When it comes to building a personal brand, some thought leaders dismiss the process. They’re more interested in developing their content, helping their clients, or moving on to that next big keynote speech. But really, when you think about it, the most important part of your content – is you!
Look, I understand. Personal branding makes some people uncomfortable. But your brand is your banner – a flag that shows potential clients who you are, what you do, and why they need you. It’s your exclusive narrative, your online presence – put flatly, it’s your reputation. People are going to hire you based on your brand. Like it or not, the question is no longer if you have a personal brand, but how you create and use that brand.
Think about these statistics from Forbes:
• Over half of consumers have chosen to do business with a freelancer because of a strong, positive online presence.
• Sixty-five percent of internet users see online search as the most trusted source of information about people and companies. That’s a higher level of trust than any other online or offline source.
• Fifty-three percent of decision-makers have eliminated a vendor from consideration based on information they did or did not find online.
“All right,” you say. “I see that building a personal brand is important! But how do I do it?”
Here’s a few questions to help out.
What do you want people to think when they hear your name? Is it your subject matter? Your sparkling personality? Your strong stance on certain topics? Your success with past clients? Your academic background? Your corporate background?
To be remembered, you need to create value, be purposeful, and find your audience. First, create a value proposition that speaks to what you do, and who you help. Mine is deep expertise in helping those with deep expertise. Identify the who, the what, and the why of your content. Who are you helping? Senior executives? Internal teams? Company culture? What are you offering them? Organization? Efficiency? Growth? And lastly, why you, specifically? What’s your unique value?
Your brand is an affirmation of who you are, and what you do.
It needs to be representative, clear, and memorable. Be certain to leverage your “points of difference,” the things that make you – and your content – uniquely qualified to solve your clients’ problems.
Take some time to formalize and define your personal brand. Make it real. Make it authentic. Remember, in the end, your personal brand is a reflection of all the work and insight you’ve put into your content. It exists to establish you as a thought leader and content specialist, and to promote one of the most important pieces of content you own: your professional reputation.