Think about the golden arches, a talking gecko, or three simple words: Just Do It! For millions of consumers, the companies McDonald’s, Geico and Nike come to mind. But they didn’t stumble upon this type of brand recognition overnight. They have mastered the art of business branding.
“It’s important to build a personal brand because it’s the only thing you’re going to have. Your reputation online, and in the new business world is pretty much the game, so you’ve got to be a good person. You can’t hide anything, and more importantly, you’ve got to be out there at some level.” – Gary Vaynerchuk, Entrepreneur
Today, personal branding is just as valuable, and as essential as branding your business. Building your personal brand will create new opportunities for you and your business. Here are ten things you should be doing to improve your personal brand, starting today:
People can easily spot a fake. If you’re authentic, unique and totally committed to what you do, it will show and people will are more easily sold on you and what you’re selling. Part of being authentic will be to develop a unique voice. Go ahead and look at what’s working for other people and then curtail their strategies to fit your personal strengths and unique talents.
Create a personal blog.
Don’t have one yet? Now’s the time to start. A personal website with relevant insights and ideas can fuel your personal brand. That being said, once you start a blog, you have to keep it up. So, create a consistent content schedule so fans and followers know when to expect content from you on a regular basis.
Define your audience.
Make sure you have figured out who your target audience is and then cater to them. Who will be most interested in what you have to offer? Having too broad of an audience will make it difficult to really connect with, and meet the needs of, your audience.
Research the competition.
Unless what you have to offer is completely unique and unlike anything else in the industry. You’ll want to do some type of competitive analysis; figure out who your main competition is and then study up on what works for them and what doesn’t. You’ll be able to better hone in on a strategy that will work for you and give you a leg up over your competitors.
Learn a new skill, often.
People love to read and hear about new things. So, challenge yourself to learn something new on a consistent basis — even if it’s something small and then blog about it. You’ll become more marketable, more interesting, and if nothing else, you’ll have some great new skills under your belt.
Join online industry communities.
Get out there and be seen. Find groups and organizations that fit your goals and vision and then get involved. You’ll increase exposure and learn from other entrepreneurs in your same field of interest.
Network like a beast.
Connect with people locally, regionally and globally. Use networking sites like LinkedIn to reach out to other professionals and to make your skills known in a professional setting. You’ll create business opportunities and relationships with other professionals which can create an “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” benefit for you—and for them.
You know you’re the best—and even if you don’t or aren’t, you need to believe that you will be. So believe it and then talk yourself up whenever and wherever you can. Soon you’ll have people that believe in you and your brand and it can expand from there.
Become an authority.
You want to become the source people think of and look to when they have questions or needs. This is best accomplished if people can see you as the authority or guru in a certain field. Learn everything you can about your particular area of expertise and become an expert.
Use images consistently.
Have a really good-looking professional photograph taken and then use it in every one of your profiles to create consistency. This photo will become the symbol by which people will recognize you and your brand, so make it good.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Paxton Gray is a premier digital marketer with 5 years of experience specializing in strategic planning, social media management, SEO and content marketing. Paxton currently leads a team of digital marketers in charge of SEO, social media and content marketing at 97th Floor, a full service digital marketing agency. Paxton is from Las Vegas, NV, and currently resides in Draper, UT with his beautiful wife. Connect with @paxtonmgray on Twitter.