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Personal Branding 101: How to Create a Personal Brand

Establishing a personal brand is commonplace in today’s brand‑centric world. Understand what personal branding is and learn how you and your company can benefit.

Have you ever seen someone with a huge following and who commands attention no matter what they do? There are a number of executives and influencers in this category who have established themselves as experts in their field. If you want to know something, they have enough traction and followers that will go see what they have to say first.

If you’re looking to establish yourself and have that kind of influence to become an authority in your field and capitalize on your areas of expertise, creating a personal brand is the first step in your journey. While you often hear about businesses that are brands, the concept of having a personal brand is nothing new. It’s exploded since social media took over and became even more prevalent during the pandemic when everyone was at home and everything was done online.

What is a personal brand?

Personal branding is creating an identity for a person or their company. In essence, you are branding your business. Although many people consider marketing to be branding, it is not the same.

Marketing is one of the tactics used to introduce and reinforce your brand to the world, but they are distinctly different. Branding is what you do to gain traction with your ideal audience, while marketing is the tactics and tools used to keep them engaged. While most people hear the word branding and immediately think of a logo and colors, establishing a brand is much more than that. It's all about the connections you make with an audience you've curated that wants your expertise, products, and services.

Is having a personal brand important?

Absolutely. People with an effective personal branding strategy stand out from the competition while building organic trust and loyalty from their followers. Strong personal brands know the value of building an audience that delivers the content they want and need.

Personal branding helps you stand out from the competition. Personal brands aren’t just for influencers. People seeking higher-paying jobs in their career field establish personal brands to stay relevant. As long as you’re on someone’s radar, the likelihood of you being noticed and vetted by recruiters. The stronger your personal brand, the more you can command in salary.

Personal branding also helps in getting opportunities. Your uniqueness and the way you brand yourself provide an advantage over the competition. When done right, people remember you – your expertise and skills speak for you even when you’re not in the room. People remember those who have done an excellent job of establishing authority. This also keeps you top of mind for partnerships, collaborations, and invites.

When you have an established personal brand, your audience has a certain level of trust in you. This is part of the identity you’re creating as an individual with a consistent voice, look, message, and presence whether you’re on or offline. When you build trust, you’re establishing a relationship with your audience, and they know what they will get from you. When it comes to products and services, people will go with the person who has a strong personal brand they connect with over someone new.

Let’s face it – everyone is online, and the landscape is very competitive. Your social footprint creates an online profile whether you want one or not. Establishing a personal brand can help control the narrative of what people feel and say about you. Google can be your best friend or worst enemy. We live in a tech-driven society that is fueled by what’s online. Making sure your personal brand is seen in the best light and you, as an expert in your field, translates into conversions in everything you do.

One of the key pillars of success in personal branding is brand consistency. Just like businesses, consistency is key. Your audience wants to know who you are and how you can help solve problems or entertain them. Consistent branding pulls on their emotions, establishing lasting connections that count.

This builds on the know, like, and trust factor, building on that leverage so your audience will believe in your products and services. Nothing helps define your brand better than authentic, organic connections and engagement where people feel you are transparent and true.

6 steps to creating a personal brand

These steps can help you create a personal brand in your industry that helps you establish a unique brand identity that’s all yours.

Uncover your purpose

While developing your personal brand may stem from seeking employment, there are many reasons why having a brand identity works in your favor. Figure out what motivates you every day. Do you have any special talents or skills? What is something you’ve always wanted to do but either didn’t make time or were too afraid to put yourself out there? What interests you? Do you want to make a difference in the world? How? Think about the people you admire. What do they all have in common?

Knowing what makes you think and what gives you something to smile about is part of your purpose. The things you are passionate about and the things you do well can assist in helping you package that knowledge into becoming an expert, helping develop other people, or getting to where you ultimately want to be.

Your answers to these questions may evolve over time. Let them. Knowing where you excel, what your passion is, the impact you want to have, and where you work best all play a role in your brand identity. It attracts people who want the same things as you do and have similar goals.

Align your values to your goals and create your unique value proposition

Figure out what matters to you. What are your deal breakers? What do you stand for? Once you figure that out, consider what makes you different from everyone else. Look at your strengths and understand them. Think about the things that you do well. What do people say when it comes to them speaking about this skill and how you do it?

Once you figure out your strengths, this is the foundation for building your brand. Embrace that expertise and use it to build trust and credibility. If you’re good at what you do, it won’t be a secret because people will talk about it and recommend you.

To come up with a good value proposition, be specific. Consider how you work to accomplish things and how your expertise made the thing successful. Then, put an emphasis on what you want to do and how your skill set can make it happen. How do you thrive in certain situations? Next, consider your personality. Those traits make up who you are. The combination of the three helps create a unique, personal brand.

Find your target audience

Just like a regular brand, you must define your brand personality and voice. This is how you communicate with people. One of the biggest advantages brands have is that they know their target audience and don’t try to appeal to everyone. They focus on the niche areas where they have the most impact. This is what you must do as a personal brand. Your personal niche where you excel must align with your business and brand.

If your niche is to go higher up the ladder in your career, your niche area should be focused on that line of work and the skill set you have that qualifies you for greater. Now, how do you find your niche? Consider your current industry. Now get granular on where you excel the most. If your industry is publishing, you could niche down to marketing, and then content writing or editing if that’s where your skills lie.

Look at the difference. You’ve moved from going after a job in publishing to building your brand around being the best content writer or editor. Being granular keeps things within your niche and provides greater opportunities to shine. You can showcase your expertise with less competition and better-established relationships.

Showcase yourself

Every brand has a visual identity and assets that help attract and engage its audiences. You want to have the following:

Establish your brand colors and logo

Your brand colors will be reflected in everything you do. Make sure the colors you choose match your brand personality and voice. If you’re an enthusiastic person, you wouldn’t choose a bland color, but something more vibrant and aligned with your personality. Your logo should also reflect your brand's voice and personality, even if it’s one letter. Think about how you want people to perceive your brand and go from there.

Personal website

A personal website is key in getting eyes on you and what you do. Using a website builder can help you create an online portfolio that stands out and lets people know who you are. Depending on the software you use, it can be easy to navigate, even if you don’t code. There are also free sites you can use to have an online presence.

Purchase a domain for your brand, either with your business name or your actual name. Once you start building, think about the things that need to be included. You want to have information on yourself, your accomplishments, any events where you are scheduled to speak, your value proposition, social media links, your logo if you have one, clear and crisp photos, and any testimonials of what it’s like working with you, and clear calls-to-action.

Social media

You must have social media profiles on certain platforms where your niche audiences can find you. If you’re in the business world, one of the most important platforms you should be on with a personal page is LinkedIn. This platform is continuously growing, with the ability to add videos, follow others, and more.

When creating a LinkedIn page, use a professional headshot, fill out every section of your profile, use the header as real estate to establish yourself as an expert, use keywords, and be strategic when adding your skills. Engage with others on a frequent basis – at least one meaningful connection a day and leave genuine comments on other profiles. If you start posting articles once per day, you’ll start developing your own following.

Twitter is a platform that you must stay on top of. It’s where all the current things are discussed. If you want to become an influencer and well-rounded expert in your field, this is the platform to do it. Using some of the previous techniques can help. You want to retweet comments from leaders in your niche and add your own thoughts. Twitter is not a platform where you can post and disappear. You must be consistent.

Depending on your audience, Tiktok can be useful. You don’t have to dance, but add value by making short videos giving tips, or doing creatives with tips set to music. This helps build traction around your content, which develops a following. Instagram now has Reels which, like Tiktok, which works to your advantage. Although still photos are allowed on Instagram, Reels is taking over. Use relevant hashtags and stay consistent on both. You’ll begin to see results pretty fast.

Facebook is still tried and true for some audiences. There are many coaches and authorities on Facebook teaching classes and workshops in Facebook groups. If you’ve researched your audience, and you know where to find them, Facebook may be a platform you need to monitor.

If you really want to build your brand and establish yourself as an authority, creating a YouTube channel where you continuously post videos that provide information and value can quickly catapult you into having a strong brand. People love engagement and learning something new. You can also do live streams with Q&A sessions which draw the crowd into your zone of expertise and help you build your own community.

Create a content strategy

When you have something of value to say, people listen. People really like it when it’s free. Think about the advice you can give others that can help them do something different or solve a problem they have. You want people to trust what you say and look forward to the insight you provide. You can do this with different types of content, like a podcast, online course, video, webinar, and other vehicles that get them talking, watching, and wanting more.

Put the content on your website. If you aren’t into blogging, this would be a good time to start. You should also capture emails with something free on your website or a landing page so you can send them useful information and tips. Share your content in LinkedIn groups, online publications, and other places. If you’re in a few Facebook groups, don’t be afraid to share.

It’s important to have a consistent schedule so your audience will know when to expect something new from you. Again, consistency is key. The last thing you want to do is let your audience down when they have come to know, like, and trust you. While you don’t have to create something brand new every single week, learn how to repurpose the content you have. Take a video and create snippets or create a blog post based on the video. You can also develop social media posts from each video you’ve created. The possibilities in repurposing are endless. Take advantage of what you have.

Build a community

One of the most effective techniques influencers do with personal brands is to build a community. If you’re looking to branch out on your own, this is a good way to start the foundation. If you have a lot of people following you but no one is engaged, that’s a problem. You want an authentic and organic community where everyone is getting to know each other and discussing things that matter. You’ll find these types of communities in Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, through Meetups, and when you give a webinar.

If this sounds like a lot of work, it is. Building a personal brand takes planning, time, and effort, but the results can be rewarding. Whether you’re looking to create a niche that will help you advance in your career, or you’re ready to start your own business and use your expertise to leverage what you know, the steps in creating a personal brand remain the same.

These tips will point you in the right direction and provide the foundation you need to move ahead. While you’re building that brand, you’ll be building connections and establishing relationships that will follow you whatever route you take.

From finding out your purpose to creating your identity assets and building a community, using the right services to get what you need and showcase the best version of you counts. Mailchimp has several solutions to help put you on the right path. From their website builder to other tools that can help you build a strong brand, you’ll be able to create a lasting impression on your target audience.

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