If you weren’t already aware, your “personal brand” is how you appear to the world, or at least the people who are interacting with you in the professional arena. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that it’s better to have a strong and well-maintained brand over one that’s unpolished and thin on the ground! By telling people who you are, and demonstrating your professional expertise, you’ll swiftly become the “go-to-guy” for all kinds of problems in your niche or industry. So, how do you accomplish this? Read on to find out…
Nail Your Speaking Engagements
If you want to effectively build your personal brand, then you should be appearing at speaking engagements on a fairly regular basis. Naturally, this is going to mean spending some time on developing your communication skills. If you use the same dull management jargon that the majority of speakers do, you’re never going to stand out from the crowd and solidify your personal brand. Showing off your knowledge is only half the battle. You need to show confidence, and also develop a knack for corporate back-and-forth. There are going to be some people who will disagree with you, or ruthlessly criticize your standpoint. While you should be open to feedback, you shouldn’t shrivel up as soon as anyone points out a hole. You’re not going to land any high-end speaking engagements straight away, but starting small and building up from there can take you to some very exciting places. Remember, it’s all practice!
These days, your personal brand in-person is only going to be as good as your online presence. From the managers at start-ups all the way up to celebrities, everyone looking to develop their personal brand needs to have some kind of online foundation which they can lean on. If it’s been a while since you checked on your online channels and took some steps to improve them, then put this at the top of your “to do” list. Your website, whether it’s just for you or your business, is usually a good place to start. Are your graphics and widgets as sleek as your closest competitors? What about your color scheme and logo? Are your photos up to a professional standard? Are people sharing your content? Does your “contact us” page list your address as your home in a sleepy little town, or are you using a service like physicaladdress.com to position your brand somewhere more prestigious? These are all important questions to ask yourself when you’re performing an online audit of your brand. Remember that branding in the online arena is always changing, and touching up your online presence isn’t something that you can afford to do just once. You need to make this an ongoing process. Remember to Google yourself every once in a while, see what’s ranking, and how you’re coming off on different social networks. If you see anything that isn’t helping your brand, form a plan to repair it!
Be A Thought Leader and Get Interviewed
Thought leadership articles and interviews are among the most powerful tools you can use to really fortify your professional credibility. Unfortunately, they’re not accessible to just anyone! Just like speaking engagements, pinning down the best thought leadership opportunities takes a massive investment of time and effort. However, if you put the work in and remain open to the opportunities that come your way, it will be the first steps towards popping up absolutely everywhere. Be a little flexible whenever you’re pitching articles, and try to play ball (no pun intended) with the editor. When it comes to establishing yourself as a thought leader, it’s not so much the value of the content you’re putting out that counts, but the channels that it appears on. Someone in your target market may not have heard about you or know the first thing about your professional niche. However, they’ve almost certainly heard of Forbes, Time and The Economist. You may not know that much about freelance journalism, and even if you do, getting your foot in the door with major media channels can be extremely hard. However, if you can do it, showcasing your knowledge through famous media channels is one of the most effective ways to cultivate your brand. Start off small, keep the links, and keep trying different pitches.
There you have three great ways of developing your professional brand. As you try different things and develop your business, it will become easier and easier to find a strategy that suits you perfectly!