Personal branding online: A guide for digital entrepreneurs

Personal branding online: A guide for digital entrepreneurs

Have you ever wondered how some people literally grow out of almost nowhere in a short amount of time, you wonder if they are in the same country that other people are complaining about. They built their personal brand online so quickly, you're almost dizzy.

In the same industry that you know like the back of your hand, you see them growing their audience, putting their work out and getting paid.

Meanwhile, you too you are talented and brilliant.

You too you are valuable.

What then is the difference?

It’s not because they have rich parents. It’s not because they schooled abroad. And no, it’s not just because they know people. It is because they’ve built a personal brand that allows them to attract all those opportunities.

Now I know that sounds so simplistic.

You’re probably convinced there are some levers they pull behind the scenes - something they have that you don’t have.

While that may be true, everybody has something you don’t have. You also have something they don’t have. So if all of us are lacking in some way, how can one person’s lack be a disadvantage to him?

I’ve worked with many business VIPs one-on-one and I can tell you for free that most of the opportunities you see these people get is a result of positioning their personal brand.

So, how can you do the same? Good Question!

There are three major phases that are critical to maximizing your personal brand online: Clarify your positioning, Package your skills, and Promote your work. 

There would likely be overlap among these phases, depending on your goals, and the current stage of your personal branding journey. Here's what to do at each step.

So, here you go: The 3 steps to build your personal brand online

PHASE 1: POSITION YOUR PERSONAL BRAND

This is the phase where you decide what your personal brand will be about and how you want to be known. Your brand positioning defines the value you bring to any situation or conversation.

BIG QUESTION to answer: How do I want to be known, described and remembered?

When you do this right, people understand why they should work with you. Your goal with personal brand positioning is to articulate your brand message and for that, you need CLARITY.

Clarity is powerful. When people don't have clarity, they ramble when they’re asked to introduce themselves. That shouldn’t be you anymore 🙂

Seek clarity about your positioning by answering questions like:

  • Who are you? If you didn't do anything else, what value do you bring just by being present. When you arrive, who has arrived? A good place to start is to take note of your passions, values, expertise, experience, personality traits, and mission - why you do what you do.
  • What do you do? Go deep. Write the solution you offer, not the title you bear. Yes, you’re a “Finance expert”. What work does that translate to and for who? When building a personal brand online, keep in mind that confused people don't buy. Be specific
  • Who do you do it for? Your work and message is not for everyone. So, who are you here for?
  • How do you do it differently? There are others who do what you do. What is your own unique process or method? 
  • What does transformation look like? Paint a picture of the results of working with you. Beyond what you will do for them, who will they become? How will their lives change?
    How will their work improve? This is the answer to why they should choose you instead of others who do what you do - not your fancy logo. 

By the way, did you know about ....

position-for-profit

POSITION FOR PROFIT

Join my 60-day program to Clarify your brand message, Establish your expertise, Create your irresistible offer and Attract premium clients - without sacrificing your sanity or losing yourself.

PHASE 2: PACKAGE YOUR SKILLS

How people feel about you and your work determines the value they place on it - which in turn determines how much they’re willing to pay for it. Packaging is how you influence what people feel about your work.

This is the difference between a no-name cup of coffee, and Starbucks coffee. 

  1. Packaging gives a perception of quality by looking appealing. No matter how brilliant a person is, you will struggle to listen to them if they show up with unkempt hair and tattered appearance.
  2. Packaging promotes brand recognition. If you show up the same way every time, people begin to notice and instantly attribute certain colors, style or tone of voice with you. You become more identifiable and easily remembered when an opportunity arises.
  3. Packaging makes people take you seriously, because you instantly stand out from others who do not bother to improve how they appear or stay consistent with their brand.

BIG QUESTION to answer: What do I want people to feel when they hear my name, see my face, my work or my products?

Many people think packaging is about vanity, but it’s not. It’s about investing in yourself in a way that communicates that you’re valuable, desirable, and credible.

Your goal with personal brand packaging is to appeal to the right clients and for that, you need CONSISTENCY. This includes consistency in how you:

  • Create products that align with your brand vision and values
  • Curate your visual identity
  • Craft your messaging
  • Choose relevant relationships 
  • Customize your customer's touch points.

It’s no longer enough to be excellent at what you do. It's not enough to have a brilliant product or a creative brain. It's not even enough to be a good person inside

If you can't clearly communicate your value, and show up in a way that convinces others to say YES, you're shooting yourself in the foot.

By the way, did you know about ....

position-for-profit

POSITION FOR PROFIT

Join my 60-day program to Clarify your brand message, Establish your expertise, Create your irresistible offer and Attract premium clients - without sacrificing your sanity or losing yourself.

PHASE 3: PROMOTE YOUR WORK

This is the phase where you share your work with the world and try to get more eyeballs on your work. Brand awareness is crucial in a world where customers are bombarded with information - especially online.

This is not the time to say "my work will speak for itself." It can't, it needs a voice, and what better voice is there than yours?

Positioning and packaging without promotion will only make you the best kept secret - which is not good for business. People need to see you in order to be aware of your value, to consider it and eventually buy from you.

To promote yourself, you must build your online presence and become visible within and outside your industry. If you don’t show your work and share your views online, you minimize your chances of coming to mind if and when relevant career opportunities arise.

Your goal with personal brand promotion is to activate your brand by putting yourself out there - and for that, you need CONTENT.

BIG QUESTION to answer: How will I help more people know about the good work I do? 

Social Media, Public Speaking, Blogging, Press & Media Features are all powerful methods of promotion and they can work for you if you do it right.

Promotion is very sweet because you get a lot of attention in this phase, but this is where things could go very wrong.

Rushing to do promotion without clear positioning and consistent packaging is like pouring water into a basket.

Even though people are seeing you everywhere:

  • They don't know what exactly you do, or what to come to you for.
  • Those who even know what you do, don't trust your expertise enough to pay.

This is how people end up with popularity without profit, visibility without a voice, and attention without conversions.

For promotion to go right, you need a plan for CONVERSION. Be proactive about not just getting eyeballs on your work, but also about how you'll keep the attention you've gotten.

It's worth thinking about the following:

  • What type of content will I create, where will I create it, and how do I make sure that my content converts?
  • What would you like people do next after they see you online, and how will you make it happen?
  • Where should they go after engaging with your content, and how will you let them know?
  • How do you make sure they become subscribers and clients?
  • How would you know that your promotional efforts are working?

"Content is fuel to the fire of your personal brand. If you don't share content, people won't know how good you are - no matter how good you are. Even with your good intentions, people can’t use your help if they don’t know it’s available."

- Tolu Michaels

There you have it!

The 3 phases of Personal Branding online, and your big questions to answer at each stage. The truth is that these phases never really stop. As we evolve, we'll continue to reposition, repackage, and promote.

It helps to first determine which of the 5 personal branding stages you're currently at. Then, implement these 3 steps for each new stage as you build your brand.

You'll notice that I didn't go deep into tactics eg. Get on LinkedIn. You can find that everywhere. But here, I wanted to give you strategy so that whenever you implement a tactic, you can tell exactly what you're doing and pursue the right outcomes.

For example, when you're setting up the LinkedIn bio, that's positioning, when you use the right pictures, that's packaging, and when you start posting, that's promotion. If you had done all this work in advance, you can get started on any platform quickly and clearly. Tactics are great, but strategy is greater.

Remember!

Progress over perfection. You don't have to get it perfect, but you do have to get it going. So, the sooner you start, the better. Whatever you do is done. You can learn from it, improve it, change it, but you cannot learn from something that did not happen.

Before you go, share your thoughts below.. Which phase do you think you're at right now?

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