3 Proven Ways To Kickstart Your Personal Branding Journey
Updated: May 8
In a crowded digital environment, building a unique personal brand has become increasingly important for start-up founders, senior professionals, freelancers, and anyone looking to stand out. If you are reading this, you are probably already aware of this, and perhaps have even started working on your personal brand in some way. As with most things, getting started is probably the easiest part, keeping at it, is the difficult part.
In this post, we look at three ways one can manage their personal branding efforts and the pro and cons of each.
The three ways are: Do It Yourself (DIY); Hire a freelance consultant; Work with a specialist agency. Let’s look at some of the advantages and challenges of each approach.
A Do It Yourself (DIY) Approach
While almost all personal brand experts suggest doing it on your own, it can get difficult to be consistent. One needs to dedicate the time and effort needed to plan a strategy and a structured way to execute it. A good understanding of how a personal brand can be systematically built will also help.
The good part of a DIY approach is that you know the most about the brand you are promoting. It should be a lot easier to build the necessary messaging, story, and strategic approach. You will also be able to better control the narrative and be quicker with responses and posting.
Perhaps, the most difficult aspect of a DIY personal brand is that not everyone is able to create content that tells their story in an engaging manner. Content creation, especially in a consistent and regular manner requires effort and some flair.
Top Tip: Only 1% of LinkedIn users (out of the 740 million) share content on a weekly basis. So, if you start sharing content regularly, there is a high probability of quickly increasing impressions and engagement.
Hire a Freelance Personal Brand Consultant
There are several freelance consultants who can help you build the necessary base from which you can build your personal brand. They can help you organize your thoughts and capture the brand elements in a structured manner.
The biggest advantage of having a freelance consultant in your corner is that they will push you when needed to keep pushing forward. They will give you guidance, encouragement, and counsel when you need it.
However, not everyone can afford to pay for the support of a consultant. Also, they will only give you guidance, the actual heavy-lifting of content creation and posting will have to be done by you.
Top Tip: Look for a consultant that offers a holistic approach to personal branding and not just tips and tricks to hack a particular social network.
Work with a Specialist Agency
This option allows you to leverage the expertise of an agency and stay consistent in your approach. It is best to research the agency to check if they offer exclusive personal branding services. This approach works well for those who may not have the time, or content expertise to manage it on their own.
One of the biggest advantages of hiring an agency is that you get to use their expertise not only when it comes to personal branding, but also in creating, sourcing, and posting the content as and when required. Some agencies offer one-on-one consultancies with a personal brand coach to counsel you when you need it.
Getting another person or team to build your personal brand online is complex, as you would need to spend time onboarding them. Getting them to align on your approach and objectives might take a couple of weeks or even months.
Top Tip: If you are looking to build a meaningful personal brand, find an agency that offers branding and not social media management expertise.
5 More Tips To Help With Your Person Branding:
1. Build a brand, not a follower base.
Personal branding is about ensuring that the right set of people know you for who you are, personally and professionally. It is about helping people and thereby building a community of people who look up to you for specific reasons.
In one of his blogs on building a personal brand online, Gary Vaynerchuk states - “The first step to building a brand is to be self-aware about what you have to add to the conversation”. What matters more than the number of posts is what message you are sharing and how are you helping others in your network.
2. False projection does not work.
Building a personal brand online is just one facet of projecting your personality and it is mainly for the reach. You should aim for an authentic personal brand true to your personality.
Ultimately you are here to connect with people. And this connection may overflow outside the virtual platform and become even more meaningful. So you cannot have anything other than your own personality online.
3. Share balanced content
Your content needs to have a balance of personal and professional experience. A good mix of personal and professional help portray you as a well-balanced person. Both are necessary for a personal brand to be effective.
4. Consistency in content is not enough.
Simply ensuring that you post some content regularly does not help you build your brand. It may bring traction to your profile but it cannot promise the reach to the right kind of people. Neither will it let people know what qualities you share with them.
What matters is relevant content and the genuine help and support you can offer. Refer to point 1.
5. Personal branding is a marathon
Personal branding is not a quick lead generation exercise. Establishing your personal brand takes time. It happens with every post, every comment, and every opportunity you take to help people. Over time people can see who are and what you can offer and come to you eventually. That is when the results become evident.
Most of you are probably aware of the importance and the need for you to work on your personal brand. However, only a handful of people actually start working towards it. This could be due to a lack of time, knowledge, or motivation. But, those who do, are being abundantly rewarded.
Your personal brand already exists. It is up to you to decide if you want it to stay the way it is or find ways to nurture and grow it. The right time to start working on it is now!
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