The goal of a personal brand is to create an identity that others will respect and find valuable. More importantly, your personal brand should help keep you employed.
If you do it right, personal branding can turn you into an in-demand resource. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to never have to worry about money or work again?
That’s what the steps below will teach you. They’ve worked for me, and I’m sure they’ll work for you, too.
If you follow these simple steps, you’ll be able to create a personal brand people want to work with over and over again!
1. Become a marketer
There are several marketing basics that will help take your personal brand to the next level, but there are 2 particular traits you should focus on.
Marketers are public. We’re always interested in how our brands are perceived, and trying to get in front of more people. Marketers are also growth-oriented. We’re always trying to improve, grow our numbers, and earn more publicity.
These two traits are so important, because people need to be able to find you. And because people generally want to work with others who know what they’re doing. Being public allows you to be discovered, and focusing on growth naturally makes you look better once you’re found.
There are several ways to be public, such as by being active on social media, guest blogging, advertising, or creating content and optimizing for search. Focusing on growth will mean paying close attention to your analytics, engagement, and conversions.
2. Be consistent
Before people will work with you, they need to understand who you are, what you do, and your personal brand’s voice. They’ll only be able to understand all of this if you’re consistent!
Mostly this means homing in on a particular niche. I’ll often come across people who try to be funny, then hip, then professional, then overly friendly. It’s confusing at best.
Whatever your industry or niche, choose one voice, and use it consistently. Once you have your voice down (which, granted, could take some time – it took me at least a year to find and use my voice consistently), you also need to produce consistently. That’s how others will become familiar with you, and how you can prove you’re reliable.
Maybe you share a tweet every day at 6am, or a podcast every Tuesday morning, or a bi-weekly newsletter, or a new blog post every day. What you produce can be anything relevant to your niche. But, along with helping you grow an audience, consistently producing and sharing proves to potential employers how reliable you are.
Combine that with a consistent voice, and people know what they’ll get by working with you. That’s always promising!
3. Focus on your logo
A lot of people use a profile picture in place of a logo for their personal brand. Unfortunately, your profile picture can give off the wrong impression without you ever knowing. But a good logo can convey a massive amount of positive information.
We all infer meaning and associations through colors, fonts, and shapes. They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, but the brain actually processes imagery 60,000X faster than text. How’s that for powerful?
Spend time creating a design that’s both uniquely you and shares the voice of your personal brand. Simple tools like GraphicSprings are great for creating good-looking logos without needing to hire someone.
As a quick reference, Baskerville and Georgia fonts test as the most trustworthy, while Verdana tests as the easiest to read. Serif fonts are seen as more professional, while sans-serif are seen as more innovative.
Oranges are associated with joy, yellows with happiness, reds with passion or love, and purples with royalty or ambition. Greens and browns are associated with nature and money. Golds, whites, and blacks are associated with professionalism, and blues with stability.
These aren’t hard and fast rules to live by, but you should consider these general associations when designing your logo.
4. Use social proof to your advantage
Social proof – what other people say about products, services, companies, etc. – is consistently one of the most important factors influencing buying decisions.
People want proof that working with someone is going to be a good decision before they commit. So prove it to them!
Have you, as a personal brand, already worked with someone or some company? Then the public should know about it! On your website, portfolio, LinkedIn profile, or whenever people go to learn about you, there should be a section with every brand you’ve worked with.
Quotes or reviews of your work to share on your site can go a long way, too By showing people that others have already worked with you, and have had good experiences working with you, you show the world you can be trusted.
If I know a lot of people and companies have worked with you before, I’m far more willing to work with you. That’s social proof at work!
5. Don’t say that…
Think before you speak – or type. If you wouldn’t say it to the face of someone else’s child, you probably shouldn’t put it online.
People want to work with those who can keep themselves accountable. If you rant on Twitter or even make snide remarks in emails, you can easily be perceived as more of a liability than a helpful resource.
As a personal brand, what you say and do are very public, which often means your words and actions are permanent, too. Saying something rude or distasteful can ruin your entire career! And has for many.
Instead, you want to appear well-mannered and level-headed. People need to know that working with you is going to improve their situation. So take a moment to really consider your words before releasing them to the world.
6. Share new and relevant content
We all want to work with people we know will help us grow. That’s part of the reason it’s so important to be active online, because every post is an opportunity to prove yourself!
Once you’ve chosen your niche and found your voice, start sharing industry-leading news, tips, insights, and research. This helps establish your personal brand as an industry leader, and will (slowly) convince people that your judgment and expertise can help them.
You could start by creating and sharing original content on your blog and social media profiles. You can also subscribe to (or write for) the leading publishers in your niche, and then share what they publish, maybe with your own 2 cents attached.
In most cases, a combination of these 2 options is best. The ideal outcome is for people to develop a habit of referencing you. Maybe they subscribe to your newsletter, or grow to anticipate your morning post.
Continually sharing new and relevant content will help create a personal brand people want to work with by proving you’re an expert. Who wouldn’t want to work with an expert?
7. Never stop learning
As Einstein famously said, “Once you stop learning, you start dying.” Like muscles, when you stop exercising and pushing the mind, it starts to atrophy.
Learning, in one way or another, is the key to growth and success! But more importantly (in this context), people want to work with others who keep trying and growing and improving.
In other words, people want to work with those who keep learning. So read as many books as you can get your hands on. Reach out to other experts you’d like to learn from. Take a course, or earn another degree.
Just don’t become content or complacent! Learning is the key to growth, and continually learning is what will help you create a personal brand people want to work with.