Whether you’re an entrepreneur running a business or a career focused professional, building a strong personal brand is essential for earning respect in your field and achieving success.
Your personal brand is your reputation, it’s how others perceive you, it’s how you market yourself and deliver a unique promise of value. As Amazon founder Jeff Bezos says, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”
If you look at some of the most successful people in the eye of the media today – from Arnold Schwarzenegger and Taylor Swift to Richardson Branson, they’ve all developed solid personal brands that are both authoritative and likeable.
Here are 5 steps to build a strong personal brand:
1. Connect with influencers
Having your name associated with successful peers is a guaranteed way to raise your profile and give your personal brand a huge boost. Make a list of the biggest influencers in your industry and build strong relationships with them over time.
You can start off by simply commenting on their blog posts or social media updates, then as you build their trust you can offer to help with their new project or invite them to an industry event. Once your name Is frequently being mentioned amongst industry influencers, then you too will be perceived as an influencer.
2. Let your personality shine
People are drawn towards others who are interesting and fun to be around so avoid being dull in your professional life. Whether you’re speaking to a client on the phone or sending an email to a supplier, try to breathe some life into your interactions so that people remember you with a smile. Don’t be afraid to be different – it’s better to be a little different than to be the boring person that nobody remembers.
“Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.” – Allen Ginsberg
3. Get recommended
Few things strengthen your personal brand more than public praise from other people, especially if those praising you are well known. If you’re a business owner, you should be asking your most reputable clients to publicly recommend you on social media as well as your own site.
If you are career focused, then you should be asking your most senior colleagues and ex-colleagues to recommend you on LinkedIn to prove the value you have provided.
4. Create valuable content
In order to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry, it’s essential that you demonstrate your expertise through providing useful informative content on the web. Whether you create detailed how-to-videos or write data driven industry reports, make sure you create something that will help your clients and boost your reputation at the same time.
Once you provide value to somebody upfront without asking for anything in return, you build trust and make it easier for them to begin a working relationship with you.
5. Take on public speaking engagements
Public speaking is a proven tool for boosting your reputation and positioning yourself as an authority on a particular subject. Public speaking is a difficult skill to master so start with small groups of colleagues or clients before pitching yourself to speak at conferences and events.
Only speak about the subjects you are most knowledgeable and passionate about to ensure you can speak confidently and deliver engaging sessions.
“The success of your presentation will be judged not by the knowledge you sent but by what the listener receives.” – Lilly Walters
If you’re looking to achieve success via a strong personal brand, then keep working hard to prove yourself as an expert in your field and build trust in your market.