The A to Z guide to personal branding

Your personal brand is what people say about you when you are not around. It is how the world sees you. It is your reputation. It is who you are. It is what you value. It is your unique perspective on the world.

In today’s digital age, personal branding is not optional.

A powerful personal brand has its benefits. You can take control of your online identity and influence the perception other people have about you. It can help you to attract opportunities such as a promotion, a new job, a new client, or a new speaking opportunity.

By establishing yourself as an expert on certain topics, you can become a “go-to” source of information. Creating your successful personal brand will require time and effort but it doesn’t have to be difficult.

It starts with understanding and mastering the fundamentals.

Here is your A to Z guide to personal branding:

Accountable

Personal branding is your individual responsibility. That is why it is called personal. No one should manage your brand but you. We are all chief executive officers (CEOs) of our own companies and our job is to be the chief marketing officer (CMO) of the brand called you.

Balance

In today’s age, it is important to distinguish between your personal and professional brand by understanding your audience. One of the easiest ways to balance personal and professional is through your bio. For example, your bio on LinkedIn will be different than your bio on Facebook. Most likely, some of your followers will track down all your social media accounts so it is up to you on who you “let in” into your social networks by accepting or ignoring their connection requests. It is critical to balance your personal and professional brand to make sure that your digital body language is what you want others to know.

Content

It is important to create compelling, entertaining and helpful content through your blog and/or submitting content as a guest contributor to other publications/blogs. By providing a consistent amount of content over time, you will earn a reputation as an expert on the content you publish.

Delete

Think of the Internet as a copy machine. It is easy to replicate but tough to delete. For example, social media platforms like Twitter are easy to delete while others like Pinterest are impossible. If you don’t like what you see online, you need to act using tools like justdelete.me.

Elevator Pitch

If you were in the elevator with your future boss or the CEO of your company, could you tell that person who you are in 30 seconds or less? That is your elevator pitch. Learn how to quickly develop your elevator pitch.

Fad

Is personal branding a fad? Nope. Look at the growth of the words “personal brand” in Google Trends from 2004 to the present. In a survey of hiring managers, 56 percent of them admit candidates that have a personal website are highly impressive. To beat your competition and find that dream job, you need to have a strong personal brand. Your current company should be helping your build that personal brand or you should think about leaving that company for that one that will. According to Fast Company, personal branding is essential to career success.

Generous

Expressing gratitude and generosity are qualities that make people remember you. Being noticed is critical in building your personal brand. By being generous, you build goodwill and are associated with positive feelings. This will help you open the door to new opportunities and experiences.

Habit

A habit is doing something that you don’t have to think about it. There are good habits and bad habits. Make sure you cultivate good habits like exercise, helping others, being proactive, and developing your leadership skills. Learn the 10 habits for building a personal brand.

Identity

Your personal brand helps you clearly and consistently define and communicate who you are. There are three key components of your personal brand identity: 1) who you are and what you do;  2) why you do it; 3) your tagline.

Job

Your brand will tell employers why you are a good fit for their company and how you can help them reach their business objectives. Your personal brand must shine in your resume, your cover letter and your online presence such as your LinkedIn profile or your personal website. Learn why your personal brand is essential for getting a job.

KISS

Keep it simple, stupid (KISS). If you understand a topic, you know how to explain it simply. People who have strong personal brands can communicate complex topics in simple terms. Learn the 10 ways use to KISS principle to simplify your life.

LinkedIn

If there one social media platform that you should be on to develop your personal brand, it is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is one of the most professional social media platforms of all the social media networks. LinkedIn demonstrates what you are all about and it shows others what your colleagues think about you in a professional way (think: recommendations and endorsements). Learn how to optimize your LinkedIn profile in 10 steps.

Manage

Your personal brand is changing daily as you learn and grow. It is important that you manage your personal brand like a company manages its company brand. As it evolves, it is important to keep tabs on it. It is important to do the tough work up front like crafting your elevator pitch and updating your LinkedIn profile so you can reap the rewards in the future. Learn why managing your personal brand is like being a scientist that fails 85 percent of the time in their quest to discover the right formula and breakthrough.

Name

Your name is powerful. It is the main thing that people ask for when they meet you. It is one of the most important means by which someone can identify and refer to you. It is something that we use every day but we don’t realize how important it is until someone misspells it or mispronounces it. It is one of the most unexploited tools in personal branding. If your name is common, it is more difficult to brand yourself so you may want to use your middle name (think Samuel L. Jackson, Michael J. Fox, Stephen A. Smith), your professional career (think @prsarahevans) and your significant other (think 14 best celebrity super couple nicknames).

Objectives

As part of personal branding 101, the overall goal with branding yourself is to differentiate yourself in the marketplace so you can attain your objectives. What are your objectives or goals? It is important to define those so you can better define yourself and how you are different. To be hired, you must first be found.

Proactive

Don’t wait for things to happen to you. It is critical to proactively manage your personal brand so you can control how the world sees you. The more active you are in managing your personal brand, the more control you have over your life. There are many things you can proactively do such as launch your blog, update your LinkedIn profile, create your bio, build your network, get a new headshot, update your personal website, or learn new skills.

Quarterly

Check-in on your personal brand and online identity, at least quarterly. It could be as simple as emailing your network quarterly. It is important to build a feedback loop with friends, family, colleagues, and others you trust so they are helping you polish and refine you and your personal brand.

Reputation

Do you Google yourself and find another person with your same name pops on the screen? If your answer to that question is “yes” then you will want to monitor and be proactive about your personal brand and online reputation. There are 10 key steps for creating a successful personal brand.

Storytelling

Storytelling is one of the most critical ways to make your personal brand shine and grab the attention of your audience, grow your network and build stronger relationships. It is one of the main components of good marketing. Remember, you are the CEO and CMO of the brand called you. Your storytelling abilities set the foundation for your brand and provide a strategy for future growth. Learn how to define your personal brand using storytelling.

Tools

There are many apps, websites, and tools that you can use to help you build your personal brand. Here are 10 free tools to help you develop your personal brand.

Unicorn

A unicorn is a legendary or mythical creature that has a horn coming out from its forehead. A unicorn person is someone who has very specific skills who can jump in without any training and work magic. To really differentiate yourself, it is critical to market yourself as a unicorn who delivers a lot of value and is rare.

Value

What can you offer in terms of your talents, skills, network, etc. that will add value to people’s lives? For example, are you asking the right questions during a discussion at work? Are you helping someone improve their LinkedIn profile? Are you helping someone find a job by using your network? Are you proofreading someone’s resume?

Warmth

With your personal brand, you shouldn’t over-emphasize your competence and skills and appear cold. To exert influence, it is important to balance competence with warmth.

Xenagogy

Xenagogy is a guidebook. You may want to read the complete guide to building your personal brand to learn more about personal branding.

You

Opportunities will find you when you have a strong personal brand. Your personal brand is about you and what you stand for: your values, your abilities, your skills, your network and your actions. What is the overall impression you want people to have of you? Create your personal brand statement to proactively address this upfront.

Zig Zag

To be different and differentiate yourself, it is critical to do the exact opposite everyone else does so you stand out. Learn the zig-zag method for catching attention and building credibility.

What are the letters of your personal brand?

What words would you add this A to Z list?

Advertisements