6 Steps to Building a Personal Branding Strategy
Whether you’re a designer, a photographer, or a web developer, it’s important to differentiate yourself from your colleagues as much as possible. Personal branding is all about being unique and loud enough so that potential clients and supporters can spot your work online.
According to Small Biz Genius, it takes 5-7 impressions for people to remember a brand, with consistent branding to raise revenue up to 23%. Whether you specialize in illustration, content writing, or digital marketing, the competition will always loom on the horizon and work hard to outsmart you. Let’s take a look at how you can build your brand efficiently, as well as the benefits of doing so sooner rather than later.
Why Personal Branding Matters for 2021
What’s the value of building a personal branding strategy with 2021 at our doors? Personal branding allows you to build credibility and add a human touch to your body of work. Even though your professional portfolio may be full of genuine works of art, the client will want to know who “you” are behind the image.
Creating as much online presence, such as through portfolio websites, online writing accounts, and platforms like LinkedIn, will inevitably lead to higher exposure. Subsequently, personal branding can add that sense of humanity, believability, and appeal to your work more than SEO or PPC ever could. Some of the most crucial reasons to invest in personal branding today include:
- Authenticity and humanization of your work
- Better professional stability and client awareness
- Higher value of anything you work on in the clients’ eyes
- More comprehensive networking and word of mouth opportunities
- Clients and professionals will reach out to you first
- Ability to control your prices based on your reputation
Building a Personal Branding Strategy in 2021
- Reflect on your Personality & Skillset
The first step in building a personal branding strategy is to reflect on who you are as a person and professional. Your character traits, work style, and professional conduit will determine what kinds of clients you attract with your brand. Some of the questions you should ask yourself are:
- What are you good at, and what are you bad at in your industry?
- What are your long-term professional development plans and motivations?
- What are your character traits, quirks, likes, and dislikes?
- Do you have an existing body of work or portfolio to use for marketing purposes?
- Ultimately, what do you enjoy and not enjoy doing when it comes to your profession?
Answering these questions will put you on the right track to building a personal brand that will reflect who you are accurately and without embellishment. Be honest with yourself. Your branding will be stronger for it.
- Research your Target Industry
Make sure that you explore what your peers are doing regarding personal branding before you build your brand. Small businesses and solo entrepreneurs will approach personal branding differently than freelancers or artists – see what you are up against. You can use successful professionals in your industry as inspiration for your branding and aim to offer things they don’t; this will help you carve out a niche for yourself rather than fighting for clients with already established professionals.
- Develop your Brand
In terms of actual branding, you should consider using your given name as a brand to build trust and awareness early on. For example, “Michael Riley Photography & Design” sounds much better than a witty acronym or wordplay, typically reserved for businesses. Likewise, your style guide should be set in stone early on so that you can design your card, logo, and website in a uniform and recognizable fashion. Don’t copy what successful professionals have already done – be unique, be genuine, and create a personal brand that resonates with you.
- Establish an Online Presence
Once you settle for the style of personal brand, you will push forward; you should establish a presence on as many online platforms as possible. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can help you reach a sizable audience quickly. Professional platforms such as LinkedIn, Behance, and GitHub can help you network with like-minded professionals and get spotted by clients in need of creative professionals. Use the same naming convention, keywords, and visuals on each platform to establish a consistent brand presence more effectively.
- Network through Events & Platforms
You can improve your branding significantly by networking with established professionals and known brands in your industry. Seminars, conferences, competitions, and other forms of public events should always be on your radar as an exciting side activity worth exploring. Take time to shake proverbial hands with your peers and individuals whose work you admire. You never know where the next gig might come from, and having connections can always improve your odds of being spotted in a crowded market.
- Blog about your Career
A great way to engage clients, peers, and anyone curious about your work is through blogging. Create a personal website with your portfolio and use it to also write about your creative process. You can use your blog for anything from opinion pieces and essays to how-to guides and exploration of popular artworks or global brands; this will boost your site’s SEO and help personalize your brand even further. Make sure to engage with anyone who leaves a comment or reaches out to you via private message – building trust takes more than good just branding.
Long-Term Personal Branding
Building a personal branding strategy is a long game – you will have to spend months on careful planning, audience engagement, and professional projects to succeed. Don’t neglect the power of giving in order to receive – create tutorials, share free resources, and open up about your creative process. Personal branding is a complex topic which you should tackle in your own individual manner. Use the steps mentioned above to get started and put a personal touch on your branding strategy to establish your presence in the industry.