Whether you are an entrepreneur, executive or up-and coming professional, managing your personal brand is a must. Anyone can have jobs, those who have careers are mindful and manage their brand…and it’s easier than you might think!
A personal brand is the sum total of all the experiences people have when they engage with you – whether that’s in person or online. Whether it’s through conversations, blog posts, or web searches, your personal brand will position you as someone as someone who is distinctive and valuable.
In order to start managing your personal brand, think about three things:
- Authority – In the word authority is the word author. Share your expertise! The easiest way to accomplish this is by posting content. For example, you could share articles on LinkedIn and Twitter, write blog posts, and get more active on Instagram. You have to write to become an authority, but it doesn’t have to be a novel…short posts compound over time to make a big difference. Utilize the “Three V’s” to establish authority: Value (make sure your content is well-written and ties in your expertise), Values (share your opinion) and Voice (be yourself, write naturally).
- Online Identity – How visible are you on the web? What’s your web reputation? If you aren’t satisfied with your answers to these questions, it might be time to focus on your websites and perfect them, or potentially cast aside sites you don’t use. Start with LinkedIn – it’s one of the most popular professional resume sites and a great place to explain who you are to people. Consider buying your url too (Example: YourName.com), and don’t forget to Google yourself, so many times people find old social media they neglected, sometimes deleting old accounts can be a quick clean up to your personal brand!
- Personal Style – How do you appear to people (through websites, bios, content, reputation, photos, personal appearance, communication, demeanor, etc.) is all part of your brand. You can begin to appear more accessible to people by getting professional headshots done (make sure to smile!) and by optimizing your website or social presence (bios, summaries, posts) to give people a sense of your style.
In doing all of this, don’t forget that marketing shouldn’t be just about “selling” yourself. Instead, think of marketing yourself as educating people to help understand who you are, what you do, and who you serve. Taking these steps will help to put your best professional foot forward and help to communicate your personal distinction and value.
If you want to learn more about personal branding, check out Lorrie Thomas Ross’ guide to understanding personal branding on Lynda.com. You can start a 30 day free trial at any time.