Four secrets to outstanding personal branding

We’re used to the concept of branding when it comes to businesses. But what about people? Discover four secrets to getting your personal brand right. 

Before you can build a personal brand, you need to know what one is. Put simply, your ‘brand’ is your personality; it’s what people think of you and remember you for. 

Or, as Amazon founder Jeff Bezos puts it, your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.

So now you know what a personal brand is, how can you build your own? To help you, here are four secrets to creating an outstanding personal brand. 

1) Identify what you want to be known for

The first step to creating an outstanding personal brand is to actually identify what is is you want to be known for. What DO you want people to say about you when you’re not in the room?

For example, do you want to be seen as knowledgable in your field? As a maverick thought leader? An inspiring speaker? A wise, thoughtful thinker?

By identifying the qualities you want to be recognised for you can start to take actions to give that impression and cultivate the right reputation. 

2) Find your platforms

In order to build a personal brand, people need to encounter you. This can be face to face, or it can take place online. So think where you will find the people you wish to impress. 

Can you attend networking events or conventions in your industry? Is there an opportunity to build a reputation via the media? Could you start a blog? And do you have a social media presence? 

When identifying where you can build your brand, it’s important to research where the people you want to notice you spend time. For example, it’s no good investing time growing a following on Instagram if the people who are important to you are active on LinkedIn. 

So make sure you research where you need to be before building your brand. And remember that you have limited time and energy, so don’t get too ambitious here. 

It’s far better to build a bigger profile and reach more people on one platform with consistent posting and engaging than make a much smaller impact on more because you don’t have the time. So don’t spread yourself too thinly – think quality not quantity. 

3) Work out your message

So now you know what you want to be known for, and where you want to build your personal brand. The next step is to work out exactly what you want to say and share. 

There are a couple of key words to bear in mind when working out what message to share: interesting and useful. Remember you want to build a positive impression with other people, so it’s important to think about what they want to hear and learn in relation to what you do. 

If you make sure that everything you say and share is either interesting or useful (or preferably both) to the people you want to impress, you’ll go a long way in building the right personal brand. 

For example, if you want to be known for interview coaching, the people you want to reach and build a relationship with could be professionals interested in career development. And you might decide to build your brand on LinkedIn. 

In which case, you could share your own advice on how to succeed in interviews, as well as mistakes to avoid. You can share case studies of people you have helped. And curate and share articles and advice you find by other people that could be helpful to them. 

Your core message in this case is ‘I know a lot about how to succeed in interviews and I like sharing my expertise and helping people’. People will hopefully see you in a positive light, and approach you if they need help, or recommend you to others. 

4) Be generous

Our final secret to building an outstanding brand is simple: be generous. Share your advice. Reply to people to comment on your posts or blog. And help others before asking for help back.

Remember the 80:20 rule in social media and other social interactions. That is to ensure that 80% of your interactions and posts should be helping others. And when you have built a bank of goodwill from those interactions, the final 20% can be ‘self interest’. Basically this means posts or interactions that benefit you.

So, for example, if you were an interview coach on LinkedIn, your 20% of self interest posts might be sharing your services, sharing a case study or testimonial, or any promotional post or content. If you’ve got the balance right and build a positive brand with your content, people won’t mind promotional posts and may even decide to take up your services. 

Photo by Christina