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August 06, 2021

Grow your reputation through personal branding

Whether you own a business or are working to establish yourself in your career, it’s essential to create a memorable and recognizable image to stay top of mind with clients and colleagues in your industry. A personal brand allows you to convey your personality, your expertise, and build your reputation in your local market and throughout your profession.

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Branding is a hot topic for businesses large and small, allowing them to create instant recognition for their products and services. For ambitious entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business or professionals who are already well established in their fields, personal branding creates an image that can result in more clients, more promotions, and more career growth. Here are five steps to help you define, refine, and promote a personal brand.

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1. Start with the basics

There are a few basic elements that companies use to make their brands instantly recognizable. Logos, colors, fonts—all of these make it easy to identify well-branded companies, even when scrolling through a social media feed at top speed. You can do the same thing for your personal brand and public persona.

Create a signature style with fashion elements like scarves, brooches, or a fabulous shoe collection. Invest in quality stationery with a distinctive logo or monogram, or make your own using free letter templates and brochure templates. Choose a favorite color to use in accessories and wear in headshots. Over time, these elements will start to be associated with your brand, both in-person and online.

2. Create your platforms

You’ll need content platforms to develop and engage with your audience. A website provides a place to post content, host your portfolio, or communicate your expertise to potential clients. Update it often with new accomplishments, awards, and achievements, along with testimonials and recommendations from satisfied clients.

Next, you’ll need public-facing social media platforms to connect and communicate with your fans and followers. Keep in mind that you’ll want to maintain the branding elements you’ve created on your professional digital platforms. Ensure that the photos, content, and commentaries you share stay professional and authentic to the brand you’re building.

3. Create content

Whether you start a blog to add to the professional conversation in your field, a YouTube channel with engaging videos, or a podcast to highlight intriguing guests and colleagues, content will be vital to increasing your brand’s impact online and in social media. Content helps you build your reputation, drives search engine optimization (SEO), and attract clients.

If you are not an experienced content creator, work with a content marketing coach or outsource some of your writing to a more experienced creator. Participate as a guest on other podcasts to get a feel for the format. Over time, you’ll develop your style and voice and find the platform that’s right for you.

4. Distribute your content

As you develop content, use social media, newsletters, and other channels to distribute your content. Let your potential clients, referral sources, and colleagues hear directly from you to maximize your professional impact. Create a social media content calendar to track your content sharing across platforms.

Don’t just share a link to your content, either. Create custom graphics, infographics, videos, and other visually exciting elements to make your content more enticing, more clickable, and more shareable. You’ll find user-friendly social graphic templates online and on mobile apps that make the design work fast, easy, and useful.

5. Expand your influence

Reach out to influencers in your space and explore opportunities for collaboration, guest content creation, and virtual conversations. Look into professional publications in your field and find out if they are accepting content from guest contributors. You’ll be able to show your expertise in front of a larger audience and build greater online credibility.

If you are a member of a professional organization, explore leadership and training roles that allow you to build your reputation in the industry and connect with a broader professional network. Attend conferences and get to know the organizers; you may find that they’ll invite you to be part of their next panel or to participate as a guest on their podcast.

Bring it all together

Creating a personal brand is an essential element of professional development. Don’t just follow the influencers in your industry—become one and increase your reach in your local market and industry-wide.

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