10 Strategic Ways To Building a Personal Brand (and Marketing Yourself)

Building and promoting your own personal brand is as important for you as it is for any company. And in my opinion — maybe more.

We all know the power of brands. Who anywhere in the world isn’t familiar with McDonald’s Golden Arches, McDowells Golden Arcs (lol), with Pepsi’s Steal Blue Cans, even Fyre Festival #toosoon (but lets stay away from that situation).

But here’s a secret–believe is or not building, nurturing, and promoting your own personal brand is more important and satisfying, In fact, since it’s you we’re talking about, it might be even the most fun.

In her book Personal Branding and Marketing Yourself, executive coach, trainer, and consultant Rita B. Allen explains that there are 10 habits you should adopt to market yourself while building a more powerful personal brand.

1. Identify specific target markets

When you’re building your brand, it’s better to first focus on a specific niche’. The more controlled your reach is the better your campaign will be. You’ll get the greatest payoff for your time and money by identifying the segments of your market where you are likely to achieve the greatest rewards, and then pursuing them relentlessly. I know you are thinking well theres a billion people in the world and I want to touch all of them. Well unless you have a billion dollar budget that isn’t going to happen. The Marketing priorities of large corporations are different than a small business owner. Small business owners should base their marketing strategies off their consumer. To be a successful small business marketer you need laser like focus on a narrow target market.

For example, a beauty category is a very large category. But you narrow that down to “a beauty salon” that too is a wide category because beauty salons offer tanning, waxing, facials, massages, cellulite treatment, and so much more. But lets say you focused you energy just on cellulite treatment. Then went even smaller and did cellulite treatment for women who just had a baby. Now you have a focused target market and you can focus on the tens of thousands of women who have just had babies looking for this treatment. So much better than throwing shit on a wall and seeing what sticks. (pardon my french. But its true)

2. Know your marketplace

AlwaysYour brand is only as good as you are. Stay up to date with your industry–the latest news, practices, companies, and other information. The moment you begin to fall behind is the moment your brand will begin to tarnish. Always be creative and stay ahead of the curve. Watch your competition but don’t overly analyze their moves.

3. Be visible and “in play”

Building a brand means getting out of your office and becoming very visible to your target audience and potential customers and clients. Attend networking events and become active in your profession and community. The more visible you are, the stronger your brand. Do not hide behind facebook and instagram or twitter. get out their and rub some elbows old school style!

4. Become a source of relevant information

You should be someone people contact when they want expert advice or information on a particular topic. When you build a following as a content expert, you put yourself in position to be viewed as a trusted authority, which will attract people to you.

5. Always give something back to your profession and community

When you give back to others, not only will you gain the personal satisfaction that comes from doing it, but you’ll build your brand in ways that money can’t buy. People will remember the good deeds you have done, and your personal brand will benefit as a result. I personally try to get out and give back to the community. Just recently I visited a local non profit called Man Up St. Louis. They create a platform that allows MEN to speak to the things that we haven’t quite created a safe space for men to come talk about.

6. Practice networking etiquette

Networking is all about marketing yourself, but it’s also about giving others the opportunity to market themselves to you. Make sure that your networking efforts are beneficial to both you and to the people with whom you are networking. It’s a two-way street. But also be protective of your personal brand and who you network with. Keep your energy safe. All you have is your brand and your word.

7. Maintain your shelf life and develop an effective social media presence

In the publishing world of which I am a part, you’re only as good as your latest book. Don’t rest of your laurels, as impressive as they may be. Continue to do great work and achieve great things. And in these days of social media, don’t ignore your LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other accounts. Your social media should tell your story. It should be cohesive with what you and your brand represent. Followers or the lack of doesn’t not mean your brand is under achieving. I know several situations where people have bought followers. That not cute and bigger brands with budgets recognize those “cheats”. Become an influencer by just that… influencing.

8. Create a networking database

Keep an up-to-date computer listing or database of all your networking contacts and social media connections.

9. Have a clear, brief message to deliver

The founder of every startup has a well-honed elevator pitch–ready to break out at a moment’s notice when the opportunity presents itself. You should have a similar pitch ready for your own personal brand. What is your value proposition? Why should someone work with you?

10. Don’t ever stop!

Building and marketing a personal brand is all about generating momentum–and then sustaining it over a long period of time. Once you get the ball rolling, then keep it rolling. It’s a lot easier to keep the momentum going than it is to start all over again from scratch. Life is going to bring you some Ls. But don’t look at those Ls as Losses — but as Lerning experiences. In business we all have set backs… but those who learn from this process success when others don’t. Get up. Dust your shoulders off. And go again.

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Keith Griffin II