How to develop a personal brand

There are some people who you will instantly associate with an industry or service upon hearing their names. People like Martha Stewart, Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey, for instance, are all renowned experts and thought-leaders in their respective industries – and that’s because they each skillfully developed a powerful personal brand. Developing your own personal brand may not rocket you to that same level of success, but, in my experience, it can help you become a professional leader in the industry of your choice. Here are some practicable steps you can take to develop a personal brand:

Identify your personal value
The first step to developing a personal brand is knowing what parts about yourself you want to market. Your skills and experience are a great place to start, but what is it about you that sets you apart from your peers? Do you have any niche expertise or uncommon skills others may not? Try to revolve your brand around one aspect that differentiates you from others in the industry by considering what your coworkers or managers would miss if you left – even if it’s something as simple as always being nice to others.

Develop your online presence
These days, a person’s online presence defines who they are both personally and professionally. You can build an online presence that clearly indicates your developing brand through several means, including social media, a website, a blog and shared content. Update your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter profiles and purchase a domain main (ideally one that includes your first and last name).

Once you’ve set up each of these online profiles, start producing and sharing purposeful content that exemplifies your expertise. Use your personal website to start a blog, and share the content on your social media. You should also utilize social media to expand your network of connections, especially within your specific industry. The more people liking, commenting on and sharing the content you create, the more your brand will develop.

Upgrade your professional tools
Getting your brand online is essential, but your web presence won’t mean anything if it isn’t reflected in person. Develop a resume, design business cards and purchase personalized stationery to use for any professional business dealings. Use these tools at networking events, business meetings, lectures and anything else you’re involved in to get your name out as much as possible.

Do quality work
No matter what your personal brand is, the most important way to move forward professionally is to always make sure the work you’re doing and the content you’re sharing are high-quality. While marketing your brand online and in person is a great start, doing your job well will continue to move you closer to reaching your goals.

Review your brand often
Your personal brand may change over time as you develop new skills, experience and interests (and potentially let go of old ones). As you change, your brand, online presence and in-person persona should reflect the new goals and values you have.