A digital perspective on personal branding
What on earth is personal branding I hear you ask? To be frank, this term has only become popular in a digital context, in the last few years. But thinking about your personal brand from a digital perspective is the key to building a successful career. And you might be surprised by the many ways you can easily and effectively influence and build your own “brand” online.
This article offers you an overview of exactly what a personal brand is. By the end of the article, you will know what it is and what you can do to build your online personal brand to enjoy a rewarding career.
Personal Branding definition
According to Wikipedia, Personal Branding is the practice of “marketing people and their careers are brands”. If you type in “personal branding” to your search engine of choice, you will see many different definitions for personal branding.
Personalbrand.com describes a “Personal Brand” as the objective, where “Personal Branding” is the process and strategy by which to achieve the objective.
Another personal branding definition from brandyourself.com includes “establishing and promoting what you stand for. Your personal brand is the unique combination of skills and experiences that make you you. Effective personal branding will differentiate you from other professionals in your field.”
In any one’s language, personal branding is all about building your personal reputation. There are many, many resources available online that explore the concept of a personal brand and the strategies associated with personal branding.
Personal branding and your professional brand
Your personal brand and professional brand are intertwined concepts. That is, you cannot create one brand for your personal life and one brand for your professional life. The two brands (or “personas”) are interconnected.
In a professional context, once upon a time you could only build your personal brand in person and via your resume.
Now there are so many digital channels available for you to build your brand as well. And you cannot create one online brand for those in your personal life for your friends and family to see and another online brand for those in your professional circles to see. All of your online activity can be seen, more or less, by anyone, from anywhere, at anytime.
That is why it is super important to take control of your online personal brand. You must start to curate content that you want people to see about you online. Taking control of your personal branding is the first step in building a positive and compelling digital footprint that companies, recruiters and clients will sit up and take notice of.
Why does personal branding matter?
Basically if you work, your personal brand matters. To get a job, you usually need to have an interview. The way you talk with people over the phone when you apply for a job matters. They way you present at interview matters.
It goes without saying that the way you present yourself online matters too. Why? Because increasingly employers, line managers and recruitment agencies like to learn more about you before they even meet you.
That means, people often head online to see what they can find out about you. By carefully curating content and making other contributions online, you will create a personal brand that decision makers are impressed by!
What can I do to create a positive personal brand?
There are many things you can do to take control of how you are perceived. These activities need to be carried out through your physical interactions with others as well as your digital activity online.
Here are just a few examples of activities you can carry out in person to build a positive personal brand:
- Attend industry conferences and events and introduce yourself to others. Actively listen and form new professional connections that have the potential to add value to you (and the other person) in the future
- When you interview with prospective employees or clients, ensure you are confident, articulate and attentive
- When you meet with others in your professional network, listen actively and offer advice and connections you think could bring value to them
In a digital context, here are some of the things you can do to benefit your personal branding:
- Contribute actively and generously on LinkedIn and other professional digital networking platforms
- Create useful content for others and share that content on your social media channels and/or a personal website
- Contribute to relevant, reputable online chat forums in your chosen field
- Consider writing articles, blog posts, reports or white papers for your sector and have those published on reputable websites
These are not the only ways you can contribute to building a positive personal brand. In fact there is no formula for building a successful personal brand.
The way you go about it will depend on your personality type, the sector you work in, the way you like to communicate with others and so many more factors.
Where do I start?
It can be daunting to think about where to start when building your personal brand. For this reason, many people simply don’t make a start. Don’t be that person.
There are so many easy ways to start proactively building your personal brand online. And the key is to start slowly. Get used to contributing online in one way before adding another. That means things won’t become overwhelming for you.
The more you contribute online, the greater your online visibility. And the stronger your personal brand will become. So don’t out it off any longer. Get started on curating a positive digital footprint and personal brand today.
Need a hand building an online personal branding strategy? Get in touch to hear how I can help.
Further References and Reading