Why are some people and brands so prevalent everywhere you look? They seem to be creating great products and doing exciting work – and we mere mortals can’t help but want to tune in and pay attention. This is the work of an expertly crafted personal branding strategy to build up the authority of key influencers in a given space. We’ve found that people want to relate to other people, not necessarily to the products and services that they offer. That’s why true personal branding is about crafting a story that you want others to engage with, and then telling people that story in a way that impacts them the most.
A study by Upwork shows why personal branding is so important for business owners and operators. They found that Elon Musk has more Twitter followers than 3 of his companies combined. This is true for Richard Branson (Virgin), Arianna Huffington (Thrive Global), Gary Vaynerchuck (VaynerMedia), and countless other highly successful entrepreneurs. These superstars know that we want to engage with real people, not a company’s ads about how good their products are.
Investing time to build your personal brand is rewarding on so many levels. As the saying goes; a rising tide lifts all boats – by creating a strong personal brand, you promote all your ventures at the same time.
Here’s how you can build your personal brand
1. Focus on authenticity and authority
Your personal brand only works when it’s built around your own personal values. These values become the pillars of your projects, business and interactions. When you’re authentic; people start to respond because they empathise with your beliefs. Authority is how credible you are. It builds trust and respect, and allows you to become an expert thought leader in your field. People want answers, and they want it from experts – so put out high quality content and showcase your values to build strong authority and authenticity.
2. Promote your value offering
What are you giving people at their core? I’m not talking about your products and services – what do people take away on an emotional level from seeing and hearing you? We tend to get carried away in talking about all the ‘features’ that we’re offering people, and we forget about the ‘benefits’ that we bring to their lives. Think of it this way; if you’re a gardener, you’re not just mowing someone’s lawn – you’re giving them the confidence and pride that comes from an immaculately presented house.
Don’t know what your value offering is? Think of the positive impact you have on people's lives – that’s your real value offering.
3. Build your platform
There’s no shortage of platforms for you to dig into. Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn are a must for your personal brand. Be sure to be active on those platforms and share content that is ‘native’ to them. This means that you shouldn’t copy and past your messages across each platform – you should tailor your messages to suit each platform individually. Reach people the way that they want to be reached and be sure to make content that’s appropriate for each individual platform.
4. Consistently publish content
The only way to build and grow your platform is to keep putting out quality content. It’s important to draft a ‘content calendar’ that organises your posts for each month. This way you can see what type of content is getting the most attention, and then focus more time into making more content like it. When you have more content out there, there’s a higher chance people will discover you – but, be sure to balance your quantity of content with the quality; especially if you want to build a personal brand that showcases your expertise and thought leadership.
5. Build your network
Networks are crucial. Build a strong network through in-person and online interactions by attending events, seminars, meet-up group; and a strong online presence by publishing content on your own social media platforms like: blogs, interviews, research, tips and other insights.
Other online tactics include:
Joining online forums that discuss topics in your niche
Answering questions on Quora
Sending some of your best blogs to popular websites to use as a guest post
What a strong personal brand means
Simply put, a strong personal brand gives you more clients, income and options. It's a springboard that gets you more reach, attention and sales for your products and services. It helps you reach a tribe of people who have the same needs, wants and values – and who look to you to fulfil them. A strong personal brand evokes trust and authority, while also being enticing enough for people to want to engage with – it really is an art and a science.