7 steps for building and rocking your personal brand

Building your personal brand is one of the most important things you can do as a professional. Much like big companies, individuals are now, more than ever before, marketing themselves to achieve success. As you build out a company, apply for a new position, or even navigate the digital world, it’s important to be thinking about your personal brand and the reflection it has on who you are. 

What is “personal branding?"
Personal branding is when people market themselves and, ultimately, their careers as if they were a brand. Much like big companies like Nike, people are now picking a niche industry or market and positioning themselves in it as a thought leader or expert of their craft.

Why should I care?
Having a strong personal brand can bring you endless rewards. First, it will get you noticed and solidify you into whatever industry you want to be a part of. It will open doors in professional and networking opportunities. It will also be a massive help if and when you go job hunting.
Convinced? Hopefully you’re ready to step up your personal brand game, because we’re here to help you with seven easy steps.

1. Define your brand, your goals, and your voice

The most important step in personal branding is figuring out what you’re passionate about, what niche you want to be a part of, and defining your voice and goals accordingly. Just like anything in life, you should never brand yourself as something you’re not. Make sure your brand is authentic and something that you’re truly passionate about. Also, match your voice to your personality. Don’t try to be funny if you’re normally pretty serious – it’ll show and people will catch on! Be serious and rock it. Your followers will appreciate you for who you are.
Next, define your goals. Why do you care about personal branding? Is it to land a new job at your dream company? Is it to be an expert in your industry and gain clients? Defining a goal will help you keep focused and build a plan for yourself, much like a company would do with their marketing team.

2. Fine-tune your online presence

Now that you know how you want people to view your brand, sync up your online presence to match. Make sure that all of your social media sites and your personal website have a defined flow and provide a seamless experience for anyone checking you out. Make sure your style, images, tone of voice, content, and your branding are uniform across all of your online touch points.
Once you’ve given your social platforms and website a good look, you’re ready to hit the ground running. Building your online presence is one of the most valuable things you can do for your brand. Make Twitter lists of influencers in your industry you want to interact with on a daily basis. Set up Google alerts for new articles that come out and be the first to share them across your networks. Spend time each day acting as your own social media manager and don’t let your online presence hit a lull. 

3. Be an expert

Nothing ups your clout like being an expert in your field. If you’re someone people can turn to for information and advice, your personal brand will benefit. You can be an expert in many ways, such as writing blog posts about your industry (once a week, at least), sharing your thoughts on your industry across your social channels, or engaging with other influencers online.
Another way to be an expert is to take speaking engagements when you can. They don’t have to be big! Be a mentor at a Meet-Up, host a small seminar, or sit on a panel. Find any opportunity you can to position yourself as “the” expert and interact with others. Word of mouth and connections are powerful things, and one speaking engagement will lead to another.

4. Network, network, network!

The more people you know, the more your personal brand will grow. Interacting with other influencers and professionals in your field will work wonders for your personal brand, as you make friends and connections who will want to collaborate with you. 
Go to events, shake hands, have a good business card, and ask people to coffee (on you, of course). Ask other experts to write a guest post for your blog, or invite them to do a live chat with you on Twitter. Find opportunities to work with other people to amplify your reach. Free advertising isn’t just for big brands; you can get yourself out there by networking with other people. 

5. Find a mentor

In this world, it’s not the best idea to try and go it alone. The most successful people are the ones who are constantly learning, growing, changing, and getting advice from others. Find someone in your field who you look up to and ask them to be your mentor. Once a month is totally fine – just sit down with someone, pick their brains, and go from there.

6. Always keep learning

Absolutely rocking your personal brand means that you’re on top of the trends and always fine tuning your craft. Whether you’re reading about marketing, professional selling, social media, or any other topic you feel passionate about, a hunger for learning will be something that benefits you in the long term.
Books such as How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie and Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi are two great books to get you started. If you’re in to short form, read a blog. If you’re not into reading, try a Meet-Up or a podcast.

7. Look the part

If you’re ready to take things to the next level, it can never hurt to get your own logo and business cards, as well as market yourself as a consultant or coach. Having a good headshot and a few professional pictures of yourself goes a long way too. 
People will take you seriously if you look serious. Ditch the selfie profile picture and the tumblr blog. Market yourself like you would a business and you’ll be impressed with the opportunities that come your way.

Your personal brand will always be a work in progress, so don’t worry if it takes some time for you to figure it all out. Focus on appearing like a professional, knowledgeable, and friendly person, and you’ll do amazing at anything you set your mind to.