July 7, 2023

10 Personal Branding Tips (That Actually Work)

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In an increasingly digital world, a strong personal brand has become an invaluable asset for employees and entrepreneurs alike.

But building your presence from the ground up with no focus, direction, or visibility can feel like wandering in an endless void.

I get it. I've been there.

But after navigating the hurdles through trial and error, I've discovered strategies that have helped me stand out and magnify my voice to influence thousands of people.

In this article, I'll share 10 personal branding tips that I know work — because they've worked for me.

Make your mark by solving problems

What most people do wrong when building personal brands is focus on quick, short-term wins. They chase the latest trend and aim for overnight virality.

But that's not what resonates or makes a meaningful impact.

Understand this:

Providing value and solving people's problems will distinguish you from the vast sea of people vying for attention online.

Tips for building your personal brand

  1. Find your focus
  2. Pick one platform
  3. Provide real value
  4. Use clear language
  5. Ask for honest feedback
  6. Get and share social proof
  7. Become easily discoverable
  8. Create a consistent content calendar
  9. Study your competition (and do better)
  10. Connect and collaborate with industry professionals

1. Find your focus

The foundation of any successful personal brand is built on… well, you.

More specifically, it's built on your passions. Sharing your obsessions with the world can be transformative, for both you and your audience.

A razor-sharp focus guides you through:

  • Making connections
  • Authentically creating content
  • Establishing your unique voice

You'll become known for something, and your followers will look forward to engaging with your content.

Find your unique value proposition by asking yourself:

  • What are you good at?
  • What are you obsessed with?
  • What could you talk about for hours with a stranger?
  • What topic or issue compels you to dedicate your discretionary time?

2. Pick one platform

There's a common misconception that people need to be everywhere at once.

Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, TikTok… you name it.

Don't fall into this trap.

Sharing your voice across multiple social media platforms before forging a true digital footprint somewhere is exhausting and rarely effective.

One of the biggest lessons I've learned is the power of focus, not only on what you share but also on where you share it.

Start with one platform and give it all you've got.

Where does your target audience spend their time?

Which platform best aligns with your skills and passions?

Go there and pour your energy into it. Hone your expertise on it. Become known on that channel first.

In my case, that was LinkedIn.

The beauty of focusing on one platform first is you'll get to connect deeply with your audience. This allows you to establish your voice without stretching thin across various mediums.

Your audience will follow and expand alongside you as you build and grow.

3. Provide real value

The internet is inundated with superficial advice. To attract a quality audience, your content needs substance.

Through my years of building online, I've found that providing real value is the key to resonating with my audience and crafting a reputable, enduring personal brand.

But what does it mean to provide real value?

  • Motivate people to become their best selves
  • Share personal experiences and lessons learned
  • Offer helpful, digestible tips about something in your field
  • Challenge others with contrarian ideas and get them thinking
  • Empower people to take concrete actions that lead to tangible results

Be relatable, bold, and transparent in your content. People don’t relate to a picture-perfect brand — they want to see how you got out of the deep pit, scars and all.

So, don't shy away from your challenges, failures, and lessons. These are the very elements that others can learn and get inspiration from.

4. Use clear language

Forget what they taught you in school:

Using fancy, verbose language won't get you extra personal branding credit.

It actually obscures your message and can leave readers disengaged.

One of the most impactful strategies I've adopted for my personal brand is cutting the fluff and getting my point across in as few words as possible without sacrificing impact.

By using straightforward, accessible language, you communicate your thoughts and ideas effectively. This makes it easier for your audience to connect with and understand your content.

As you create content for your personal brand, consider the following:

  • What can I omit?
  • Can I use simpler vocabulary?
  • Is my message easy to understand?

5. Ask for honest feedback

At its core, personal branding revolves around cultivating an authentic relationship with your audience.

And just like in any meaningful relationship, communication is key.

We're talking about a two-way street. That’s not just me delivering content, but also you, the audience, providing me with honest feedback.

The feedback loop has been a beacon in my personal branding journey, guiding me toward a better understanding of my audience's needs, expectations, and areas for improvement.

I may not always like what I hear, but I love how it helps me grow and provide better value.

Critiques and diverse viewpoints from others have helped me sharpen my focus, refine my strategies, and reinvent certain aspects of my brand. More than that, it's given my audience a sense of involvement, fostering a shared growth journey.

6. Get and share social proof

A powerful way to bolster your brand is through social proof.

Think of it as a digital round of applause. Testimonials, shout-outs, and recommendations that show how you've significantly impacted people's lives.

While asking for testimonials or sharing them with your audience might feel uncomfortable, remember, it's not bragging; it's proof of concept.

Ultimately, social proof is your audience’s reminder of why they follow you. And for newcomers, it's a compelling argument as to why they should listen to you.

7. Become easily discoverable

You can create the most valuable content, but it's hard to go far if people can't find you.

Here are some ideas for illuminating your online presence:

Create a website

Your website is your digital homestead — a one-stop shop where people can explore your world, your way of thinking, and the value you offer. It's more than a polished resume; it's a living representation of your brand.

Invest in SEO

With strategic SEO, those on the hunt for someone with your expertise will find their way to you, be it through your domain, LinkedIn profile, or blog posts.

Appear in podcasts

Being a podcast guest is like setting sail in someone else's ship. You gain exposure to an already established tribe of listeners who align with your message. As a result, you expand your reach in the process.

TLDR: Your most profound insights and narratives can't ignite minds if they remain unseen.

8. Create a consistent content calendar

Ever wondered how some brands keep coming up on your radar?

It's no magic trick. They have a consistent content calendar.

Consistency and personal branding come hand in hand. In my early days of solopreneurship, I learned that showing up only when the mood struck wasn't cutting it.

An erratic posting schedule can leave your audience confused and disengaged.

In contrast, having a consistent content calendar is like giving your personal brand a rhythm — one that your audience listens out for and looks forward to.

It's like that favorite TV show you coordinate your schedule for — always airing at the same time, on the same day, every week.

But besides this, why is consistency so crucial for personal branding?

  • Your audience will appreciate knowing when they will hear from you
  • Each post is another chance for engagement and growth
  • You build trust with your fans the more value you offer

While creating a content calendar may feel like a mundane administrative task, it's a critical part of a branding strategy. It tells your audience (and you) that you're taking this seriously and are here to stay.

9. Study your competition (and do better)

Looking at your competition isn't about being envious or copying their style. It's about conscious analysis.

Understanding your competition can provide insight into what works within your niche and, just as importantly, what doesn't.

Here's why paying attention to your peers is a vital part of personal branding:

Identify opportunities

What kind of content is your competition overlooking? Is there a particular question everyone seems to be asking, but nobody is addressing? These are golden opportunities for you to step in and provide the answers your audience needs.

Set your benchmark

Look at competitor content that resonates and ask yourself: How can I make this even better? What is missing? Is there unique value I can provide?

Stay on trend

Keeping up with industry professionals helps you stay on top of trends.

For example, AI has been all the rage lately.

Thousands of creators are talking about how it's impacting their work and fields. It helps to be informed, and who knows? You may come up with innovative content ideas from that, too.

10. Connect and collaborate with industry professionals

When building a brand, there's a hidden treasure many neglect to tap into: Collaboration.

Like most new solopreneurs, I tried to do it all on my own when I started. But soon, I realized that personal branding isn't a battlefield; it's a community.

Connecting with industry peers improves your personal brand in many ways:

Exchange ideas

You get a chance to learn from others' expertise and vice versa. These interactions can spark novel concepts and insights for your brand.

Expand your reach

Two networks are better than one, and being associated with established people in your field enhances your visibility and credibility. Whether it's a shout-out on social media, an interview, or a joint venture — every collaboration grows your audience.

Grow mutually

Collaboration isn't a one-way street. Both you and the person you're working with benefit from a consolidated audience pool and shared insights.

So, how exactly can you network and collaborate?

Attend industry events

Whether it's at a local networking event, an online conference, or a meetup, connect with people who share your interests and career goals.

Reach out for collaboration

Don't wait for someone to approach you. Reach out to others in your industry for collaborations. This could take the form of guest blogs, joint webinars, or social media takeovers.

Join online communities

Platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook are home to countless niche communities where like-minded professionals gather to exchange experiences and ideas.

In summary, carving your path doesn't need to be a solitary journey.

Foster relationships. Learn and grow together. It's a big network out there, and your next collab partner might just be a conversation away.

Start building your personal brand

It's no secret that founders and solopreneurs have to go the extra mile to make their mark these days.

And to break through the noise you need one thing:

A solid personal brand.

Contrary to what some may tell you, this isn't an overnight venture. Personal branding is an ongoing process — it's one that I'm still working on every day, even with 750K+ followers across multiple platforms.

By following these tips, you'll lay the foundation for creating a distinct brand, forging worthwhile relationships, and opening doors to unforeseen opportunities.

Ready to dive deeper into personal branding?

Check out my courses, The Operating System (LinkedIn growth) and The Content Operating System (content production). Through these courses, I equip you with the right tools, techniques, and mindset to craft your unique brand.

So that's my advice on personal branding.

Let's keep growing together.

Whenever you're ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:

1. ​The LinkedIn Operating System:​ Join 16,000 students and 30 LinkedIn Top Voices inside of The LinkedIn Operating System. This comprehensive course will teach you the system I used to grow from 0 to 470,000+ followers and $4.8M in income.

2. ​The Content Operating System​: A multi-step system for creating a high-quality newsletter and 6-12 pieces of high-performance social media content each week. Join 7,000 students here.

3. ​Promote yourself to 175,000+ subscribers​ by sponsoring this newsletter.

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