Stop and think for a moment. What would you say is the most important thing to ensure career success? Is it your impressive range of product knowledge for your industry? Perhaps it’s your ability to grow your client’s social presence?
While those skills are impressive, as a marketer (as in life) there’s really only once answer that counts. When it comes to growing your business-the most important tool you have is you.
That’s right. You.
Which is why I’m taking a moment to address the topic of personal branding and why you need to invest in yours.
The CEO of Me, Inc.
The idea behind personal branding isn’t new. In fact, in my mind the definitive piece on this concept was written over 10 years ago by management expert Tom Peters for Fast Money magazine. In it, he discussed how we should apply some of the marketing tactics utilized by large corporations to promote ourselves. Later, he would brilliant describe it as becoming the CEO of Me, Inc.
Simply put, your personal brand is how you appear to the world. Different than self-promotion, personal branding represents a full-time commitment to defining yourself as a true thought-leader within your industry.
When done correctly, people who cultivate a strong personal brand are those who are considered the subject matter experts in their field. It’s what they become known for.
So why is this Important and how do I build one?
It’s important because having a strong personal brand gives you more control over your career and business opportunities. It also provides you a chance to serve and become a valued part of your industry.
As for building a powerful personal brand? Odds are that you already have the beginnings of one. Especially given this age of social media engagement. So, if you have an active LinkedIn or Twitter account you already started a digital footprint.
But cultivating a truly great brand should go beyond retweets or sharing an article from someone you admire. It should identify who you are and what you value. So if you confused as to how to do this, consider these tips:
- Figure out what your brand truly is: Take time out to consider who you are and what you stand for. If it helps, create a professional mission statement for what you believe as well as a personal mantra to follow. Don’t skip this important step as it gives you the makings of the perfect elevator pitch.
- Be prepared to network: Remember that professional mission statement that you honed into an elevator pitch? This is where it comes in handy. Get out there and join some industry-based meet up events. Get active on LinkedIn. The idea is to meet likeminded people while gaining practical knowledge.
- Be prepared to share: We all know that the best marketers are able to create memorable content in which to share. Treat your personal branding effort like you would your marketing campaigns for your clients. Write a post for your favorite professional blog. Or better yet, create your own blog and share it on social media.
- Guard your online reputation: Obviously this goes without saying, but how you appear online has a direct effect on how others see you. So be smart and do an audit of your social media accounts and clean up anything that might take away from your branding efforts. If you haven’t already done so, purchase your domain name so it provides a central place to offers details about you.
- Be prepared to give: The best personal branding efforts involve more than doing things for your own benefit. Getting involved with charitable or pro bono work gives you a chance to apply your expertise in a positive way.
Personal branding can be defined as how you are seen in the world. The most powerful branding efforts are ones that combine a strong social presence with networking and pro-bono work. Remember that it’s more than self-promotion. So you have to be able to clearly define and live the values that will become your calling card within your industry.