Building a Personal Brand can seem like a time consuming and expensive task. Although there is no shortcut for hard work, there is a way to build your brand without breaking the bank!
Here are 5 ways you can start building your personal brand without forking over your life savings.
1) Focus On Messaging
Messaging is something that takes time, focus, and brain power to nail down. You will need to learn how to talk about what you do in a powerful way. The best way to figure out how to do this, is through the good ol’ school of hard knocks.
The biggest differentiator between successful personal brands and unsuccessful personal brands is how they talk about what they do, and how they communicate. You must learn to communicate what you do, how you do it, and what makes you different in way that is fast and easy-to-understand.
Write posts on social media, attend events, and talk with anyone and everyone you meet! These are great ways to practice talking about who you are, what you do, and get immediate feedback. Your message will evolve each time you share it.
Keep in mind, it is super important for you to listen to the feedback you are given. This is valuable insight that will help you to improve and refine your brand and messaging. Did you catch yourself talking about what you do for 5 minutes straight? Did their eyes gloss over half way through your personal brand statement? Do you really feel like they understood the importance of what you do?
Take all the feedback you get (verbal and non-verbal) and retool your communication for the next conversation!
2) Refresh Your LinkedIn Profile
First and foremost, you need a professional headshot. Get together with a friend on a Saturday, get out of your pajamas, and do an iPhone photo shoot. The camera on an iPhone today is higher quality than most DSLR’s (professional cameras) 1o years ago. A good headshot makes a world of difference on your profiles.
Also, take the time to write a new summary that accurately expresses your personal brand. This is the first thing people will read when visiting your page, so make it concise and powerful.
You also want to make sure you keep your resume section up to date. Job responsibilities change all the time!
LinkedIn is an excellent platform to share articles you’ve written and add value to the people in your network as well.
3) Start a Blog
Don’t panic, you don’t need a stunning, expensive, completely custom built website in order to have a blog. In fact, platforms like Medium and WordPress make this super simple and cheap. We recommend GoDaddy Managed WordPress hosting for ~$8/mo and buying a blog theme from Themeforest for about $50.
See? Not so bad 😉
A blog can be an incredibly powerful tool for your Personal Brand. Write frequently and consistently and choose topics that are not only relevant to your industry, but can also add value to your readers.
Once you have a few posts written, you can begin sharing them on social media: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Not only does a blog help bring people to your site, but it gives you great content to share and grow your social platforms as well.
The #1 most important thing to building a personal brand is to position yourself as an authority in your field through sharing your expertise. This is also known as thought leadership.
4) Attend Networking Events
It’s super cliche, but it works really well if you do it right.
Don’t go to networking events looking to close business and find clients. Go with the intention to build relationships and add value to other people.
When networking, you should always have the intention to help other’s network. When you meet new people, remember what they do, and make introductions for other people. My good friend Heather Dopson is a master at this. People call her the Human API.
Once you make a valuable introduction it’s much easier to ask for referrals, and people are more likely to send them your way as well.
Also, whenever you are attending networking events, keep in mind that most of the network potential you have access to is not actually in that room.
What is more likely?
A) Your ideal customer/client shows up to the same event you’re at
B) Someone at that event knows someone who is a perfect fit for your ideal customer/client
The network is always bigger than the number of people in the room.
Never try to close people at a networking events. Instead, build relationships and network your way to even better customers and clients.
5) Engage Socially
Join conversations happening on social media. Throw in your two cents, add value, and build relationships.
Facebook is an excellent place to get started. Join several relevant groups around topics in your industry so you can share your opinion and help others with questions.
Twitter also has an awesome area for engaging in their Tweet chats. You can find topics around your industry or topics that are relevant to you and your brand. Hop in, share ideas, and most importantly – make connections!
There are tons of low cost and free ways to grow your presence and build your Personal Brand.
Get creative, take the time, and dive in!