Personal brands aren’t just for life coaches, ﬁtness gurus, or home organization experts! Everyone, no matter their industry or career level, needs a strong personal brand. Having a well-deﬁned personal brand will help you win clients, customers, promotions, and other beneﬁts for your career.
It’s especially important if you are a freelancer, artist, entrepreneur, or business owner.
Creating a personal brand doesn’t have to be rocket science: Here’s a simple plan of action for developing and promoting your personal brand. Let’s get started!
1. Decide the purpose of your personal brand. Just like a corporate brand, a personal brand encompasses your professional reputation and your promise to your target audience.
Naturally, different industries and professional goals require different approaches to your personal brand. If you want to get commission work as a professional artist, your personal brand should focus on your ability to deliver artwork that your clients love. If you’re interested in getting started as a life coach, you need to prove that you have helped people transform their lives for the better.
2. Decide who your target audience is. No one appeals to everyone, so when building your personal brand, decide which people you’d most like to reach. This can and should be different from your personal network: You’ll have plenty of friends whom you would not want to work for, and plenty of people you want to work with whom you would not want to befriend.
Just like a business does, focus on targeting the types of clients and customers you want. If you’re a ﬁne artist, upper-class people who enjoy luxurious items are probably your target audience. If you’re a ﬁtness coach, you may want to target people who are interested in losing weight.
3. Decide what story you want to share with people. Every brand needs a story, especially in today’s narrative-driven world. Why do you do what you do? Why should people care? Your personal brand should instantly communicate this to your target audience.
It’s not enough to say where you got your education or training, or how many clients you’ve had. No one cares. Deﬁnitely don’t say that you do it for the money. Instead, focus on sharing your “why” with people. What motivates you? What do you love about serving your clients or customers? Making your story a key part of your personal brand can help establish your authenticity and professionalism with your target audience.
4. Create your distinctive style. Once you’ve ﬁgured out your purpose, target audience, and story, you can get started with putting it into action. Consider creating a professional tagline, just like a business has. Make it something memorable and engaging, ideally a phrase that taps into what your target audience wants. Do they want to lose weight? A simple tagline could be something like, “Orlando’s #1 Weight Loss Coach.” (Just be sure you are actually number one.)
Next, get a high-quality, professional photo that shows you in your element. If you do something intangible, such as writing, a simple headshot usually sufﬁces. Think about what potential customers and clients would want to see. Needless to say, a photo of you making a kissy face at the camera probably won’t work — unless you’re a dating coach! It’s also worth it to take a look at your resumé, portfolio, website, and social media proﬁles and ensure that they seem consistent in terms of design and personality. Which brings us to…
5. Spread the word far and wide. It’s time to promote your personal brand! If you haven’t yet, use your name as your handle across social media platforms (or your brand name, if it’s different from your real name). Add your proﬁle picture and tagline to your Twitter bio, LinkedIn summary, business card, and anywhere else you can.
Then, decide on a content strategy. Whether you’re creating or curating relevant content, it’s important to stay present in people’s feeds. Use a consistent voice and hashtags to help build recognition of your personal brand. Remember, you want your target audience to know what to expect from you and think of you as an authority in your ﬁeld.
As you may have noticed, developing and promoting a personal brand isn’t too different from the process for a company brand. In both situations, content is king and consistency is key. You want to become someone whom your target audience feels conﬁdent in hiring, booking, or commissioning. That means that cleaning up your social media might be in order!
Keep it professional and onbrand — or create separate accounts for business and personal interests. Overall, though, a powerful personal brand is one that resonates with the people you want to reach. It showcases your best self to help you achieve your professional goals.