Like many regular working people, I’ve always wanted to have a good reputation at work and in my community and profession. But until I launched my own company, it didn’t really occur to me that I needed to think about what my personal brand is saying about me. In this age of social media and easy and constant flow of information, not thinking about my personal brand really isn’t an option anymore.
But this is me we’re talking about. I’m 0% interested in being perceived as something I’m not. Will my personal brand be something positive, or just a flawed, real thing, like I am? How do people deal with this juxtaposition between putting your best foot forward all the time, and being an actual genuine person?
First of all, what do I need to consider when building a personal brand? Here are some articles I read on Entrepreneur.com:
Three Simple Ways to Make your Personal Brand Stand Out : 1) a professional photo, 2) be discoverable and 3) unique business cards. I think I already had those things covered before I started thinking about personal branding. That can’t be all there is to it, right?
Okay, I’ll try this one-Five Steps to Build your Personal Brand. Five’s got to be better than three simple ways.
- Understanding and being your authentic self; yes. That resonates (see above).
- Speaking engagements-okay, that takes a little more work, but I get it. I’ve done lots of presenting and training as part of my work, so I just need to stretch a little to come up with a compelling talk that really provides value and that people might want to hear.
- Write thought leadership articles and participate in interviews? I guess you could call this little blog “writing” but not sure it passes for “thought leadership.” And the only times I’ve been interviewed have been accidental-I was in the right place at the right time. Guess I’ve got some work to do here.
- Build your online presence. Yup. I think I get that, but I definitely have a healthy respect for how much work is involved.
- Remain a student of your industry. Got it. I am super interested in what’s going on in HR-I couldn’t hardly help but consume news, information and analysis about it.
And finally, Nine Reasons your Personal Brand isn’t Resonating. These mostly have to do with you being a bad listener, putting out crappy content, not putting it in the right places and not helping consumers of your content make a connection. Definitely good tips.
So, after I reading all of these articles and seeing, frankly, pretty vanilla advice that didn’t really surprise me, I got out of my HR head and let my mind wander to the first name that springs up when I think of personal branding with no BS. For me, it’s Gary Vaynerchuk. @GaryVee knows how to tell you the straight story with a minimum of words (some NSFW), and convey both the commitment and the opportunity involved in personal branding.
Gary has a style that appeals to me. He just puts it out there, doesn’t sugarcoat the work it takes to be successful, and gives you the tools to try it for yourself. There’s no biz buzzword garbage, just straight advice. I like it! Because I'm a marketing noob, I went for his Udemy class on building a personal brand, because I want it all in one place. But if you’re not ready to pull the trigger, just follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat to get the advice he gives away all the time.
There are also great resources out there for specific branding challenges. One example is that Lida Citroen at Lida360 specializes in personal branding for transitioning veterans, although her advice works great for the rest of us too. If you want more hands-on help, Lida and her crew can definitely help you find success.
Feel free to tell me what you think of my personal brand. It’s a work in progress.
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