaped by online reviews, peer referrals, conversations on social networks and the content consumed by your socially-connected audience.
Your personal brand is an extension of the reputation and relationships you have built over time. This includes your conversations, daily actions and interactions, and of course, all of the special sauce that makes you, well… you.
So how do you use these elements to build a personal brand that gets recognition, builds trust and accelerates your professional success? Here are 7 tips to help you build a recognized personal brand that fast tracks your professional and personal goals.
1. Define What Makes You Special
Knowing who you are and what you represent is essential to crafting a more resonant brand image. You can’t be everything to all people.
Your brand is a signature, relaying the special skills, perspective and insight that make you unique.
Whether you are a looking to land your next job, get more customers for your current company, or and launch an altogether new endeavor, controlling your brand perception is crucial for growth.
You can start to hone your personal brand by asking yourself a few questions:
What’s your brand story?
What makes you different?
What is your purpose?
Who is your ideal audience?
How do you add value to your audience?
What’s the best way to communicate with your audience?
While these questions may seem simple on the surface, Fortune 500 companies routinely pay consultants thousands of dollars to help answer them. If you’re willing to do the work, however, you don’t have to hire an expert to achieve the same results.
2. Turn your website into a platform
Though you may have a long list of online marketing tactics and channels, your ultimate goal is to draw prospects to your home on the web. A good website will help you establish credibility. With it, you can showcase your unique talents and provide insight into who you are, what you are passionate about, and what niche or group you serve best.
Think of your website as a hub for all that you are doing, both offline and online. Make it the platform for your marketing, newsletter, social media, email, and any other location where you want your audience to find and connect with you.
You need to ensure that your website not only communicates your brand effectively and distinctively, but also that it serves as a 24/7 representative for your brand, your most powerful advocate. Standing out on the web is about providing the reasons and the vehicle for your audience to connect with you.
3. Embrace blogging like it’s new again
Everything you do online shapes your personal brand—and most, if not all, of your online communications connect back to your blog. While some personal branding tactics may be optional, blogging is not. Blogging is an imperative discipline of the personal brander.
While I can’t tell you what to write, I can suggest some of the tactics that have helped me turn my ideas into effective blog posts.
– Start by answering questions —Above all, put helpfulness at the center of your narrative. Listen closely to questions prospects and customers ask, then answer them in your posts.
– Teach, don’t preach —Avoid making your blog a heavy-handed attempt to advertise your products. Adopt an educator’s mentality, and you’ll win your reader’s trust.
– Converse —Ask questions of your readers. Encourage feedback, counterpoints and criticism. Respond to comments as promptly as possible.
– Use images —Take advantage of the appeal of photos, illustrations, screenshots, charts and infographics to increase your stopping power and make the posts more attractive.
– Make it easy on the eyes —Use short paragraphs, line breaks, white space, subheads and lists to make your posts look more inviting.
4. Make friends with Social Media
As social networks continue to evolve, having an established social media presence that connects with your audience is crucial to building your personal brand.
The first step in finding your voice on social is simply participating in the conversation. Determine where you can share and discuss topics that matter most to your niche, business or potential clients.
To begin building a presence across various social networks, consider these tips:
– Identify where your audience spends their time. Is it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest? Once you know where they want to receive your message, you can begin to craft it.
– Determine what you’ll talk about that will add value to the other participants on social.
– Follow, like or retweet the influencers that inspire you. This is a great way to elevate the conversation and create strategic relationships.
– Ask lots of questions! This is a quick and easy way to find out what matters most to those connecting with you online.
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