Personal Branding for Beginners: 6 Simple Steps
Jeff Bezos said, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” What are people saying about you? What's the impression you're creating? And that’s just in person. Then there’s the whole online persona. A lot of us are putting out a message we aren’t even aware of. Don’t believe me? Try Googling yourself. Like what you see? Well, I’ve got news for you. That’s your personal brand!
Most people we talk to, especially engineers or people in medical or tech-related careers, may not necessarily understand WHY a personal brand is important. But now think about that Jeff Bezos quote or what Google says about you and it quickly becomes apparent that a lot of us are either conveying the wrong message or reaching the wrong audience. Why not take control of that messaging by being deliberate about your personal brand? Here are some tips for beginners:
1. Begin with the end in mind: Know your end goal and work backwards. For example, say you want to be the next host of Top Chef. What? Who dis? You can now make sure your personal brand reflects that. People should get a solid idea of your interest or expertise on related topics such as food, world cuisine, the best restaurants in town, the fact that you obsessively consume every podcast and blog out there about Top Chef and write in to weigh in on every episode. (BravoTv, are you listening?!) Wait, this is going off the rails a bit, but you get the point!
2. Define your Value Proposition: Your value proposition is what value you deliver to your target audience. This is usually best done in 3’s and should include the What, Why, How, or even Who. For example, our value proposition at The 9to5 MisFits is "We help individuals and companies communicate their personal brand through the power of storytelling and video to build trust with their audience, grow their network, and boost sales."
What if you don’t know what your unique skills are? Ask and you shall receive. Ask your closest family, friends, and colleagues to pinpoint your biggest strengths. That’s usually a good start. But keep exploring and practicing.
For more info, check out this video.
3. Communicate your value prop to the right audience and through the following channels:
Ok, now that you have a stellar value proposition, it’s no use if you don’t actually communicate it through 2 major avenues -- IRL and URL.
a. In-person (IRL): Find out where your target audience hangs out and actively seek out networking events so you can be visible to the right people.
b. Online (URL): Social media, blogs, or a personal website are great ways to communicate your value proposition, but it's not necessary to be on everything from the start. Pick the right platforms with the most captive audience. For example, if you want to be the next host of Top Chef, you probably won’t get as much value out of being on LinkedIn as you would on Instagram and Twitter.
Just remember ... even if you aren't actively using other social media channels to promote your personal brand, they're probably visible to everyone. Remove the embarrassing/controversial content that doesn't’ align with your brand or make your profiles private.
4. Be consistent: Convey one message consistently and often. If you have a signature style, whether it's the way you talk, the visuals - logos, colors, profile pictures - maintain it everywhere you promote your personal brand. Also, show up often, whether it's going to particular networking events or posting online.
5. Be a detective: Your personal brand is something you should continually fine-tune based on 3 types of people: your competition, influencers in your field, and your audience. What industry trends are they talking about or following up on? Where do they hang out? What are they looking for? How can you add value to them?
6. Be true to yourself: I know we’re all sick of hearing about "authenticity", but there’s a reason it’s a popular concept. If you want to stand out, show people who you are. People want to get a sense of your personality and what makes you unique. Your brand may not be for everyone, but sooner or later you WILL find your tribe, so you do you!
Crafting a personal brand doesn't have to be this big, scary thing, and doesn't require you to be perfectly packaged. Think about how you want to be perceived, start small, and build on it over time. The key is to be deliberate about it. And as with everything else, it simply starts with being aware. You've got this!
Prefer to watch? Here's an entire Video Recap:
So who do you think has a killer personal brand that you'd like to emulate? Let us know in the comments below!