So you want to start a personal brand. Of course you do! Personal branding is one of the most effective complementary marketing strategies out there; it can enhance the power of your content marketing, social media marketing, advertising, and sales strategies, not to mention set you up for future career opportunities (if you know how to play your cards right).
But if you aren’t already familiar with personal branding, it can all be a bit intimidating. How do you start? What do you actually need? That’s why I’ve written this guide—so you can have all the information (or at least the basics) up front.
I Don’t Need a Personal Brand
Yes you do.
No, Really, I Don’t Think It’s for Me
It takes some effort to build initial momentum, but after that, managing a personal brand is a minimal investment. People trust people more than they trust corporate brands, which means anything you say with your personal brand will land with more weight, and you’ll have an easier time building up a following to boot. Add in the fact that your personal brand will eventually serve as your personal resume, and there’s really no reason not to build one. So let’s get started.
Everything You Need
Here’s a short list of everything you need to get started with a personal brand.
- Okay, there’s no shortcut for this one, unfortunately. You aren’t going to get anywhere with a personal brand unless you have some area of expertise to start with. If you don’t have one, you can always learn one—but you need to be able to speak with authority on a given subject if you eventually want your users to trust and respect you.
- A target market. Next up, you need a target market. These are the people who are going to read you content, engage with you, and eventually buy from you. If you’re building a personal brand on behalf of a business, you probably already have a target market identified—if that’s the case, you can start building your strategy around them. Otherwise, you’ll need to start with your expertise and do some market research to discover what types of people would be interested in that niche.
- A “brand” personality. Whenever you write content, make posts, or engage with people, you need to showcase a consistent and appealing brand personality. Under normal circumstances, that’s a set of fabricated qualities assigned to a brand, but here, you’ll start with your own personality and make some modifications to fit your industry. This is an easy element, but still one you have to pay attention to. Be yourself—just a professional, approachable version of yourself.
- A home base—your website. Next up, you’ll need a base of operations for your strategy. Usually, that means a core website. Here, you’ll give users a brief bio about who you are, what you do, and where you’ve been, and you’ll offer any products or services you want to provide. If you’re doing this on behalf of a company, you can redirect to a Bio or Team page, but you’ll need something to link to in all your external communications.
- A headshot. It may not seem like a big deal, but it is. If you’re serious about your personal brand, you need to show you’re serious about it by getting a professional headshot. People will want to see what you look like, so look your best self!
- A kickass blog. This is the most important element on this list (arguably). You need to have a kickass blog to promote yourself, showing off your expertise and giving value to people. A solid blog will earn traffic through search engines, direct visits, social followers, and even referral traffic if you post offsite—but it all starts with a solid foundation.
- A truckload of content. Before you get going on building up your social presence and working on ongoing content, it’s a good idea to build up an archive of back-dated posts. This will make you seem like you’ve been around longer than you actually have, and will serve as good fodder for social media syndication.
- Optimized social media profiles. Finally, you’ll need to claim all your social media profiles if you haven’t already. Fill them out completely, with as much detail as you can manage, and optimize them with keywords relevant for your audience and your industry.
In addition to those foundational elements, you’ll need to execute some ongoing work if you want your personal brand to grow over time. These are complex strategies, but for the sake of brevity, I’m introducing them as general bullet items here:
- Write more awesome content. The more you write and the more consistently valuable your content is, the more your audience is going to grow (not to mention stick around).
- Meet new people. Whenever you can, network with new people. That might mean giving your social media links to someone you met in real life, engaging with someone in an online conversation, or even just following someone new. Get your face out there.
- Engage with your audience. Don’t just talk—listen. Answer questions, respond to comments, and generally show your audience that you care about them.
It really is that simple. Of course, there are more subtleties to all these strategies, and of course you won’t be successful out of the gates, but if you can master these basics, you’ll be well on your way to being a personal branding superstar in pretty much any field you can imagine.
Then again, personal branding takes a lot of work—especially when you’re writing multiple posts a week. That’s where dopplepop comes in; we’re personal branding experts, standing by to help you develop your personal brand without the stress and confusion. If you’re ready to learn more about how we can earn you thousands of followers, contact us!