How to grow your personal brand

Posted by Rebecca Appleton on 24 Aug, 2017
View comments Marketing
If you’re looking to establish yourself as an authority in your niche, you’ll need to grow your personal brand.

Personal brand

Much like a business seeks to grow its brand to be more visible and win more business, growing your own personal brand can help to increase confidence in your product or service and lead to more sales.

Influencers are great examples of those with strong personal brands. They have found their audience and established themselves as an expert within that community. Their audience buys into their personal brand. Song of Style’s Aimee Song and The Blonde Salad’s Chiara Ferragni have built their own powerful personal brands based on their knowledge of fashion and ability to pull a look together. As a result, they are seen as authorities on clothes and personal style, with brands clamoring to work with them and millions of social media followers hanging on to their every recommendation. This is the power of a stellar personal brand.

So, how do you go about building your personal brand and setting yourself up as the expert in the field to become more authoritative and grow your following?

Step one: identify your expertise and your audience

You’ll likely already know your strengths and weaknesses and, if you’re considering how to build your personal brand you’ll know what it is you want to be known for. This will often be tied to your profession or business. Neil Patel for example has built his personal brand around digital marketing. His expertise lies in topics such as search engine optimization and social media and his audience is business owners and marketers who want to improve their own knowledge and understanding of digital channels to drive more traffic to their own sites.

Once you have decided on your expertise and who you want to market your personal brand to, you can begin to put the building blocks in place.

Step two: take any speaking opportunities that come your way

Public speaking can be a scary prospect, especially for those who don’t feel confident in a big group. However, there are very few ways as effective as giving a public speech at an industry conference, seminar or exhibition for growing your personal brand. If you are looking to make your mark as a digital marketing expert for example, speaking at events such as Inbound, MozCon and Content Marketing World will not only raise your profile, it will also cement your status as a leader in the field. 

Many exhibitions, roundtables and events will hold a call for speakers so, if you’re just getting started building your brand, take the time to craft a few compelling presentation ideas. Flesh these ideas out, making sure they’re original and will leave the audience with new knowledge, ideas and skills, and then work up a short pitch to use as your speaker submission request.

Once you begin to secure speaking slots, you can add information about those appearances onto your website, your LinkedIn profile and on your other social media channels. You might also want to consider making your presentation available as a SlideShare, video or PodCast to help grow your personal brand.

Step three: create white papers, videos, articles and thought leadership pieces

Creating a personal brand means showcasing your expertise in a particular area. To do that, you’ll need to build up your arsenal of knowledge-sharing assets. Creating ebooks, white papers, articles and thought leadership pieces within your niche will help to cement your authority in that area and highlight your knowledge and understanding of your subject matter. Focus on sharing your insight and adding value to the reader. Rand Fishkin’s whiteboard videos for Moz are a great example of how to put this step into practice.

In much the same way as you’d build a business brand by having a very clear tone of voice and style of writing when producing blog posts or designing a website, your white papers, articles and other thought leadership pieces should all be stamped with your own personality. Your style of writing, turn of phrase and appearance of the content should all be instantly recognizable as belonging to you.

Step four: build your audience

We’ve set audience building as step four rather than step three as you’ll need a store of compelling content to call upon in order to get people to like, follow and engage with you. You can’t expect those discovering you for the first time to give any credence to your claims of being an expert in your field if you don’t have any authoritative content to hand to win them over with.

Your personal brand is only as big as the audience who recognizes it – meaning you’ll have to constantly seek out ways to build your audience. An easy way to do this is to focus on cementing your social media presence. Finding the right platform for your brand gives you a platform to push all of your great content out into the public domain and add value to your audience.

If you’re trying to build your personal brand as a top digital marketer, you might focus on growing your LinkedIn audience. If you’re a food, fashion or travel blogger, you might turn to YouTube or Instagram.

Step five: collaborate

Collaboration is a fantastic opportunity to build your personal brand and tap into already established networks. Being asked to collaborate with another person, brand or organization is a vote of confidence in your knowledge and your expertise, meaning you can use it as a launch pad to further grow your personal brand.

If you aren’t being asked to collaborate organically, you can get the ball rolling yourself by reaching out to others. It may be individuals in similar fields but could just as easily be brands or tools that you use in your day-to-day activities.

The key to building a personal brand is consistency. You won’t be recognized as a leader in your field overnight but, taking every opportunity to share your expertise and being disciplined about adding value will quickly see your own personal brand building momentum.

What other tips do you have for personal brand building? Share your suggestions with us in the comments.

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