Personal branding is the way you market yourself as an individual, whether you’re a freelancer looking to build a client base, trying o break in as an influencer, or searching for a new job. This is especially important if you want a career in marketing, where personal branding helps show off the skills you can offer a prospective employer. To prove to potential employers that you’re capable of promoting their brand, you must showcase your talents by developing your brand on various platforms and use content marketing to grow a community around your brand.
Here are a few quick tips for using content marketing to promote your personal brand.
Tips for personal branding
Just like a business brand, your personal brand rests on who you are and what you stand for –what makes you unique. Never try to be all things to all people but select a niche (even a niche within a niche) and stay hyperfocused on that niche and the people who live in that niche.
Next, stay true to your personal branding niche. If you want to become a microcelebrity in makeup, you must commit to never leaving the house looking less than “put together” or risk someone catching you like that. If you want a job working in digital marketing, carefully proofread your posts, stick to a schedule, and work to engage your community. Hence, whatever niche you decide to own, focus all your efforts on that niche. Be genuine and consistent.
Find a message that gives life to your personal brand. For instance, I use “at the intersection of marketing and digital” and use it so often that people I’ve never meet recognize my message because they see it often. Use your message in everything you do — as part of your email signature, on all your social profiles, and on your website.
With an understanding of these overarching tactics for building your personal brand, let’s move on to some specifics.
Outline your goals
Harkening back to my last point above about messaging, the first thing to do is to create a content marketing strategy for your personal brand. Here you can clearly outline your goals as well as your mission statement. Content marketing goals might involve boosting awareness of your brand, building trust within your target market, or creating effective professional relationships. You should also consider your target audience down to the last detail including their industries, interests, lifestyle, and values. This allows you to determine their needs so you can build a plan to meet their needs.
Create a visually appealing website
Another one of the most important branding basics is to create a visually appealing website. I have students start by creating a website using a website builder but, as a professional working on your personal branding, I’d opt for a self-hosted website because that option helps you reach more users through effective SEO. Website builders simply don’t offer the wide exposure nor the visual appeal of a self-hosted website.
If you need help, I created a step-by-step guide for building a website.
Blogging is a big part of content marketing and helps you attract new users to your brand. While your website is pretty static, a blog is your personal canvas to create new content on a daily or weekly basis. Use your blog as a way to connect with people in your industry on a deeper level, show your expertise, or as a long-form post to highlight your values.
Your blog can be informative and educational, relating to industry news, relevant environmental or humanitarian issues, and more. Or, a blog that’s entertaining is great for creatives and some types of influencers who want to build their communities around fun. You can use your blog to feature other personalities in your niche to capture their audience, as well.
Use your blog for telling a story, as this type of content appeals to users across most industries and is essential for those working on personal branding to consumers.
It’s important to build your brand around a specific niche or topic, as mentioned earlier, and use relevant keywords to match that niche. For instance, if you’re interested in graphic design, link your blog posts to keywords that express what folks interested in that industry ask about.
Once you have a website, work on creating valuable content on a consistent basis as both a tool for reaching users as well as a way to showcase your talents, which we’ll discuss next.
Showcase your talents
If you hope to reach potential employers or clients, use content to showcase your talents. Boost your professional profile by adding video content, for example, if you want to break in as a videographer, cinematographer, or actor. As a designer, for example, you could add a portfolio of your best works or make a behind-the-scenes video showing your process.
If you want a marketing job, highlight your certifications and specializations. We work hard on this in my digital marketing certification program at Shenandoah, where students complete the 12-credit program with certifications in Google Analytics, Google Ads, Hubspot, and Python, as well as our school’s certification. Also, discuss your specific skills as not everyone has the qualifications to work in digital marketing.
If you want to learn how to get entry-level marketing jobs, for instance, you could study a relevant course and highlight this on your profile.
You should also build a powerful personal brand on social media. Post on the platforms where your target market hangs out. Keep in mind that you can’t effectively manage every platform unless you have a staff to help (we’ll talk more about time commitments in the next section). Choose a few platforms that offer the biggest return and focus on doing them well. Below, you can see some ideas of the various platforms and how they differ in appeal to different genders and age groups.
Personal branding isn’t something you do when you have time. You must make a concerted and sustained effort across all your channels, including offline channels such as conventions and local meetings. If you chose a niche that reflects your own personality, values, and interests, it’s easy to maintain your persona everywhere you go.
Twitter, requires a lot of posts (up to 15/day), although each post is short. Pinterest is also demanding with up to 11 posts/ day, although sharing content created by others in your niche is common (and effective) on Pinterest. Most other platforms only require a post or so every day but that means you need high quality for each post.
Personal branding is very rewarding if done correctly. It can even be fun, especially if you have a passion for your niche Hopefully, these tips help you build a personal brand that helps you reach your goals.
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