Branding your business is common, but today, branding yourself personally is also very important. Personal branding entails building your own public image by harmonizing who you actually are and how others see you.
Your personal brand should communicate your unique attributes, highlight your strengths, build trust and establish a reputation in your current or desired industry. Personal branding is one’s story. That story helps you achieve a competitive advantage, whether in your professional or personal endeavors. Building a personal brand doesn’t happen overnight. It is a process that demands much effort and a good plan. Here are six steps to build a successful personal brand:
Step 1: Choose a niche.
The first step to building a successful personal brand is choosing a niche, or target market. You’ve probably heard the saying, “If you try to appeal everyone, you’ll end up appealing no one.” That’s why you must first focus on a specific niche to build a successful personal brand. Here are four questions to ask in order to choose your niche:
• To which customers will your product or services most appeal? From a personal branding standpoint, a strong brand cannot appeal to every single customer. Identify the customers who will make the core of your business. After identifying these customers, customize your brand for maximum appeal.
• Which traits make your business unique? In order to effectively position yourself within a marketplace, you need to determine what attributes separate you from everyone else. What does your business offer that no one else in the market can? By answering this question, you’ll be able to highlight your unique value propositions and build your personal brand.
• What problems or needs does your business address? Knowing the frustrations or needs your business addresses is a vital part of your personal brand. Ask your target customers what they appreciate most about your business. Use their answers to improve your messaging.
• How much competition will you be facing? Before settling on a niche and building a brand to reach that market, determine how much competition you’ll be facing. If a less competitive niche is not available, focus on differentiating yourself from the competition.
If you answer these four questions, you’ll be able to choose the right niche. Some might struggle to choose a specific niche out of fear of limiting themselves. However, it’s best to invest your time and energy into an audience that is more likely to give you the desired outcome.
Step 2: Identify the biggest influencers.
It’s difficult for new brands to get attention on the internet. This is because nearly all businesses are online, which creates a lot of noise. This is why some brands choose to use influencers. Influencers are people who have earned respect and recognition in their chosen niche and usually have a large audience and recognized authority among their followers.
Regardless of your niche or industry, you can identify how other influencers create engaging content, host Q&A sessions, sell their offers, etc. and replicate that process. But use your own story, your own voice and your own platform of choice.
Step 3: Offer quality content.
In order to monetize your personal brand and be seen as an expert within a specific niche, you have to showcase your expertise. One way to do this is by creating quality free and paid content. In my experience, there are three primary ways to deliver this content:
• Services test your ability to help people and get them results first, but they are harder scale. Done-for-you or one-to-one coaching are quick ways to get started, as these don’t require a lot of up-front investment, but they do require time to deliver.
• Info products (or courses) can help you scale your services. In order to successfully launch your online course, you will need a sales funnel and a decent budget to use for paid ads. Therefore, online courses will usually come second to your services.
• E-commerce allows you to sell your services and info products. But unless the products are drop-shipped, with e-commerce, you do need a bit more up-front investment to ensure you’re able to meet inventory needs.
Step 4: Master the art of storytelling.
The strongest personal brands are carried by a potent narrative. Your target audience will want to know your story. Storytelling helps to transform your online presence and identity. Additionally, stories are a powerful tool in human communication.
Thus, if your personal brand is not telling a story, you could lose a lot of your potential audience. I’ve found the best way to tell a story is through video, audio or written content. Unlike written content, an online video allows you to make a personal connection with your audience, which is quite beneficial for your personal branding.
Step 5: Pick a platform.
It is important that you choose the right media for your brand. Some people opt for new and emerging platforms to get ahead where there’s little competition, like TikTok. While this does work, you should ensure you use the right platform for your chosen niche.
More importantly, choose a media that best supports your passion. YouTube is a good platform for educational content, while Facebook and your personal website are ideal platforms for blogging. The most engaged audiences, in my opinion, often come from podcasting because of the personal way that the content is consumed.
Be sure to choose a platform that has an audience for what you want to share. Look for popular brands, influencers or like-minded people on that platform, and borrow some of their following by liking their posts, following their accounts, interacting with their fans directly, etc.
Step 6: Create, distribute and promote content.
Building a personal brand is an ongoing process. You will need to constantly create, share and promote content to attract new audiences, remaining active on social media and use tools to help scale your efforts. This will help you grow an audience of people who trusts you and seeks your expertise.
Originally published on Forbes.com
By Marian Esanu