The first step to creating your personal brand is establishing who you are and identifying the value you encompass. In other words, what skills, knowledge, and passions do you have that the rest of us can benefit from? What are you known for? And how are you viewed by your peers within this industry? Take time to nail down what brand associations you are trying to create. What key terms would you use to describe the essence of who you are? Being as precise as possible helps ensure you are creating a clear and consistent brand image. We suggest even inviting a professional mentor into this planning process to help you nail down the specifics of your brand. Above all, remain authentic to who you are.
After clearly defining your brand, you should know what your specialty is. It’s crucial to your brand to be active in sharing your talents with others. Therefore, be strategic in setting up speaking engagements, writing articles, submitting guest posts to popular blogs, hosting webinars, etc. Be intentional in what you share and how you share it, keeping in mind that your work is a direct reflection of your brand as a whole. It is also important to remain teachable within your area of expertise. Be a life-long student and progress your learning so your brand offering can remain relevant, up-to-date, and highly sought after.
Unfortunately maintaining a Linked In profile is only half the battle. We suggest reserving your name as a website of its own and regularly keeping up with a blog on your site. As far as social media tools go, only create accounts you can actively participate with and that are relevant to the nature of your business or brand. For example, innovators and thinkers may use Twitter while craft makers or artisans may utilize Instagram. Whatever you do, make sure you maintain a clear and consistent brand message, voice, and image. When your name is Google’d, what do your peers see? Make sure you are in control of your presence online.
Now that you have built up your brand, it’s time to bring the depth and complexities of your brand and skillset into a minimal thirty-seconds-or-less speech. Identify specifically why people should invest in you and what you offer that is unique to the competition. Become an expert at answering common questions and selling yourself. Be active in attending events that will put you in front of top executives. And of course, make sure your communication skills are on par.
Be someone that people want to follow. Having a solid online image only goes so far. Ensure that when people interact with your brand, you are personable, polite, and inviting. Grow yourself by networking with other leaders and likeminded individuals. Take on a variety of leadership roles to demonstrate your capabilities and remain humble, trustworthy and committed. And remember – if you are not taking time to invest in other peoples’ endeavors, they will be hesitant to invest in yours. Lead the pack in word, deed, and presentation.