Build a foundation so strong that nothing can knock it over.
In this guide, we’ll be discussing everything you need to know about building a strong personal brand.
We’ll be covering the following topics (click on a bullet point to jump to that section)
The Business of “You”
In this guide, I will be covering 12 simple tips that are applicable for almost any industry you are involved in.
These tips are designed to help boost your personal brand, which can have a life of its own outside of the company you work for.
Keep in mind that building your personal brand is not just about making yourself look good.
It is about showcasing how you bring value to your company or industry.
This guide will provide simple tips that can help you increase your personal brand in a way that brings value to others, which in turn builds your personal brand.
18 Tips for Building a Strong Personal Brand
Here are 18 tips you can follow to build a strong personal brand that stands the test of time.
1. Personal Branding Starts at Home
Creating a strong personal brand starts with the foundation of who you are as an individual.
By making sure that you are happy with who you are, then other people will be drawn to that version of you.
If you are not comfortable with your personal brand, nobody else will be either.
Remember, it’s not about putting on a fake persona and trying to sell that to people. It is about being confident in who you are, and letting that shine through.
2. Determine What You Want to Be Known For
Once you’ve begun to get a good handle of who you are, then the next step is figuring out what you want to be known for.
You can’t expect to have everyone know everything about your personality because there’s simply too much there.
The key is finding a few things that define who you are and communicating those effectively to others.
Once you know what you want to be known for, you should have a basic elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is three to five sentences that accurately represent who you are. We also call this a personal brand statement.
The good news is that this isn’t something you have to work on overnight. You can continue to tweak it as you live your life, but it will be the foundation of your personal brand.
For example, let’s say that you are a restaurant manager who is known for your great customer service skills. This might be part of the elevator pitch:
I am very passionate about customer service, and I had my team create an excellent experience for every guest who visited our restaurant.
You want to make sure not to go overboard with it though. You don’t want people to think that you are just a robot who likes advertising yourself.
It’s ok to mention your values, but include how you go about achieving those values.
3. Define Your Target Audience
Once you begin to figure out who you are, then the next step is figuring out who you are communicating with.
If you’re not targeting an audience, then there’s no point in trying to communicate the things that define you because nobody will get it.
Who are your friends? What social circles do you run with? Figure these things out so you can get a good idea of who your target audience is.
For example, you might have a target audience of young professionals who spend their money on luxury items.
Maybe you are a fashion blogger who is known for her ability to curate outfits. If so, then your target audience might be 20 somethings who love dressing sharp and spending their money on beautiful clothing items.
4. Remain Relevant
Once you have defined your target audience, then it’s time to figure out what type of content they are looking for.
Think about the following questions:
- What do I want to talk about?
- Who am I talking to?
- What are they interested in?
- What are they concerned about?
- How can I be helpful to them?
With answers to these questions, you’ll begin to figure out what type of content needs to go out in order for you to remain relevant.
It’s important that whatever kind of content is produced, it remains relevant in order for your personal brand to stay afloat.
5. Keep a Consistent Voice
In order for your brand to remain strong, then it’s important that whatever you produce is consistent with what you have put out in the past.
Whether this means emulating a certain style of writing, photography, video production…etc., there needs to be a voice and a style that is consistent.
For example, you might emulate a no-nonsense, to the point approach when writing articles.
And if this is your personal brand and your voice, then it needs to remain consistent whether writing an article about food or relationships.
6. Learn to Market Yourself
A lot of effort should be applied to marketing yourself.
Think about all the other people in your industry. How do they market themselves?
This is a perfect chance for you to learn from others and discover what works best for you in terms of marketing yourself.
As long as your voice remains consistent, then anything goes.
7. Make it a Priority
The number one thing (in my opinion) that holds individuals back from building their personal brand is lack of priority.
People make the mistake of thinking they can “fit it in” whenever they have time.
But, I’ll tell you right now that if you want to build your personal brand, it’s going to take a lot of time and effort.
Building your personal brand is a 24/7 job. Why is this?
You are building your personal brand from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed.
- How you get up and dress affects your personal brand.
- How you speak to others affects your personal brand.
- What you do for hobbies and choose to learn affects your personal brand.
- Who you decide to associate yourself with affects your personal brand.
Wherever you go in the world, you are there with your personal brand.
8. Be Consistent
If you want your personal brand to grow, then it has to be consistent. Period.
It can’t come in dribs and drabs here and there.
If you actually want something, then put 100% into whatever that is for a period of time.
Consistent effort is the only way to make sure that you are investing in your future, and not just spending time on something for nothing.
9. Create a “Brand Core”
You’ve heard this term before, but I’ll give you my definition anyways:
A “brand core” is what defines your personal brand and sets you apart from everybody else. It’s what makes people drawn to your content and want more of it.
For example, if you are a personal trainer and your content revolves around healthy eating…then your brand core might be “eating clean.”
10. Create an Inspiring Brand Atmosphere
A lot of times, brands create a really stellar brand core, but then fail to create an “atmosphere” that inspires others.
Think about the following question:
What emotion am I trying to inspire?
The goal is to create an atmosphere that inspires people and allows them to connect with you on a deeper level. Everything will fall into place if you can make this happen.
You do this by having the strong brand core, having a consistent voice, authentic content, by being yourself, and by telling stories that are inspiring and relevant.
11. Be Yourself
A lot of people are confused about what being yourself means. It’s easy to get caught up in trying to be somebody else just because it seems like they always have something that is working for them.
The bottom line is: be yourself, and it always works out in the end.
12. Create a Long-Term Plan
There needs to be a long-term plan that looks at where your personal brand is now and where it is going.
How do you want to make this happen?
- What steps will be taken in order for you to get there?
- What platforms do I need to be on to continue growing my personal brand?
You need a long-term plan to keep yourself on track and focused, rather than aimlessly wandering around.
13. Use Social Media as a Tool
Social media is one of the best tools for building and maintaining your personal brand.
You can use it as an outlet for expressing yourself and sharing who you are with others, or you can use it to learn about others and share that knowledge with your audience.
You can use it to stay up-to-date on the latest industry news, or you can share what’s going on in your life.
The options are numerous, but social media is one of the best ways to help build your brand because it helps connect you with actual people.
For example, if you are a brand new blogger, then social media can be used to help you find readers and build an audience. With just 100 Twitter followers, for example, you have the potential to reach 1000 people if they share your content.
14. Network, Network, Network
Networking is one of the best ways to not only build a strong personal brand, but also benefit from that brand.
Connecting with people on a professional level can help you gain insight into different industries and roles that will help grow your career.
These networks can open up doors of opportunity for you down the road, which is why it’s so important to not only connect with people, but create a lasting impression as well.
Some networking tips include :
- Always be on time if you are meeting people. Nothing says “I don’t care” more than being late to an appointment.
- Don’t just hand out business cards and walk away, but rather take the time to establish a connection with that person by asking them questions, listening carefully to what they have to say, etc.
- Put yourself in a position where you can meet new people. This might mean going to networking events, joining groups, or otherwise looking for ways to get involved with your community.
15. Always Be Learning
When you are working on building your personal brand, the best thing you can do is always be learning.
This goes beyond just listening to podcasts or reading blogs about industry news.
By being a life-long learner, you are showing others that you are dedicated to not only learning new things about your industry, but also about yourself.
For example, keep up to date by following other thought leaders of your niche on twitter, follow expert blogs within your niche, network with other thought leaders in your niche, etc.
16. Be the Expert
Trying to become an expert in everything will be impossible, but one thing you can do is become an expert in a few things.
By doing this, people will look to you as an authority figure that not only knows what they are talking about, but also knows how to help them.
The good old saying, “a jack of all trade, but a master of none” is what you want to avoid becoming.
17. Share Your Story with the World
People like hearing about how other people got to where they are. By sharing your story, you will allow other individuals to connect with you on a deeper level and find more value in what you have to say.
For example, if you want to build a personal brand for yourself as a writer, then you can share articles about your story, along with articles where you provide writing tips.
Stories matter. Stories can start or end wars, elect new politicians into office, they can bring people together, etc.
A story is your best marketing tool.
18. Keep Sharing Your Story
People may initially be interested in your story, but you will need to keep the momentum going.
As your personal brand increases over time, people will begin to forget about who you were or what you did when you first started out.
If they don’t know your story then they won’t see how you got to where you are today.
A story ends when the storyteller wants it to end.
Keep telling your story with the world, everyone has a story, but not everyone knows how to tell it.
Creating a personal brand is an excellent way to not only grow your own following, but also build lasting relationships with people.
It’s about being authentic to yourself and sharing that with the world in order to improve their lives in some way.
The most important thing is always learning new things, understanding what it means to be genuine, treating others how you would like to be treated, and staying true to yourself.
If you ever lose sight of who you are or what you stand for then it will become very difficult to continue a strong personal brand.
Remember, everyone has a story, but not everyone knows how to tell it.
This guide is also a part of our Personal Branding Hub, so be sure to check that out for further personal branding tips and insights.
Nate Torres is an entrepreneur, growth marketer, and photographer and writes mostly on those topics. Nate runs his own professional photography business called Nate Torres Photography. Nate enjoys learning about new digital marketing strategy and new ways to think creatively. He is also a photography speaker and author on Photofocus.