Building A Personal Brand That Evolves Over Your Career
Building a personal brand has become a fierce competition as more professionals take advantage of the tools at our fingertips. Anyone with an internet connection has similar marketing capabilities as the world’s largest brands.
The idea behind building a personal brand stretches far beyond a domain with your name in it. Personal branding becomes a unique persona that follows you throughout your career. It’s the perception that people in your network have when they hear your name.
The most successful brands evolve as the world around it continues to change. Your personal brand should be no different. It’s time we stop thinking of our personal brands as static web pages and start thinking about them as true representations of our experiences, passions and interests.
“It’s important to build a personal brand because it’s the only thing you’re going to have. Your reputation online, and in the new business world is pretty much the game, so you’ve got to be a good person. You can’t hide anything, and more importantly, you’ve got to be out there at some level.”
– Gary Vaynerchuk, Author of Crush it!
It’s no secret that people trust people over companies. So regardless of where your career may take you, your personal brand will be one of the most valuable assets throughout your professional journey.
Building a trusted personal brand is a stepping stone to growing a stronger network of relationships who will look to you for advice on the topics you’re passionate about.
Here’s how to start building a personal brand like the experts in your field:
Write, Write and Write Some More
Google the names of a few people who are recognized as “thought leaders” or “influencers” in your industry. What do you see? Besides articles recognizing their success, you’re more than likely to find their writing on a personal or company blog or perhaps they’re a regular at one of the major publications.
Regardless of the channel, the most successful business leaders understand the value in creating awareness of their expertise through content. With the explosion of blogging platforms like WordPress, there’s no excuses anymore to publishing your own content. According to a recent post on VentureBeat, WordPress now powers 25% of the web!
“Not only are bloggers suckers for the remarkable, so are the people who read blogs.”
– Seth Godin, Author, Entrepreneur, Marketer
Not only does writing help build your personal brand, it forces you to better understand your industry and gain feedback from others who are as passionate as you. Feedback is one of the most important aspects of publishing online. Good or bad, feedback tells you people actually care.
Share to Engage, Encourage and Enlighten Your Network
Sharing on social media has become a fundamental trigger based on our experiences in life. It is our nature to share our thoughts and experiences with the world to create a stronger sense of community and belonging. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, the way we share on social media impacts our brand perception in the minds of others.
You must regularly share content based on topics that both you and your network care about in order to establish your unique voice. The influencers in your space who are active on social media likely share a balanced mix of both personal and professional interests. The days of separating these worlds is long gone – social media continues to push these worlds together.
“Good content always has an objective; it’s created with intent. It therefore carries triggers to action.”
– Ann Handley, Head of Content, Marketing Profs
Building a personal brand by sharing engaging content helps you connect with your broader network, sparking conversations with relationships that may have been forgotten, but are still incredibly relevant. A professional relationship started through smaller social media interactions is more likely to become an opportunity than those started with a request.
Find Your Tribes, Join the Conversation
We recently published a post called “Who’s in Your Tribe’s Tribes?” which highlights the importance of understanding your tribe and how you can build trust within that group. Finding where your tribes exists online is essential to building a personal brand. Smart banding is about truly understanding who your target audience is and what they care about.
Engaging with people and groups relevant to your professional goals, helps you build better relationships based on shared interests. Joining the conversation could mean:
- Commenting on relevant blog posts from influencers.
- Sharing updates from others in your network who have aligned interests.
- Providing your unique thoughts on the latest trends.
- Simply Retweeting, responding or liking a Tweet that you agree with.
Staying up to date with news about your network (people, companies, associations etc.) takes time. Every interaction you have tells the world a little bit more about your unique brand. Focus more on quality over quantity when interacting with your tribes. This can be one of the best ways to build new relationships while strengthening your personal brand perception among your existing network.
Start Evolving Your Brand
As you can see, these suggestions are completely focused on the dynamic aspects of building a personal brand. Anyone can create a static website with their name on it. It’s the inspired ones that are writing, sharing and interacting with their network who will achieve the greatest success. I strongly believe that an evolving personal brand is another way modern networking focuses on building relationships over connections.
How do you think personal branding has changed today from the early days of social media?