Have you ever thought of yourself as a brand? If you consider, or want to consider, yourself an expert in an industry or influencer of a network, here is why your should. A brand can make all the difference in standing out in a crowded marketplace. A brand can make a lasting impression. A brand can grow your network and business. Your talents, perspective, values, penchant for pricey hand brewed dark roasts (no judgement here!) - all of these things and more define your personal brand. Here are a few tips to develop your personal brand online.
DO join online communities to network and share expertise
In any profession or industry, there are communities and networks online for like-minded interests. Join open forums, mastermind groups and other participatory networks to connect with an engaged group of peers and share your expertise. Plus, keeping a pulse on this curated know-how will also keep your perspective current on trends.
DO keep an online portfolio or website
Whether you are a solo-preneur, freelancer, consultant, or salaried creative, an online portfolio is the mainstay of your personal brand. This can serve to highlight your work and accomplishments, to curate endorsements from clients and colleagues, and attract business whether that is with employers or clients. A few simple tools to consider if you're just getting started: LinkedIn, About.me, or a Squarespace Cover Page.
DON'T confuse personal branding with self-promotion
People who excel at personal branding do not self-promote their accolades and attributes in order to attract business. Instead, it is all about giving new connections a bit more that goes beyond an elevator pitch and business card. If your online presence shows authentic perspective in a given area of expertise, that will give people a sense of who you are and what it is you have to offer. That is a good place to start in establishing your brand.
DO self-publish or become a contributor
If your career or business is also your passion, tell that story online. Publish content that tells a story about your work and shares your unique insights. Self-publishing through blogging, or whatever medium is the best fit, is a great way to add value to your network. Remember: networking is all about adding value. Becoming a contributor to a publication you trust and respect is another great way to amplify your personal brand.
DON'T forget to be yourself
While it is great to take note from people you might consider esteemed experts, don't forget to be yourself. You don't have to take yourself too seriously, try to fit a mold, or fall into the imitation trap. Your personal brand should look and feel like the best representation of you.