We all want to be somebody, we all want to be known for something, and we all want to have strong personal branding. That is the aim of many people in life. They want to figure out what they’re good at so other people and businesses can know them for it.
If you want to be known for something and leave your mark on the world, you need to create a personal brand. Your personal brand will be how people view you and the impression you leave.
In this article, I will cover everything you need to know about personal branding and how to build your personal brand in 2021.
What is personal branding?
Personal branding doesn’t start with a strategy. It starts with you finding your passion and mission in life. It combines your skills, work experience, interests, and personal life experiences that have made you the person you are.
The process of personal branding is an ongoing process as you have to keep working on it to maintain as well as improve your brand and reputation. It is the process of you telling your unique story, way of life, and reason to live, so people can have a novel impression of you. The Japanese have a strong word for it, ikigai.
The ikigai is a Japanese term that does not have an exact translation into English; however, a rather special meaning is attributed to it: “to have a reason to live”.
Experts point out that it is not a lifestyle and that rather it is something ‘quite practical’. It’s what promotes your qualities and uniqueness as an individual that differentiates you from everybody else in your domain.
The value of personal branding
You may be wondering how the process of personal branding can help you and add value to your life. Well, you don’t need to listen to me here. Here are some statistics that will prove why personal branding is so valuable:
- Businesses require HR departments to spend 75% of their time hunting applicants online.
- 85% of recruiters in the U.S say that an employee’s online presence and reputation influences their hiring decisions.
- 92% of people trust the recommendations of other people rather than brands.
- Content shared by personal brands receives eight times more engagement than content shared by a brand.
- On average, the employees of a company have ten times more followers than their company’s social media platforms.
Personal branding can help you land a job contract, promoting your business, product, or service, as it provides you with a group of people or community that trust you. That is why people these days trust micro-influencers more than they trust brands and celebrities.
Of course, consistency is vital when it comes to personal branding. It takes 5 to 7 impressions before someone can remember a brand. So, if you put this into practice and become consistent with your work, you have the power to change the world.
How to build your personal brand In the digital age
The process of building a strong personal branding can be overwhelming. Not everyone who has taken this path has been successful. That is why it is essential to employ the correct strategies and be consistent. Based on many experts I have consulted in the matter, hereabouts some of the best ways you can take to build your personal brand effectively:
1. Find your purpose and passion
Many of us struggle to find our passion in life, and that is often why many of us fail. Passion provides a purpose, and purpose adds meaning to life. It drives us to do better in what we do and make us strive towards something more. You can only share your experiences and skills once you have found them.
If you are completely lost and don’t know where to start, then here are some questions you can start asking yourself:
- What do you think you are good at?
- What do other people think you are good at?
- What type of work environment do you enjoy or prefer?
- Is there anything that feels effortless and natural to you?
- What are your core beliefs and values?
- What is something you are willing to struggle for?
Once you have answered these questions, you will get a much clearer picture of where you stand. It will help you understand your skills and what drives you forward.
You can then make a list of many things you are good at that you can use to make money. Passion will help you understand all this, but you need to put it into practice to create a personal brand first. That brings us to our next point.
2. Come up with your personal brand statement
A personal brand statement is your “catchphrase”, your “motto”. It captures your essence in a line and tells the audience who you are. Of course, creating a personal brand statement is not easy. So, here are some steps you can follow to create a unique one for yourself:
- List down your good qualities and attributes.
- Target a particular audience.
- Make it memorable.
- Be honest about yourself.
- Make your self-impression match how other people view you.
All tremendous personal brands are concise and tell people their skills in an exciting way. If you don’t know where to start, then here is some inspiration to help your creative juices flowing.
3. Build a powerful online presence
It is time to put all that work and strategizing to practice to build a strong online presence for yourself. Before you start registering yourself on an online platform, here are some notions to take into consideration before introducing yourself online:
- Outline your personal brand.
- Short and long-term personal branding goals.
- Your skills, qualities, talents, and experience.
- What you have accomplished so far.
Once you have all that, it is time to start working on your online presence. The first part of this is to have a personal website and a few professional social media profiles.
As a rule of thumb, you should at least have ten to twelve professional profiles to curate key search results on Google. After all, visibility is everything.
Here are some platforms where you can build your professional profiles:
- Your website
These platforms are the online real estate where you need to build your presence if you want to build your personal branding and brand visibility. However, the work doesn’t stop there. You have to optimize these profiles, too, so you can get the most out of them.
To optimize them, you’ll need to use your full name and be consistent with it on every profile. You also need to complete the profiles and fill them out entirely. Many people make the mistake of leaving some information incomplete, and that often affects their visibility.
However, the most important element you should make use of is to add relevant keywords related to your field. Always include appropriate keywords in your meta-data so that you are visible to the right community of people (target group).
4. Creating high quality content
Now that you have all your online platforms in place, it is time to start creating engaging content. However, your main aim with your content should be to focus on a niche (topic).
Creating niche-related content will help you develop a strong brand as well as building a strong reputation and trust from your community. Doing so will automatically increase your visibility.
For example, if you want to be known for your photography skills, then you can curate a variety of posts on the following topics:
- How to use different platforms to edit photos.
- Best camera for professional photography.
- How to add effects to pictures.
- Using lightning to your advantage.
- Best photo editing software for photographers.
Of course, there are endless topics for any niche, but you get the gist of the path you need to follow. At first, you should create general content in your niche and take feedback from your viewers. Once they provide you feedback, you can improve and adapt your content to provide your viewers with what they want.
Your posts should be informational, engaging, optimized, and should have some visuals such as infographics or video as this can help to improve your website’s traffic by 12%. Posts with infographics get 72% more views than posts without. Here are some other statistics of why you should use visual elements in your posts.
5. Never underestimate the power of strong networking
If you want to be successful in your field, you need to know and engage with your community. Having such people will both support your work, provide you with feedback, and help you increase your visibility through referrals, email, and social media marketing, all of which will automatically be increasing your visibility in the digital realm.
Have a personal branding strategy for networking is another important element you need to take into consideration. You shouldn’t limit this to face-to-face interactions as you should utilize the power of online connections too.
Reach out to other people in your community through forums, chats, social media groups, and help them solve their queries or problems. Sometimes, just sending a nice appreciative message can go a long way when it comes to building a connection.
To build real connections online, you will have to put some effort into building your website DA (domain authority). For this, you will have to focus your efforts on guest blogging, backlink generation, and SEO. If you don’t focus on DA while building your personal brand, people and businesses will not be able to easily find and trust you online.
The most important aspect of this is to get backlinks for your blogs. The process is known as link building, and it improves your ranking. You can only get backlinks if you network right. Here are some ways you can employ to get backlinks and boost your SEO and DA for your website.
6. Always be authentic
With the increasing power of social media, there are cameras everywhere. Even a small slip can be captured, go viral, and ruin your reputation. That is the curse that comes with social media.
That’s why it is crucial to be yourself and stay authentic on your personal branding journey. As humans, we are fragile and vulnerable. However, many people on social media don’t show this side of themselves. No one wants to appear weak.
The only problem with this is that people love it when the influencers or brand they look up to are real and sow their vulnerability. That is why you need to keep it real with your audience. They will admire you for it as they will be able to relate to you and see you as more than just a brand.
Finally, this is where the power of storytelling comes in. Stay authentic and tell your story to the world. Your story will allow you to stay unique. You can see this strategy being utilized by many successful brands such as Nike.
Nike for instance uses the power of storytelling to advertise its products, a strategy that has been providing such a success for many brands in the marketing world. Everyone loves a good story because people can connect and relate to it. It incites emotions, and it is much powerful than many other marketing tactics.
Don’t believe me? Here are 11 successful brands that use the power of storytelling to engage their audience. You can use this strategy for your brand too.
7. Consistency is key
Many of you who know me have called me Mr. Consistency, and for a good reason as I can never stress enough the importance of consistency when building a brand online.
None of the above-mentioned tactics will work overnight. You will have to be willing to put in the effort for some time before seeing fruitful results. No personal or business brand has become successful overnight.
Successful people and businesses have worked day and night and kept applying and testing different strategies to get where they are today. Continue implementing all the above-discussed tactics for your audience to see your consistency as well. Consistency is the key to success!
Without consistency, your audience will lose interest in you because you will appear indecisive or all over the place without a straight focus. To stay consistent, you need to state some short and long-term goals. You can review these goals from time to time and tweak your strategies accordingly.
Accountability is just as important as staying on track with your goals. Keep reviewing them on a monthly basis so that you can track your progress and change your personal branding strategy accordingly.
8. Align your personal brand with your core values
Last but not least, your personal brand should be in alignment with your personal values. Keep taking a look back at your personal brand statement and evaluate if you still have the same values. As your values change, your strategy and mission statement should change as well.
However, it is essential to be consistent with it. Always wear your values and beliefs on your sleeve and keep your statement memorable. Such consistency and alignment will keep your audience engaged for a long time.
In the end, you are your brand. That is why you should always be yourself and be authentic in whatever you are doing. Your audience will love you for who you are. Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put in any effort in improving yourself and your personal branding.
You need to come up with strategies and then be consistent with those strategies to get the results that you want. Think of the impression you want to leave and how you want people to remember you.