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    February 12, 2024

    Personal branding – who are you anyway?

    That’s what personal branding is about. It’s filling in the blanks yourself rather than letting other people do it for you – and taking control of that process in a strategic way which ultimately helps you achieve your goals in life.

    The problem is, for many people, ‘doing personal branding’ just doesn’t come naturally. It’s cringey, toe-curling and uncomfortable.

    This is likely true of most of the people you consider to be really confident and interesting on somewhere like LinkedIn. You know the ones – they’re the people you constantly compare yourself to; ‘they know more than me, they’re better than me, I’m not that interesting’, and the like.

    The reality is that apart from those rare creatures who genuinely do ooze confidence from their every pore, the only thing the rest of them are better at than you, is personal branding.

    That doesn’t mean they’re creating a fake persona either, it just means they’re showing you their personality.

    To a large extent personal branding is about showing your personality, not necessarily warts and all, but in a way that has been thought about and planned. It’s ensuring that the things you are talking about will ultimately make more people want to do business with you.

    So hop up on that couch and let’s dig in to the importance of personal branding for your business.

    What is personal branding

    You’ve probably all heard that famous quote by Jeff Bezos that ‘your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room’ and while that makes sense, where are they getting those views from? That’s the ‘ing’ part.

    While at one time these opinions would be formed from knowing you in real life; from work, networking, what other people say etc, this information now largely comes from your online profile. From people making judgements about you based purely on what they read on the internet.

    It’s the stuff that comes up when people Google you, or check you out on LinkedIn, which, trust us, is the first thing they’ll do when they come across your name for whatever reason.

    Why create a personal brand?

    Lots of businesses spend vast amounts of money creating a brand, and if you work for one of them, that’s job done isn’t it? Alas no. Whether you’re a small cog in a massive machine, or you are the machine, people buy from people.

    That much discussed concept of ‘know, like and trust’ hasn’t gone away. In fact, in a world that’s increasingly full of robots, being the human is arguably more important than ever.

    With so much competition around, your personal brand is the bit that is truly unique. Imagine when faced with 10 people/companies all doing what you do, someone checks out your online profile and finds that alongside you talking passionately and expertly about that field, you’ve also shared your experiences about being a working parent, or the trials and tribulations of freelancing, or how your business is going green – something that connects with them also on a personal level.

    Who are they going to choose, you, or the blank at the top of this page?

    How to create a personal brand

    Personal branding is a strategic process, there’s thought that goes into it. It’s not about creating a LinkedIn profile and posting willy nilly about anything that comes into your head that day.

    Here are some things to consider that can help you create your personal brand:

    • What do you want to achieve (i.e more followers, more speaking opportunities, more customers etc)
    • What are your values (what are you passionate about, what makes you tick)
    • What makes you unique, in your field and in your personality
    • What do your target customers want to achieve in their lives and business
    • What are their values, what makes them tick
    • What are they looking for in a provider of your service

    The answers to these questions form the basis of what you want to get across in your personal branding. It’s worth having three or four main topics that you post about, in line with the above. You want people to feel like they know you before they even work with you, so they can’t all be about work. You need that additional interest that will make someone choose you over your competitors. To be honest, if you’ve got a profile and they haven’t, it’s likely the job’s pretty much in the bag from that alone. But if they also have a personal brand, it’ll be any shared interests or the things that make you unique that sway it for you.

    To decide the topics, or ‘content pillars’ to use marketing parlance, look at what you wrote down for your passions and values, think about what those might be for your target audience and see if you can find some that align.

    Let’s say you’re a freelance virtual assistant and most of your clients are small businesses or freelancers, you might talk about various time-saving hacks, tips and tricks as one pillar, what it’s like being a freelancer as another and perhaps on a personal level you’re a keen hiker because that’s how you recharge from working at home alone all day, which could be your third.

    Or you could just be funny or entertaining. ‘I’m choosing them because they seem like a right laugh’, is probably a thought process that has secured many a sale in the past.

    The key is to make sure it reflects who you really are. If someone feels a disconnect with your online presence when they actually meet or talk to you, that disingenuity is likely to cost you.

    Where to show your personal brand

    Your brand needs to be reflected everywhere you have a presence online, which, if your digital strategy is doing its job, will be all the places your customers hang out.

    LinkedIn will likely be a big one and this is really about taking that LinkedIn for B2B to the next level. It might also be Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, or other platforms, depending on the nature of your business. Make sure your brand lines up across all of them, your website included. Decide what sort of language you use, the tone you adopt, and reinforce those key content topics on all of them.

    That’s how to make your branding stick and how people come to feel they know you.

    Top tips to personal branding

    Once you’ve got the basics of what your personal brand is going to be, it’s just about rolling it out consistently.

    So with all of the above in mind, here are a few final top tips to personal branding success.

    • Make sure your LinkedIn profile, and any other bios, are up to scratch and reflective of your new personal brand
    • Post regularly and consistently – choose a frequency you can commit to, even if it’s only once or twice a week, and then stick to it
    • Comment and engage on other people’s posts – get involved in discussions about things that align with your values, show you’re interested
    • Think about creating longer form content, such as newsletters, articles and blogs
    • Look for opportunities to guest post, speak, join a webinar or LinkedIn Live
    • Attend events related to your industry and post about them
    • Seek PR opportunities based on your views – show your authority in your field

    If you’re not sure where to start with it all, please get in touch, we can help. We’ve worked with individuals across numerous sectors, helping them curate their content, improve their visibility and showcase their personality to give them a real presence in the world.

    The bottom line is, don’t be the blank.


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