When it comes to building a personal professional brand, usually the first question out of everyone’s mouth is “Where do I start?”
Guest Post by Danielle Hatfield
The first place I would start is understanding that a personal brand is YOU. Not your company blog, not a brand you created or hope to build… but YOU. You are the brand. You are the product.
When you google ‘How to Build Your Personal Brand’ you are given a plethora of great advice on why you should look at your personal brand as an investment, how you should set goals and join professional groups. Nearly all of the information I found was incredible helpful, but most never covered the basics of building the foundation you need to make all of that advice actually work.
Building a personal professional brand is a journey. You will never be done growing, changing or learning so your brand should reflect your travels. Take Chris Brogan as an example. Chris changed his logo back in 2010 to better represent the simplicity he was craving.
A word of advice when getting a logo designed, do it for you and no one else. Design by committee is always a bad idea. If you ask 10 people what they think about your personal logo you will be pulled in 10 different directions and always feel as if it’s inadequate. If you are happy with it, it feels right to you and it represents who you are – it’s a great design. Just don’t forget that as you change, your personal brand should evolve too.
These 5 tips are meant to help you build a foundation for a solid personal brand.
1. Purchase your domain. : You can purchase your domain name (preferably your name that you are know as professionally i.e. JaneSmith.com, NOT JaneSmithLLC.com or JaneCompanyxyz.com) at places like Name Cheap.
2. Secure your social media accounts. : This will not be as easy as it sounds. But do your best to remain consistent with your domain name URL. i.e. on if your website is janesmith.com, on twitter you would be @janesmith or @jane_smith.
Now, there will be some instances where your name will be too long (as my case on twitter. Danielle Hatfield was too long and I made the decision to stick with @dhatfield) or your name is already taken by one of the thousands of other people who happen to have your name. To that I say, good luck.
Regardless of how many hard choices you will have to make in regards to your social media accounts remember NEVER to use a username like fuzzykitty89 . . . it’s not professional and makes you look like a spammer. All of your profile accounts, when possible, should be consistent.
3. Create a logo: Now to some you may think, what the hell do I need a logo for me for? Well, going back to the “you are the product” thought process, a logo is part of your packaging. A monogram or personal logo will make you memorable. Here are 10 logo ideas, from Dan Schawbel’s Personal Branding Blog, to inspire you.
4. Build a consistent brand experience across all mediums: Website, Blog, Business Card, Stationary etc. Where ever you are and how ever people have their first, second or third brand experience, it should always be clear who they have just met and where they can find out more.
5. Define who you are and what you have to offer : Every day when you post updates to Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, Pinterest or your blog – anywhere you are active online you are defining who you are. The same goes for offline activity.
By deciding what it is that you will be sharing both on and offline – you are, in a sense, creating your own ‘ingredients’ label on the package of you. Authenticity is and transparency is should be the first two ingredients on your list. Share what you are passionate about, what you are learning, your expertise and most importantly celebrate those who your learn from and meet and share the lessons you learn along the way.
Here are some great Personal Branding articles I recommend reading :
- 90 Tiny Tips to Build Your Personal Brand from Online MBA
- 10 Ways To Build Your Personal Brand by Lydia Dishman for Business Insider
- Mastering The Uncomfortable Art Of Personal Branding by Amber Mac for Fast Company
- How to Build Your Personal Brand by April Joyner for Inc. magazine
- Four Steps to Create Your Personal Brand by Gini Dietrich for SpinSucks
What tips would you offer to those just building their personal brand?
How has your personal brand grown and what factors were the biggest help to you?
Danielle Hatfield is Owner and Chief Dirt Digger at Experience Farm, a full service marketing and branding firm that works with local, national and international companies to cultivate their brand experience and grow organic awareness both on and offline.danielle hatfield336.285.6187 officemonday – thursday 10-6 EST