With all the buzz about personal brands, you may be wondering how to go about building your own. Think of your personal brand as a house; when you swing open the door, what’s inside should tell a visitor all they need to know about who you are as a professional and what you have to offer.
Like a house, there are a few “bricks” that must be in place to make your structure sound. Read on and discover the six elements that are crucial for building your personal brand house.
1) Write Your Bio
Writing a bio can feel awkward, to say the least. Self-promotion is difficult for some people, and promoting your achievements can sometimes feel narcissistic. Trust us, it’s not. Your bio tells the story of you: who you are, how you acquired your skills and expertise, and what you stand for. It also shows a reader what you’re capable of doing.
If you are staring at a blank page with questions marks circling around your head, try using these prompts to get started.
- An introduction. For example, “Jane Doe is a journalist with more than 10 years of experience in newspaper writing.”
- A list of your achievements. Include any awards or recognitions you’ve won or any articles, blog posts, or white papers you’ve published.
- An explanation of your education, certifications, and other credentials.
- A closing statement. Conclude your bio by discussing projects you are currently working on or plan to work on. This gives readers an idea of what to expect from you and your brand moving forward.
In general, bios should be written in the third person and be as succinct as possible. For more ideas on how to write your bio and build your personal brand, take a look at this article on Entrepreneur.com.
2) Have a Professional Headshot Taken
You are the face of your personal brand, so consider spending some money when thinking about how to put your best face forward. While it is possible to get a nice headshot using a smartphone, a professional photographer who is skilled in lighting and photo editing can be a great choice. Down the road, this photo should be used across all of your platforms – web, blog, and social. When you are eventually hired, you will often be asked to provide a headshot for the company’s website or for a hiring announcement. This photo will get a lot of exposure, so make sure it represents you nicely.
3) Create a Website
While a website might not seem like a logical choice for people in every industry, it’s a great idea for many professionals. Platforms like WordPress and Squarespace make it simple to build a personal website, which can serve as your home page as well as a portal for your portfolio and blog.
It’s wise to at least purchase the URL of your choice and sit on it, even if you aren’t immediately ready to build your website. If you have a company name, buy the corresponding URL. If not, try to secure a URL of your name, especially if your name is unique or has an unusual spelling.
4) Build a Blog
One of the best ways to brand yourself as an expert in your field is through blogging. Whether your expertise is mechanical engineering or shopping, maintaining a blog – especially if it gains a following – shows your enthusiasm and expertise in your industry. Further, by staying current on trends in your industry and engaging with an online audience through comments, a blog can help you build a solid reputation online.
5) Create a Logo
As you build your personal brand, a simple logo can tie it all together, and really further your chances of visually standing out in a crowded field. If you are skilled at graphic design, create your own. If not, hire a professional who can help you brainstorm ideas. On a budget? Websites like Fiverr offer the services of freelance logo designers starting at just $5.
6) Revamp Your Social Media Accounts
LinkedIn should be your home base for creating your personal brand. Make your LinkedIn page shine by adding as much information as possible. Include your education, all relevant work experience, awards and recognitions, volunteer work, and even hobbies.
Once your blog is up and running, connect it to your LinkedIn account so that posts are automatically published there. This is a really easy way to show contacts and potential contacts on LinkedIn that you are active on the site and staying busy in real life. Also, take the time to ask trusted contacts for references and add those to your LinkedIn page.
It’s a great way for potential employers and other contacts perusing your page to quickly discern that you are respected in your field and to get other people’s perspectives on where your strengths lie.