Renowned entrepreneur, Jeff Bezos defines personal branding as what people say about you when you are not in the room. This invariably means that people are always saying something about you and if you are not intentional about promoting the narrative and public opinion of you that you want, people can form a perception that does not truly represent who you are. A personal brand shapes the perception that people have of you in the way that you want.
Defining your personal brand is an intentional way of presenting the totality of yourself, including your personality, skills and experiences so far. It goes beyond stringing together the amazing work you’ve done in your career but also your values, beliefs, interests and so on. These aspects are what make it easier for people to connect with your brand.
When people have a positive perception of you, you are viewed as a credible and trustworthy person. In addition, they feel more confident about doing business with you either in terms of goods or services.
Why Should You Define Your Personal Brand?
As a communications professional, you can get so engrossed with helping other people build their brands that you forget to work on yours. You must understand that the work you do is pivotal and how you are perceived should not be left to chance. How can you successfully tell other people’s stories when you cannot tell yours? A personal brand gives you the opportunity to tell your own story the way you want it to be told.
Many professionals do not like to work on their personal brand because it feels like blowing your trumpet. But in this digital age, if you do not intentionally make yourself visible, all of your hard work and experiences can go to waste.
A personal brand is supposed to help you gain visibility about your career, your achievements or your experiences and leverage them to get more opportunities and establish valuable networks.
What are The Benefits of a Personal Brand?
A strong personal brand takes time, effort, consistency and many other words we don’t like to hear. But the benefits it brings surpass the efforts you have to put into creating it. Some of the opportunities it brings are;
- Strategic Positioning
A personal brand positions you as a thought leader in your industry. This also portrays you as someone who is credible and can be trusted.
- Access to Opportunities
Your personal brand opens the doors to more opportunities. When people can identify a proven track record and experiences thanks to how you have branded yourself, they will feel confident enough to work with you.
- Visibility and Exposure
A strong personal brand gives you the kind of exposure you need to advance your career and get better in your skills. It keeps you in the mind of your clients and prospects. It also helps you form valuable relationships and expand your network. When you create awareness about the kind of work that you do, you will attract attention from various points such as the media, experts in your industry and so on.
- High-Quality Clients
A strong personal brand not only gives you the opportunity to work with high-level clients but also gives you the confidence to request commensurate payment for the value you provide through your services.
How to Build Your Personal Brand as a Communications Professional
With personal branding, you create a unique identity that distinguishes you from the crowd. It is important that you define your personal brand and here are some steps to help you do so;
- Carry out Self Assessment
To build a strong personal brand, you have to take a look at your existing skills and expertise, your credentials or special recognitions that you’ve received. You should also consider your interests and the kind of things you are passionate about as well as your values, beliefs and convictions. You have to understand yourself first to strategically build a personal brand that your audience will come to love and trust.
- Choose your target audience
You cannot possibly appeal to everybody. What’s important is that you appeal to the target audience you have chosen. Considering the industry you’re in and your line of work, you have to look at the target audience and what appeals to them. In choosing your target audience, you should consider certain factors such as demographics – gender, education, relationship status, income, profession; desires – dreams, goals and aspirations; and their pain points and challenges.
- Carve a Niche
While you may be very good at doing different things, you have to choose an area where you are exceptional. You should also carve a niche for yourself, a core area that you want to known be for. What problems are you solving through the professional services you’re offering? Now that you know your target audience, you have to decide on how you can solve their challenges or problems. You have to articulate what you do clearly. You don’t have to be vague or use ambiguous language. Keep it simple.
- Distribute Valuable Content
You have to walk the talk by showing your target audience how you can meet their needs by sharing relevant content. This would help you increase your brand visibility and attract potential clients. There are various mediums through which you can distribute your content some of which are – websites, blogs, newsletters, media features, etc. Also, note that consistency is key in this phase of building your personal brand. Your updates should have an established flow and not epileptic. You can choose an interval that works for you but make sure you are giving valuable content your audience can engage with.
When trying to build your personal brand, there is always the temptation to do it all. But the best strategy to improve visibility is to choose a social media platform to focus on before heading on to the others. Social media platforms like LinkedIn and Instagram or a personal website are good places to showcase your personal brand.
- Communication Metrics
When you understand the value and importance of your work, you become more confident, motivated to do more and recognized by the organization you work for, your clients and your audience. If there are no measurable standards to showcase your progress, then it’s as good as not having done anything in the first place.
Find out more about Metrics for Tracking Your Communication Goals here.
In defining your personal brand, you do not have to present yourself in a way that is contrary to your true self. You are strategically showcasing who you are as such it should reflect your originality. The way you present your works, posts and updates on social media should be consistent with your brand. You could have your friends or colleagues review your accounts and give their honest feedback. A good way to track your brand is to search for your name on Google and see what pops up.