Personal branding tips to grow your business
18th, Oct 2017
By Edie Reinhardt and Marla Seiden.
Do you have a personal brand? Many people don’t know what a personal brand is and can’t identify their own brand. As a result, they can’t maximize their brand to improve their career and business prospects. Your brand describes what you’re known for and what people expect from you.
It is not your logo or tagline, although those can help you promote your brand. Instead your personal brand encompasses your reputation, including many personal and professional attributes. In a recent program at the Suffolk County Bar Association, we shared our tips to help attorneys develop a strong brand and market it effectively to build their practice. However, no matter what type of professional you are, you can take advantage of these key points:
1. Focus on your differentiators. Your personal brand should give you a distinctive and positive identity that attracts people and helps you stand out from the competition. In developing a brand, think about why someone should hire you over your competitors and what unique value or benefits your audience can expect from working with you. Many professionals have a hard time identifying what makes them different. Instead, they rely on the standard answers, like they are different because they really care about their clients or have a proven track record. But those are the same things that everyone says and by itself does nothing to differentiate them. You need to dig deeper and examine your background, experience, interests, etc. to identify how you stand apart and bring real value to your clients. For example, one of the best ways to differentiate and add value to your audience is to have a niche practice. A niche gives you the opportunity to develop expertise and become a go-to resource and that attracts people to you.
2. Write regularly on topics of interest to your audience. Writing is a great tool for demonstrating your expertise and building your credibility. It also helps promote you as a trusted resource when you frequently share helpful information. Your writing doesn’t just include articles for third party publications. For example, blogging is a very useful and flexible format for sharing content. A blog post can consist of anything from a simple checklist or chart, to an in-depth piece that’s akin to something a publication would publish. Other forms of writing include newsletters, white papers, eBooks or printed books. If you’re doing public speaking, your handouts, notes, outlines, PowerPoints and other materials are also written content that can be shared with your audience. Whatever form your writing takes, just make sure that it provides useful information to your audience and highlights your personal brand.
3. Leverage public speaking. When you speak before a group of prospective clients or referral sources, they have an opportunity to see you and recognize your expertise and how you can help them. Having a strategic plan in place is critical to your speaking success. First, you must know and understand your target market. Determine their existing knowledge about your topic and what new information you can offer them based on their needs and interests. Then research the types of organizations where you can speak and prepare to pitch yourself and your topic. Organizations may include: business and legal organizations, chambers of commerce, civic groups, conferences, etc. Once you get an engagement, focus on sharpening your speaking skills and creating and delivering a great presentation. If you want to maximize the engagement even further, consider getting the word out through publicity (media coverage) before and after the event.
4. Take advantage of digital marketing. Social media and email are great tools for sharing and marketing your brand. All of your professional activities (especially writing and speaking) should be promoted using social media and email. It will help you stay top of mind with your existing contacts. It also gives you an inexpensive way to reach new audiences. Remember too that your activities will typically show up online in some way. Consumers or other professionals searching for help with a problem are more likely to find you if you are writing and speaking about substantive issues relevant to the people you want to attract. Just as importantly, if someone gets your name from a referral, they are likely to check you out online. When someone Googles your name, having lots of positive information about you online will help reinforce your credibility with them.
Thanks to my co-presenter, Marla Seiden, Seiden Communications. For more tips, see also Power Up Your Personal Branding With Public Speaking authored by Marla Seiden.
If you need help with your personal branding, contact us.