Building a personal brand means providing so much value in one niche that people begin to associate your name with the idea of what it means to be successful in that industry.

Building a personal brand takes a lot of work, but if you are ready to dive in, here’s the overview you need:

Figure out what you are good at, and what you want to do to make a living.

The first step is acknowledging what you like doing–because if you don’t like doing it, the chances are that you won’t take it very seriously, and if you aren’t willing to take it seriously and be good at it, then why even bother? Once you know what you like doing, you need to make the commitment to being as great at that thing as you possibly can be.

This has nothing to do with being competitive (even though competition is a great motivator). This has to do with realising that whatever you like doing, a million other people like doing too -and they are all ready to take your position, should you start slacking. Commit to becoming a thought leader in the thing you love doing.

Find your social platform.

The biggest problem most people make right out the gate is they rush into building a website for themselves, or spend hours trying to come up with how they are going to brand themselves. None of it matters. Not yet. What matters is that you start owning your craft, and providing value to people in the public domain.

Everything stems from there. Find a platform that suits your interest, and start creating the best content you possibly can. Chef? Make foodie videos on Instagram. Motivational speaker? Facebook video your face off. Digital marketing specialist? Then why aren’t I in your funnel yet?

Build your website/email list.

Once you have a significant following on social media it’s time to build your website. Your website should be the ultimate value-add to readers. You attract their attention on social media, and you give them all the value in the world on your website.

A win/win here is for you to offer specialised content in exchange for their email–a free download, a trial code to a program, etc. Something that will provide them value, and give you the ability to give them even more value over the long term.

Know your audience.

Everything starts with your audience. Find out as much as you can about them. This includes standard demographic data such as what jobs they do, how much they earn and where they live. Equally, if not, more importantly, you need to know what their beliefs and values are, their hopes and dreams and the challenges they are facing.

Talk to your audience.

Take them out for a coffee or set up a Skype call. Study them by reading what they’re saying on relevant social media, forums and review sites.

Is your audience more interested in quality or value? What’s more important to them, making a difference or making money? What public figures do they admire?

How much does your audience know about what you can offer them? Will you need to educate them for them to appreciate your value?

Hone your uniqueness.

Maybe you can do something highly useful that very few people can do. Well, that’s your unique quality, and you should tell your audience about it.

But perhaps there are plenty of people who do what you do, and you’ll be competing for the same audience. Being able to demonstrate a point of uniqueness is your key to success in a competitive market.

The most obvious point of uniqueness is to be the best. There are many ways of being the best. Find out which way plays to your strengths. Are you the most experienced, most creative, most efficient? Do you excel at customer service?

If you can’t be the best in some way, becoming more specialised can make you unique. For example, instead of offering a marketing service to small business owners in general, you could offer a marketing service targeted at chiropractors.

Launch your own products.

The incentive for launching your own products, far more than monetarily, is the credibility it gives you. Today’s business cards are books, courses and products which speak on behalf of you and your knowledge. These are intended to open doors to other thought leaders in your industry, and tangential industries, so that you can continue building your social followings, collaborating, and engaging with new influencers and their audiences.

Expert tips

Katie Bressack

“It takes time, energy and focus to truly create a personal brand,” said Katie Bressack, health coach, corporate wellness consultant and American Express OPEN CEO BootCamp Ambassador. “Entrepreneurs must not only become experts in a particular field or subject; they must also be able to sell themselves by creating their own unique value. Rachael Ray was always a great cook, but her real success started when she took things to the next level and let her personality shine through her craft.”

Identify what sets you apart. Ask yourself how you want to be viewed by your employees, customers, investors, and partners, both as a person and as the leader of your company, Kraus said. List the values you believe in and want to represent, and prioritize the ones that align best with your company’s brand values. You should also create a list of the things you do well and know a lot about, which can be used to position yourself as an expert in your field.

Figure out what makes you relatable. Whether it’s your sense of humour, your engaging storytelling, or your compassion and empathy, identify the qualities you have that cause people to gravitate toward you. Kraus noted that this ability to connect with others creates a bridge between your values and expertise and your company’s brand.  

Master your message. The first two steps can be used to help you sit down and refine the main message of your personal brand. If you dive into an opportunity such as a speaking gig or a press interview without doing this, you’re going to falter. While you might want to seize the chance to get your name out there, taking time to master your message and fully develop a memorable experience for your client or customer pays dividends in the long run.”

 

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