The Personal Branding Guide: What it is, Why it’s Important and
What is personal branding?
Personal branding is the process of establishing and promoting what you stand for by sharing your skills, experience, and mission with your audience. You're not just selling products or services; you're combining your unique story, values, and personality into every single interaction. This authenticity attracts your ideal audience and sets you apart in a very crowded market.
And personal branding doesn’t need to be reserved for just entrepreneurs, influencers, and celebrities. Literally, everyone can reap the rewards. It is one of the smartest ways to invest in the future 'you' to open doors at new opportunities that wouldn't otherwise present themselves.
5 reasons to build a personal brand
1. Future-proof your career and income: Job markets change. Industries shift. Full-time jobs may feel stable, but in reality, they're far from secure. A memorable personal brand can be a long-term safety net for your professional life. When you have a strong personal brand, you become more than a job title. You're a known name and a trusted expert in a given field, a go-to authority when people need what you offer.
2. Showcase your skills and expertise: Your skills are your goldmine. But being great at what you do isn't enough if no one knows about it. Personal branding allows you to showcase your strengths to a global population of internet users. People all over the world will get to see the real expert in you, a sure way to get them to sit up and take notice.
3. Share value with others: People are on the internet to learn, grow, and find solutions. Personal branding is a way to share your journey and lessons learned to help others avoid the same pitfalls you stumbled into along the way. But there's more to it than offering a helping hand. Providing consistent value creates trust with your audience and highlights you as a thought leader in your specific field.
4. Build a loyal community: Providing value is crucial, but it doesn't stop there. You need to engage with your audience, answer their questions, and listen to their opinions. Make people feel seen and heard. So, as you establish your public image, don't overlook the community-building aspect of sharing your thoughts online. Make connections, form relationships, and show up for your audience.
5. Expose yourself to new and unexpected opportunities: Building a personal brand is like opening the doors to a world of new possibilities. Think of collaborations with industry leaders, meaningful friendships with like-minded people, a dream job offer, or even an entirely new career path. These all start with a strong personal brand; without one, these opportunities may just pass you by.
My personal branding journey
In 2019 I left my corporate role, and decided to carve my own path. I started by sharing what I knew on LinkedIn. This marked the beginning of my personal branding journey.
Through the decision to go all in on my personal brand, I've unlocked opportunities I never thought would be possible. I now have 5 diversified revenue streams, a supportive community, and a life that I intentionally designed on my own terms. 4 years ago, this was merely a dream.
The articles below give more insights into how I built my personal brand.
Looking for more articles about personal branding? I have a full list at the bottom of this page.
Simple steps to building your personal brand
Step 1: Define your brand vision
Before you start building, you need a blueprint. So take time to reflect on your vision. What makes you tick? What are your passions and strengths? Define what you stand for, the value you bring, and what sets you apart from the crowd. Think of your vision as your North Star. When you get lost, it'll guide you back on track. Take your time to get this right, and the rest will follow.
Step 2: Identify your target audience
Too many make the mistake of trying to speak to everyone when building their personal brand. Instead, speak to someone. Decide who that someone is — who you want to impact. And find thousands of those people. Understanding your audience is an intentional exercise to shape your brand. Knowing who you're talking to helps you craft a message they'll resonate with and give attention to.
Step 3: Research your competitors
Studying your competition allows you to observe and learn from them, not copy them. What are successful people in your field doing to stand out? Why do people resonate with them? Analyze their strategies and behaviors. Break down their branding. Notice what they're doing well and where they're dropping the ball. Use these insights as a springboard to craft your unique brand.
Step 4: Create your unique value proposition (USP)
What's one thing you do better than anyone else? That's your unique value proposition (USP). Don't confuse this with a job title — it's about what you can do for others that no one else can. Maybe you have a knack for simplifying complex tech jargon in your writing or transforming mediocre websites into conversion machines. Pinpoint your differentiator. Lean on your uniqueness.
Step 5: Craft a personal brand statement
Once your USP is clear, it's time to turn it into a compelling statement. Think of this as your elevator pitch — a succinct sentence that shines a spotlight on you and the value you provide. Make it powerful, punchy, and straight to the point. As soon as people see or hear it, they should understand why they need you (or don’t need you!).
Step 6: Optimize your social profile
Your social media profile is your business landing page, so your personal brand takes center stage here. A standout social media profile goes beyond listing skills or past roles. It captures your story, your unique edge, and the audience you serve. So, optimize your profile to grab people’s attention and create a lasting impression.
Step 7: Create consistent, high-quality content
Put yourself in your audience's shoes. What knowledge can you share that would help them? How can you inspire or motivate them? Don't post content just to post. Aim to educate and inspire. Your audience needs valuable insights, not information overload. People follow you because they're interested in your thoughts, stories, and journey. Let your voice be heard. Why should someone follow you?
Step 8: Engage with your audience
Engaging with your audience isn't only polite, it's part of your social media strategy. It shows you're not just talking but also listening. Personal branding is about forming intentional connections. When you interact with others, you become more than a face on a screen. You're a friend, a mentor, someone trustworthy. Show them you care, and they'll care about you too. Simple as that.
Step 9: Assess your progress and hone your strategy
Building and improving your brand isn't like throwing a bunch of sh*t against a wall and hoping it sticks. You need to keep tracking, learning, and refining. I use tools like X, Shield and Fathom Analytics to track my progress. It shows me what's hitting the mark and what's falling flat. What’s driving impressions and web visits. With this data, I adjust my approach, ditch what's not working, and double down on what is. Keep adapting, learning, and improving.
Step 10: Invest in personal development
Upgrading your skills and staying on top of industry trends isn't optional — it's a must. The greatest tool in your personal brand toolkit is you. So invest in yourself. Read up on the latest in your field, enroll in relevant courses, and attend networking events — live or virtual. Don't be shy, learn from your peers and colleagues. Every new perspective you gain is another gem you add to your brand. Improve and evolve daily.