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.
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