You Need a Personal Brand. Here's How You Build One.
When people Google you, what will they find?
One of the most important aspects of starting a company or career is building your personal brand. That's because your reputation is a crucial part of doing business, both online and offline. Here are some reasons why it's essential to have a personal brand.
1. Building trust.
If people plan to talk to you, work with you or buy from you, they're going to check you out online. Having a personal brand means they can easily find you online, get you know you before they meet you, and learn what differentiates you from the competition.
It's great to have your own website, preferably with your full name as the domain, so people can search for the person behind the company. Join the social networks your customers frequent the most, and publish content from your point of view. This helps create trust and authority, which can lead to eventually becoming a thought leader.
2. Making better connections.
People don't connect with companies; they connect with the people behind the companies, so showing your human side with a personal brand will result in better business. More and more, people want to know your values before they commit to becoming customers or partners.
A personal brand puts those values out there for the world to see. This will help you make the connections that you want and increase your ability to work with and network with the right people. And it will help you earn more revenue, too.
3. Increasing content visibility.
The stronger your personal brand, the more people will see, share and respond to your content. When WPBeginner launched, we started with a handful of dedicated readers. Now that more people know what we're about, we have more than 600,000 email subscribers, and people reference our WordPress tutorials all the time.
The truth is, even if you're not paying attention, you already have a personal brand. Since you're going to be found online anyway, you might as well take control. Here's how to start creating your personal brand the right way.
Do a "vanity" search.
Although it's called a vanity search, I see it as a sound business practice to know what's showing up about you in search results. Google your name, both with and without quotes, in an incognito or private browser window, and you'll see what everyone who finds you online can see.
If you're happy with the results, then at least part of your personal branding job is already done. If not, then you have some remedial work to do to make sure what shows up does you credit.
Start a blog.
If you don't have a blog, then it's time to start one. And if you have a blog that you're ignoring, it's time to blog more regularly. Search engines love blog content. That's one reason why a blog is at the heart of your brand, giving life to all your other online outposts.
You want to be proud of the content you publish because it's a reflection of you. Put your best content foot forward whenever you post. Mix your personal thoughts, your achievements and trending stories with helpful topics for a well-rounded content plan that will enhance your online reputation and will give people a reason to pay attention to you.
Grab your social handles (and make them match).
One mistake I made early on was buying the wrong domain name for my personal website. Sure, it was my last name and initial, but the problem was that nobody recognized me because I was using my full name as my handle on all social media sites.
Eventually, I had to buy a new domain name, SyedBalkhi.com, so that everything matched up. Now, people know exactly who they're dealing with, no matter where they find me online, and that builds trust. One last tip on social media -- use the same avatar and cover image wherever you can, so that you become a recognizable online presence.
Be active and helpful.
Don't let your online presence exist on autopilot. Work actively to make it better by:
Participating in online discussions related to your business, whether that's within a LinkedIn or Facebook group, or a Twitter chat.
Curating the information you share online so it reflects your values.
Looking for opportunities to be helpful. You don't have to launch a whole website as I did. You can start by being responsive to questions.
Taking part in two-way communication, rather than just broadcasting.
I firmly believe that having a personal brand has helped me win customers, get speaking gigs, make high-profile connections and earn lots of revenue. In fact, it would be hard to grow my business without it.