Gone are the days when ‘personal branding’ was the realm of celebrities and Fortune 500 CEOs. Now, building a brand has become a focal area for anyone with knowledge or talent, a willingness to share, and the zeal to create a personal following.
Did you know a professional has 10X more followers than their company’s social media accounts? Or corporate messages posted by an employee are re-shared 24X more frequently? People trust people — which is why 92% of them tend to trust recommendations coming from individuals rather than brands.
It is true personal branding is more of a requirement. In fact, in many ways, when done right, it is the only way you can hope to stand out in the sea of competition online.
Luckily, there are proven strategies that can set you on the right track early on. This article discusses seven steps you should take to get started today:
1. Find your niche
This might seem like an obvious step, but you need to focus on a niche with an audience of people willing to invest in knowing more. And by “niche,” we do not mean something broad-spectrum like your “expertise on social media.”
There are too many people out there doing the same thing. Therefore, focus on what you are particularly good at, where your interests lie, and how you can make money off that.
In other words, go granular. For instance, even if you are a social media marketer but are brilliant at being organized, talk about the power of staying organized or productivity hacks. This way, you can build a brand by being a go-to, broadly recognized authority on a particular topic.
2. Add personality to your brand
Put the “personal” in personal branding by adding your unique worldview and approach to the content you share. This includes your content’s tone — the ‘how’ of your insights, along with the ‘what.’
For instance, many noted online experts use simple, colloquial language to explain complex topics such as finance or technical SEO, including some profanity or sarcasm to make a point.
Others might opt for a warmer tone that creates a sense of calm, trust, and instant likability. What tone you opt for is entirely up to you and how you want to be known among your followers. After all, it is your personality and your brand.
3. Create a brand identity with your photo or logo
All of the great personal brands out there have one thing in common – instantly recognizable and high-quality personal brand logos or professionally-shot photos.
Quite often, people make split-second decisions about whether or not to go with a brand based on design, so a big part of building your brand should be looking fabulous as well. Also, get decent photos clicked to use on your social media or website.
4. Design a great website
It is not enough to merely write good content in your chosen niche. You need to have a constant stream of useful content going out under your name, on your platform.
You might be contributing to significant business publications, for instance, but the readers might not necessarily associate those contributions with your brand.
This is why it is crucial to have a high-quality, SEO-optimised website of your own that people can click on when they search for your name.
Hire an SEO specialist for fetching relevant keywords to use across the site so that you rank organically. Work with a skilled designer who understands your aesthetic and content tone and creates a website that reflects you optimally.
5. Build content and social media strategy
To build a robust personal brand, the best thing you can do is invest big time in content marketing, which costs 62% less than traditional marketing and gets you about 3X as many inbound leads. All of the renowned brand personalities earned their stature primarily through excellent content that they shared consistently.
Therefore, decide what type of content works best for your niche and your audience. For instance, some niches might value long-form content with in-depth insights over shorter blog posts — and then create a content repository along with a sharing schedule.
Your content strategy should also extend to your social media channels. However, be sure not to spread yourself too thin and focus only on those appropriate channels for your readership and the service you provide.
6. Find mentors
Everyone who has made it big today could do so because they had help. Building yourself up as a recognized expert is challenging, and you need other established experts to help you along and give you that initial boost.
Seek out mentors in your field who can give you the advice you need, and do not be afraid to opt for some coaching program if required — it is an investment. The better the start you have, the quicker you will be on your journey to becoming a respected name in your niche.
7. Promote your brand with guest blogging
Guest blogging is a great way to share your content with new audiences, particularly in the early days of brand building when you may not have enough followers of your own.
Target publications with solid reputations and large readerships, including business publications such as Forbes or Entrepreneur, as well as some niche-specific publications.
Many of these publications will include your name, bio, and website, which means that readers of your guest post can click through and see your brand site or follow you on social media, thereby further boosting your readership.
Over to you
Do you want to be able to shape your online identity and market yourself and your career in a better way? Personal branding is the way to do so. But it is all about commitment. Building a brand does not happen overnight.
You have to be persistent with your efforts and work hard to build a follower base, steadily and organically. So, follow these steps mentioned above dedicatedly and build an online brand for yourself — one which makes you proud!