15 Ways to Build Your Personal Brand

Your personal brand is what gets you noticed and helps you monetize your know-how. Personal brands are powerful but they take effort to build. The good news is, once your personal brand is established it’s generally extremely resilient and makes future monetization efforts much simpler and more effective.

How to develop your online brand

  1. Start. If you don’t already use social media, start. Create a Facebook or a Twitter profile and/or an Instagram or Pinterest account if your content is more visual. Make your profiles noticeable and make sure you post to them on a regular basis. You can use a service like Buffer to schedule your posts.
  2. Focus, don’t spray. Imagine your ideal customer and focus on producing content for that individual. Rather than create generic content, focus on a niche. Aim to be a big fish in a small pond. Be particular about the topics you cover.
  3. Produce content consistently. If you do this, you’ll be ahead of many experts. Choose a platform that best reflects your brand – it can be WordPress if your content is mostly text-based, or Tumblr/Instagram if you post more images than text posts. You can, of course, market yourself through a YouTube channel if your content is primarily videos. Once you choose a platform, make sure to post on a regular basis – daily, weekly or otherwise. It is, of course, better to post on a daily basis – whether it’s a Facebook post, or a tweet, or a full blog post. It’s best to be noticed on a daily basis than to disappear into the abyss of the Internet and have your personal brand forgotten entirely.
  4. Stay unique. The clue is in the name. Building your personal brand means being personal and being true to your personality. Don’t make the mistake of trying to be like someone else. Your audience can smell a fake. If you’re not naturally extrovert, don’t force it. Find your natural persona and make it part of your brand. Over time, as your brand and business grows, your personal style may also change and such organic change is fine and to be expected.
  5. Make it personal. You are the most important part of your brand. Make your readers relate to you through personal stories that you tell. Stories inject personality into your brand but they also help build credibility. You’ve lived what you’re talking about. You have first-hand experience of the things you’re sharing with your target audience. The insightful James Altucher, author of Choose Yourself, is excellent at this. His posts always include deeply personal insights and experiences that makes you believe you are listening to someone who has lived his own advice.
  6. Network. Get in touch with fellow bloggers via “likes”, comments and guest post requests, for example. Not only is this an excellent way of getting noticed and building a reputation, it is also a good way to learn from your peers. Listen to them and make note on how the interactions have influenced your rates. Seeing what works and what doesn’t via these interactions would be a great way to move forward and develop.
  7. Give. Learn about your target audience. What are the most pressing problems they’re facing today? Can you help solve them? If so, produce your solution and share it with prospects. Forget about making a sale and just focus on serving your intended market. There will be plenty of opportunities to monetize down the line. For now, serve and build an audience of fans.
  8. Share. Sharing also applies to other people’s content – you can do that on the days where you just can’t write a single word, for example. Boosting up ratings of another blogger is also an investment in your goodwill. People would see that you’re willing to share their content, and perhaps they’ll one day offer to share yours too. Building relationships is very important – every brand needs connections.
  9. Stay positive. A blog of an expert content creator has no place for negative content or badmouthing other bloggers. People come onto your blog to learn something or to fix a problem, not to invite more negativity into their lives. Don’t let negativity or excessive criticism become part of your personal brand.
  10. Teach. Chances are you have learned a lot in your life, so use your personal brand to teach others. Telling a story is, as we stated earlier, an excellent way to do so – whether what you’re teaching is fundraising for non-profits or how to start a thriving café business.
  11. Learn. People come to your blog to learn, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t learn from other bloggers too. The more you grow, the more you learn, not just from the Internet, but also from your real-life experiences. Make time to learn from books; videos and other experts. Then share what you’ve learned with your tribe.
  12. Be original. Originality is a significant part of your personal brand. Learning is wonderful, but don’t imitate – it is not the sincerest form of flattery where personal branding is concerned. Make your voice heard, not recycle others’. Your voice can be dorky or quirky – no matter, people will love it. Make it a part of your brand.
  13. Find a guide. Mentors can be a genuine source of help to a developing personal brand. They’ve done this before, so they’ll only be too happy to share their successes, pitfalls and tips on how to avoid them. If you don’t have someone to call a mentor you can rely on books. 200-500 books/articles is close to a good mentor.
  14. Make mistakes. No content is perfect, so don’t try to make to be. You are going to have bad days and say things you shouldn’t have and do things you’re not proud of. Don’t try to sweep it under the rug. Instead, use it as a learning experience and don’t be afraid to apologise. It will make your brand more compelling. Mistakes are a sign that someone tried to achieve something. If you want to be successful, make more mistakes, faster. The trick is not to make the same mistake twice.
  15. Make time to share your expertise. Talk to your tribe. Initiate and participate in discussions on Twitter. Share your know-how. Be available for interviews. Help others. The more you help others the faster you can grow your brand and the more powerful, fun and rewarding your network becomes.

Takeaway points

  1. Find a niche and a platform that works for you. Don’t feel obliged to be on all platforms. Choose one you’re comfortable with and master that.
  2. Stay true to yourself and your brand. Do your work, be yourself. A third of people will hate it; a third will be indifferent; a third will love it.
  3. Build your own network by reaching out to others; sharing information; continually learning and giving more than you take.

Action steps

  1. Choose your platform and develop a content schedule for posting high-value content that serves your target audience.
  2. Consider starting your own podcast or producing video content. Audio and video allow you to create large amounts of content in relatively little time compared with writing.
  3. Develop your signature product, e.g. develop a course or write a book.

Photo credit: Image Catalog via Flickr.com / CC0 1.0

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