“Your personal brand isn’t what you say it is, it’s what Google says it is.” — Chris Anderson
When you look for a job, you should expect to be Googled. When you speak at an event, you should expect to be Googled. When you create a new relationship, you should expect to be Googled. Anyone that may end up working with you in some capacity wants to get a good idea of your personality before making any relationship connection.
This is where personal branding comes into play. Your personal brand refers to the way you present or market yourself, your skills, and your work. And if you want to get past that initial Google search, you’re going to want to develop a brand that accurately reflects your personal identity.
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“You have to understand your own personal DNA. Don’t do things because I do them or Steve Jobs or Mark Cuban tried it. You need to know your personal brand and stay true to it. — Gary Vaynerchuk
A brand is anything from your name, your tone of voice, your reputation, your manifesto, the symbols you use, and so much more than separate you from the crowd. Your brand is what makes you unique, it’s the thing that ensures you will always be valuable, no matter how many other companies try to copy your ideas, or products.
Gary Vaynerchuk is a true pioneer in personal branding. As a serial entrepreneur, investor, chairman and CEO of his own media companies, Gary captivates his audience by sharing powerful content through social media. He is a notorious early adopter of new technology and teaches how to consistently leverage the new medium.
Personal Branding = Google Results
While personal branding might be simple, it is not easy. The journey to uncover your values, create a strategy for positioning yourself, and sticking to those values at all costs is sometimes challenging.
If you are looking for practical strategies to accelerate the growth of your personal brand, then read this list of alphabetical advice;
A = Authenticity
Understand your brand’s all about the real you. You are the brand. Anything other than the real you will not do. Discover exactly what makes you attractive. Build your brand on your true strengths rather than weaknesses.
Build your personal brand with a blog. Publish your perspective. The most important personal branding development in the age of digital media is the power to publish at will and share your knowledge. Start a blog and keep building on it.
C = Content
Create content to connect with your target audience. Valuable content has magnetic power. On your blog or in addition to it create a mix of content in various formats to earn the mindshare and trust your brand’s needs.
D = Design
Design a smart and stylish identity. Look good. Everything you create should be presented with class and continuity. Develop a tasty logo, colour palette, and design standards that reflect well on your brand.
E = Email
Establish and expand a list of email subscribers. Own an audience. Email is your ace of diamonds, the money medium. It’s private, permission-based and pervasive. Commit to developing an email list and using it to nurture relationships with your subscribers.
F = Followers
Grow a following and lead the conversion. New media is a two-way street. You can’t have a brand without an audience. Social media makes it possible to develop a tribe of followers, like-minded people with common interests you’ll aim to educate and inspire.
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H = Helping
Offer what you can, whenever you can. Put goodwill to work. Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you. Find ways to be helpful. Be the first to volunteer, connect people, or get behind meaningful missions.
G = Google
Assess how the world sees you. Search yourself. Think of Google as the business card the entire world has instant access too. You need to “Google” yourself, evaluate the results and create a plan to look good in the eyes of the searcher.
I = Influencers
Lookup and connect with the people you look up too. New friends will open doors. Influential professionals have prominent friends. Seek out leaders and mentors, surround yourself with them, and find ways to be of value to them.
J = Joining
Join communities where ideas are incubated. Make your way into social circles. Affiliations are all important to the growth of your brand. Find groups you would be proud to be part of, get involved and make your presence known.
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K = Keywords
Position your personal brand with some choice words. Got a personal glossary? When surfers go a-Googling, which words will lead them to you? Build a shortlist of relevant keywords and use them often on your site and across all your social media profiles.
L = LinkedIn
Master the personal branding epicentre of the internet. Cats and dogs don’t belong here. Linkedin is a social network that means business. It’s the personal branding epicentre of the Internet. Take Linkedin seriously and learn how to work it.
M = Media
Channel your energy into the right channels. The web is wide. Media is more complex than ever and more vital. Identify the outlets that are most valued in your field and use the tools available in them to elevate your brand.
N = Network
Connect with professionals and with purpose. Make friends. Make connections fearlessly and frequently locally, regionally and globally. Have a business card or something of even greater value to distribute. Follow-up and follow-through.
O = Offers
Offer your visitors great value for free. Meet readers where they’re at. Expand your email list, build relationships and position yourself as an authority by offering your readers value-added content or lead magnets in exchange for an email address.
P = Podcast
Turn on a mic and say what’s on your mind! Get people to listen to you. Top professionals appear on podcasts and create their own shows to capitalize on the format’s growing popularity and because the power voice offers for making genuine connections.
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Q = Questions
Ask your audience to join the conversation. Everyone loves a good listener. Identify the questions your audience seeks and answers to. Ask questions. Ask people to tell you their stories. Ask for their ideas. And listen closely.
R = Recognizing Others
Point to the people that empower you. You won’t achieve your goals on your own. Privately and publicly, recognize the contributions of every person who’s played a part in your brand development.
S = Speaking
Get in front of an audience. The power of the podium is undeniable. Public speakers gain credibility as subject-matter experts and enjoy many networking benefits. You need to step up to the mic and share what you know.
T = Target
Develop keen insights into your target market. Who cares what you have to say? Develop a clear understanding of your target market. Develop personas with a focus on the needs of your audience and their pain points. Conduct interviews and surveys to learn as much as possible.
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U = Unique
Identify your unique value proposition. What makes you special? Every meaningful brand has a unique value proposition. Though you may be one of the millions specializing in your field, you need to develop and nurture a one-of-a-kind point of differentiation.
V = Video
Look into the lens and engage viewers. Roll video into your media mix. Video increases trust and helps you come across as human and sincere. It’s become easy to make and distribute videos. Look in the lens, relax and let it roll.
W = Website
Construct a home on the web in your name. Master your domain. Your website is the mousetrap and your content is the cheese. Work with professionals to plan, design, write and publish a website that is the HQ of your personal brand.
X = eXamine
Keep close tabs on your progress. Measure what matters. Your x-ray for all online efforts is analytics. Deploy Google Analytics and additional tools to stay informed of how visitors behave on your site and what you can do to improve their experience.
Y = You Do
Make a plan to achieve your personal branding goals. Know what you are doing? The development of your personal brand is a perpetual exercise. Create a plan for getting started as well as a list of proactive actions YOU DO regularly.
Z = Zeal
Let no roadblock slow you down. Shift into overdrive. Zeal is a “strong feeling of interest and enthusiasm that makes one determined to do something”. There is no more essential ingredient of a successful personal brand.
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M = Medium.
Amplify your content and expand your audience. Medium has been called a lot of things: an online magazine, a blogging platform, a publishing platform and an online space for writers and readers. With over 60 million daily users, publishing on Medium opens your network to a large, engaged audience.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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