Personal Branding: The Ultimate A to Z Guide

When you’re looking for a job, you should expect to be Googled.

When you’re trying to land a speaking engagement for a big industry event, you should expect to be Googled.

When you send a guest contributor pitch to a blog you admire, you should expect to be Googled.

The truth is, anyone that may end up working with you in some capability wants to get a good idea of your work and your personality before responding to your email or getting you to schlep all the way into the office.

That’s where you personal brand comes in. Your personal brand refers to the route you present or marketplace yourself, your skills, and your work. And if you want to get past that initial Google search, you’re going to want to develop a personal brand that accurately reflects what you’re capable of.

That’s why we put together the A to Z guide below. From consistency to networking, we’ll walk you through all of these components that go into defining an impressive personal brand so you can feel good about those Google search results.

The Complete A to Z Guide to Personal Branding

1) A: Authenticity

Building a brand around there is a need for quite a bit of soul searching. In the process, you’ll likely learn a lot about who you are, what you value, what your strengths( and weaknesses) are, and so on. These are all elements of your authentic self.

When working on your personal brand, be sure to tap in to those layers — those things that build you, you.

2) B: Bio

Your professional bio offer a clear and concise summary of your professional background that can be used to represent you across a ton of different mediums — blog posts, social media, a speaker profile, etc. In many cases, it serves as a first impression — which is why it plays such an important part in defining your personal brand.

Trouble is, most people fail to keep it updated.

“A short, professional bio is one of those things most people don’t think about until, all of a sudden, we’ve been asked to ‘shoot one over via email’ and have approximately one afternoon to come up with it, ” explains HubSpot’s Lindsay Kolowich.

Don’t fall into this trap. If you need help ensuring your bio reflects your best professional ego, check out our free professional bio guidebook, complete with plug-and-play templates to help you get started.

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3) C: Consistency

Thanks to the internet, discoverability

One example of how to exert consistency in your personal branding would be to align your username across all of your social channels. This approach is more memorable and it makes it easy for folks searching for you across platforms to surface the right account promptly. Just be sure the username you choose reads professional.

Think: RoseJMills across everything instead of MissRose8 794, RosiexMills8 7, and RJM8 794.

In addition to username, utilizing a consistent headshot across your online accounts is also a personal branding best practice. Take a look at how HubSpot Co-founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah sticks with the same headshot across his Twitter, LinkedIn, and Inbound.org profile 😛 TAGEND

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4) D: Direction

When it comes to determining the success of your personal branding endeavours, how will you know when you’re making progress?

This is where the importance of direction comes in.

Some of the most achieved professionals have a clear sense of direction. This includes well-defined objectives, a long-term vision, and a handful of vehicles to drive that vision forward.

Before you make any major personal brand plays, stop to be considered the professional direction you want to go in and then scheme your next steps accordingly.

5) E: Evolutionary

Old Spice. Pabst Blue Ribbon. Instagram.

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Source: Logo Inspirations

These are all hugely successful names that have undergone dramatic rebrands over the years. And there’s something to be said about their willingness to change and evolve.

Much like these brands, it’s important that you keep a close eye on the success and relevance of your personal branding strategy and pivot accordingly.

As you develop new abilities, consider the appropriate means that may you might evolve your brand to reflect that. Similarly, as certain media for promoting your brand fizzle, invest in new ones. Your personal brand should be consistent, yet constantly evolving to reflect the most current, accurate the representatives from you.

6) F: Focus

Rome wasn’t built in a day — and you shouldn’t expect your personal brand to be either. Establishing yourself as an expert in your industry or a noteworthy resource for any given subject requires a focused approach to delivering value to your audience while upholding your unique values.

In other terms, don’t expect overnight outcomes. Instead, focus on what you can do today to strengthen your personal brand tomorrow.

7) G: Growth

Consider the skills you already posses and the skills you want to build to advance your brand. If you have a fairly large ability gap to fill in order to attain your desired outcome, it’s important to have a plan for prioritization.

As you move towards mastering the skills on your “to-do” list, start by ranking each one by highest growth potential. In other words, which skills do you need to tackle first to make the biggest impact on your overall brand? Which skills are going to help you grow the most?

Start there.

8) H: Human

Think about the last period you scrolled through Twitter. We’re willing to bet that for every profound, original post from one of the folks you are following, there were about 20 -3 0 automated tweets with a blog post title and a link.

While there’s nothing wrong with automating aspects of your online presence — social, email outreach, etc. — it’s important that you’re strategic about how you go about it.

Here are a few rules of thumb to help you strike the right balance 😛 TAGEND Don’t: Share just a link to an article. Instead, add colouring commentary. Share the article and share your thoughts on it. Instead, add color commentary. Share the article and share your thoughts on it. Do: Ask questions of your audience. No matter what the platform, inviting your audience to participate in a conversation with you will help you get to know them and better position yourself as a trusted authority. No matter what the platform, inviting your audience to participate in a conversation with you will help you get to know them and better posture yourself as a trusted authority. Don’t: Send the same pitch to everyone. Take the time to do some research. The more personalized your outreach is, the more willing folks will be to give you a shot — whether it be a guest post, a consultation, etc. Develop new skills Improve ideas Establish yourself as a resource Gain inspiration What are your personal career goals? What core values do you hold? What does success look like to you? What are you most passionate about? Why? Speak about something you know inside and out. The more comfy you are with the subject matter, the more conversational things will feel. Speaking about something familiar gives itself well to personal tales and experiences, which helps to humanize you. Know your audience. While you should always focus on being your authentic ego, recognizing who your audience is will help you better direct your content. For example, your humor might land with one group, but not another. Know when to pull back. Get feedback. Practice your talk in front of a group of coworkers you trust before taking the stage. Operating through your talk in advance will help you feel more confident in your delivery and also bring to light any areas you need to work on.

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