By Jason Eisenberg Community Program Manager for Office Depot
“Everyone has a brand. There are people talking about your work – if you don’t control your reputation, that’s your fault.” – Brittany Krystle, Beyond Influential
These words from personal brand expert and host of top-rated podcast Beyond Influential, Brittany Krystle, convey a harsh truth about branding yourself or your business. And while blunt in her delivery (which I love about Brittany), her statement should be enough to get you to think about how you – as a personal brand – are perceived by the public and how it can drive both positive and negative results to your business. In this article, we’ll go over why you should be working on your personal brand, Brittany’s three laws for personal branding (she is a non-practicing lawyer 😉), and how to get started.
Why you should focus on your personal brand
In this day and age of influencer marketing, understanding your sphere of influence is paramount to your personal and business success. Even if you don’t consider yourself an influencer – your interests, passions, skillsets and your unique perspective – can be assets for your audience.
Remember, your brand is essentially your reputation. Start building it out now so you can have it when it’s time to optimize or if your business hits an unforeseen setback:
“The more you put yourself out there in the right way and control your story, the more you build up that credibility, that visibility – that proof. And what’s awesome is that over time, branding yourself online does a lot of the work for you. You end up getting a stockpile of proof.” – Brittany Krystle, Beyond Influential
To be clear, social proof is not the number of followers you have. While inarguably a factor in terms of your reach, the social proof that matters is in the proverbial pudding. Are you having conversations with folks in your community and adding value to their lives? Better yet, are they having conversations with each other? Is your content valuable enough to be shared and discussed without being prompted? That last question is key because to create resonating content, you need to have clarity of your personal and business values, as well as the message you’re trying to convey through the content you’re offering.
Which leads us to…
Brittany’s three laws to personal branding
In our #Workonomy chat, Brittany shares her three laws to personal branding – one of which we just covered:
Clarity – internal and external Consistent Content Community
These laws are a great guideline to follow because one law begets the other two. You need to have clarity in your messaging and in your business (and yourself) because without this step, you’ll be putting out content without strategy – a true waste of time. People online have very little time to find and decide if they want to connect with you. When that messaging finally lands in their feed, it better be precise or else you could lose an opportunity.
Then you need consistent content. So now that you’ve connected with your audience, you need to keep them captivated. By engaging with your audience whether it be through polls, motivation memes, live video, podcasts, a Q&A forum, etc., you’ll learn more about what they want to consume.
Make sure your message is clear and then consistently create content that drives engagement. By doing this correctly, you’ll already be building your community. Evoke emotions, not sales. Strive for engagement, not followers. By adding value to people’s lives with your content, you can naturally become a voice of authority and people will start to regularly look to you for those nuggets of knowledge – especially if you’re consistent.
How to start growing your personal brand
You already have a personal brand. Now’s the time to control it if you haven’t already.
“EVERYONE has a sphere of influence.”
The best way to find your sphere is to begin creating content based around what you like to talk about and engaging with people you think you should be connected to. Leave valuable comments in other communities related to yours and incite real conversation. Get your voice, or your face, or your words out there!
Next, you need to consume content in your industry – not to steal – so you can see what’s working and what’s not. Be objective in your analysis, draw inspiration and learn from their mistakes and successes. But use YOUR voice and do it your way.
I hope to see your content on my feed very soon.
“Personal branding doesn’t need to be scary. It’s a process but it should be fun. There are so many opportunities out there by just being YOURSELF.” - Brittany Krystle, Beyond Influential
About the Author Jason Eisenberg is the Community Program Manager for Office Depot, specializing in small business and entrepreneurship. Based out of one of the most exciting cities for startups – Austin, TX – Jason is plugged into the business community, often connecting with thought leaders, entrepreneurs and strategists to help identify and find solutions to common pain points all business owners share.
To join our high-level discussions, check out our free online community where you’ll have access to live Q&As, featured business interviews with experts, and the knowledge our members possess.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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