How to build a personal brand from scratch with these simple tips

personal branding board

Learn how to build a personal brand from scratch in 5 mins or less  

Build your personal brand on LinkedIn. Write thought leadership articles. A marketing consultant or a PR agency might have offered this to you as part of their services

At that point, you probably thought- does building a personal brand really help you as a founder or employee in a tech company? After all, if you want to do it properly it will require a lot of time and resources from you over a long period of time

Building a personal brand is more than sharing relevant articles on your LinkedIn profile. It involves creating authentic content that can only be created by you and you alone

With millions of videos, podcasts and blog posts being posted in a day alone, does the world still need your voice?

Short answer: yes

The more complete answer: The world needs more authentic voices and if your voice can even inspire just one person to take positive action then that is all the reason you need 

Making The Case For Investing In Your Personal Brand

If you have not already started working on your personal brand, then the above reasons are probably not enough to convince you, so consider the following 

  • 84% of B2B buyers start the buying process with a referral. I am willing to bet that nearly all of these referred leads searched you on Google or LinkedIn. Having a strong personal branding in place makes the case for doing business with you that much more compelling
  • In a survey conducted by Edelman, 65% of those surveyed believe in information found via search engines
  • It takes 5–7 brand impressions before someone remembers your brand. In this age where recruiters, potential customers and your boss are inundated with content online, standing out from the competition for jobs and new business becomes near impossible without a personal brand 

This proves that personal branding is just not limited to “making you look good” — it has great business value, especially in the long-term

Why your personal brand matters

Despite knowing the business benefits of building a personal brand and creating content authentic to me, I can’t help but ask myself this question

“With billions of people in the world, why will people want to read my content?”

Call it what you want — experiencing imposter syndrome, self doubts or just lacking confidence. This is something we have all experienced before and will continue to experience as we progress in our careers 

The scary part? You may actually be right. At least, as of this moment

While your content may not be of a world class standard right now, it can and will be if you consistently work on it. Let me share with you the reasons why

You are unique

No two people are born exactly the same. Even twins go through different sets of circumstances growing up. 

unique personal brand
Photo by João Jesus from Pexels

Your background, set of circumstances and experiences are completely unique from everyone else’s and that is why your content will be unique

There are thousands of ways to communicate something effectively. Your unique content may resonate with a large segment of your target audience. No matter how comprehensive a guide may be, there is always a new perspective that will be useful

Authenticity beats automation any day

A huge part of digital marketing is now automated — cold outreach, social media ads and customer service chat bots 

It almost feels as if consumers like you and I are being treated as a number for companies to hit their sales target. Sadly, that may truly be the case for some companies 

This means that building a personal brand that is authentic and real helps you build a stronger bond with leads, potentially winning you more deals as compared to someone else who sends generic outreach messages using automation

As products become less differentiated in terms of features, trust in your brand becomes a top consideration factor for customers in deciding between your product and your competitor’s product

Building an authentic personal brand has long term returns and this success is sustainable 

Step one to building your personal brand from scratch- Avoid posting content already out there

Would you like to watch two movies that have different directors and titles but have the same plot line? Unless you really love the first plotline, your answer is probably “no”

The same goes with creating content for your personal brand

Whether it is a different insight on the same topic, a useful tip that has not been shared before or creating more engaging posts, always share something different. Give people a reason to care and you will be rewarded

Find the best performing posts on the web

Start by identifying blog posts with the most back-links to it by using SEO software such as SEMRush and Ahrefs 

While this is typically one of the last few steps in executing back-link building, all content creators should do this before creating any content

As the saying goes, “begin with the end in mind”. By studying the best performing posts you avoid repeating points that were made and it forces you to raise your writing standard

Once you have created content that is unique to you and is different from the best performing posts, you have the perfect reason to reach out to these websites for a backlink

For example, as a tech marketer I want to write an article on B2B SaaS marketing, given the ever expanding SaaS market

I will type “b2b saas marketing” into SEMRush and search for posts that perform the best when ranking for this term on search engines 

Back-link research

While it is not practical to read every single post that covers this topic, reading 5 -10 posts gives me a much better understanding of what aspect of B2B SaaS marketing is typically covered by others that I can put less emphasis on

This forces me to come up with truly unique perspectives I have on this topic that others have not covered, which improves my chances of people reading my blog post

Answer questions on Quora and related forums

This advice has been covered by many marketing blog posts, because it is truly useful advice. When you are writing a blog post you are answering questions your target audience has on a particular topic. 

What better way to get quick feedback than by answering related questions from your target audience? 

You know you are on to something when your answers get even more follow-up questions, lots of upvotes and shares. Furthermore, other answers may open you up to more perspectives on the topic you want to cover

Connect with a few of your target audience

Create a buyer persona of your target audience. These can be potential customers, your colleagues or just people in your industry you want to build a relationship with

Go to where they have a strong presence in and connect with them! For example, I want to build a personal brand around being a strong marketer in the tech space. To do so, I want to create content catered to founders of tech companies or marketers in such companies looking to improve their marketing efforts

Most of my target audience can be found on platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter. To constantly get new content ideas I will follow or add relevant accounts on these platforms. 

Based on what they post, like and share I will get a good idea of what content is relevant to them and this is a valuable part of the research as well

Step two to building your personal brand from scratch – Create content uniquely you

As of now we have covered why you should still create content to build your personal brand even with all the useful content out there 

We then went into detail on how you can go about researching available content, so that you can create content that is truly unique and valuable

Now for the most exciting part of the process- creating content that has your name all over it

Believe me, this actually sounds a lot harder than it really is. A lot of content is a spinoff of what has been shared previously. Once you have found a way to create content that is 

  1. Valuable and unique
  2. Easy to trace back its origin to you 

Then that is when you have created a priceless personal brand for yourself!

A lot has been shared on writing blog posts that goes viral so I will not be touching on those marketing tactics. Instead, here are some (hopefully unique) ideas I think you can consider in your quest to create content uniquely yours

Create a vision board that inspires you 

Humans are generally more visual creatures and we consume visual content much better than texts. Building a vision board for your personal brand is a great way to constantly remind yourself of what you want your readers to feel when reading your content 

personal branding image

For me personally, I want my blog posts to be 

  • “Something worth reading”
  • The reader is inspired or has a key takeaway after reading 
  • Content that will inspire others to hopefully create better content on their own for their tech company 

I then found images that I felt best represented these wants and included them in my vision board. My vision board then serves as a great reminder for what I want my personal brand to inspire in others

What really excites you about your industry, your company or your job?

Your answer needs to go beyond the compensation, the good work-life balance or perks in general. It needs to have a deeper lying purpose

For example, if you are a supply chain manager in the automotive industry, something that excites you about your role may be building systems and optimizing them

Or you may be a natural problem solver and you love solving new supply chain challenges you face every month or week 

Whatever it may be, find that deeper purpose you have, the impact you want to make on others and create a vision board based on that

Focus only on sharing insights based on your real-life experience

Imagine you are a coffee enthusiast looking for information on how to create great latte art. Would you rather read a blog post on this topic from 

  • Jim- A really eloquent writer who has read 10 different books on latte art without ever brewing a cup of coffee 
  • Joanna- A barista who has brewed more than 100 cups of latte and has never read a single book on latte art

I am pretty sure Joanna is your go to person to learn latte art

The same applies to anyone looking for advice on a particular topic. We want to receive advice from someone who can speak from his personal experience. There are thousands of books that present standard theoretical answers in every industry, with many more blog posts that regurgitate their content

Only share information or advice you know to work based on your personal experiences

Go crazy with ideas and make them coherent

I am a firm believer that everyone has ideas. Whether or not these ideas are relevant or good is an entirely different matter. Creativity is a muscle we all have- the more you use it the better ideas you have

So how do you exercise this muscle? These are some “exercises” I personally use when creating content

Think about two completely different topics and try to connect them

Let’s use the topic of coffee as an example again. Assuming you are a barista that has plenty of hands-on experience making coffee and you are finding inspiration to write content on coffee to build your personal brand

You happen to be a huge football fan as well, watching football matches every weekend. How can you link football with making great coffee in your content?

Here is how a general brainstorming process will be like

  • A football team has eleven players with different positions
  • The game is won by the team that scores more goals than they concede
  • If I were to link it to football, “scoring a goal” will be equivalent to a customer smiling after drinking a sip of the cup of coffee I made
  • “Conceding a goal” will be a customer frowning after taking a sip of the coffee
  • The ingredients I use in my coffee can be considered the “players” in the team, while the recipe will be the “tactics/game plan”

Just from this brainstorming session alone, you have a new content topic — “Explaining the coffee making process using football terms”

Readers of your blog may or may not like football, so it is up to you to decide which idea is relevant for your target audience. That said, this is a great way to get started with idea generation 

Get published on publications

Nothing screams credibility than having your work published on a credible blog or publication. If you have been working in your industry long enough you will have a publication or influencer that you follow 

These sources of information probably provide quality content consistently for you to follow them. Publishing a guest post with them sends a strong signal to others that you have credible insights in your area of work

The hard part is getting your content accepted. Fortunately, the good news is that publications or influencers are always looking for great content to post. 

To get started, reach out to different publications on different story angles you want to pitch on a consistent basis (emphasis on consistency) Comment on interesting posts by your favorite industry influencer on a regular basis

Most will not reply and even fewer will accept your pitch. But once you have published your first few guest posts the pitching will get easier, as your credibility would have improved 

Ultimately, it is about adding value to others 

You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want — Zig Ziglar

Ironically, while building a personal brand is for your own benefit, the best way to build your brand is by coming from a place of helping others succeed

Nobody wants to hear someone brag about how great he is. They want to know how YOU can make THEM great for them to take you seriously. Remember to always think about how you can give back to the community and you will receive more than you asked for

Ready to take the next step in building your personal brand?

If any points in this article speaks out to you, building a personal brand must be one of your priorities right now. Contact me or connect with me on LinkedIn to find out how I can be of help!

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