If you keep up on any websites or blogs that offer marketing and branding business advice, chances are you’ve probably seen the term “personal branding” mentioned in a handful of articles this year.
Thanks to the huge amount of information available on the Internet today, consumers are spending more and more time doing their research on companies, brands, and products before making any purchasing decisions. Many also spend time doing research on the individuals associated with the companies they’re considering buying products and services from.
For this reason, many CEOs, managers, salespeople, and other professionals within organizations have started developing their own personal brands online. In the post below, we’ll explain what a personal brand is, why you need to spend time managing your own, and how to get started.
What Is a Personal Brand?
So what is a personal brand anyway?
According to marketing and branding expert Dan Schawbel, personal branding is, “the process by which individuals and entrepreneurs differentiate themselves and stand out from a crowd by identifying and articulating their unique value proposition, whether professional or personal, and then leveraging it across platforms with a consistent message and image to achieve a specific goal. In this way, individuals can enhance their recognition as experts in their field, establish reputation and credibility, advance their careers, and build self-confidence.”
Do I Have a Personal Brand?
Although you might not realize it (or want to admit it), you already have a personal brand. Thanks to search engine sites like Google, we’ve all become accustomed to opening up our laptops or taking out our smartphones whenever we want to know more information about the people we meet. Most of us have Googled ourselves at least once before (and some of us do this quite often). We want to know what information is out there about us. If you have ever taken the time to Google yourself or someone else, you support the idea that we all have personal brands. We all use the Internet as a tool to find out more about the people we interact (or plan to interact) with.
Now that you understand the fact that you have a personal brand, the question you need to ask yourself is this: are you managing the information that people are finding about you online? Or are you completely unaware of what kind of first impression you’re making when your prospects go to search for you online? If you haven’t taken the time to develop strategies for monitoring, maintaining, and strengthening your personal brand, now is the time to get started.
What Are the Benefits of Setting up a Personal Brand Website?
One of the best strategies you can use to build up your personal brand is to purchase a domain name and launch a website for yourself. If you haven’t already, we recommend that you find out if YourName.com is available to purchase. If it is, buy it and use it as the primary domain for your personal brand website. There are many benefits associated with setting up your own personal branding website. Here are just a few:
- Your personal brand website will eventually start showing up in search results when people enter your name into sites like Google and Bing. It’s likely the first link people will click on once it starts showing up on the first page of results to searches for your name.
- Unlike sites like Facebook and Twitter, your personal brand website gives you complete control over how (and what) information is presented about you.
- Your personal brand website allows you to become a better manager of your online reputation. It’s your opportunity to set any stories straight.
- Your personal brand website will help make it easier for you to leverage yourself as an expert in your industry (through original blog posts, videos, and other types of content).
Best of all, your personal brand website helps you make a better first impression. It can help illustrate your professionalism, your knowledge, and your ability to help your customers find solutions and answers to their problems.
How Can I Get Started?
As mentioned above, the first step is to find and purchase YourName.com (or some variation of it depending on what is available). Next, you should spend time formulating a plan for what you want to include on your personal brand website. We recommend at least the following:
- A blog
- An About section with a photo and/or video of you
- Links to your company website, products, and social links
- Customer testimonials
- Information about your hobbies and interests outside of work
- Helpful resources related to your industry
What Else Do I Need To Know?
Your personal brand website is not your resume. It’s your opportunity to help people understand who you are, why you do what you do, and how you can help them. Your personal brand website should also never be static (as in, you set it up and never look at it or think about it ever again). Instead, it should constantly be updated with new information that your current and prospective customers (and Google) will find interesting.