“Call now to order!”
“Go ahead and push that like and share button.”
Let’s face it, people are tired of being bombarded with ads and sales pitches. That’s why personal branding has become so important. When done right, it convinces people that you’re the one to meet their needs above all other competitors.
A strong personal brand is the golden key of entrepreneurship. It opens doors to rewarding contacts, more clients, and exciting business opportunities because it stands head and shoulders above a world drowning in sales promotions and gimmicks. It is badge announcing you as the best in your field.
Here are ten steps which can help you build a robust personal brand.
1. Building an authentic identity
A vital building block in any distinctive personal brand is an authentic identity.
Many entrepreneurs think a besuited, business-speak approach to entrepreneurship is the way to go. But life coach and author Marie Forleo has gone in the opposite direction, using her natural charms to work her way into the hearts of her followers.
With videos that are fun, edgy and chock-full of useful information, Forleo harnessed her unvarnished qualities to amass a vast army of loyalists. In being herself, she has cultivated a highly successful business with an unshakeable foundation in personal branding.
Okay so you’ve heard the word “authenticity” so often it sounds hackneyed. Being your authentic self, though, is still one of the best tactics to create a memorable personal brand. You need to put in the hours figuring out your core skills, strengths, and passions. Once you’ve sharpened the talents and abilities that make you special, the authenticity will ooze out of your pores.
2. Finding a niche
It’s important to be crystal clear about your area of expertise.
The personal brand of tech titan Elon Musk lives in the world of tomorrow. Already a maverick in the design and production of electric and self-driving cars, Musk has turned his sights towards the heavens.
Nothing’s more niche than space exploration. Where others chase space tourism, Musk’s company SpaceX designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft with the ultimate goal of realising human settlement of other planets.
As an innovator and tech revolutionary, Musk has created a cult of personality that dares to wrestle the stuff of science fiction into the realm of science fact.
What’s your space odyssey? What do you offer that puts competitors in the shade? When you settle on the answers to those questions, start carving out your own lucrative niche.
3. Sharing your personal brand online and offline
Now that you’ve got your identity and niche sorted, sharing them online and offline is the next step.
That’s very much the approach of entrepreneur, author, and blogger, Pat Flynn. He is well known for his Smart Passive Income blog where he helps entrepreneurs convert their passions into thriving businesses. Flynn also stages events to meet his followers and answer their questions in person.
Your bios, social media profiles, business cards and elevator pitches should be edited to consistently reflect your personal brand. Whether it’s on digital media or your real life persona, your messaging should be the same across the board. This can help identify you as an expert in your chosen field.
4. Show people what’s in it for them
A website is an invaluable weapon in the entrepreneurship arsenal. It can help attain high search rankings and give you control over the messages associated you’re your personal branding. Here’s where it’s most critical, though; a website can provide free added value through useful information and relatable tips.
Founder and former CEO of Moz, Rand Fishkin, is an SEO wunderkind who shares his tricks of the trade through multiple blogs and social media posts. Fishkin has set himself up as an SEO grandmaster through whom, all questions are answered.
Similarly, if you impart some of your wisdom without any strings attached, your personal brand will rise in prominence as a go-to resource. Your customers or clients must come to see you as an indispensable asset in meeting their needs or solving niggling problems. If you bring them in with appetizers, they will stay for the main course.
5. Keep it consistent
The importance of maintaining consistency between personal brands and social media accounts can’t be overstated.
It’s a game that hugely popular motivational guru Tony Robbins has mastered. Whether it’s his website, Linkedin page or Instagram account, Robbins has created a formidable online persona which is mirrored across all his platforms. He takes every opportunity to make it clear to his audiences what he’s all about and how he can help them.
Your tweets, photographs, and status updates are all vital strands of your digital DNA. It is crucial that all of your online messaging is playing the same tune.
6. Sharing the work of others
There’s no substitute for keeping up with like-minded individuals online in the world of entrepreneurship. Commenting on and sharing the content of other industry experts strengthens personal brand credibility.
This is a mantra practiced by Neil Patel. Ranked by Forbes as one of the top 10 online marketers, Patel believes content sharing is a key ingredient in achieving success.
Sharing the work of others is a subtle way of earning a place in the galaxy of high-achieving entrepreneurs. As the saying goes, a rising tide lifts all boats. Your brand credibility will get a boost by the associations you make through content sharing.
7. Be open about personal failures
Being frank about failures on the road to success can be a powerful way to connect with people.
Alibaba founder Jack Ma was a less-than-stellar student who was turned down by Harvard ten times and was rejected for thirty jobs. Ma, nevertheless, went on to create the largest e-commerce company on the planet. He is forthright in putting his failures front and center as part of his unique personal brand.
What you may process as embarrassing failures, others will read as signposts to success and the struggles of a mere mortal on the path to greatness. That’s the kind of personal touch people can relate to.
8. Reaching out through public speaking
Public speaking can be an effective strategy for cementing bonds with people.
New York Times bestselling author and former publisher of SUCCESS magazine, Darren Hardy credits public speaking for most of his success. Recognizing the tremendous value of effective communication, Hardy has invested considerable effort in improving his public presentations and communication skills.
You’re probably thinking that speaking in front of an audience is the fastest way to trigger cardiac arrest. It is, though, an entirely conquerable fear. If you are able to command the attention of audiences with the confidence that comes with time and practice, the rewards will be significant.
There’s something to be said for pressing the flesh with living, breathing audiences. You can allow them to share their experiences and ask questions in a setting that’s more intimate than a blog or a website. Those are the connections that will lead to an unassailable personal brand.
9. Paying it forward
Few gestures say personal branding more loudly than giving something back.
When it comes to giving back, legendary entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson is famously committed to many non-profit initiatives and charitable causes. Sir Richard epitomizes philanthropy as an important business value
If you volunteer your expertise for a noble cause, that’s the sort action that will trumpet the qualities that are most important to successful personal branding.
People respect entrepreneurs who put their money where their mouth is; respect is a key building block in any successful personal brand.
10. Track the growth of your personal brand
Google is a great resource to help you gauge the resonance of your personal brand. A name search will turn up the most recent information associated with your products or services. If mixed messaging pops up, well, you’ve got some work to do.
Marketing guru Seth Godin places an important burden on the value of personal branding. For him, it must answer the question: “Will people miss me if I’m gone?” Godin says the answer to that question will determine whether you’re on the right track.
Knowing what people are saying about your personal brand means you can jump in where necessary and generate content that’s more direct about what makes your brand the one customers can’t do without.
So will your customers miss you if you are gone? You have to answer that by making yourself unforgettable to them.
No overnight success
Cultivating a distinctive personal brand takes focus and persistence. There are no shortcuts, no legions of faithful followers overnight.
These ten steps, though, have a tested and proven track record of building personal branding that will ultimately stay the course.
Increased revenue, greater business opportunities, rewarding contacts – all of these can be achieved by establishing real connections with people through a personal touch.
Don’t be afraid to get out there and put your own stamp on the world of personal branding.