In the words of Barry Feldman, “You, my friend are a brand.”
The truth is, we‘re all brands. Some of us just position and sell ourselves better than the others. The way you build your brand differentiates you from everyone else because it changes the way you’re perceived by the audience.
Creative people have a much stronger need to build a brand for themselves. There are multiple channels available today to help them enhance their online presence. Some of them include building a personal website, using social media channels, engaging with other users, etc.
Building a brand takes time, and this article highlights the elements you need to build a successful personal brand.
What is a personal brand?
A well-built personal brand is the foundation of a successful career. You can keep doing splendid work all your life but if you don’t brand it well, no one will know about it. Which is why it is important to understand how you present yourself to the world.
…the list goes on. Now that you know that building a personal brand is much needed, here’s what you need to do to get started:
1. Create a unique online presence
This is about building the foundation of your online presence—your website. As a creative professional, you probably have an idea of how you want to design and share information on this website. But did you know you can get creative with your domain name too?
Domain extensions such as .TECH, .STORE, .FUN, .SPACE, .ONLINE, .SITE, etc. are not only great for branding but they also help you stand out and build your own unique presence in a crowded and competitive arena.
For example, if you want to establish a personal brand as a technology influencer and gadget aficionado, you could share branded links such as JimHalpert.Tech and you can share content on social media and other online channels using short branded links such as JimHalpert.Tech/iOS13-Review.
2. Forge relationships with influencers
One of the most effective ways to strengthen your personal brand is to leverage the influence of influencers, industry experts, journalists, etc. To get started, become an active member of professional communities in your industry. You can look them up on LinkedIn and Facebook groups. Make sure you consistently share your expertise and opinions on topics that are trending and relevant to your industry.
Here are some of the ways you can get started.
- Get your opinion/article published in industry relevant publications.
- Make yourself available as an expert commentator among journalists and other content marketers working in the industry.
- Answer questions about your industry in a meaningful way on Quora.
- Reach out to journalists and publications by tapping into online resources such as Pressfarm, ProfNet, and HARO.
3. Show your most authentic self
A key piece of advice when building a personal brand is to showcase all your accolades, achievements and honors that you might have received in your career. However, a good way to spice that up is to make sure you let your personality shine through in all your communications.
Your ultimate objective is to connect with people and that can only happen when you’re authentic and relatable in a human way. Professional is good, but authentic is better.
For example, look at the entrepreneur, author, speaker, and internet personality Gary Vaynerchuk. He has built a strong identity and understands his customers well. He wholeheartedly believes in what he’s selling and that makes it easier for his users to trust him. When you truly know and accept yourself, personal brand messaging becomes a lot clearer.
Here’s how you can achieve this:
When communicating with your audience, pick one (or max two) emotions that you want them to feel when they come across your messaging. For example, you could have an analytical take on politics or a funny take on current news events. Bottom line is, to truly establish yourself, try to be the best version of you that you can be. Have fun and give your users a reason to connect with you.
4. Get inspired by experts
One of the best ways to learn something is to turn to people who have already done it. There are hundreds of books out there by experts explaining how to effectively build a personal brand. Absorb the knowledge from those who have been there, done that. Some books you could consider reading include:
- POP! Create the Perfect Pitch, Title, and Tagline for Anything by Sam Horn
- Careerkred: 4 Simple Steps to Build Your Digital Brand and Boost Credibility in Your Career by Ryan Rhoten
- Careergasm: Find Your Way to Feel-Good Work by Sarah Vermunt
- The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice by Todd Henry
- Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build an Incredible Career by Jocelyn K. Glei
Over to you…
As a creative professional, it is important to build your brand. This is a continuous process, one that involves consistently expanding your network and trying new things. Moreover, it is also about leveraging smaller things such as your domain name and how you use short branded links to better promote your work. The more you work on your personal brand, the stronger it’ll be and that’ll make you that much more credible in the industry.