Your Brand Goes With You
How do you identify yourself? What do you usually say when someone asks, “What do you do?”
Many of us identify ourselves with our job title and the organization we work for. Most of us will change jobs, organizations, and even fields, over time, though.
Build a brand that will go with you throughout your career.
Personal Brand Strategy
Start by identifying your brand and potential market.
- What’s special about you?
- What do you want to be known and remembered for?
- Who will value your brand?
- In what circles do you want to be known?
Aim for Clarity, Visibility and Reach
Your brand reputation will build over time.
Start with a reality check. Google yourself and see what comes up. This is the first impression many will get of you.
Think like a potential employer, prospect, or partner.
- What impression will they get right now?
- What impression would you like them to get?
- What are their concerns, needs, and desires?
Create Your Brand Message
What’s your unique way of serving your potential market?
Develop short memorable “sound bites” to express your brand:
- What You Call Yourself: Job title aside, what do you really do?
- Why Your Audience Should Care: A short slogan or “tagline” communicating the key benefit you bring.
Increase Your Visibility and Reach
- Build a reputation as the “go to” person in your specialty by creating and communicating results your market needs.
- Set in motion a deliberate strategy to become more visible in your potential market. Your tactics might include writing, speaking, networking, and social media.
- Keep visible with regular brand-building activity.
Personal Branding Tools
Here are some resources to help you build your brand:
Your Brand Name
If you haven’t already done so, I recommend buying yourself a personal internet domain you can use for branded email and a personal website. YourName.com is ideal if it’s still available. Check for it here:
Then you can create a simple website for your brand portfolio— your online resume, work samples, blog, and more—or point your brand name domain to your business website if you have one. I use BlueHost to host my websites. DreamHost is another good option. This site was created using free WordPress software (available through webhosts or at wordpress.com), with a purchased Divi template from Elegant Themes. I personally enjoyed the experience of creating my own websites (see my story and directions on YouCanStartAWebsite.com) and the Divi tool makes it easy for non-coders to design whatever they envision. An easy way to pick up basic web design and WordPress skills is through an online course from Udemy.
If that seems daunting, another option is to use a simple platform such as Weebly, available as a standalone website solution, or as an option through many web hosts.
For additional resources and tools to create your personal branding portfolio, such as free and low-cost images and graphic design tools, see Creativity Resources.
Newsletters and Email Marketing
If your personal branding or business marketing strategy includes regular communication such as newsletters or email campaigns, the two options I like for this are Vertical Response as an overall cost-effective choice or Aweber, a good choice if you plan to use autoresponders (a series of automatic emails sent out to subscribers or prospects.)-
Business Cards, Brochures and Marketing Materials
For printed marketing materials, such as business cards and brochures, I use VistaPrint. They make it quite easy to create low-cost materials online.
Choose the social network(s) that make the most sense for your needs and market. LinkedIn is the most important network for business professionals. Depending on your brand and target audience, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest may also be worthwhile. Beware: Social media can suck up a lot of time. A stronger, regular presence on fewer networks may be better than a scattered approach. (Or you can use a service like OnlyWire to simultaneously post to multiple networks.)
If you’ve got a story to tell, you can get it swiftly distributed to more than 350 media sites and major search engines for as little as $49 though ReleaseWire. Their analytics then allow you to see how readers engaged with your press release.
Don’t forget that the fonts you use, your email signature, voicemail message, clothing and accessories are also tools that convey your “brand.”
Don’t Be a Secret!
It ’s right that you share your gifts and expertise with those who can benefit from them. It’s not just what you can do, but who knows you can do it. So, don’t be a secret!
©New Century Leadership LLC 2017