When we think about branding, developing your own professional brand probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. However, just about anyone could benefit from spending some time thinking seriously about what they want to be known for and then taking active steps to communicate that to the world.
Well, there’s the obvious examples of course — like CEO’s with a flashy backstory, or professional coaches, authors and consultants, but even if you’re working in a behind-the-scenes role in corporate, your reputation matters. It could mean the difference between being top of mind for an opportunity and being overlooked!
I know it might seem intimidating to step out from behind your job title or your business and actually put yourself out there, but in reality, it can be a great way to boost your confidence — and you might surprise yourself with the results. I certainly did! (Read about my journey .)
It doesn’t have to be hard either.
To get you started, let’s look at the four-step process you can use to develop your personal brand and raise your profile:
Step 1: Define your personal value proposition
It may sound strange, but you have a value proposition, much like any product or company. If you can’t explain what your value proposition is, chances are no one else will be able to either!
So, think about the top 3 to 5 things that make you unique as a professional; the things you want to be known for. It could be the skills you bring to the table, a special area of focus, your viewpoint on things that matter to you, experience across countries or sectors, personality traits, or the way you approach problems. Each of these attributes represents your unique selling points (USPs) and together they make up your value proposition.
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Whatever attributes you choose, consider why they are important in relation to the brand you want to represent, your goals and how they set you apart from everyone else.
Step 2: Write your elevator pitch
Your value proposition is the foundation for your elevator pitch — a 20 to 30 second summary of who you are. By writing it down, you’re more likely to remember to incorporate those USPs the next time you introduce yourself and make your mark. In fact, it would also make a great summary and intro for your LinkedIn profile!
Be sure to take into account who your ideal audience is and what would make them care about what you have to say. Your elevator pitch, if executed correctly, will help people get a clear idea of who you are as a professional and make you memorable so the next time they need someone with your expertise, you will be their first point of call.
Step 3: Establish a consistent voice
What you say is important, but how you say it is too. The tone of how you speak, write and engage with people says something about who you are and what you stand for.
Decide whether you want to sound bold and empowered, calculated and scientific, or something else altogether, taking into account how that enables you to be successful in whatever you do.
The most important thing here is to be authentic, so don’t overthink it. Your voice on different platforms and in real life should be consistent — although your tone may sometimes depend on the context. If someone reads your writing, watches a video of you or listens to a podcast with you online, they shouldn’t be surprised when they meet you in person, and vice versa!
Step 4: Decide where to bring your personal brand to life
Now that we’ve covered the basics of developing a personal brand, you’re ready to start putting it out there. There are endless ways to communicate your story; so make a conscious decision to focus on the areas that feel right to you and are most likely to move the needle.
Where you engage should be aligned with your brand and relevant to the industry you want to be in. For instance, if you want to be influential in the fashion industry you might focus on a visual platform like Instagram or Pinterest, and if you want to be a business consultant you might focus on networking platforms like LinkedIn or relevant Facebook Groups.
Social media is just one area but your personal brand could be built through many different online and offline channels. Consider a blog, a website, speaking opportunities, media interviews, YouTube, conferences, a newspaper column, magazine write-ups, a podcast… whatever makes sense for your brand, plays to your strengths and feels right for you.
Bonus: don’t set it and forget it!
Check-in regularly to see how you’re doing. Branding is not something that happens overnight. It takes time, consistency and commitment to build a brand that stands out.
For example, when I’m hosting a workshop, speaking on a panel or attending an event, I’ll take a moment beforehand to review my value proposition and elevator pitch. From there, I will think about how this needs to be adapted in this specific context so my introduction is relevant to the audience and so that people that meet me will know what my specific expertise is, why it’s relevant and who could benefit.
Have you thought about creating your own personal brand?
From CEOs, founders, consultants, authors and coaches, I’ve worked with many people on raising their personal profile and achieve their goals and I’d love to help you get started. Send us a message or get in touch with me at email@example.com to arrange a one-on-one session and get the ball rolling.
Originally published at https://www.the-emms.com on November 21, 2019.