Personal branding is essential for every professional. Why? Just like branding a business, it expresses your professionalism, your values, and what skills you have to offer.
As you go about your day, you may notice a billboard with a real estate agent, a poster for a dog walker, or see a branded Instagram account of an interior designer. All of these folks are perfect examples of personal branding!
Branding yourself builds authenticity and authority in any competitive industry, and it creates an advantage when looking for a new job or clients. Let’s dive into how to build a personal brand to nail your personality, skills, and professional goals. We’ll cover:
- What is personal branding?
- Why is personal branding important?
- How to build a personal brand
- Personal branding examples
What is personal branding?
Personal branding is all about creating a brand that defines who you are, what values you have, and what skills you offer.
Personal branding also allows you to always have a reputation and authority no matter what happens to the job market. It makes it easier to get the job of your dreams or transition into an entrepreneur or freelancer. Pretty sweet right?
Why is personal branding important?
Here are 5 reasons why personal branding is important for everyone:
- Stand out from the crowd: In a competitive job market, a compelling personal brand helps you differentiate yourself from others. It makes you more authoritative and professional in others’ eyes.
- Grow Your Influence: When you establish yourself as an authority and credible figure in your field, people will respect that and turn to you as a source of knowledge.
- Gain trust from your audience: Personal branding builds trust. When you consistently present a clear identity and message, it makes it easier for people to connect with you on a personal level.
- Control your online presence: In the digital age, people will often Google you! Personal branding allows you to present yourself in the best possible light.
- Future-proof yourself: Use your personal brand as a portfolio of all of your work and experience. It’ll be easier to network, find job opportunities, start a business, or freelance if you have a robust online presence. You’ll be future-proof no matter what happens!
“If people like you they will listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you” – Zig Ziglar
In business, people trust people more than advertising campaigns. In fact, 96% of consumers don’t trust ads, and 84% of people trust personal recommendations over other marketing tactics. It goes without saying then that investing in building a personal brand will pay off in the long run.
How to build a personal brand
Figuring out the best ways to enhance your personal brand isn’t easy. It needs to reflect who you are, but still resonate with your target audience.
So, here are 5 actionable steps you can take to help you get started on your self-branding journey.
Step 1: Define your brand strategy
To build a strong personal brand, you first need a personal branding strategy. Follow these steps to get started.
Identify your target audience
Take the time to determine who you want to reach and connect with. Consider these factors:
- Demographics (Age, gender)
- Interests and likes
- Challenges and dislikes
- What social channels do they use
You can use tools like LinkedIn, Quora, and Google Search to help you uncover the traits of your target audience. Understanding your target audience is critical to tailoring your content to effectively resonate with them.
Clarify your personal brand values
Brand values are the principles that you live by – and what you want to be communicated through your brand. These will serve as the foundation of your personal brand and help you establish an authentic and consistent identity.
Write them down now!
Create a personal brand value proposition
Identify what makes you stand out from others in your field. Think about your unique skills, experiences, or perspectives that provide value to your audience. Check out the one below!
This will be your unique selling point and what sets you apart from the competition. Start by writing down:
- Your experience/expertise.
- The service/product offering
- The mission and your values
For example, “I’m a seasoned therapist dedicated to fostering a safe and open community around mental health.”
Now, you try it!
Set goals and objectives
Lastly, establish specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based targets for your personal brand. Determine what you want to accomplish and by when.
Your goals could include:
- Increasing your social media following
- Posting on LinkedIn regularly
- Secure networking opportunities
- Doubling your client base
Setting clear goals will keep you focused and motivated on your brand-building journey. Pin them on the wall if you have to!
Now that you’ve had some time to reflect, fill in this next paragraph. If you can’t, get back to the drawing board!
“My personal brand targets [Target Audience]. They will want to connect with and follow me because [Unique Value Proposition]. I will deliver my messaging with [Content Type] on [Platforms]. My content will always be [Brand Values]. My goals are to [Goals and Objectives].”
2. Develop your brand identity
Developing your brand identity is a crucial step in building your personal brand. Follow these steps to establish a strong and consistent personal brand identity.
Design a visually consistent brand
Start by creating a logo. Logos are a vital asset for creating a memorable brand. You can use your logo on:
When designing a logo:
- Select a logo font that matches your personal brand. If your personal brand is unique and customer-facing, look for a handwritten scripted font. If it’s a professional look you’re after, look at sans-serif fonts.
- Choose a consistent color palette.It should reflect your brand’s personality and create visual cohesion
- Create a logo font pairing that boosts your brand and communicates your business.
Design your personal brand logo!
Create an authentic brand voice
What do you want to sound like to your customers? Whether you looking to come across as friendly, authoritative, or conversational, ensure that your brand voice remains consistent across all platforms. This builds recognition and an emotional connection with your audience.
Establish a cohesive online presence
To solidify your personal brand, you need a professional website that showcases your brand identity, highlights your expertise, and provides valuable information to your audience.
If you create your logo with the Looka logo maker, you can get a pre-branded website with your logo, fonts, and colors already applied.
You can optimize your social media accounts to reflect your visual identity by using consistent:
- Brand colors
- Original photography
- Brand fonts
Here’s an example of a personal brand identity with a Looka logo. Notice how the imagery, symbol, and brand colors all work well together, to create an earthy yet modern brand.
Check out your favorite influencers’ socials and websites (or Google one if you don’t have one!) and see how all the visual elements come together no matter where you are online.
3. Plan and create engaging content
Creating engaging content is a pivotal aspect of growing your personal brand. After all, this is what people will make their split-second decision on. You want to stop the scroll!
Follow these steps to plan and create content that resonates with your audience.
Develop a content calendar
You need to plan the types of content you will create based on your target audience’s preferences and the platforms you will be using.
Whether it’s videos, socials, or blog posts, determine the frequency and consistency of your content creation based on the realistic goals you set earlier. Aim for at least once a week!
Create valuable and shareable content
Now it’s time to start creating. Offer insights, expertise, and practical tips that align with your audience’s interests.
Create content that helps people:
- Solve problems
- Learn something new
- Get Inspired
Engage with your audience by sharing actionable advice and encouraging comments, questions, and sharing. Like the design and cleaning segments in the Instagram account below!
Establish a regular content schedule and stick to it to maintain engagement and build a loyal following. Consistency helps build trust and it signals the platform that you’re an active and engaging user.
4. Engage and connect with your audience
Engaging and connecting with your audience is vital for growing your personal brand. This may take you out of your comfort zone. But, it helps build a following for your brand, along with showing engagement.
Be active on social media
Actively engage with your audience by responding to comments, messages, and mentions. Show genuine interest in their thoughts and opinions.
In the Instagram account below, the interior designer does the same weekly segment for small spaces. It’s fun and relevant to her audience!
Social sites reward content that gets more engagement. This means your posts will get further reach and therefore more opportunities to reach new followers and potential customers.
Participate in online communities
Another thing to consider is to join relevant groups, forums, or industry-specific platforms where your target audience congregates. Check out the following:
- Facebook groups
- Slack groups
Contribute valuable content, answer questions, and provide helpful insights. This allows you to build a community of supporters and expand your network.
Collaborate with others
I have seen personal brands skyrocket with this tactic. Seek opportunities to collaborate with influencers, experts, or complementary brands in your industry.
Collaborations can include:
- Guest blogging
- Joint webinars on LinkedIn
- Instagram live collaborations
- Social media contests
By collaborating, you can tap into their audience and gain exposure to a new set of followers. This collaboration also enhances your credibility and positions you as an authority in your field.
5. Keep yourself and your brand updated
Monitoring and adapting your personal brand strategy is crucial for long-term success! Follow these steps to ensure your strategy remains effective.
Track your brand’s performance
Regularly monitor key metrics such as website traffic, social media engagement, and audience growth. Most social platforms provide analytic tools. Try the following free tools:
- Google Analytics
- Later (social media)
- Semrush (Free version)
- Mailchimp (for email marketing)
Stay updated and relevant
Keep a pulse on the latest trends, industry developments, and changes in consumer behavior. Continuously learn and stay informed about the topics that matter to your audience. Especially in the age of AI!
Use learning platforms like:
- Linkedin Learning
- Semrush/ Ahrefs Academy
When you get a new certificate – add it to your LinkedIn profile and website! Do an occasional brand refresh to make sure your website is aligned with the evolving needs of your industry.
Successful personal branding examples
Here are a few successful personal brands to inspire you!
Interior designer personal brand example: Alexandra Gator
Alexandra Gater is an interior designer that educates folks on interior design while working on client projects. As a creative person in a creative industry, she used a casual script font in her logo design to give off an elegant personal touch. Her brand colors are earthy yet bubbly. Her brand voice feels like a text from her – fun and bubbly!
Business consultant personal brand example: Terry Rice
Business consulting is a more serious and technical industry. Terry used a no-nonsense sans serif font with minimalistic branding to show clarity and professionalism. His brand voice is concise and powerful, with his portrait overlayed by his vision statement. It’s a great example of clean and direct personal branding for an entrepreneurial audience.
Financial consultant personal brand: Tiffany Aliche
Tiffany uses a great blog name to capture her audience’s attention. As a financial consultant, she uses a clean and crisp sans serif logo and money-inspired brand colors to exude her can-do attitude about getting good with money.
Coach personal brand example: Jay Clouse
Jay uses a casual handwritten logo font to give his branding that personalized touch. His bold blue brand color stands out and is used minimally to make it pop more. He uses a crisp sans-serif font to come across as clear and professional.
Marketing consultant personal brand example: Neil Patel
Neil Patel has leveraged his expertise in digital marketing to create a globally recognized personal brand.
He uses a bold orange brand color to stand out from the sea of blue in his competitive pool. With his minimalistic sans serif font and negative space, he achieves a bold and clean brand look. It only takes a few deliberate choices to achieve a distinct look!
Maximize your reach with personal branding
So we have covered a step-by-step plan to get you started on your personal branding journey. Now here are some tips to help you maximize the reach and success of your personal branding efforts.
- Be Authentic: This is the hardest aspect of building a personal brand. While it’s important to consider what others are looking for, at the end of the day, your personal brand needs to represent the real you.
- Show off your experience: Highlight your unique skills, accomplishments, publications, features, and organizations you’ve worked for. Keep a regular inventory of this and show it off!
- Stay consistent: Consistency is key to keeping your personal brand thriving. Make your content output consistent. That way, you remain consistent, relevant, and up-to-date in your industry.
- Tap into your values: Make a list of the key emotions connected to your business. Are you a dog walker? The key values there are trust, honesty, and reliability. Making this list will help you understand what emotions to focus your messaging on.
- Make yourself an authority: Your personal brand should communicate your authority around a certain niche. With every post, add your logo, brand colors, and fonts to make it distinctly yours. When it gets shared or viewed, people will know it was you.