How to Build Your Personal Brand
Whether you’re looking for a job or trying to find more consulting gigs, your personal brand is what will help you show your stuff. Get in front of as many people with your expertise to establish yourself.
It may seem strange to consider yourself a brand, but you are. If you’re looking for a new job, you’re trying to sell yourself for the job. If you’re a consultant or freelancer, you’re trying to get new gigs based on what you know and what you’ve done. This is all personal brand.
Personal branding is all about your expertise. You likely know a lot about your field, and enjoy talking to people about what you do. Take a moment for this exercise: in three minutes, make a list of as many topics you could speak on or write about. You’ll use this list for these activities.
What Your Brand Is
You may provide services to clients, but they’re buying into you rather than the services. It’s you who sell them on how good your work is. So your branding is wherever you send a message:
- What makes you different from your competitors?
- What qualities do you bring to a job or gig?
- What words do you want to evoke when people think of you?
- How do you maintain your brand?
If you want to be known as a serious freelance writer focusing on the medical device industry, then you need to be known in that space. If you bring innovative ideas to a project, be able to highlight examples in your work history. If you want to be warm, personable and eager to answer questions, do that in the channels listed above.
Blogs are a great platform for showing off your expertise. Remember that list of topics you wrote out earlier? This is a great place to start with ideas for your blog. Think about things that potential customers want to know and answer them on the blog.
Get a voice for your blog and make it consistent. If you are very formal in your writing, don’t throw in a casual post. Mix your types of posts: include some video blogs, how-tos, top 10 lists, and so on.
Become the Social Media Expert
Chances are, there are others who do what you do on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, so find them and see what they are not doing on these sites. If you are an accountant, set up your Twitter profile to give free tax advice. If you’re a writer, offer a free edit to anyone who likes your Facebook Page. Find unique ways to use social media to brand yourself.
Update regularly; daily if possible. Share links to both your blog posts and other blog posts that you find relevant. Ask questions of followers to engage them. Add more contacts that fit your target audience.
Network Face to Face
Don’t leave all your personal branding to online efforts. Attend networking events and conferences to create dialogue with people in person. If you’re passionate about what you do, you’ll see how easy it is to talk about what you do with someone who may end up becoming a customer or referring one to you.
Remember that the first impression many people have of your brand is your website. Make sure it’s professional looking and includes wording that is consistent with the image you want for your personal brand. Mention the services you offer, and stick to what you do best. By offering too many services, you dilute your brand and confuse potential customers about what you really do.