How to Develop A Personal Brand to Boost Your Business
As a business owner, you represent your firm. Here’s seven ways to ensure your professional persona complements your company
Often, when people think of the term branding, they associate it with a company or business. However, if you want to get ahead in the business world, you need to develop a personal brand as an entrepreneur too. The way you do things, both off and online, will affect how people perceive you and your company. However there are also advantages to creating a professional brand, for instance you can become known as an expert within your field and use your profile to get your company’s name out there too.
What is a ‘personal brand’?
First of all, let’s take a look at what the term ‘personal brand’ means. You may have heard people talking about it, but do you understand it? When it comes to a company, the brand is everything from the logo to the tone of voice the business uses. Well, it is the same for a business owner. Your brand is everything from how you dress at networking events to how you tweet. When you want to make the right impression on people, you need to define your brand and own it. Someone who I believe does this particularly well in the marketing world is Annie Cushing, aka Annielytics, who is a web analytics data ‘guru’. This name technically started as a joke on Twitter, however this highlights the power of having a truly engaged and loyal following, as well as a great selling point.
So, now you know what a personal brand is, how can it help your business?
Here we take a look at seven effective ways business owners can build and control their personal brand…
1. Decide how you want to be perceived as the face of your business
How do you want people to perceive you? Where do you want to be in five, 10, or 20 years? The vision you create depends on what you want to gain, whether it’s landing a new client or growing your business’ network. A great place to start is making a list of the people you admire, and emulating their journey. Think about and prioritise your values, identify your passions, identify your ideal traits, and determine the aspects of your business life that have been rewarding. Once you have narrowed all of this down and have a goal in mind, you can begin to create a vision.
2. Define your target audience
Once you have your vision, you have to define your target audience. Just whom are you trying to impress? You may want to target potential clients for your business or maybe investors. Whether you are selling a product or selling your professional services, you should be as precise as possible when it comes to this aspect of your brand. From blogging or speaking on topics that are relevant to your business to getting involved in other groups and networks within your industry, there are many ways you can access your audience.
3. Build up assets (online and offline)
There are a number of assets you need to think about when creating your personal brand. You may have a wealth of industry experience or maybe the right qualifications. Remember, no one knows about these things unless you tell them. When it comes to promoting yourself online, you need to show people what you (and therefore your company) have to offer. You’ll need to secure social media profiles to control your brand, and will need to tailor your social media activity to suit your brand.
4. Gain exposure through networking
Once you have perfected your brand, it’s time to get yourself some exposure. Find people who are in your industry or in business in general that are willing to connect and engage, whether at a local event or on a social network. Pinpointing writers and industry experts who can further your branding mission is a good way to start. Get to know them and see how you can help each other. Whether it’s guest posting on their site, contributing to an article or interview, or brand partnerships. LinkedIn is another great place to start. Take a look at your associated profiles and consider how you can utilise these connections, and make new ones.
5. Use you business expertise to get free press coverage
Press coverage is invaluable, especially if it is free. Remember, what matters the most to journalists is whether something is newsworthy or not. You can’t expect people to write about you unless you do something notable. Understanding what the press wants is a crucial step that will give you the power to earn free press. Charity donations always make the news when they are grand gestures. Failing that, you could offer some advice to a local paper or see if any website offer business profile opportunities. If you are an expert in a particular field, a journalist may ask you for a quote about a relevant news story.
6. Monitor your brand
Make sure to keep track of your professional brand. You should keep abreast of any stories mentioning your name and any social media posts about you. You can search for your name online and see what results you get each time. When your personal brand takes off, you should notice that more and more people start to notice you and therefore your company. If you don’t have the time to keep making searches there are a few tools that are particularly useful like Google Alerts and Mention.
7. Be yourself
Lastly, it is important to remember that you have to be yourself. Sure, you might think that you can turn yourself into a whole new person but that is not viable. Instead, you need to enhance your assets (not invent them) and represent your business honestly.
This article was written by Lucy Kirkness, director of independent digital marketing consultancy Little Digitalist.