In recent years, personal branding has become a very popular buzzword. Everywhere you turn, it seems as though someone is talking about building your personal brand. Through the overuse of the term, it is no wonder why people have lost sight of what it really means. For instance, is personal branding about fame? No, it isn’t. Instead, personal branding is about influence. The misconception is that if you are influential, you are also famous. But that's not always the case.
So why should you work on being influential? Influence within a specific niche will do many things for a person. It is not just about having a lot of Twitter followers or speaking to crowds, it is about being so good at what you do that other people want to learn from you. To make my case, I have a short list of ways your personal brand will positively impact your career.
People who have taken the time to build a personal brand become the face of a topic. These people and their content appear in search, not just in Google, but also in LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. The benefit here is that when companies or people are looking to fill a position or for an expert to consult on a project, they will come to the person with the biggest brand. This immediately increases your opportunities, because now you are faced with new experiences that you may not have known about.
Tip: To ensure that you are capitalizing on all potential opportunities, make sure to add your email in the bio of your most active social media accounts. Making it easy for people to connect with you will drastically increase new opportunities. If you don’t want to use your personal email, create a second email that you check once or twice a week.
An issue that many people face working internally at a large company or corporation is that they are rarely given an opportunity to prove that they are capable of doing more. When you have a personal brand, you can push through those barriers by demonstrating the ability to discuss and add value to different areas of expertise externally. This allows you to take these things to your managers and coworkers as a way to demonstrate your ability and grow much faster. Many times, all people need in order to feel comfortable in trusting someone with more responsibility is a third party validation (social proof) or proven experience. If you want that promotion or growth opportunity, go out and prove you can do it externally, and watch as your internal growth opportunities increase.
Tip: Set short-term goals that have a large impact. Start with trying to get published in an online publication or speaking at an event about a certain topic. Start slow, and keep pushing until you have accomplished your first goal before moving onto the next one.
Command your salary.
This is very important, especially for women in the workplace. Understanding that a change in job title is great, but if you aren’t getting paid for it, who cares? This is your career. It is a part of your life, but it is not your entire life. Salary discussions should be done like business deals, not family meetings. When you have a personal brand, your value in the mind of the person making decisions on your salary increases, because they will know that other people are looking at you.
If you write for a publication, then your byline will probably include your company’s name. This is a brand mention. If you speak at events, it will likely be on behalf of your company. This is also a brand mention. The more you are seen as a thought leader in your industry, the better the company that you represent will look and the better off they will be. Keep this in mind as you go in and ask for that raise.
Tip: Remember that a salary discussion usually only happens once a year. Do not walk into that meeting unprepared. For instance, if you are mentioned in a publication and there is a link to the company, remind them that the link is a positive brand mention and will help with improved rankings in search. Be clear that you understand the value in what you are doing. Don’t leave a salary meeting wishing you had said something that you didn’t.
Your career is a lifestyle choice. If you aren’t curating your future, than someone else is. Trust yourself, put yourself out there, and ask for what you want and need.