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The idea of how to build your own brand originated as a career concept with executive-level business people.
In order to get further ahead and one-up their competition, executives needed a novel way to separate themselves from their peers.
Nowadays though, personal branding is not just a tactic for CEOs and thought leaders.
Personal branding is being employed by a range of professionals from entrepreneurs to artists as a way of getting their name and services out into the world.
Although it may not be necessary for everyone, personal branding can help just about anyone stand out in whatever it is they do.
So even if you’re just starting out in your industry or if you’ve got 10 years of work experience under your belt and no online presence to speak of, it’s not too late.
Building your own brand from scratch actually isn’t that hard.
To start, your goals can be as simple as making sure something relevant comes up when people Google your name.
Or using social media for more than meme-sharing and reading Reddit threads.
Personal branding can be simple, especially if you’re just starting out.
This article will guide you through the ins and outs and give you some tips to bring your online presence into existence.
Here we go:
Freelancers and other contract workers stand to benefit the most from personal branding.
Companies that work with freelancers typically go through a good number of individuals in the course of a year.
Contracts end and aren’t renewed, freelancers move into full-time positions and companies find people with higher quality or better rates.
However, most companies prefer to keep working with contractors who they already have a positive history with.
They don’t have to re-teach things that people who worked in their system already know. They’re not rolling the dice or trying something new.
Banding yourself is not just about getting clients to remember your name or your work.
Before you get that contract, they’re going to Google you. The results that come up might even be the most important part of getting rehired.
A well-executed personal brand simplifies the means by which clients can find you online, just in case they switch platforms or forget where they found you, for example.
Success comes from finding ways to make personal branding easier.
Today, job hunting and posting has gone digital for almost all professions.
As a result, services like Buffer and MailChimp have gained widespread adoption for automating some of the more tedious aspects of brand management.
These include replying to clients and new opportunities, keeping up with social media, and harnessing the power of integrated web services.
Sure, these tools butter their bread with actual companies, but that doesn’t mean you can’t employ them to build your own brand.
Even when automating, though, connect everything you do back to your personal brand. Your emails, for example, should always include a link to your personal website in the signature.
This not only imbues grunt work like emails with a greater sense of professionalism, but also makes them easier and more directed.
Offering new, interesting information about yourself markets your skills without explicitly soliciting business.
Under a personal website or landing page, personal branding also helps bring disparate profiles and portfolios together into one place.
If you don’t already have some sort of online presence, be sure to build one up a little before fully launching your brand.
Once there’s enough about you online to fill a page’s worth of search results, you’ll want to be sure only the good makes it to page one.
This is because only a small percentage of searchers actually visit page two. Sure, some will look, but most stick to the first page of results.
Currently, the easiest way to do this is to use a new do-it-yourself tool by BrandYourself.
You could spend weeks making disputes and removal claims that may unfortunately still result in nothing changing.
Or you can use this free tool. Choose the latter and you’ll be able to affect what results about you are the most prominent and visible online.
If you provide a service, you need to tell people why it’s better.
For those in any kind of business where services are marketed, like a consultant or photographer, personal branding is essential.
Nearly all companies today actively manage blogs, Instagram feeds, and/or Facebook fan pages.
This is so important to keep in mind that it bears repeating. Nearly all companies–from toilet paper manufacturers to water bottlers–do this.
It helps companies ensure a constant stream of positive content. And media is all web surfers ever really see about them.
This is also the only way even large brands have any hope of being seen among the frantic, unpredictable noise of ceaseless digital marketing.
So if Charmin has to cultivate and maintain its brand to keep consumers interested (or, at least, aware), why shouldn’t your average up-and-coming entrepreneur do the same or more?
At the end of the day, whether you like it or not, you already have a brand or image out there online.
Unless you’re a total digital recluse or wiped out your data footprint for some reason, you likely have one or two social media profiles or accounts with different web services.
Each of these generates data about you that is used to track your online habits. Very few people are internet ghosts, and even if you’re not super active, people are savvy enough to find you.
Besides, not existing on the internet is counter-intuitive if you offer a service.
Learn how to better sell yourself. And try to get your positive mentions, preferably pages you built yourself, to rank in search results.
Build your own brand: choose what you align with wisely.
Even something as minor as liking another brand on Facebook broadcasts valuable information about your tastes to the world.
You need to think seriously about what you want to connect yourself with, and activity pursue whatever that may be.
Retweeting the wrong thing can mean getting caught up in an unflattering Twitter war – all for associating yourself with a certain message.
Often, this can be done just because of carelessness. It’s so easy to tweet something negative without realizing.
We all have a dark side to our humor. But you need to think seriously about whether that Donald Trump meme is actually doing anything positive for you.
If it’s not positive, it’s probably negative.
These few examples only go to show how important it is for most of us to take control of our personal brand.
Luckily, with so many online scandals in recent memory, a lot of us are more careful with what we say and do on the web.
How many times do you need to hear about someone being fired for tweeting negative things about their Company? Or posting on Facebook while at work before it sinks in?
Let’s say it one more time: personal branding matters, even if you think you’re a nobody.
This is not advisable, but if personal branding isn’t all that relevant to you or you simply don’t want to manage or build your own brand, at least pay careful attention to what you post.
Even in leisure, it is a must.
Still, it’s also the bare minimum. No matter your field, you deserve a say in and an influence over the information that comes up when somebody chooses to look you up.
Sabrina Clark is the Director of Marketing at BrandYourself.com, the leading provider of tools and services to help people improve how they look online. Sabrina regularly writes and speaks on the topics of personal branding, online reputation management, product growth, and career development.
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