Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Building Your Brand in 9 Steps
Now that you know why you should build a personal brand, let’s talk about how to actually do it. Let’s break down the individual strategies you can use to build your own incredibly powerful personal brand.
Determine Who You Really Are
The first step in creating a powerful personal brand is to determine who you are. Remember, building your personal brand is about sharing your authentic self with the world.
Tyler Basu helpfully puts it like this:
Your personal brand should not be an inauthentic persona. Branding is not about positioning yourself as something that you are not. It’s about purposefully and strategically showcasing your authentic self to your audience and your customers. Your personal brand should be a true reflection of your skills, passions, values, and beliefs.
To put it another way, your personal brand is built upon your skills, passions, values, and beliefs. You must know yourself if you want to build a strong personal brand.
● What unique skills do I have?
● What are my core values?
● What am I most passionate about?
● What unique experiences have shaped who I am?
● How can I most effectively serve my core audience?
● What do I have to offer that no one else does?
The answers to these questions should shape your personal brand. They should help you get to the core of what matters most to you and how you can add value to your audience.
Determine What You Want to Accomplish
Once you’ve identified the core of who you are, it’s time to think about what you want to accomplish with your personal brand.
Answer these questions:
● What would I like to accomplish, both personally and professionally?
● What do I want to be known for?
● If I could be the world’s foremost expert on a topic, what would it be?
● What key message do I want to communicate?
● If I could only give one piece of advice, what would it be?
The answers to these questions should further solidify in your mind what your personal brand will look like.
Identify Your Target Audience
The simple reality is that you can’t effectively serve everyone. Rather, there is a core demographic of people who will resonate deeply with you, your brand, and what you offer.
This core demographic is your target audience. It’s these people whom you will serve most effectively and who will be your ideal client.
To identify your core audience, ask yourself these questions:
● Who can I most effectively help?
● Who will benefit most from my skill set and knowledge?
● Who am I most passionate about serving?
● Who will resonate most with me and my brand?
When determining your core audience, it can be helpful to create a persona. This persona represents your ideal client. Include the following information in the persona:
● Demographics: How old are they? Male? Female? Single? Married? What is their level of education? What career are they in? How much do they make?
● Hopes and dreams: What do they want their future to look like? What are their goals?
● Challenges: What obstacles do they face? Why haven’t they been able to reach their goals?
Kyle Gray says this about finding your ideal audience:
“The foundation of a strong personal brand is how well you understand your audience and the problems they face. Then you can define why you care and how you solve those problems, which is what you’ll be remembered for.”
Determine Your Unique Value Proposition
Now it’s time to identify your Unique Service Proposition (USP).
Your USP is simply your brand summed up into a single, powerful compelling statement that describes exactly what you do for your audience.
It’s where you take all the answers from the previous three points and put them together into one brand statement that sums up who you are personally and how you serve your core audience.
A USP typically looks something like this:
● I help (target person) to (achieve X) so that they can (outcome)
For example, your USP may be something like, “I help working moms stay on top of everything and live a fulfilled life.”
Or, “I help entrepreneurs scale their businesses over six-figures per year so they can live a life of freedom.”
Or, “I help men be incredibly productive so that they have more time to spend with their friends and families.”
Your USP doesn’t have to say everything about your brand, but it should get right to the heart of who you are and how you help your audience.
It may help to give your USP a unique name that will stick in people’s mind. For example, if you teach men how to be more productive, you could call your USP the “Power Productivity Formula”.
Or if you help entrepreneurs scale their businesses, you could call your USP something like, “Scale Without Fail.”
You get the point. It simply needs to be short, memorable, and aptly describe what you do.
Avoid skimping on this step. Creating your USP gives you a high degree of clarity about what your brand is all about.
Take the necessary time to craft a USP that adequately captures what your brand is about.
Start Treating Yourself as a Brand
Once you’ve identified the core of your brand, as well as your target audience, it’s time to start treating yourself as a brand.
What does this look like practically?
In every communication with your audience, whether a blog post, email, podcast, social media post, etc., you stay true to your brand message.
You constantly speak about the problems you solve, constantly encourage your audience, constantly voice the message of your brand.
Just like Nike wouldn’t suddenly start talking about camping, so you must not go off brand with your communications. You constantly reinforce your Unique Service Proposition in everything you do.
It also means creating a strong, compelling website to serve as your home base for all your online activities (more on this in a minute).
It means creating a media page or media kit on your site for media inquiries.
It could mean not answering emails yourself, but having an assistant answer them (or answering them under a pseudonym).
Your goal is to portray yourself as a strong, compelling brand, not just a normal person. You have to treat yourself like you truly are: a powerful brand that has a powerful message.
Optimize Your Website
Now it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of optimizing your online presence so that it matches your brand. You’re going to start with your website, since this functions as your “home base” of sorts. In other words, your website is one of the primary places people get to know who you are and what you do.
Your website also functions as one of the primary ways you turn visitors into paying clients, and it must be optimized for that.
First impressions are really important when it comes to your website. Visitors should be able to immediately determine how you can help solve their problems. If they can’t, there’s a good chance they’ll leave.
So how do you optimize your site to reflect your brand?
● Have a professional logo designed. Having a professional logo shows people that you’re serious about what you do and really do treat yourself as a brand. If you wish to hire someone to design a logo for you, Fiverr and Upwork are great places to start.
● Show off your Unique Service Proposition. From the moment they arrive on your website, visitors should see your USP. It’s what will draw them into your site and make them want to investigate more.
Ideally, your USP will be front and center at the top of your website so that it’s likely to be the first thing that people see. It should be impossible to miss. It should function like the main headline on a newspaper. The eye should be drawn to it immediately.
● Use professional photographs. Have a professional photographer take high- quality photos of you. Low-quality photos will ultimately reflect poorly on your brand.
● Use testimonials. Testimonials are proof that you really can solve people’s problems. They help overcome your prospects’ hesitance and objections. Also, if you’ve been featured in any media outlets, show off those credentials too.
● Present a clear call-to-action. Ultimately, you want people to take action when they’re on your website. You want them to join your email list, watch your webinar, or sign up for a free consultation. Give visitors a clear call-to-action.
● Create a compelling “About” page. On your about, tell your story. How did you get to where you currently are? What motivates you to serve your audience? Why do you do what you do?
● Create a services page. If you want clients to hire you, it’s important to have a clear services page in which you explain what you offer, what’s included, and more.
● Give away free resources. One of the best ways to build your brand is to give away free content on your website. This could be anything from blog posts to videos to an eBook.
Giving away content in exchange for a visitor’s email address is also a fantastic way to grow your email list.
● Create a contact page. Obviously, you want a way for people to be in touch with you. This will happen primarily through your contact page on your website.
Develop Your Content Strategy
The primary way to build your brand is by creating strategic content. By content, we mean blog posts, videos, social media posts, emails, affirmations, podcasts, and more.
Every piece of content you share with your audience should serve to build your brand. As we mentioned before, once you’ve determined your brand, it’s important to start treating yourself as a brand.
Developing a strategic content strategy is one of the most effective ways to ensure that you’re constantly staying on brand.
When it comes to your content strategy, we recommend the “Pillar Method” (a term coined by Gary Vaynerchuk).
The Pillar Method works as follows:
● At set intervals (every day, every week, etc.) create a longer piece of “pillar” content. This could be a blog post, video, eBook, etc. The point is that it needs to be on the longer side so that it can be repurposed in numerous ways.
This pillar content should always reinforce some part of your brand. Maybe one day you speak to a particular pain point. Another day you encourage your audience to strive for their goals. Whatever the case, it’s essential that your pillar content always be tied back to your brand.
● Publish your pillar content on your primary platform, whether that’s your blog, YouTube, iTunes, etc.
● Take your pillar content and cut it up into smaller, shareable pieces of content. In other words, if you have a 10-minute video, find three parts of that video that could be shared on their own and extract those clips.
If you have a 1,000-word blog post, extract five 100-word excerpts that can stand on their own.
● Share the smaller pieces of content across all your channels. Once you’ve created your smaller pieces of content, you’re going to post those across all your channels, including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, email, etc.
If the thought of posting to so many social media channels intimidates you, Buffer is a great tool that allows you to share to all your social media at one time. You just put the content in and then select all the channels you want it to go out to.
● Repeat the process again and again. Consistency is the key. By consistently sharing your brand message, you’ll steadily build your audience.
By using the “Pillar Method” for your content strategy, you ensure that every piece of content you post is always on brand. Your Facebook posts, Instagram videos, blog posts, YouTube videos, and emails always are speaking your brand message to your audience.
In addition to using the “Pillar Method”, you can also simply repurpose content into different formats. For example, you can turn an eBook into a SlideShare presentation or a series of blog posts into an eBook. Or you could turn a blog post into an email you send out to your list.
The main point is that everything you send out should be brand related. You want to constantly reinforce your brand to your audience.
Constantly Add Value to Your Audience
When it comes to building your brand, it’s essential that you constantly give value to your audience without asking for anything in return. Yes, there will be times when you invite people to buy from you or become a client, but you don’t want that to be the main theme of your brand.
The main thing people should take away when interacting with your brand is how much value you provide.
The main way you provide value is through your content strategy. This is why it’s so critical to constantly put out new content. If you’re not putting out new content, you’re not giving away value.
Mark Lack puts it this way:
“A strong personal brand is one that has a high level of impact, which then leads to influence amongst the people who follow you. The key is to leverage social media and other social platforms and environments to create relevant and meaningful dialogues between you and the people you want to impact.”
Build a Community
One of the best ways to build your brand is to build a community where you and the members can all help each other. The value in building a community around your brand is that it gets others involved in helping to promote your brand.
You create a tribe of passionate people who care about the same things you do.
So how can you build a community?
Some simple ways to build a community include:
● Start a private Facebook group. In this group, people can interact with each other, share ideas, interact with you, raise questions, etc.
● Host live events. Live events allow you to meet members of your tribe in person. Coffee meetups, retreats, workshops, masterminds, and private dinners are all great ways to deepen your relationships with them.
● Create a membership site. For a small monthly fee, you can give people exclusive access to you and the content you provide. You can also give them access to things like group calls every month, ongoing webinars, and a forum where they can interact with you and other members.
Now Is the Time to Build Your Brand
The simple truth is, you have a personal brand, whether you want to or not. Every single thing you share with your audience either adds to or takes away from your personal brand. You absolutely must be intentional about building your brand.
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As Kathy Klotz-Guest says, “We all have a personal brand whether we think about it that way or not. So, let’s be intentional about it.”
Thankfully, it’s not particularly difficult to build a personal brand.
Here’s a quick summary of what we covered:
● Identify what matters to you.
● Define your core audience.
● Determine your Unique Service Proposition.
● Treat yourself like a brand.
● Create your compelling website.
● Create your content strategy.
● Constantly bring your best self to your audience.
● Build your community.
The more you do those things, the more you’ll build your brand and the more you’ll attract an audience of raving fans.
Avoid waiting any longer to build your personal brand. Get started on it today! Your audience needs you. Get out there and start serving them. You’ll be glad you did!