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In every economy, building a recognizable personal brand can open up new professional opportunities.

Designing and implementing a vision for your future can lead to a better role; larger salary; improved connections; additional clients for your business and in certain cases, global recognition together with much more.

So, what do you want to be known for? What is it that sets you apart from others in the same space or area of expertise?

Whatever the answers may be, here are important tips to consider when building or refining your own personal brand.

1. Gain control of your personal brand

New and even many seasoned professionals can benefit from Professor Dorie Clark’s three-minute personal branding video for Harvard Business Review. The classic footage titled ‘Take Control of Your Personal Brand’ includes 5 solid tips that can make others see where you are headed with your personal brand – versus where you’ve been.

2. Create or expand your online presence

It has been said that if you don’t have an online presence today, you don’t exist.

However, if you are new to having an online presence – what is the best use of your time? Will it help you to have several social media accounts? Or narrow it to one platform in order to begin to gain traction?

Interestingly a 2015 study notes that personal websites can be just as important for branding.

Over time, people have tended to promote themselves with business cards, which were vital for providing contact info. Now that we have entered the information age, consider transitioning to personal domains instead. These are websites with your name (such as www.yourname.com) and branded.me recently did a study that found these sites useful among consumers and employees.

The report noted that for job seekers and those seeking business opportunities, personal websites are a great way to build one’s personal brand. According to the study, about 84 percent of people reported they had received benefits from a personal website. Additionally, 70 percent said they believed potential employers are seeking out information about workers online before interviewing job candidates.

Tapping into opportunity

Although personal websites are useful, they are currently underused by professionals. According to branded.me, fewer than one in 20 people have a personal website. With the popular and user-friendly content management systems like WordPress, every professional can have a website or blog to promote their services.

“This study proves the value of personal websites and the benefits associated,” the researchers wrote in a press release. “A website is one of the most powerful means of personal branding, yet only four percent of people currently have one.”

Another interesting finding is that more than three out of five professionals believe personal websites are more valuable than personal resumes. The researchers also noted how professionals are using their personal sites. More than half say personal websites are the most important part of their online brand.

3. Continue learning about your industry

“No matter how well you know your industry or area of expertise, it would be wise to remember that things are changing at a faster rate than ever before, and you have to stay up-to-date with the latest changes and trends,” shares Thomas Smale, co-founder of FE International.

Smale adds, “It takes time to build your personal brand. If you fail to stay relevant, all of your effort will be wasted. If you don’t want to be discredited, then you’ll want to keep a steady supply of articles, trade journals, blogs, and books on hand.”

He also reminds us that, “It also pays to learn new things, develop new skills, and to expand your knowledge. If you’re not growing, then you’re stagnating, and that’s the last thing you want to do as an entrepreneur.”

Further Smale shares, “As you begin to sharpen your personal brand, the right opportunities will start coming your way. People will begin to see that you know what you’re talking about, and they’ll invite you to be a part of their stories or news pieces.”

4. Contribute blog posts and articles

Guest blogging and reporting is a mutually beneficial relationship between writer and the publication.

This is a great opportunity for the writer, who might be looking to get their name out there as an industry expert while also helping grow relationships with editors and expand their own readership.

Most media outlets allow people to submit original, authentic articles on topics that are relevant to their readership. However, each one has different submission instructions. While some require you to submit full articles, others accept topic pitches and are willing to work with you on an outline.

Some will get back to you in a few days if they like your post, while for others, it could be a good few weeks if at all. So do not get discouraged, be patient and remember to be respectful when following up with the editorial team.

Noteworthy, before you submit anything, dedicate time to reading through the site to get a good idea of the topics and formats they will consider publishing.

Next steps

Do you have a personal branding tip or expert insight that has helped you? If so, please share your professional tip with the audience by adding a comment below.

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Kelly Isley is an international strategist, business leader, columnist, author, and pilot with more than 21 years of experience in the aerospace, finance, engineering, and healthcare industries. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and covers global workforce, workplace and leadership topics. If you have any suggestions for future articles please contact Kelly via email or twitter.