Personal Branding: Self-Marketing for Marketers
Have you started work on your personal brand yet?
I highly encourage you to start now.
Just like a product brand delivers sales, the ‘X-factor’ of your personal brand delivers opportunities, new contacts, bigger projects and more influence.
A good personal brand increases the visibility and credibility of your business as well. Marketing yourself helps market your business.
When we talk about personal branding, we’re not talking about a person who is associated with a brand, like how Isaiah Mustafa is associated with Old Spice. We are talking about you, aside from your employer’s brand, so that wherever your career takes you, you’ll be well respected and in demand for your knowledge and specialties. We would call Isaiah a brand spokesperson, or brand evangelist – something completely different.
So what is your personal brand? Ask yourself: “What am I good at? What do people enjoy the most about me, or look to me for?”
What you’re good at can be a product of your current career, a hobby, or an aspiration – don’t limit yourself.
For example: I’m good at social media and being present on the web. So I’ve branded myself as “Social Media Stace.” My friend Paul has a career in technology, but he brands himself as an auto enthusiast, and dedicates his free time to auto events, shows and coverage. Emily Schulman brands herself as a fashion and food expert with her blog Cupcakes and Cashmere. Whatever your passion might be, build your online presence around that.
If you’re looking to boost your current business, personal branding can help with that as well. Customers and prospects prefer to see a face rather than a logo. Becoming the “face” of your product or service through personal branding can help your biz communicate more “humanly” with your audience.
Personal branding doesn’t happen overnight. Many people with strong personal brands have taken years to perfect their image and expertise.
I hesitate to use the word “expert,” but whatever your personal brand, you must be super-engaged in that field. A question I get a lot is: why does it take so long, or is it really necessary to build a personal brand? My answer: is it necessary to build your resume and keep it updated? Absolutely.
Personal brands don’t have to remain static. Your personal brand should evolve with you and there’s no problem with changing it if you have different aspirations or career goals.
For example, people who brand themselves as social media experts may refocus to a specific social media network, branding themselves as a Twitter or Pinterest expert to grow a stronger niche network and following.
However, if you’ve branding yourself as one thing, and decide to change to a completely different industry, understand that you’ll be starting over from stage one when it comes to growing your community and gaining authority.
In general – be kind, be helpful, and be as involved as possible in your passion of choice. That’s the first step to creating a brand that takes you places.
To brand yourself better and discover the best tools and tactics for personal branding, join me for my Vocus webinar on July 31.
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