As a precursor to this blog, I want to mention that this isn't your average read. The information in this post is very in-depth and specific. It is valuable and has had a major effect on my life. If you are serious about building your personal brand (which I believe you should be), then I would suggest that you take time to analyze my thoughts and look at the examples I've provided. I don't write these blogs for recreation, but to provide real value to your life. Good luck.
Do you have any idea how much you can actually accomplish with that phone in your pocket?
Facebook, Nike, Google, Apple, Ralph Lauren, Coca-Cola and Microsoft. These brands dominate the commercial space on our televisions, the products in our homes and are worth billions and billions of dollars. For decades, some of the smartest minds have worked to develop the convincing brand stories that make these companies known to the world. Take a moment and ask yourself, "what is the word that comes to mind when I hear one of the brands?" Whatever word you think of, I can assure you that it isn't due to your own intellect, but rather that it's a testament to good branding.
These past few years, I have come to understand that building my personal brand is just as important as building the brand of the company or organization which I work for. To me, this is a necessity that is often overlooked. Let's look at the list above for reference; Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Bowerman, Larry Page, Steve Jobs, Ralph Lauren, John Pemberton and Bill Gates are the founders of the brands mentioned. It is the personal brands of each of these individuals that helped to make their companies as successful as they are. Not only that, but it's likely the personal brands of each of these individuals that gave them many of the opportunities they had in their lives.
When people think of your own name, what do you think comes to mind? What brand story are you telling about yourself? Particularly today, when the internet provides so many helpful tools to share our stories with the world, there is really no limit on what your personal brand can do for you.
So, here are my five essential steps to building your personal brand. Like I mentioned above, these steps have done many things for my own life and also for many others I know.
- Quality over quantity. I cannot emphasize this point enough and it may be one of the best take aways from this entire blog. When you start building your personal brand, there will be the temptation to sacrifice your authenticity in order to get a larger following. For example, buying fake views on Youtube or something related. DO NOT DO THIS. I have learned first hand that building quality and personal connections is much more important than building a large following. I know that some of the examples that I linked to above have very large followings or are famous, but you need to remember that they have been doing this for many years. Even if you only had a few hundred subscribers on your Youtube channel, but if they were people who really loved your content and watched and viewed your videos every time you posted, I guarantee that they would be more beneficial for you then gaining even thousands of low quality subscribers (this goes for any other platform as well). Don't ever sacrifice what you are doing in order to expedite the process. Be willing to put in the time and I promise you that a following will come.
- Monetize your efforts. This is the last point that I will make and I feel that it's a very important one. After putting in hundreds of hours to develop your platform and build a quality following, there will be a time when it will be important to find a way to monetize your efforts (meaning make money from what you're doing). Also, I would argue that this is something that needs to be done earlier than later in order to give you the motivation to keep moving forward. This can happen in a variety of ways: (1) you start advertising on your platform, (2) you become an affiliate or brand ambassador of one of your favorite brands, (3) you write an e-book that you sell for $5 to your following, (4) you direct your following to your other business that you run during the day, (5) you use your personal brand to get you a job that pays better than your current job, (6) you create a product to sell to those that follow you, (7) you offer a consulting webinar to those who follow your content, ect. and ect. Keep in mind that monetizing is a sensitive thing and needs to be approached with caution. Don't ever sacrifice the brand that you have worked so hard to build just to make an extra dollar. If you do it correctly, I'm sure that there will be a way to make money that doesn't require you to sacrifice anything that you have worked for. And believe me, there isn't a sweeter feeling then when you begin to see that your time and efforts are starting to benefit you financially.
Honestly, I could write on this subject for days, but I feel that the content in this blog holds some of the essential basics. Remember that I'm not saying that you have to build a huge following on any platform in order to have a personal brand, but I am saying that you need to work to become an expert in a specific field and represent yourself as that expert in some way to the public. The platforms above are in my opinion just some of the best ways to do so.
In your lifetime you will likely have jobs come and go, but your personal brand will always be with you. I cannot emphasize the importance of starting to build that today. Who you are as perceived by the public means everything.
There's a simple quote by Steve Martin that I really appreciate. It says, "Be so good that they can't ignore you." I couldn't agree more.
Thank you. Please leave any of your thoughts or questions below in the comments or feel free to email me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, if you found this blog helpful, please share it with your friends.