If someone searches your name online, what comes up? Is your online persona associated solely with the company you work for? Separating yourself from a corporate entity can be difficult and time consuming. If you want to be your own person, however, you need to start building a great personal branding strategy.
A dozen members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) are here to help you get started by answering this question:
What is one simple step I can take to start executing a great personal branding strategy?
Here are there best answers…
Design a Personal Website
I began to struggle with how to brand myself in a succinct way, so I designed a website that tells my story visually and in writing. It’s been a really great way to build my brand in one place that lets me put my personal flavor on it. It’s even helped me land speaking gigs and other deals.
Start a Blog
The best way to build a personal brand is to start a blog. You don’t have to write daily, but even sharing your thoughts on a weekly or monthly basis can go a long way in establishing yourself as an industry expert and build your personal brand.
Register Your Name as a Domain
Go out and purchase a domain name that’s in your name. Even if you can’t get the exact TLD that you require (which is likely a dot com) it’s still worth grabbing another extension to get started. You can always approach the TLD owner later on. Add a word to the end of your name (e.g. one that’s related to your industry) for more domain choices. Then publish five or so pages of unique content.
Contribute Valuable Content to the Online and Offline Ecosystems
One of the easiest ways to create a separate personal brand is to get the word out that you are an expert in whatever you are an expert in. There are two ways to do this: 1) create content for third-party sites in your name that demonstrates your knowledge, and 2) speak at conferences and other events to establish yourself in the space.
Guest Post on Other Sites
You should be guest contributing content and ideas to bigger sites on the web. I started as a contributor to Search Engine Journal then moved on to contribute to Entrepreneur Magazine, where I can share my practical advice with other entrepreneurs like myself. This has allowed me to grow my personal brand, and when people search me online they see all the additional ways I’m giving back.
Decide What You Stand for
Start a personal website and ensure that you have a clear message about what you stand for. If your achievements are limited to one company, then simply look within your past to see what patterns exist that have made you successful, such as sales, service or a particular skill set. Share your success with media channels like podcasts, online newspapers and online shows focused on your industry.
Get a Great Photo
When it comes to your personal brand, your photo is your logo. Find a great photographer who can really capture your essence, and use one shot of yourself consistently across all platforms (blogging, vlogging, social media, you name it). People can relate to a human being much more easily than an inanimate graphic, and they’ll start associating your communications with you as a person.
Start making short videos on interesting topics related to your expertise, but that don’t address anything about your business. If you can build up a series of helpful videos, you’ll come to be seen as an expert outside of your company. It’s a great way to build shareable content and makes you come across as a person, not just a series of articles and companies.
Launch a Podcast
One of the best ways to quickly establish your personal brand is by launching a podcast. A podcast allows you to share live or pre-recorded audio with your listeners. You can run your podcast as often as you’d like, and you can interview interesting people and have guest hosts to keep your listeners entertained. Check out Blog Talk Radio for some great examples, and make sure to post all shows to iTunes for download.
Find a Cause and Get Involved
Get involved in something outside of your brand that’s in line with your brand’s core values. I live our company’s mission, Make Life Better, outside the office as a Big Brother and board member of a local Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter. I’m passionate about mentoring and lucky to have an amazing Little Brother. The press is a bonus, as it helps me establish my own brand but still reflects well on my company.
Identify and Claim Multiple Social Profiles
You need to engineer your online visibility — don’t let others to define your image. Understand that Google wants you to build and verify your online identity. Your website/blog is just one link. The rest is largely comprised of links to your social media accounts and content. Start with Google’s G+ and YouTube, and then use a site like KnowEm to identify, optimize and claim your social profiles.
Dive into Twitter
Twitter is the social media platform best suited to personal branding. Why? Because it enables you to mix your professional identity with your passions and interests. Look to the Twitter profiles of individuals you admire, and whose personal brand you’d like to emulate, and take a similar social strategy to theirs. Share content you connect with and engage with the community you want to be part of.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Business Collective.
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.