What is Personal Branding, Why It’s Important, Benefits & Examples
You probably hear the word “branding” several times a day. It’s become one of the most common subjects in entrepreneurship — and for good reason.
Branding isn’t just another example of marketing jargon. It’s actually critical to your online presence and to your business’s success.
You might have thought of your business’s brand, but what about your personal brand? Even if you don’t make any attempts to create a personal brand, it already exists if you are active online.
We are passionate about branding here at Macky Technologies because we believe that it is critical for anyone in the Knowledge Commerce market to harness and control his or her personal brand.
Many different factors contribute to a personal brand, from the way that you communicate online to the types of stories you tell. It can also incorporate visual variables, such as the photographs you publish and the types of graphics you use.
But what is personal branding? And how can you make the most of it?
That’s what we’re going to cover today.
What Is Personal Branding?
Personal branding refers to the process of establishing your public persona for your target audience. It involves carefully and accurately communicating your values, beliefs, goals, and purpose.
Think about some of the biggest brands’ public images. Nike, for instance, has built a brand around celebrating athletes, creating high-performance products, and supporting consumers who want to live active lifestyles.
You’ll see examples of those branding factors and everything that that Nike, from ads in magazines and on television to its social media profiles.
That’s exactly the approach you need to take when creating a personal brand. You might not publish ads in magazines or create television commercials, but you have to think about how your personal brand is represented when you communicate with your audience online.
Why Do You Need to Build Your Personal Brand?
A personal brand exists whether or not you create it for yourself. When you publish a blog post, for example, you reveal aspects of your personality to the people who read it.
Your personal brand develops around the content you post, from social and search advertising to blog posts and webinars.
“If you don’t actively build your personal brand, you don’t have any control over it. Other people will form their own beliefs about what you stand for and why you’ve created your business”.
Taking control of your personal brand, on the other hand, puts you in the driver’s seat. You get to control the narrative and show your audience what you want them to see.
It’s not about being fake. You’re not creating a character for a movie. Instead, you are curating aspects of your own personality and presenting yourself in the best possible light to achieve your business goals.
What Are the Best Personal Branding Strategies?
Before you start growing your personal brand, you need to know the best practices so you don’t run into common pitfalls. Remember that even a single misstep can set your brand back and hurt your reputation.
This is particularly true for Knowledge Commerce professionals. Your personal brand revolves around your ability to educate people based on the knowledge that you have.
If people think that you don’t have the ability to share your knowledge effectively, you won’t have a business at all. That’s why you need a carefully-crafted personal brand as well as a business brand.
So what are the best practices for personal branding strategies? Let’s dive into a few of the most important ones.
Harness Your Personality
Start with your personality. It’s the most unique thing about you and set you apart from your competitors.
How can your personality help you share your knowledge with your target audience? Maybe you’re extremely outgoing and extroverted, for example. You can use that character trait to illustrate your skills and to attract people to your personal brand.
In Knowledge Commerce, people are attracted to educators and business owners who can effectively communicate their ideas and their knowledge on a large scale. That’s why your personality becomes so important for your personal brand.
Personality traits such as meticulousness, helpfulness, bravery, fearlessness, stubbornness, extroversion, introversion, and selflessness just barely scratched the surface.
Make a list of all the personality traits that people you love have commented on in the past. What sticks out at you the most? And how can you amplify that character trait to make your personal brand stronger?
Believe in Yourself as a Brand
Many professionals never bother with personal branding because they don’t believe that they are a brand. That’s a mistake.
You become a brand the moment you put yourself out there on the Internet or in person. This is especially true when you start your own business.
Bill Gates, for example, started Microsoft. This is one of the most powerful and well-known brands in the entire world. Still, Bill Gates has his own personal brand.
You can say the same for anyone who has started a business. Even if they focus on their products or services, they still enter the limelight from time to time.
Take advantage of this. Believe in yourself as a brand. In fact, you need to embrace your personal brand if you want to exercise control over it.
Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Every person on the planet has certain strengths and weaknesses. You have to embrace yours if you want your personal brand to come off as authentic.
In other words, you don’t want to paint yourself as the person who has the answers to all the questions in the world. Instead, you have to make yourself as human as possible. The best way to do this is to own your weaknesses as well as your strengths.
Many of the most high-profile personal brands have even made their narratives all about their weaknesses. Consider Heather Armstrong, more commonly known as dooce, who built a successful blog and business around her struggles with parenthood and mental illness.
This doesn’t mean that you should follow in Armstrong’s footsteps. You don’t have to lay out every personal thing about yourself for the entire world to see.
However, building your personal brand requires you to be honest about what you know and don’t know. This is particularly true of the Knowledge Commerce market.
Curate Your Online Presence
While authenticity is undeniably important for any personal brand, you also have to have boundaries. Before you begin to present your online persona to the world, decide what you will and will not share with your followers.
For many entrepreneurs, for example, family is off limits. They don’t want to subject their loved ones to online scrutiny.
Other entrepreneurs have no problem with posting anecdotes, photographs, and other information about their families online. There’s no wrong answer — you have to decide what is right for yourself.
You can also decide what you want to share with regard to your education, work history, personal struggles, and anything else about your personal life. Choosing not to share certain things doesn’t make you any less authentic as long as you don’t make up an opposite truth.
Build a Website for Your Brand
If you want to build a personal brand, you need a website. That’s your own personal platform from which you can share your digital products, blog posts, webinars, and any other content you think would interest your audience.
Fortunately, we can create a blog for you very cheaply. It’s as easy as giving your blog a name, reserving it, creating a first post, and deciding what types of blog posts you want to share in the future.
Your blog is something you own. You don’t own your social media profiles; Facebook or Twitter could disappear in an instant and take with it all of the content you have shared. While that’s not a likely scenario, you still want your own property for online branding purposes.
You’ll probably want to share knowledge-based content on your blog. Demonstrate your expertise and your ability to educate your audience so that the people who find your blog will be interested in you’re the services you offer.
Your website can also include sales pages, landing pages, a membership section, and anything else you want to publish. Make sure that anyone can contact you from any page of your website. Include an email address, contact link, or even a phone number.
Provide Value at Every Opportunity
Information is a form of currency. It’s extremely valuable to the people who follow your personal brand because they are interested in learning what you already know.
For this reason, avoid sharing content that doesn’t provide any value for the reader. Since you are selling online products, you don’t want to use your website or blog as a personal diary.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t share personal information. You can. However, you want to frame those anecdotes in a way that helps your audience. For instance, you might share a cautionary tale that could help your audience avoid making mistakes that you made in the past.
Providing value can extend beyond blog posts, videos, social media posts, and other common marketing channels. For instance, you might want to participate in the comments section of your blog. Respond to people who leave comments, ask questions, or suggest future content.
Never Share Without a Purpose
Building off the last tip, make sure that you have a purpose when you share content with your audience. In other words, you should have a very good reason for posting a blog post, sharing something on social media, or otherwise interacting with your audience.
Why is this important?
Because if you disappoint your audience wants, those people might never come back to your personal brand. There will think that you have nothing of significance to offer and will therefore seek out competitors.
That’s the last thing you want to happen.
Branding relies on individuals who can effectively share what they know with their audiences. If you post something online that has no purpose or meaning, you’ll shed an unfavorable light on your business.
Build Relationships With Other Well-Known Brands
Another great way to build your personal brand is to interact with other well-known brands in your industry. Find influencers, popular Knowledge Commerce experts, and entrepreneurs in related industries.
Interact with them online whenever you get the opportunity. Comment on your social media posts, leave feedback on their blog posts, and get to know them.
Believe it or not, your competition is not always the enemy. In fact, many brands and found success in partnering with their competition on specific marketing campaigns.
The important thing is to make sure that your personal brand remains unique and visible. You don’t want to disappear behind a more well-known figure.
The great thing about personal branding is that it doesn’t have to last forever. If you make mistakes while building your brand, you can reinvent yourself and present a new persona to your online audience.
This is not something to be taken lightly. If you’re going to radically change your personal brand, you need an excellent reason and you need to share that reason with your audience.
Maybe you made an embarrassing faux pas or perhaps you decided to take your business in a new direction. That’s completely fine. Just make sure that you share your reinvention with your audience and remain transparent about your goals, values, and beliefs.
What Are the Benefits of Personal Branding?
Personal branding comes with many benefits. When you take control over the narrative that surrounds your online persona, you can make important decisions about what you share and how people see you.
Think about your business’s brand. It should connect with their personal brand at many points, but your personal brand is more about your personality, your hopes, your dreams, and her motivations.
Essentially, you’re putting a face behind your business. That’s always a good thing.
You might have noticed that many major brands use celebrity spokespeople to help spread their brands’ messages. You might not be a celebrity, but you are a unique human being who has interesting stories to share and powerful knowledge to pass on to others.
Don’t forget that.
With that said, let’s look at some of the most important benefit building your personal brand.
- You’re More Visible Online
When you engage in personal branding, you automatically become more accessible and more visible to your online audience. People can find you with a simple Google search or interact with you on your various marketing channels.
It’s difficult to overstate the importance of visibility when it comes to the Knowledge Commerce market. You want people to know why you are qualified to teach online courses and create other digital products for your target market.
Becoming more visible can be scary for many entrepreneurs. They feel exposed and worry about making a mistake that could hurt their businesses’ reputations.
Just take it slow. Figure out what you want to share with your online audience and remember to respect your own boundaries as well as those of your loved ones.
- You Can Leverage Your Network
As you grow your online brand, you’ll develop an ever-growing network of people in your industry, potential customers, and existing customers. This network can become a huge asset when it comes to growing your business.
You might have heard that “who you know” is important if you want to succeed in business. While this isn’t entirely true, having a network of people at your disposal can become extremely valuable when you want to launch a new product or take your business in a new direction.
Furthermore, the more people are aware of your personal brand as well as your business, the more visible you’ll become in terms of your potential audience. People in your network will share your content with their own audiences, which means that you will reach people you couldn’t have targeted otherwise.
- You’ll Become More Identifiable in Person
Personal branding doesn’t just have to help increase your visibility online. You’ll also become more recognizable in person.
Many of our Macky Technologies clients signed up for website packages to promote their businesses and to secure new clients. If you think that you might want to do the same, making yourself more recognizable for personal branding can turn in-person events into excellent conversion machines.
You might attend local or regional trade shows, conferences, and conventions. Maybe you have written a book and you want to host a book signing.
Whatever the case, getting noticed in person can help you build your brand even further and make your business more profitable.
- Your Business Will Become Stronger
Your personal brand can benefit your business brand and vice versa. While they are two distinct entities, they will intersect naturally because you are in charge of your business.
Essentially, you get two shots at branding. You can use what you’ve learned from business branding to inform your personal brand and to avoid making mistakes.
- You Can Leverage Your Brand to Build Partnerships
Partnerships are an excellent way for Knowledge Commerce professionals to join forces and to improve both of their brands. When you create a product with another professional, you each get access to each other’s audiences.
Plus, you cut the work in half, which allows you to put out more digital products for public consumption. The more products you create the more profit you can generate.
Use your personal brand to get to know other people in your industry and to connect with business owners whose audiences intersect with your own. That’s one of the best ways to build profitable partnerships.
- Your Online Relationships Will Flourish
It can be difficult to maintain online relationships with peers and customers, but when you have a strong personal brand, you can expect those people to continue to come back to your website and other marketing channels on a regular basis.
Since you are more approachable and visible online, it’s easier to get in touch with you. You might not even have to reach out to other people to form partnerships, get new leads, and otherwise grow your business. Other people will come to you.
- You Never Know What Might Happen
Serendipity can be a funny thing. You’ll grow your online personal brand with no real idea of what might come up. Some people thrive as Knowledge Commerce professionals, while others tend to fade away.
If you give yourself over to the process of personal branding, you might be surprised by the opportunities that come your way. You’ll have put in the work toward making yourself more visible in your online relationship stronger, so you can enjoy the fruits of that labor once opportunities present themselves.
- You’ll build Confidence
Personal branding can be scary, as we mentioned above. You might feel vulnerable when you put yourself out there online and make yourself more visible to your target audience.
It’s a good form of anxiety, though. It means that you’re trying something new and taking a risk.
As you get more comfortable with personal branding, you might find that your confidence rises. You won’t feel as anxious about sharing personal details with your audience, getting in front of the camera, and other aspects of online personal branding.
Plus, that confidence can stretch and other areas of your business.
- You Control Your Brand Image
We’ve mentioned several times that control is essential when it comes to branding. If you don’t take control over your personal brand, people will form their own opinions and your brand will grow without your input.
Don’t let that happen.
Instead, become purposeful about everything you share with your audience. Control the information that you released to the public so that you retain control over the narrative.
Even if you make a mistake, you’re still in the driver’s seat. You can figure out a way to navigate the future while still retaining control over your brand.
- Your Credibility Will Grow
Credibility is extremely important for Knowledge Commerce professionals. The more credibility you have, the more likely people will be to invest in your digital products.
How do you build credibility?
You share valuable, information-rich content with your audience. You use your personal brand to educate people who are interested in what you know and what you do.
It sounds easy, but it can get tough when you don’t have a personal branding strategy. Once you know exactly what you want to share with your audience, you’ll find it easier to connect with people and to share your knowledge with the rest of the world.
- Goals Become More Achievable
It’s true that building a personal brand takes a lot of work. However, the fruits of your labor can far outweigh the amount of time and energy you’ve expended on your personal brand.
When people know who you are and trust your judgment, your goals become far more achievable. You can sell more products, attract more visitors to your website, gain more participants in your webinars, and convince more people to join your membership site.
Customer retention also becomes easier because you have a personal relationship with your customers. Those people will continue to buy your digital products because they believe in what you stand for and trust that you will deliver consistently valuable content each time you release something new.
Here are some examples of famous people who have built incredible personal brands through hard work, consistency and a long-term focus:
Oprah Winfrey: Oprah is undoubtedly the queen of personal branding. She is continually building equity in her brand which has an estimated net worth of $2.5 billion. Oprah has always stuck to her core competency: challenging millions of viewers to live the best lives possible by understanding their potential. By being true to herself, she has inspired millions to be their best selves.
Richard Branson: Richard Branson is undeniably one of the most visible, successful, and well-known men alive. He has continually stayed true to his core values, including adventure and risk-taking. By being himself, he has often done exactly what other business leaders cautioned against, including crazy publicity stunts like dressing as a flight attendant for a competing airline. His unorthodox style and commitment to his passions have helped him create a powerful personal brand. Branson says, “Too many companies want their brands to reflect some idealized, perfected image of themselves. As a consequence, their brands acquire no texture, no character and no public trust.”
Marie Forleo: Marie Forleo is an inspiring teacher, writer, entrepreneur and philanthropist. She has mastered the ability to share impactful content in a humorous and engaging way. With a following in over 195 countries, Marie challenges her fans to change the way they live in order to change the world. Her website reflects that of a personal branding expert, highlighting her authenticity and passion for helping others.
Gary Vaynerchuk: Also known as Gary Vee, Vaynerchuk got his start by hosting a video blog on YouTube called Wine Library TV. In March 2009, he signed a 10-book deal with HarperStudio, reportedly for over $1 million and released his first book, Crush It! Why Now is the Time to Cash in on your Passion, in October 2009. Now, he’s one of the most successful marketers in the world and has attracted a huge loyal following. Vaynerchuk says,” Your personal brand is your reputation. And your reputation in perpetuity is the foundation of your career.”
Whether you’re looking for a better job or more sales for your company, personal branding is more important than ever. You don’t need to be Oprah or Richard Branson to have a great personal brand. It’s just a matter of continually crafting and curating your digital presence and most importantly, keep it real! Your honesty, transparency and authenticity are what will differentiate you in the long-run. You never get a second chance to make a first impression—make it one that will set you apart, build trust and reflect who you are