Personal Branding, I really believe, is the most important aspect of your marketing. It is particularly important to book authors, life coaches, entrepreneurs and public speakers because success in these professions depends on your credibility in the marketplace. The more the credibility, the better your chances are of success.
What Is Personal Branding?
Wikipedia says : “Personal branding, self-positioning and all individual branding by whatever name, was first introduced in 1937 in the book 'Think and Grow Rich' by Napoleon Hill.”
Personal branding, by definition, is the process by which we market ourselves to others. As a brand, we have the ability to leverage the same strategies that make these celebrities or corporate brands apply. We can build brand equity and our online presence just like the celebrities and corporations.
With the advent of the Internet, blogging and the Social media tools, now, marketing has become a level playing field that has enabled each of us to reach those incredible heights we once thought were not within our reach.
Why Personal Branding Is So Important?
First of all, we need to constantly influence others to sell our ideas to our teachers, employers, customers, business partners, friends and family, to make things happen in our lives. For that to happen, we must position ourselves to stand out from the competition.
Personal Branding is nothing revolutionary. We always needed it, we always did it. Whether you are a student, a working professional, self-employed or a small business owner, a book author, a life coach or an aspiring public speaker – you know how hard it is to get people to buy into your idea or your product.
No matter how great your product or the service is, your marketing efforts dictate your success. Therefore, if your business is around your name, obviously it is IMPORTANT to increase the brand value of your name. The bigger your name, the bigger your following, the bigger your success.
Your brand can no longer be represented on a piece of paper. The Google search results of Your Name is your brand. [tweet this]
If you’re in high school, personal branding applies to you because getting into a top college is very competitive. You need to position yourself as worthy of a top school. Therefore, in addition to getting good grades, networking with alumni who can endorse you, writing a compelling essay etc. are just as important and social media can be very helpful if you learn to leverage.
People are no longer defined by their employer. People who define their own brand – get hired. [tweet this]
If you are in college, you're interested in either getting an internship, starting a business or getting a corporate job upon graduation. Getting a job is extremely competitive today. You need to position yourself as better than your peers. That means, developing leadership skills while in college, meeting as many people as you can and creating your own personal brand are important to your success.
If you are a skilled employee working for a company, and enjoy doing so, then personal branding becomes the cornerstone for how you move up the corporate hierarchy and become recognized as a leader. As an employee you are consistently selling your ideas to your boss, your customers and coworkers. The better your personal brand, the better it is for your future.
If you are an entrepreneur, you need to start branding yourself and your company (depending on the nature of your business). The more established your personal brand, the more help you will get in establishing your business.
Your brand plays a vital role in securing capital for your business or attracting investors. People will buy from all day long if they know, like and trust you. But to create that likability and trust, they must have a way to get to know you, engage with you and find more information about you. What better opportunity than having a strong online presence?
Steps To Begin Your Personal Branding Journey
If your business, your service or your product requires influencing people, you can take the following 7 steps to start the process to establish your personal brand value. These are the steps I used when I started my journey and I believe it can help you too:
1. Reserve A Domain For Your Personal Brand Identity
This is the first step involved in the process of Personal Branding online. This is the name by which you will be known on the Internet. If available, you should have a domain with your name. However, if that isn’t available, a domain name that closely represents you, will be preferable.
You can go to GoDaddy to check for domain availability and reserve a domain if you don’t have it reserved for your brand name already. The cost shouldn’t even matter to anybody these days as it costs you less than $10 a year.
2. Start Using Your Professional Email Address
There are several free email services such as Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail etc. While they are great for personal use, when you use such email addresses for business communication, it robs you of the credibility.
Now that you already have a registered domain of your choice, it’s time to configure your email address with your domain name. This gives you the professional look and others will now take your emails a bit more seriously ( It just works!)
If your domain service provider is not giving a free email hosting account and you don’t want to spend money on email hosting, I have a good news for you. Just go to ZOHO Mail and configure up to 3 fully functional email accounts with your domain name for absolutely FREE.
3. Start A Self-Hosted WordPress Blog
Marketing is all about connecting with your target market. Blogging is an incredible platform to get you not just closer to your audience, but also to add value to them, engage in conversation with them and at the same time, build a buzz around your Personal Brand name.
I encourage you to visit my previously published article where I wrote why blogging is important to your personal branding efforts, in case you are not sure if blogging is good for you.
If you know that you need a professional looking blog and you don’t know where to begin, I have dedicated a post for you that talks about how to setup your self-hosted WordPress blog yourself. Trust me, it’s easier than you think.
4. Keep Your Blog Regularly Updated – Engage With Readers
Many entrepreneurs create a website with a few static pages and assume that their branding is done. Many others I’ve seen have a blog and they are also very active on social media. But they don’t have their blogs updates in 3 months.
The problem is, having a blog that isn’t updated regularly, is as effective as not having a blog. Your website is only valuable when it keeps getting fresh valuable content updated on a regular basis. It doesn’t have to be daily, but it must be updated on a regular interval that you choose as part of your strategy.
5. Build Your Blog Subscriber List
Michael Hyatt says in Platform – Get Noticed In A Noisy World, “Growing your subscriber list should be your top priority as a blogger if you want more traffic on your blog.”
That is so absolutely a true statement. My blog subscribers are my most loyal readers and it is because of their feedback, questions and comments that I get my ideas about writing. Not only that, my subscribers bring more readers to my blog when they share my posts with their network.
When you setup your blog and start posting content regularly, your next biggest objective is to allow your readers to become your subscribers. I personally use Aweber Autoresponder service for this purpose, although there are other service providers available in the marketplace as well. I enjoy their features and the control. Therefore, I like Aweber.
6. Stay Active On Social Networking Websites
Social Networking is a great way to start making new friends, business connections and learn new ideas from those who are ahead of you. It is also a great platform to share your thoughts, your blog posts and build relationships with other bloggers in your niche.
However easy it may seem to create a social networking profile on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+, staying active is the real deal. It is staying consistent and staying active on social media that makes all the difference in your personal branding efforts.
If you treat social media the same way most people do with gym memberships (take admission but not really go through with the exercise), nothing much will be accomplished for you. If you can’t do it yourself, you may want to hire a social media manager for you who will do it for you. But you must remain active on social media to exercise its leveraging power.
7. Network With Other Influential People
This, by itself, is a topic and I have so many success stories of my friends who have benefited tremendously using this technique. Imagine you are an aspiring, new book author with great content and looking for a publisher to get you published. How difficult is it to get a publishing company to accept your manuscript, especially when you are new to the industry?
Now imagine having a few recommendations from some of the best-selling authors along with your manuscript when you approach a new publishing company. Can you imagine the power? This is exactly what Personal Branding can do for you if you use the power of blogging and social media effectively and smartly.
Social media gives you the ability to connect and network with virtually any influential person on the planet. It is now up to your creativity and imagination to be able to establish that connection and make it happen for your dreams and goals.
Over To You Now
If you are (or aspiring to be) a book author, life coach, public speaker or a freelancer with specific skills, what did you do to establish your influence in the marketplace? What techniques have you used (or using) for your Personal Branding?
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