A 101 Guide To Building Your Personal Brand

building your personal brand

Building your personal brand is how you make your presence known. Companies like Coca Cola, McDonald’s, and Apple have well-known brands that are popular around the world, but branding isn’t just for companies these days.

Developing and building your personal brand is an important part of deciding how you want to be known in your workplace, industry and life. Below are four important steps you can take to start building your personal brand today.

Key Elements When Building Your Personal Brand

Define Your Goals

Each person’s reasons for creating a personal brand are different. Start by deciding why it’s important to you, whether it’s snagging better job opportunities, better contacts for a company you’re building, recognition in your industry, or a stronger professional network. Once you know what kinds of goals you’re pursuing, you’ll have a better idea how to move forward with building the kind of personal brand you want to create.

Ideally, your personal brand should be closely tied to your personal vision for your life. Only you can decide what you want to get out of your life. While your future isn’t guaranteed to progress exactly the way you want, the only way to get close to your goals is to know where you’re going and why.

Identify Your Values and Passions

That said, the purpose of a personal brand isn’t to create a character that you feel you have to play for your entire life. Rather, you want to create a platform by which you are able to express the real you successfully. To do this, start by identifying your key values and passions. Some common values are family, ambition, community-building and giving. List what’s important to you and prioritize each value you’ve highlighted.

Next, look at your passions. What do you love to do? What makes you want to get out of bed and seize the day? What causes are close to your heart? If you’re like most people, you have both personal and professional passions. Bringing your passions and values together will help you decide what kind of a person you want to be and help lay the groundwork for your personal brand.

Review Your Social Media Presence

For the purposes of your personal brand, you should consider everything about you that’s online to be public knowledge. As a result, it’s a good idea to review and edit your social media presence to make sure it lines up with the way you want to present yourself. For example, when building your personal brand, if you’re trying to portray yourself as a professional, corporate go-getter, you’ll likely want to remove pictures of drunk college parties or expletive-filled rants about sporting events.

However, the strict corporate image isn’t the only personal brand identity available. If you’re looking to brand yourself as a rebel or an innovator, make sure your social media presence is consistent with these images. Think about who you want to be in the world, and bring your online identity in line with it.

Here are a few of the social presence elements you’ll want to consider:

  • Decide on which social networks you should participate. If the demographics of one site’s audience are better suited to help you achieve your goals, focus your efforts there.
  • Pay careful attention to the images you use. Not only should your pictures reflect the kind of personality you’re trying to convey with your brand, they should be used consistently across all your different online accounts to create a cohesive image.
  • Maintain standards of quality. Sharing the content of others is a great way to get your personal brand noticed by influencers, but only if you share high-quality content. Since everything you put forth to the public can be considered part of your personal brand, be extra careful before hitting the “Publish” button.

Gain Exposure

The last step in building your personal brand is to find ways to get exposure. And you’re in luck — there are plenty of different ways to do this. Outreach is a great place to start. Have a personal website, blog, and social media presence where you share your vision and passion with the world. Reach out to those who share your interests and make friends with influencers who can help share your brand with their followers.

You can also make an effort to connect offline. Join professional organizations, attend local business and community events, or meet-up with a recreational sports team in your area. Remember, you can’t just sit back and hope your personal brand will get noticed — you need to make it happen.

Another way to gain exposure is to earn press coverage. Tim Ferriss, who’s built an incredible personal brand over the past decade, has several great ideas on building local and national press coverage. Yes, all of these activities will take some effort, but the payoff for your brand and the opportunities that result can be incredible.

Building your personal brand isn’t about pretending to be someone you’re not. It’s about knowing who you truly are and putting yourself forward in the world as that person. Do this intentionally with an eye towards gaining more opportunities and achieving your overall vision for your life. It will help you build the kind of powerful, personal brand that helps you achieve more than you ever thought possible.

Brand Photo via Shutterstock

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Sujan Patel Sujan Patel has championed Internet marketing and entrepreneurship for over a decade. His experience, ideas, and strategies have helped hundreds of companies build and strengthen their businesses online. Sujan is the VP of Marketing at thisCLICKS, the makers of When I Work — an employee scheduling software solution for small businesses.

10 Reactions
  1. Felix L. Griffin

    Love “Identify Your Values and Passions”. Key to branding, know who you are and who your audience is. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thank you Sujan.

    I have recently come across a few hugely successful entrepreneurs who actually merge their professional and personal concerns into a single, unified brand. That approach, and the brands of those particular entrepreneurs, really resonate with me. There’s something very honest about it all. I don’t know much about Timothy Ferrriss, but my impression is that he has one integrated brand.

    Do you have an opinion about maintaining a personal and business brand v. a single unified presence?

    • Hi Andrea,

      I think either way works just fine. Personally, I keep my Twitter account strictly related to business and my Facebook page full of my adventures. Although, I will occasionally put my articles and business news on Facebook – that’s part of the adventure! Like I said above – What causes are close to your heart? You have both personal and professional passions. 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

  3. Great advice regarding knowing your values and principles. Then you know explicitly what it means to “be yourself” in any situation and don’t drift away from that when on a different platform. You’re you all the time.

  4. Really nice tips. I think the last part is so important that a brand will not be able to live without it. It is one thing to create a brand but it is another thing to promote it. However, a brand will not live without some promotion.

  5. I completely agree with your view on social media. In today’s world, it is so difficult to keep anything private, especially when everything’s online. But it is so important to edit and clean up your personal social media image in order to stay in a professional light. So many people say they refrain from using social media because they want to steer clear of negativity shed on them, however, I think it is even more beneficial if those comments are paid attention to. That way, you can improve upon yourself/your business and use constructive criticism to become better than you were.

  6. Gracie Crockett

    Great article! Is time it will take me to learn to blog, worth it to my business or would I be better to hire someone to blog for me?