Build Your Personal Brand

How do you plan on setting yourself apart and starting the New Year successfully?  One of the first and most important steps in distinguishing yourself and/or your business is to create your own personal brand.

That’s where I come in. I can help you take your unique skill set and make it work for you by branding yourself as an expert in your industry or field. Establishing a distinct brand is very important; especially when we are living in an economy where news and information about most anything is literally at the fingertips of the savvy customer.

By seizing the opportunities in the media that your competition is ignoring, you will enable your business to stand out, blow the competition away, and show consumers why they should choose you every time. It’s about taking the competitive advantage by promoting your strengths and building your network.

1- Search and Find

The first step to building your personal brand is to understand your own value and why the media and your clients need you.  As a business professional, there is something you know that no one else does; that unique knowledge can make you famous. Others may even be exposed to the same education and tools as you, but there is one subject or tool that you understand better than anyone else. Your first job in integrating your media campaign and extending your brand awareness is to find out what that niche is that sets you completely apart. There are several things you may be an expert in. Identify those things and emphasize them in your work.  The list is endless; each of us operates our business differently, and we all have something at which we are so good we could do it in our sleep.  Take some time to really find out what that niche is for you.

Once you find out your forte, and where you are most confident in your business, go one step further and make sure you thoroughly understand your subject matters – be a student of the market and study human behavior.  Examine what others are doing and talking about in the media, see what angles they are presenting on the subject matters you are most qualified in.  Be a student of your clients – find out what the market is lacking that the media is not providing.  Use resources available to you to refine your expertise, and get grounded – be the best in those areas that you can possibly be.

2 – Establish Brand Trust

In order to move on and spread brand awareness, you must first establish a sense of trust and loyalty with existing customers.  That way, when new customers come into contact with existing clients, your brand stays well supported.  Your current clients are going to be useful tools in contributing to your brand credibility once a larger amount of the public learns about your brand by acting as social billboards encouraging potential clients to go one step further and do business.

Now that you’ve solidified your corner of the market and established a sense of trust between you and your clients, you are ready to go out and educate the media. By seeing what the media wants or needs and having a strong sense of the strengths your company possesses, you will be able to carefully craft your brand in a way that distinguishes it as “must-have”.

3 – Create, Target, and Aim

It’s time to create the group of people in the media whom you want to address, and drill down on the message you will be sending them. It is important to balance.  Avoid being too basic but stay away from aiming beyond your target. In order to craft your name and brand, start by establishing strong relationships with clients and maintaining them.  Utilize various media outlets to further extend your network and create widespread brand knowledge.  Make clients aware that you can provide solutions. Start one small step at a time.

Talk to a media expert/PR agent who will help you sort through your knowledge and find out what will appeal to the media and general market; the media expert will see things that you may not automatically think of – and, the personalized attention the PR expert gives you will give you the confidence you need to jumpstart your brand awareness. Or, start by writing a note to the editor of your local paper about how something in your industry that is affecting your own city.  Apply your unique spin to the topics and see your brand gain attention.

4 – Getting Your Message Out

Identify what the headlines are saying and get your message out there.  Utilize both the media outlets and social networking.  As your personal brand begins to bring you success, brag via social media by updating your status, posting on group walls, using links to your media hits, and creating a business or fan page.  This will allow your target audience to attribute success to your brand. Pretty soon your social media and traditional media platforms will feed off of each other, creating an unstoppable force for your benefit. But remember, stay humble.

If you are uncomfortable posting business related status updates to your personal social media profiles, create a fan page on any of the social media sites – just don’t be one of those annoying social media users who constantly invite people to their fan page, even after that person has decided not to join.  Additionally, It’s important to note that you want to be cautious about being too “business-y” in your social media status updates and posts. After all, it is called “social” media for a reason.

If you are always posting about technical data or how you used an industry tool to save your client money, or even that you were on TV yesterday, you will quickly lose the interest of your social media contacts. It’s a very fine line between what qualifies as enough “celebrity status” information and what qualifies as enough “day to day” information in order to keep your databases engaged. You will need to gauge your particular database to find out what appeals to them; however, just remember, now that you’ve established brand awareness, you’ll want to mix up your status updates and posts. Just as the masses are fascinated about the details of their most loved celebrities, when your social media contacts find out they know someone famous (you), they will be looking for the fun details about your life, too. Keep them entertained with stories about other things happening in your life.  This will add a unique dimension to your personal brand and allow clients to truly identify with you.

5 – Watch Your Brand Grow

Now that you have identified what makes your business unique, gained trust from your clients, and spread the knowledge of your brand, you will begin reaping the benefits.  Not only will your base of interested customers grow, but also your monetary returns.  People will not only be able to pin-point you and your brand, but will be able to recognize your brand by the unique advantage or insight that stands behind it.  Now, you have established a complete package that your brand will be known for.

You can find out more about the Public Relations services I provide by going to my web site: www.icheadlines.com.

Best wishes on all of your endeavors!

Josephine

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