7 Steps to Building Your Personal Brand

Careers · Digital Marketing

Whether you’re searching for a better job, looking for a promotion, considering changing careers or growing your network, building a personal brand can help you reach your goals. As marketers, we often market services and products but forget that we also need to market ourselves! Follow these seven steps to get started. 

Step One: Determine & Prioritize Your Values and Passions

Values are the things that you believe are important in the way you live and work. They are at the core of who you are as a person and determine your priorities. Some examples of values include friends, family, honesty, community, ambition, etc. When faced with difficult decisions, you typically rely on your deepest-held values.

Values are important for business, especially during a job search. If a candidate’s values match that of a company’s, they are more likely to be hired. Prioritizing your values will help you begin to determine the vision of your personal brand.

Passions are the ways you enjoy spending your time. Generally, these are different from your values, though they may sometimes overlap. To build your personal brand, you must first identify your passions - both personal and professional. Professional passions might include technology, automation and design, while personal passions might include kayaking, family, and golfing.

Values and passions help you determine where you want to be in two, five or even twenty-five years, including your ideal career path. If the passions and values above were attributed to a person, he would most likely perform well in an email marketing role involving design and automation, though he would need to live in an area that provided him plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities. 

Step Two: Define Your Key Traits

What helps you stand out from the crowd? These elements are your unique traits, and they help shape your personal identity. The Big Five Personality Traits are identified as :

  1. Openness to experience
  2. Conscientiousness
  3. Extraversion
  4. Agreeableness
  5. Neuroticism
These elements are your unique traits, and they help shape your personal identity.

Each of these traits is assessed on a scale, and where you fall on the scale defines your unique personality. You can take a free test to determine yours. This test should give you some insights about how agreeable, extroverted, open-minded, etc. you are and help you cultivate your personal brand. Of course, these traits don’t have to be permanent; if you don’t like your results, you can take steps you can take to move along the scale in one direction or another. or example, if you’re closed-minded, you could try new things at work and in your personal life. Conversely, you aren’t likely to have much luck changing key traits such as extrovert and introvert characteristics. 

Need more insights on determining who you are today? Ask your friends and family for their honest opinions. Start by asking them to give you three adjectives they’d use to describe you.

Once you have your key traits, you can create your our personal brand statement: Envision your best self when crafting this.

To help you get started writing your statement, use this fill-in-the-blanks template from Dummies.com. Note: Use this as a starting point, but feel free to edit it to meet your needs.

I use my ___________ and ___________ for ___________.

Known for ___________, I ___________.

Using ___________ (key trait), I ___________, by providing ___________.

Through my ___________, I ___________, when I serve ___________.

Step Three: Develop Your Personal Image

Once you know your values, passions and personality traits, it’s time to start showcasing them! Here are some ways that you can get started:

  1. Have professional headshots taken and use them on Linkedin, in your company profile, etc. 
  2. Cultivate an email signature that’s unique to you. (Use your personal email if you can’t edit the email signature you use for your company). Include all of your contact information, your signature, your social media icons, your company and your website.
  3. Build credibility with content. Use your personal blog, Linkedin profile or publishing tools like Medium to get your message out on topics you are knowledgeable about.
  4. Dress the part! Stay prepared for networking events and big meetings by keeping a fresh blazer and pants or skirt pressed and ready to go.

Step Four: Define Your Target Audience

It’s impossible to make everyone like you, so why would you try to appeal to everyone when building your personal brand? Defining a target audience is important for organizations, and it’s also important for individuals. Think about when you were younger and you made sure to get requests approved from your parents when they were in a good mood. This basic example teaches an important lesson; it’s best to invest your time and energy into an audience that is more likely to give you your desired outcome.

Your Target Audience Includes:

1. The Person Who Will Pay You: This person is typically a boss, investor or client. This person is in charge of the next step of your career. Create a description of this person (whether real or fabricated) and include as many details about them as you can. Then identify this person’s personal and professional motivations. When you understand his/her motivations, it can help you better understand how she can help you meet your own goals and even how you can help her meet hers!

Perhaps your boss would like to be Chief Marketing Officer and spend more time with her family. You can help free up some of her time by taking on additional projects or streamlining processes. Then she’ll be happy to help you in return! Set up a meeting to outline your goals and talk about specific timelines and to-do items to achieve them. 

2. The Person Who Influences the Person Who Pays You: Make it easy for your boss/client, etc. to put in a good word for you with her superior or direct influencer. Outline your current achievements and clearly outline your goals in a presentable format. Showcase how you’ve gone above and beyond in your current position.

3. Your Supporters: Who are your messages meant for? Who will benefit most from consuming them and provide you what you're asking for? That’s your target audience of supporters. If you’re aiming to achieve a new job or promotion, your supporters could also be your peers that will help you get where you want to go by providing excellent recommendations. 

Step Five: Build Your Online Presence

From Twitter to podcasts, blogs to Facebook, to establish your personal brand, you must get your voice out there. First, you must secure URLs, social usernames, etc. that are the best fit for your brand before someone else does! This includes both your personal website and any social networks you choose to join. 

Tools like  knowem and NameChk can help you check availability across hundreds of social communities.

Tools like knowem and NameChk can help you check availability across hundreds of social communities. If your preferred name has already been chosen, try using dashes, underscores or numbers to find one that best fits your brand.

Linkedin is one of the best places to start getting socially if you’re interested in improving your job standing or looking for clients then LinkedIn is the best place to start. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are the other major networks you’ll want to take a look at. Secure your username here and start building your profiles on the network(s) that will best fit and help further your personal brand.

In addition, ensure your personal website showcases your best attributes and/or work. If you’re a writer or designer, establish a portfolio. If you’re a speaker, start a podcast or film yourself speaking at a conference. 

Step Six: Start Blogging!

Many marketers consider blogging to be the best way to build a business, but they can also be influential when building a personal brand. Once you have your website, Use The Complete Guide To Building Your Blog Audience to get started with blogging. Once you have followers, you’re well on your way to establishing a lasting personal brand.

Some of the best strategies for gaining followers include:

  • Writing about influencers and getting them to share your posts
  • Using social sharing buttons on your blog
  • Joining the right online communities
  • Syndicating your content
  • Repurposing your content

Once you’ve established an audience, make sure to post on a regular basis, follow SEO best practices and continue to cater to your audience for best results. 

Step Seven: Follow in the Footsteps of an Expert

Who do you admire inside or outside of the marketing industry? Here are some examples of great personal branding from which you can borrow straight from the experts. Take note of how these individuals present themselves and their work.

Darren Hardy:

Neil Patel:

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