Building a Personal Brand, How and Why

Building a Personal Brand, How and Why

Building a personal brand is so important but often overlooked. Below, I discuss just why you need a personal brand and how you should go about creating it for most benefit.

Here’s a question:

Where did you last buy some stationary, a shirt, a watch, a set of towels?

Even some of the largest companies doing business today started life as a personal brand. But why are firms named after their founders? Believe it or not, it’s not just to exercise self-admiration. It’s because their name and the reputation surrounding that name, is enough to attract customers alone.

Personal brands offer such wide arching benefits and possibilities, even more so with today’s Google everything culture.

Say you are applying for a new job. Do you think employers just look at CVs now? If they have any investment in who they are recruiting, you can bet your bottom dollar they will Google your name at the very least – but what will they find?

A Facebook profile with pictures of you drunk from that Summer 2008 Magaluf album? Maybe a one-line LinkedIn profile if you’ve been bothered to do one?

Imagine if that employer were to find a swept up, professional website with aesthetic styling, tasteful logos and information on your various past experiences.

Which version of you is going to get the job? Who will receive that investment? Who will get that date? Who will make that business deal?

And this is just an example of using a personal brand to showcase yourself, let alone using one to further business interests, share your passion or sell a product or service. The opportunities that become available are far too great to ignore.

Why personal brands are for everyone


As we’ve discussed, personal brands are not new thinking. They have been used for centuries, only what’s different now is that you and I can create one. No longer are they reserved for investment bankers and the famous.

On the surface you might consider personal branding to be turning your name into a company (and in essence you would be right). However, your name can now be a professional vehicle from which you can express your values, communicate your skills, sell your services and showcase your personality. The key being, you have control of how your name is portrayed, what that means and how it’s perceived by others.

The internet has made it scarily easy to research anything and anyone – It’s rife from dating to recruiting. As such, it is more important than ever to either go anonymous and hide, or to relish the opportunity that this presents us. Take control, build your personal brand and show the world the best you.

Agreed, so how can we do that?

Related: Dramatically Increase your Productivity using Simple Notes

How to build your personal brand online


Lets start basic. If someone wants to find out information about me, how will they do it? Google – so I’ll address that first.

A good exercise is to go ahead and Google yourself to see what comes up. Here are the first four results for me:

As you can see the first results on google are LinkedIn, Facebook, my own personal website and a research community that I’m part of. For starters then if I want to start building out my online presence (personal brand), these are areas I will be addressing.

LinkedIn

My LinkedIn is suitably up to date and offers enough information to anyone that wants to have a quick look at me. I don’t pay much attention to this platform as I am tied in to the Military for a long time!

I am not looking to change jobs any time soon (if ever), but in my opinion it is always worth having a sensible and up to date external profile. You never will know when an opportunity might come knocking.

If you are looking to change roles/jobs in the next 5 years, your profile should offer a wealth of information to assist any potential professional attention.

Facebook

I keep my Facebook personal and thus locked down as best I can with the security measures at the highest settings Facebook offer.

However, Facebook is an enormous platform that you can use to leverage your personal brand if it’s suitable to your situation. Do you offer a service or run a blog for example? Then build a public page, add your services to the page, post teasers to your blog posts with external links to your blog, and run Facebook ads to direct hot and cold traffic to your personal website or place of your choosing.

Personal Website

The very best way to appear high up the Google search results, and for the reasons you want to appear on Google, is to create a website. Better yet, name that website after yourself for example, domhaines.com.

Don’t expect your website to appear in the number one search result position over night. But a well-maintained site will organically work its way up.

As I’ve previously mentioned, the importance of having your own website is paramount. This is your home base to portray yourself as you want, and you have complete control over it.

Luckily for us, crafting a nice looking website is pretty easy these days if you were worried. I won’t start banging on about website creation here, I intend to do a WordPress guide in the near future when I get time.

However, the basics are:

  • Use a hosting service to buy a professional domain name and email address, like domhaines.com and info@domhaines.com. I use JustHost here in the UK for all my websites who are good.
  • Install WordPress via your JustHost dashboard or equivalent.
  • Create website using a nice WordPress theme. Voila!

Consider what domain name is most suitable for you, I would advise a .com for most people (even for us Brits). Those in the tech industry are an exception to this rule though, a potentially more relevant suffix may be .io for example.

Okay, so what should I put on my website?

Well this one is up to you. What are you trying to achieve with your personal brand? Who do you want to appeal to? Ask yourself those big questions to determine your direction.

You could create a sleek one-page site with some key facts about you with some pictures of your work, suitable for someone into photography for example. It could be a blog where you discuss your passions and showcase your personality. It could be a list of your achievements, a beefed-out CV if you will. It could just show a video all about you/your work with a contact form beneath – the possibilities are endless.

While it’s always best to be original and unique, here’s some inspiration to get you thinking along the right lines: College Info Geek and The Muse

I don’t want to create my own website about me, it’s embarrassing?

Putting your name up in lights isn’t for everyone, myself included. It’s worth remembering though that we aren’t here to boast and brag about how great we are. If that is the stance you intend to take, then good luck!

A personal website should offer a place to show our talents, experiences and demonstrate to the world what we can offer, without bragging. At the simplest level, it should offer information to assist customers, other businesses or employers in giving them what they seek when they searched our name.

If you’re still a bit tentative, just give short facts and some contact details. Remember, you don’t have to tell your family and friends about your personal brand if you don’t fancy it. The personal brand serves to influence new attention as much as it serves to change how people you know perceive you.

Social Media


While Facebook and LinkedIn apply to me here, other forms of social may be more relevant for you. Each is slightly different, here are a few thoughts:

  • Twitter – well indexed by Google, consider making an account with links to your website when you make a blog post for example. If you don’t create content, just having an account with a link to your website would still be beneficial.
  • Google+ – comes up very high on a Google search and sometimes at the side, although not the most popular, consider making a little profile with links again to your website.
  • YouTube – owned again by Google, thus they often display at the very top of the Google search results. Make a channel and upload a video if that’s your bag. If not, consider adding any sort of video media that you feature in – for example a speech or seminar that may have been recorded.
  • Instagram – most suitable for niches like beauty, fitness and arts.

As social media platforms often feature high on search results, if you’ve been unlucky enough to attract unwanted attention in a news article or blog for example. You may benefit from maxing out your Twitters and Instagrams to take up as much Google real estate as possible. This could move that article or blog to page 2 where it is less likely to be seen – just a thought if that affects anyone.

Parting thoughts


Without a doubt, if you are creating a personal brand, you need a website.

Craft your personal brand persona – Identify some personal traits, use these to angle your brand to make it unique. Decide who you want to portray and what you want to achieve by doing so.

The old-fashioned CV is no longer good enough. Much more information is likely available about you online than you realise, don’t shy away from this reality, take it and run with it.

It’s not even expensive anymore. I use a combination of WordPress and JustHost for all my websites. WordPress is free and JustHost hosting/domain/email addresses cost me less than £5 per month.

Building a personal brand takes a little extra time and effort, but it’s worth it. The need and benefit of owning your personal brand will only continue to increase in today’s open information society.

There quite literally isn’t a downside. No excuses.

I hope this has been of help, take care.

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