When I started out my professional career in a digital marketing start-up back in 2017, I was always curious about personal branding.
I knew what it was but I didn’t know how to get that done.
Surrounded by people who guided me through the initial days of my career, the one thing that they always highlighted was the need for personal branding.
A senior of mine said, “If your customer is online, why shouldn’t you?” He clarified this saying that my prospects are looking for someone with my profile online. They want to know about you ONLINE which is why having your personal brand is a necessity.
A few weeks back, I posted a status on LinkedIn about how when I type my name, “Somapika Dutta”, the entire first page of Google search results is filled with everything that has got to do with me – from my LinkedIn profile to the author profile of my blog.
When I read through the personal brand examples, I didn’t realise that I would be able to say the same for myself too. But, here I am. And, since I did notice amazing results from it in a matter of a few months, I thought I would share some insights on what’s personal branding and why you need to do it.
What is personal branding?
Say, your name is XYZ and you are a content writer based out of Los Angeles. You know for a fact that you are not just the only content writer in LA, so creating a brand for yourself on the internet is going to be a tough job.
But, after several practices of marketing and outreach, you find your name and expertise showing up on the first page of Google search results when the similar keywords are typed in.
So, when someone looks up content writers in LA, specifically with your name or even without, if your profiles pop up as the primary results, that is what personal branding is.
“Your name is your brand.”
If you are wondering how the personal brand helps, the answers are unimaginable. Let me elaborate a little more on this.
How does personal branding help?
In a world where everything is happening online, focusing on building your personal brand is a necessity and not a choice.
If you want yourself “SEEN”, you need to work on your online presence and no, I am not talking about the daily memes you share on your Facebook feed.
I am talking about your professional presence online.
So, why personal branding is so important?
Now that you know in what ways personal branding can make your career flourish, you must be wondering how can I do that?
This is the part where the majority of the people are stuck at. Let me guide you through some small things that I did (and still do).
How to build your personal brand?
Before proceeding, know for a fact that building a personal brand doesn’t happen in a day. Every single thing takes time and so does this. The pointers and strategies that I am going to share are the ones that I have personally done for building my personal brand (or at least tried to).
I am not a digital marketing expert, nor do I claim to be one. I am still learning things, so it is likely that what worked for me might not be something that every experienced marketer would suggest you do.
When I wanted to start out with personal branding, the very first article that I read was written by Neil Patel, and I can vouch that it did help me a lot. Following that, I did my own research and came up with strategies.
Some of the things I did were:
Start with single-channel marketing
When you are trying to build your personal brand, it is likely that you will try to target multiple platforms at one go. Don’t do that.
Start with the social media platforms that you think will bring you more leads. It is always best to proceed with the thoughts of conversion.
The reason why I would suggest that you start with single-channel marketing is because of the impacts it has on the long run. In today’s online world, everyone wants authority, including Google.
When you are desperately trying on ALL the platforms, it is likely that you wouldn’t give it your best shot. Doing nothing is better than doing this half-arsed.
You don’t want that at all. Instead of starting out with multiple streams of “promoting” yourself and building your own brand, target one initially.
Stop regurgitating content
There is nothing that is already not on the internet. Every single thing that you have in your mind is probably written about.
So, how can you make your content different?
Well, it is how you strategise things.
If you want to build your personal brand, it is necessary that you focus on talking about the niche that your expertise is in.
Doing this ensures that you can share personal experiences, much like what I am doing here with this blog.
When you try new strategies out on your own and they work, write about that.
To make the content even more personalised, focus on adding original images and screenshots of the success that you have experienced. You can even share the roadblocks to give your readers a better perspective of things.
Google eats up content and if you can excel with that, it is likely that you wouldn’t have to read through thousands of personal branding articles. It will happen for you on its own.
I was one of those professionals who didn’t know and understand the importance of LinkedIn until very late.
I had an account but I didn’t use it.
But, now when you look up my name on Google, the first two search results comprise of my LinkedIn account.
This platform is known as the biggest professional network for a reason. So, if you want your outreach and online reputation to reach new heights, you need to post consistently.
Connect with more people, share your thoughts and ideas and share value to your network. The better the engagement, the better are your chances of excelling.
I watched this video on LinkedIn and its discourse a few weeks back and I loved it, I am pretty sure you would too. Watch this if you are just starting out with LinkedIn and need more tips about its usage.
Avoid prioritizing Facebook
I am not saying that Facebook is something you should completely avoid using but I would tell you not to prioritise its usage.
Facebook outreach doesn’t have a very big impact on Personal Branding. Wondering why? Because the majority of the prospects that you want to target with your personal brand are most likely not even looking for you on Facebook.
Facebook is more for the community, friends and relationships. Even though it does have a “commercial” side to it as well, I wouldn’t say that leveraging that is going to provide with a lot of results.
Again, this is from personal experience and something that I have noticed while working on my personal branding process.
Start a blog
The concept of blogging is a “dying” term. Majority of the people have this notion but that is not true at all.
If you do blogging the right way, it is likely that you will see the results reflect. I have my author profile on the first page of the search results with my name.
What this does is let people get a glimpse at your online portfolio too.
When you have a blog that links to your work, it cements the prospect’s decision of reaching out to you with a possible opportunity.
Blogs add value to your name, provided that you are posting creative content and not regurgitating the existing ones.
Before we go
If you are working on your personal branding, please be patient. It won’t work out right off the bat. Things take time and with so much competition online, it is hard for people to achieve or sustain things right off the bat. Take your time with it, try and strategise things that would work for you personally aside from the ones I have mentioned here.