What pops up first when you Google yourself?
Your social media channels? The college you are affiliated with? Or maybe a website you once submitted your work to?
We Googled our colleagues at the WhitePencil, and the results were the same. Almost everything popped up with every possible information that was available with Google, including their social media and academic links.
In most layman’s terms, if one would like to explain the real meaning of Personal Branding, then it is what Google knows and tells about you to people who are maybe searching for you.
And in technical terms, Personal Branding is a process of curating a strategy that focuses on forming and influencing a digital perception of an individual.
Just like one does with a business, Personal Branding is where an individual’s thus formed perception helps them stand apart from the competition – the entire process is carried on to help people easily recognise the individual and what his brand stands for.
Personal Branding is doing everything you do to build a brand but for a human. This clearly lets people know what they stand for and who they are.
For instance, in a world full of Copywriters and Marketers – Alex Cattoni is a brand in herself. It won’t be wrong to say that Google knows more about her than maybe the person that lives next door to her. That information is her brand, and she builds on it every second.
But why does it even matter to have a brand?
Having a personal brand for any individual in any field today is crucial because it builds your credibility and fosters trust. Though it’s not a task that can be done overnight, building a brand takes consistent effort.
Imagine it’s your interview tomorrow for a dream job that you’ve been dying to pursue. Interview preparation requires you to know the industry better, like what’s hot and not. You don’t have to resort to books, so being an “internet’s child” like we all are, you Google your quereis, and thousands of pages, including Youtube links, pop up.
Would you rather choose a website ranking on the 1 page to help you out or the one on the following pages?
The one ranking on the first page has put in a lot of effort to be there because you don’t end up in Google’s good books just like that. Ranking that good on Google is a testament to how good that particular person is in their field and what an expert like them in their industry is capable of.
Consistently putting the efforts in the right direction will help you position a brand that will kindle your audience’s interest in your offerings, cultivate trust and build credibility.
When talking about starting your business or flourishing on your skills, one must understand that most of the time, what becomes a barrier to growth is not the lack of skill or expertise but the inability to be highlighted in an oversaturated market. No matter the industry, the competition is insane and increasing every day.
The only tool that one is left with in such circumstances is differentiation. Anything that sets you apart as a brand, like your USPs, will help you create that much-required differentiation. When you get clear with what your brand is, how it works, what problems it solves and what values it looks up to – you give the audience a fair chance to differentiate you from those who haven’t defined any of those.
Better Deals, Increased Face Value
One of the biggest misconceptions people carry today is that “no one has that kind of money to pay for this stuff”. False. People have money, the ones that need your services; they do – what they need to know, though, is why they should give it to you. And it’s not about what you are doing for them; it’s about what value you bring them.
For instance, an SEO Content Writer will anytime be preferred by any business or industry over a normal Writer. Similarly, an SEO Content Writer with a few ranking articles is who companies are looking for to pay more for the value that they deliver.
But sometimes, it’s not even about what you can or can not do. More often than usual, it is about have you portrayed it well or not. And that is when branding your skills and offerings in your name becomes essential. Keep brushing up your skills and online presence for increased face value.
Sell yourself, they say. Every time you go for an interview, have a meeting or are in a more social setting – people expect you to network and sell yourself. Analysing it from a closer perspective, we figured both of these are just different parts of a marketing funnel. See, when you meet new people, you let them know you exist in so and so field – which counts for spreading awareness. And when you convince them of your skills and expertise one way or the other, you are generating hot leads, which is called prospecting.
But in a more digital space, you both are just very ignorant about each other’s presence; this is why one plans to pique their audience’s interest. A personal brand will reach people hanging out on different channels, spread awareness and become a lead magnet for you.
Personal Branding is all about positioning your brand and networking, which eventually results in more credibility, income, and other advances we discussed earlier. This means that Branding helps you create a strong network that eventually becomes your support system to retain a strong foothold.
As they say, people are the biggest power, and thus Branding helps you attain that power for yourself.
Attract Clients, Don’t Chase
Although we’ve already talked about lead generation, it is important to note here. As we all know, lead generation can be done in two ways, Inbound and Outbound. When you focus on giving your brand a solid base, you focus on creating a brand that in itself is a lead magnet, and thus the requirement of outbound lead generation reduces with time. Thus, with time one sees a huge shift in how they tend to attract clients instead of chasing them.
Rules of Personal Branding
Being authentic in the process of building a personal brand is the best approach that one can ever take. Even if you have less experience or are just starting out, copying what the industry experts are doing will not take you anywhere. Moreover, it will spread negative word about your brand in the industry, which will tarnish your reputation even before it builds. And as they say, precaution is always better than cure, so do not wait up for the moment you have to clean your mess. Go slow but be authentic; it will do wonders for you in the long run.
Here’s the thing: terms like “Marketing” & “Selling” somewhere make the person listening to you cautious. They start thinking like they are being tricked into buying something that you have to offer. Instead, you want the audience to believe in you genuinely and make them realise why it’s their idea to choose you over others.
Simply talking about how authentic your brand is and what incredible services you offer isn’t going to help. The strongest pursuit here is storytelling. People like narratives, one that tells them about your journey and how you became who you are. If they can relate, they will believe; thus, every time they relate with you and your brand; they will incline towards you a little more.
You can tell stories about literally anything; it has to make sense and fit in with your brand’s perception.
You can only be known among the audience as an industry leader for a particular subject if you create content around it consistently. Those who do it inconsistently are not going anywhere specific with it. In such a case, you can be recognised for one or two pieces of your best works – but that doesn’t have a lasting effect on the audience. It would be best if you kept giving them a bit of something every day instead of passing on the abundance of knowledge in a single attempt.
Offering value via whatever content you put out should be your focal point. Ask yourself, what is the objective of this post? Is it spreading awareness about my brand? Is it solving a problem for my audiences? Is it even required to be told, and if yes, is this how I’d like to come across this information as a reader? What would be the best way to pass on the information without consuming much of my audience’s time?
Once you have answers to these questions, you’ll know for sure that whatever that is that you are doing makes sense. It offers value to the ones who come across it, and thus it helps build your brand.
Having a personal brand in 2022 is a game changer. Although it can look intimidating at the beginning, things get better with time, and it all starts making sense. We recommend you start at the earliest because many others have.