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Yesterday, we discussed (at length!) the whys of personal branding.
Today, let’s talk about how to actually do it.
Let’s break down the individual strategies you can use to build your own powerful personal brand:
Step 1: who are you really?
Your very first step should be to determine who you are.
Remember: building your personal brand is about sharing your authentic self with the world.
Tyler Basu helpfully puts it like this:
“Your personal brand should not be an inauthentic persona. Branding is not about positioning yourself as something that you are not. It’s about purposefully and strategically showcasing your authentic self to your audience and your customers. Your personal brand should be a true reflection of your skills, passions, values, and beliefs.”
Simply put: your personal brand is built upon your:
You must know yourself if you want to build a strong personal brand.
- What unique skills do I have?
- What are my core values?
- What am I most passionate about?
- What unique experiences have shaped who I am?
- How can I most effectively serve my core audience?
- What do I have to offer that no one else does?
The answers to these questions should shape your personal brand.
They will help you get to the core of:
- what matters most to you
- how you can add value to your audience
step 2: what do you want to accomplish?
Once you’ve identified the core of who you are, it’s time to think about what you want to accomplish with your personal brand.
Answer these questions (all are available on the worksheets in the bundle – check the Resources section at the bottom of the post):
- What would I like to accomplish, both personally and professionally?
- What do I want to be known for?
- If I could be the world’s foremost expert on a topic, what would it be?
- What key message do I want to communicate?
- If I could only give one piece of advice, what would it be?
The answers to all of these questions should further solidify in your mind what your personal brand will look like.
Step 3: who is your target audience?
The simple reality is that you can’t effectively serve everyone.
Rather, there is a core demographic of people who will resonate deeply with you, your brand, and what you offer.
This core demographic is your target audience.
It’s these people whom you will serve most effectively and who will be your ideal client.
To identify your core audience, ask yourself these questions (also available in the bundle at the bottom of the post):
- Who can I most effectively help?
- Who will benefit most from my skill set and knowledge?
- Who am I most passionate about serving?
- Who will resonate most with me and my brand?
When determining your core audience, it can be helpful to create a persona. This persona represents your ideal client. Include the following information in the persona:
- How old are they?
- Male? Female?
- Single? Married?
- What is their level of education?
- What career are they in?
- How much do they make?
Hopes & Dreams
- What do they want their future to look like?
- What are their goals?
- What obstacles do they face?
- Why haven’t they been able to reach their goals?
Kyle Gray says this about finding your ideal audience:
“The foundation of a strong personal brand is how well you understand your audience and the problems they face. Then you can
define why you care and how you solve those problems, which is what you’ll be remembered for.”
Step 4: Your unique value Proposition
A USP worksheet is included in the bundle at the end of the post.
Now it’s time to identify your Unique Service Proposition (USP).
Your USP is simply your brand summed up into a single, powerful, compelling statement that describes exactly what you do for your audience.
It’s where you take all the answers from the previous points and put them together into one brand statement that sums up who you are personally and how you serve your core audience.
A USP typically looks something like this:
“I help (target person) to (achieve X) so that they can (outcome).”
- “I help working moms stay on top of everything and live a fulfilled life.”
- “I help entrepreneurs scale their businesses over six-figures per year so they can live a life of financial freedom.”
- “I help men be incredibly productive so that they have more time to spend with their friends and families.”
Your USP doesn’t have to say everything about your brand, but it should get right to the heart of who you are and how you help your audience.
It may help to give your USP a unique name that will stick in people’s mind.
- If you teach men how to be more productive, you could call your USP the “Power Productivity Formula”.
- If you help entrepreneurs scale their businesses, you could call your USP something like, “Scale Without Fail.”
You get the point. It simply needs to be short, memorable, and aptly describe what you do.
Avoid skimping on this step. Creating your USP gives you a high degree of clarity about what your brand is all about.
Take the necessary time to craft a USP that adequately captures what your brand is about.
step 5: POOF! You're a brand!
Once you’ve identified the core of your brand and your target audience, it’s time to start treating yourself as a brand.
What does this look like practically?
Stay true to your brand message in every communication with your audience:
- Blog Posts
- Social Media
- You get the idea
You constantly and consistently:
- speak about the problems you solve
- encourage your audience
- voice the message of your brand
Just like a shoe brand wouldn’t suddenly start talking about camping, so you must not go off brand with your communications.
You should constantly reinforce your USP in everything you do.
It also means:
- creating a strong, compelling website to serve as your home base for all your online activities
- creating a media page or media kit on your site for media inquiries
- not answering emails yourself, but having an assistant answer them (or answering them under a pseudonym)
Your goal: portray yourself as a strong, compelling brand, not just a normal person. You have to treat yourself like you truly are: a powerful brand that has a powerful message.
Step 6: Optimize your website
Now it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of optimizing your online presence so that it matches your brand.
You’re going to start with your website, since this functions as your “home base” of sorts. It’s one of the primary places people get to know who you are and what you do.
Your website also functions as one of the primary ways you turn visitors into paying clients, and it must be optimized for that.
First impressions are really important when it
comes to your website.
Visitors should be able to immediately determine how you can help solve their problems. If they can’t, there’s a good chance they’ll leave.
So how do you optimize your site to reflect your brand? I have included a checklist in the bundle at the bottom of the post for your convenience, so you can print it out and don’t have to keep coming back to this post. I also included explanations on that checklist, so I’m just going to list things here.
- Have a professional logo designed.
- Show off your Unique Service Proposition.
- Use professional photographs.
- Use testimonials.
- Present a clear call-to-action.
- Create a compelling “About” page.
- Create a “services” page.
- Give away free resources.
- Create a “contact” page.
Step 7: Develop a content strategy
The primary way to build your brand is by creating strategic content.
What kind of content?
- blog posts
- social media posts
- you get the idea
Every piece of content you share with your audience should serve to build your brand. As mentioned before, once you’ve determined your brand, it’s important to start treating yourself as one.
Developing a strategic content strategy is one of the most effective ways to ensure that you’re constantly staying on brand.
When it comes to your content strategy, we recommend the “Pillar Method” (a term coined by Gary Vaynerchuk).
The Pillar Method works as follows:
At set intervals (every day, every week, etc.) create a longer piece of “pillar” content. This could be a blog post, video, eBook, etc. The point is that it needs to be on the longer side so that it can be repurposed in numerous ways.
This pillar content should always reinforce some part of your brand. Maybe one day you speak to a particular pain point. Another day you encourage your audience to strive for their goals. Whatever the case,
it’s essential that your pillar content always be tied back to your brand.
Publish your pillar content on your primary platform: blog, YouTube, iTunes, etc.
Take your pillar content and cut it up into smaller, shareable pieces of content.
- You have a 10-minute video so you find three parts of that video that could be shared on their own and extract those clips.
- You have a 1,000-word blog post, extract five 100-word excerpts that can stand on their own.
Share the smaller pieces of content across all your channels:
If the thought of posting to so many social media channels intimidates you, Buffer is a great tool that allows you to share to all
your social media at one time. You just put the content in and then select all the channels you want it to go out to. I don’t personally use Buffer, but it is recommended by others I know. My recommendations are in the Resources section below.
Repeat the process again and again. Consistency is the key.
By consistently sharing your brand message, you’ll steadily build your audience.
By using the “Pillar Method” for your content strategy, you ensure that every piece of content you post is always on brand. Your shares always are speaking your brand message to your audience.
In addition to using the “Pillar Method”, you can also simply repurpose content into different formats.
You can turn:
- an eBook into a SlideShare presentation or
- a series of blog posts into an eBook
- a blog post into an email you send out to your list
The main point is that everything you send out should be brand related. You want to constantly reinforce your brand to your audience.
Step 8: Keep adding value
When it comes to building your brand, it’s essential that you constantly give value to your audience without asking for anything in return.
Yes, there will be times when you invite people to buy from you or become a client, but you don’t want that to be the main theme of your brand.
The main thing people should take away when interacting with your brand is how much value you provide.
The main way you provide value is through your content strategy, which we discussed previously. This is why it’s so critical to consistently put out new content.
If you’re not putting out new content, you’re not giving away value.
Mark Lack puts it this way:
“A strong personal brand is one that has a high level of impact, which then leads to influence amongst the people who follow you. The key is to leverage social media and other social platforms and environments to create relevant and meaningful dialogues between you and the people you want to impact.”
Step 9: build your community
One of the best ways to build your brand is to build a community where you and the members can all help each other.
The value in building a community around your brand is that it gets others involved in helping to promote your brand.
You create a tribe of passionate people who care about the same things you do.
So how can you build a community?
Some simple ways to build a community include:
Start a private Facebook group.
In this group, people can:
- interact with each other
- share ideas
- interact with you
- ask questions
Host live events
Live events allow you to meet members of your tribe in person to deepen your relationships with all of them.
- Coffee meetups
- Private brunches, lunches or dinners
Create a membership site
For a small monthly fee, you can give people exclusive access to you and the content you provide.
You can also give them access to things like:
- group calls every month
- ongoing webinars
- a forum where they can interact with you and other members
The simple truth: you have a personal brand, whether you want to or not.
Every single thing you share with your audience either adds to or takes away from your personal brand. You absolutely must become intentional about building your brand.
As Kathy Klotz-Guest says,
“We all have a personal brand whether we think about it that way or not. So, let’s be intentional about it.”
Thankfully, it’s not particularly difficult to build a personal brand.
Here’s a quick summary of what we covered:
- Identify what matters to you.
- Define your core audience.
- Determine your Unique Service Proposition.
- Treat yourself like a brand.
- Create your compelling website.
- Create your content strategy.
- Constantly bring your best self to your audience.
- Build your community.
The more you do those things, the more you’ll build your brand and the more you’ll attract an audience of raving fans.
Avoid waiting any longer to build your personal brand.
Get started on it today!
Your audience needs you so get out there and start serving them.
You’ll be glad you did!
Personal Branding Bundle
Are you putting your right branding foot forward?
Let this bundle help you!
Brand Building Worksheets (to help craft your message)
Website Checklist & Social Media Checklist (to help you come across as professional and serious)