5 Must Do Strategies to Build Your Personal Brand
The Importance of Proactively Building Your Online Reputation
I recently gave a presentation on the importance of building your online reputation. I presented data from a recent CrossTab report that proves the importance of building and sustaining an online reputation. A good online reputation can open doors for you in many ways, whether you’re employed or not. A weak online reputation can prevent doors from opening. And, likewise, not having an online reputation can leave you off the radar of opportunities of interest to you.
Below I offer five must-do strategies to build and sustain your personal brand.
Create a Written Plan
What are your goals? How will you achieve them? What resources do you need? What are your limitations and obstacles? Who are your mentors? How will you measure progress? What are you doing to proactively build and sustain your personal brand? These are just some of the questions you should ask and answer in a written document. Keep the document readily accessible in paper or digital form. Review it weekly and update it as necessary.
Build Your Professional Credibility
It’s intuitively obvious that you should build your professional credibility. Some simple ways include blogging and frequent use of LinkedIn. I encourage you to have a blog where you write about topics in which you have expertise. Let your expertise shine through your blog. Similarly, let your expertise shine in LinkedIn by responding to questions posted in LinkedIn Answers. Give recommendations to current and former co-workers and you’ll likely get recommendations back. LinkedIn offers application plug-ins that let you display your professional credibility. Applications you should add to your LinkedIn profile include Slideshare, Amazon Reading List, WordPress (if your blog is on WordPress) and Events. Use each application to display your professional experience.
Build Your Social Credibility
Surprisingly many people don’t even think about building their social credibility. Even if you’re the shy type, building your social credibility is not difficult. The idea is to show your human side in a way that complements your professional credibility. There are many ways you can do this such as including links to your Flickr, YouTube, Twitter or Facebook accounts. Of course, you should monitor the content in your personal social accounts to ensure it doesn’t work against you. If you think you can have two separate personas online, a conservative business persona, and a wild and crazy persona in your social life, think again. People considering doing business with you or possibly inviting you in for a job interview want to know the total picture about you. And, now that our online lives are readily accessible, your social credibility can be influential (positively or negatively) to your online reputation.
Routinely Produce Content
The secret sauce to building your online reputation is to routinely produce content that paints a clear picture of you. Start with what you want people to recognize about you and build a content strategy around that. I recommend you have a blog. If you’re not a good writer, consider creating a YouTube channel. If video isn’t your thing, consider an audio podcast show. I recommend you figure out which medium fits you best; writing, audio, video or any combination. Routinely produce content you can share that tells your story. Focus your content on the 3 E’s: Educate, Enlighten, Entertain. You don’t need to hit on all three. But, hit on at least one of them consistently.
Don’t wait until you’re unemployed or some other negative event happens in your life to work on your personal brand. Do it now! I like to use the analogy of a marathon runner. He or she is always in training, even in between competitive marathon events. Always work on your online reputation. Never let up. Whatever your goals, you probably have competition. Build and sustain your online reputation proactively and you’ll see doors open for you. The absence of a positive online reputation can close doors for you.