There is a lot of talk about your personal brand, but the reason for it is that it makes sense. A personal brand is an essential way to differentiate yourself from the crowd.
This is unfortunately not something that you can do overnight, but there is no time like the present to do it. In order to develop your brand you need a positioning statement, a short précis of who you are and what you do. Concentrate on your skills and what you’re good at, and make sure that your career for a viable niche (writing for the newspaper is maybe not a good idea, but online publishing is). For example at the top of this blog I’ve summarized my areas of interest as search, social media and online trends.
The first channel that someone is going to use to find you is Google. So make sure you own your page for your name (or at least ensure that the content that is found about you is what you want to be found about you). This is the example for my name;
The listings are as follows
1.The first thing people see is my Google Adwords link (you can own what you say here- I try and show that I know/understand the web, as well as being a little irreverent/fun).
2. My profile on Linkedin.
3. This blog
4. One of the most read posts on this blog
5. A presentation that I did
6. My Facebook page
I’m pretty lucky as my name isn’t Brad Pitt, so it isn’t too difficult to get found, but if you persevere you will rank better. For your blog it’s a matter of SEO, good linking (even from comments) creates better ranking, and eventually you will achieve decent rankings.
This is how to create your personal brand;
1) set up a blog using your name as a domain. This is a key method, you can manage the entire relationship with your site; look & feel, content and tone. Google loves the exact term in the domain, so your name will drive search from people looking for your site (see andrew chen, peter kim, chris brogan etc). Also be consistent, try and blog as regularly as possible (I aim for three times a week, but daily is preferable). If it’s less than that make it impactful.
2) communicate with other people in your field; comment on blogs, follow them on twitter, be “part of the conversation”. This will drive traffic back to your site, but it will ultimately have you become smarter in your field. You’ll be participating in discussions about pertinent areas of interest for you.
3) make sure you have a Linkedin (one of the first natural search listings for your name). take some care in creating your profile, potential employers/associates will see this first, so you want to showcase yourself as well as you can. Add everyone you meet to your network. Ask people you’ve worked with to recommend you. this is kinda tough because reciprocal recommendations don’t mean a hell of a lot to me, and most people kinda expect it.
4) make those embarrassing photos of you drinking tequila on the weekend on Facebook private
5) buy the Google terms for your name and redirect them to your blog
6) Crosspromote from service to service (put your blog on Facebook, twitter, Linkedin etc) this will do good things for your search rankings, as well as giving you an easy opportunity for people to find out more about you..
7) Try and speak at industry functions about your speciality, showcase yourself and your knowledge.
8) Network offline (crazy concept I know ), go to dinners, industry meetings and conferences. I’m less good at this, but its imperative to actually make the connection and get to know people personally.
9) Track your blog on mybloglog and Google Analytics. What are your most popular posts, what are people returning, what organic search terms are important for Google for you. Write more posts about these, people are interested.
Building your personal brand isn’t about being a braggart, its about showcasing your strengths and finding a way to leverage them. Its more about having your CV ready before you need it, and at the same time becoming better at what you do. Chris Brogan has a lot more great tips about this.