Four Questions When Developing Your Personal Brand

July 16th, 2018

Personal branding has gotten quite the reputation these days. With the rise of social media, ambitious individuals have made a living simply by populating their instagram feeds with envy-worthy photos. And while some influencers are able to make money simply by generating content around their personal lives, this isn’t the only way to build your brand. Instead, approach this journey as a means of association. How do you want others to view you on a professional level? What niche would you like to be associated with? How can you establish yourself as an expert in a particular market? These are essential points to consider when developing a specific, cohesive brand. So as you begin to make your mark on the world, take the following four questions into consideration ~ these will help you communicate authentically with your target audience and become a thought leader in your field. Who Am I? Yes, this question sounds incredibly existential, but it’s important when it comes to crafting your personal brand. Take a hard look at what you have to offer. What are your personal strengths? Weaknesses? What makes you unique? Taking a moment to reflect and journal about all of the experiences that have led you to this point, will help you to understand the foundation of your personal brand. People respond to authenticity. So while you may admire that poetic influencer with a trendy black-and-white instagram feed, if that style doesn’t align with your message then you’ll end up sending mixed signals. Be true to yourself, and the brand will follow. What Inspires Me? Ideally, a personal brand is something that will follow you throughout your career. So you’ll want to make sure that it aligns with your passion. While some people find ways to directly monetize their brand (ie: social media influencers), most focus on associating themselves with a specific market. If the goal is to become a thought leader in a particular area, then make sure that industry or cause is one you’re passionate about. This will give you the staying power as your brand continues to grow. Where Do I Want To Go? You know the saying, “dress for the job you want”? Well, personal brands work on the same principle. For example: if you’re wanting to be on the cutting edge of tech, your digital presence needs to match this goal. Followers and employers alike, should be able to view any one of your social media profiles and immediately know your area of expertise. Regularly update your LinkedIn profile with engaging stories of the latest AI news or keep your Twitter feed populated with articles on current UX technology. Your web presence will often be making your first impression, so tailor it to fit your very specific and ambitious goals. How Should I Communicate? Once you’ve laid the foundation and truly understand your brand, then you can begin the digital artistry. First, take a look at what you’re already communicating (aka: google yourself). See what is out there, so you know how far you must go to craft your brand. Do you simply need to finetune your website, or is a complete social media rehaul in order? After assessing your current situation, take some time to think about your target audience. Who do you want to reach, and what is the best way to do so? After your assessment, start by perfecting one form of communication. If your overarching career goal is to be on The New York Times Bestseller list, then start by creating a blog, or adding content to Medium. Aspiring chef? Design a perfectly curated instagram feed for your foodie audience. And if you’re working in entertainment, consider regular YouTube or Facebook video posts. This will help you stay connected with your audience on an effective and consistent basis.