In just a single minute, people perform 3.5 million searches on Google, send 452,000 tweets, create 1.8 million snaps and spend $751,522 online. There’s so much online activity today that making your voice stand out can sometimes feel impossible.
How can you make sure people remember you and regard you as an expert in your field? As Scott Stratten, author of “UnMarketing,” says, “Be so good they can’t ignore you.” In other words, you must have a strong personal brand that makes you stand out.
By cultivating your authentic voice and showcasing your unique talents, you’ll attract and grow your audience – just by being you. But there’s so much more to building your personal brand than just your personality.
I recently spoke with authors Barry Feldman and Seth Price about their new book, The Road to Recognition. The book guides readers through personal branding from A to Z and shows how to develop a strategy for building your brand from the ground up. They also share tips from industry leaders, and I was lucky enough to have one of mine included in the book.
Developing your personal brand isn’t something you can do in one night or after reading just one article. You must nurture it and let it grow over time. But to get you started, here are five of Feldman and Price’s top personal branding tips.
1. Develop your voice
Whatever you’re doing, whether it’s writing, art, design, etc., you can bet there are a thousand others out there just like you who are doing the exact same thing. You’ll never set yourself apart with what you do, but you can set yourself apart with how or why you do it. This is where your unique personality comes in.
So who are you? Your personal brand is based on your unique genetic code, the way you express yourself and your values. People connect with people, so it’s important that your voice is authentic, approachable and memorable.
“People do not buy goods and services,” says author and blogger Seth Godin. “They buy relations, stories and magic.” In fact, 83% of people trust the recommendations of friends and family over those of brands.
By developing your unique voice, you’ll position yourself as a friend to your audience. And once they feel like they know you and understand you, they’ll buy from you.
2. Deliver valuable content
Just having a unique voice isn’t enough. You need to broadcast that voice and convey your unique value by creating and sharing content. Content allows you to showcase your expertise and convey what you stand for.
Content marketing is no longer optional for any brand, including yours. Today, content marketing leaders see almost eight times more traffic to their websites than non-leaders. Your audience is looking for useful content that can help them in some way. Jay Baer, founder of Convince & Convert, says, “Content is the emotional and informational bridge between commerce and consumer.”
A blog is a great way to start building your personal brand through content. Be consistent with your posts and deliver value with each one. Take your content strategy a step further and create a variety of formats, including videos, ebooks, infographics, podcasts and more. The more you can position yourself as an expert in your field, the more you’ll be seen as a thought leader.
3. “Tag” yourself
Every month, more than 100 billion Google searches are performed. People are turning to search engines for information every day, so you need to position your brand so that your audience can easily find you.
Start by performing a Google search of yourself. Like what you see? Your search results will often dictate your personal brand, so if you don’t like your results, you need to work on changing them.
As I said in The Road to Recognition, I leveraged SEO to help me build my brand around growth hacking. I did this by writing content, creating videos, answering questions on Quora, and guest blogging, among other things, all just to rank on Google for keywords around the topic of my book.
Choose a few keywords that you want people to associate with your brand – “tag” yourself. Use these keywords in your mission statement, in your elevator pitch and in your content so that when people search for them they’ll find you.
4. Build a following
You can’t have a brand without an audience. But according to Personal Branding for Dummies author Susan Chritton, “One of the biggest mistakes that budding personal branders make is trying to appeal to everyone.”
You need to focus on your niche and attract like-minded individuals who are interested in what you have to offer. Social media is the perfect place to develop your tribe. Today, approximately one-third of the world’s population uses social networks regularly.
There are always new networks popping up, but it’s important to choose the ones that work best for you. LinkedIn is great for professional networking, while Twitter is good for promoting your original content. Make sure you create rich profiles on all your networks and post content regularly to engage with your followers.
5. Think beyond the screen
While social media is a tremendous way to open doors, the most beneficial connections, partnerships and opportunities will come from shaking hands and having good old-fashioned conversations with people.
Take the time to get up from your computer and showcase your personal brand out in the real world. Get involved in your community and industry by attending events, interviewing industry leaders, taking on speaking engagements and meeting people face-to-face.
Be prepared by keeping your business cards handy and your elevator pitch prepared. By continuing to grow your network, you’ll further your personal brand and elevate your reputation.
In The Road to Recognition, Scott Abel, founder of The Content Wrangler, says, “When you connect and engage with your audience, everyone feels like part of something bigger.”
Describe your personal brand in a sentence or two. What steps have you taken to grow your network? Where do you think you need to improve?