Personal Branding: Key Steps (Part II)

Although building a relationship with a personal brand takes less time and effort as compared to a business brand, there are a lot of similarities between a personal brand and a business brand. Both brands reflect who you are, your core beliefs and values as well as how you express your ideals. A personal brand helps highlight a unique identity, and provides clear value to customers and potential employers. Similarly, a business brand helps communicate business value to customers and stand out against competition, i.e. it helps expose one’s uniqueness in the market. Despite these similarities, personal branding still requires a special approach. Here is the second part of the list of key steps posted last week:

Read Personal Branding: Key Steps (Part I)

Step 6: Know your niche. Paradoxically, your personal brand is not 100% about you, argues Melody Wilding, an executive coach. She claims that it is also about delivering value to other people. You need to understand what needs other people have and be able to solve their problems. In other words, you need to serve a specific group of people or a specific problem, i.e. you need to serve your brand niche. If you have difficulties with figuring out your niche, you should talk to people to find out their needs and problems. In Wilding’s opinion, the best way to get to know your target audience is to do some research on them and talk to them directly.  

Step 7: Highlight your experience. The Internet is full of competing marketing messages, and as consumers are more sceptical and critical, their reach is limited. To better reach your target audience, you should highlight some tangible results of your work. People are more likely to hear you out if you provide them with evidence that you know what you are talking about. If you do not have enough work experience yet, you should try to gain it as quickly as you can. If needed, do some work for free. Take any opportunity to gain experience that you can get as it will pay you off in the future.  

Step 8: Have a solid personal website. Although any link to your guest post gives you exposure, what is even more useful for your personal brand is a link to your personal website with all your content, work experience, services and customer testimonials. Not only does your personal website attract attention, but it also gives others the opportunity to actually work with you. With the right content strategy, you can achieve several things:

  • attract followers by sharing interesting insights;  
  • use your blog to generate leads, gain more exposure online and close more deals;
  • establish yourself as a thought leader over time. 

Step 9: Build a community. Although attracting a lot of followers may seem impressive, it does not bring any real value if no one engages with you. If you want to generate business and differentiate yourself in the market, you should try to build a community where people can talk to you or each other and help each other out if needed. To begin with, you can: 

  • set up a Facebook or LinkedIn group, where people can start threads on topics that interest them, and you should also initiate conversations from time to time;
  • meet with people face to face – either one-on-one or in larger groups;
  • arrange webinars so that you can meet your audience, share your expertise and provide a shared learning experience. 

Step 10: Focus on networking. Effective personal brand building requires constant networking so you can expand your professional contacts. Try to participate in as many formal and informal networking events as you can, and use it as an opportunity to meet not only your peers but also thought leaders in your industry. “The more connections you build and the more value you can deliver in your encounters, the more likely your personal brand will become known,” argues Keith Peterson, an IT marketing specialist. Since it is estimated that networking leads to 85% of all job openings, not only will regular attendance at industry events help your personal brand, but it will also advance your career. To take more advantage of these events, show more initiative. For example, ask your peers for an educational interview or a casual coffee talk after the event; or send an e-mail or a LinkedIn message to start a conversation if you cannot meet your peer face to face. 

References:  Tyler Basu, | Keith Peterson, | Melody Wilding, | Chase Neely, | Steven Li, | Casey Botticello,