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Building a personal brand - how and why
In a professional landscape that's dominated by so called 'specialists' and 'experts,' it can be difficult to make a name for yourself and become a key influencer in your industry.
Fortunately, we're here to help and these simple tips could help you build your own personal brand and finally get noticed for the things that you do best.
Choose your expertise
Developing a personal brand is all about becoming known for something; so what skills or knowledge do you have that sets you apart from competitors? Well the corporate sphere is awash with 'marketing experts' and 'PR gurus,' so it might be best to concentrate on the more niche of your expertise before selling yourself as a specialist. Whether it's G+ marketing or butterfly koi carp, a seemingly more narrow subject area might present a smaller audience but a larger chance of becoming a key name within that area. Who doesn't want to be a big fish in a small pond?
Know your audience
Why go through the effort of promoting your services if you don't know who you're targeting? Your audience are the people who need your expertise and the ones most likely to follow, connect and engage with your brand. Once you're aware of your key market, you can tailor your social media posts and content marketing plan to match your expertise to their needs.
If your audience likes what you're pushing (which obviously they will) they're more likely to further its reach via shares and likes, which in turn will increase your audience and strengthen your name.
The most effective way of displaying your expertise to your target audience is to publish engaging and informative content that highlights a mixture of expertise and personality. The key to successful content marketing is constantly creating and sharing information that can either entertain, help or enlighten your specific audience. From articles to vlogs, content can take many different forms but should all present you as a credible source of information in your particular field.
If you haven't already, starting a blog is a great way to get your content marketing wheels in motion. Be aware though, that this is no quick fix and will require frequent updates over a long period of time in order to build a reputation.
The scourge of introverts but a perk for the inherently sociable, networking is the spark that can set your brand alight and make you a prominent figure in your industry. Networking events can seem like hard work but meeting other professionals in your field and forming connections with influential people is the best way to get your name out there. All isn't lost for the social wallflowers however, as online discussions on LinkedIn and relevant forums is another great way to get your voice heard (albeit from the safety of your keyboard.)
Social media profiles
Social media can prove to be the ultimate catalyst for your personal brand with it's far reaching capabilities making it an excellent platform to transmit your knowledge and ideologies. Up to now, you've probably only really used social media to stalk ex-partners and share infuriating memes but it's commonly the method by which most people develop their digital footprint. Your LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and G+ profiles could all be holding you back in your attempts to get noticed, so tidying them up is a must if you want to appear professional as well as approachable.
How you do this depends on the image you want to portray; although a top notch bio and polished profile pic is just the tip of the iceberg.
... and don't focus too much on branding
With all the meeting, greeting, tweet and re-tweeting, it's easy to forget about the most important aspect of your brand; actually doing what you do best. Endeavor and consistently performing well in your field counts much more for building your reputation than being able to write an attractive LinkedIn bio. Personal branding is the latest 'buzz phrase' in career development, but no amount of twitter followers or business lunches will ever replace motivation, dedication and some old fashioned hard work.
Personal branding is a combination of honing your professional skills and getting noticed for them. As with most things though, developing a reputation based on your expertise can take time and hard work, however just concentrating on being the best in your field should see your brand grow organically and without too much focused attention.