Developing Your Personal Brand
A personal brand is a way of showcasing yourself to the world. It’s a form of marketing and self-promotion that’s exploded exponentially alongside Internet culture and can transform the way you are discovered by potential customers online.
You’ve probably heard the term ‘personal brand’ before. If you’re like me, you immediately think of it in (arguably) its most heightened form — the influencer: Someone using themselves as a brand on social media to endorse products to their followers.
In fact, we all have a personal brand, because we’re all online (unless someone handed you this in print to read after your crossword, before tea and cakes). When a simple Google of your name can bring up any number of social profiles you’re using, you are essentially a product online waiting to be discovered by potential employers, customers, or business associates. Taking control of these elements, and packaging them together in a symbiotic way that sells you, is what it means to build your online personal brand.
But don’t try and be everything to everyone. Start by finding (and therefore targeting) a specific demographic, and then present your services to them. Start with cultivating the right tone of voice to speak to them, but bear it in mind for everything through to the layout and functionality of your site.
The main reason for controlling your personal brand? People buy from people, and using your real personality to promote your expertise is the new way to gain business. You may wish to use your personal brand to sell products or services too.
Focus Your Brand Strategy
It’s odd to think of yourself as a ‘product’, and it may not come easily. So here are some things to think about.
Be focused — if you’re marketing yourself as a professional, don’t just be a ‘copywriter’, be a ‘copywriter in [your town]’. Or a ‘copywriter of [wedding speeches]’. The more specific you can be in defining who you are and what you do, the greater likelihood you have of being found. By knowing clearly who you are, you are better placed to convey it to others. Of course, these decisions can be altered and adapted later.
Stand Out From Competitors
Do a little research on how similar individuals and businesses are putting themselves across in your industry. Put yourself in a potential customer’s shoes, and note what they’re doing right, but also what you don’t like. This will give you inspiration on what you can address in your own take on targeting.
It might not be they’re doing anything wrong in terms of execution, but that you find they are too serious, or not personable enough and you can make ‘approachability’ your USP.
Developing Your Brand with a Website
Having an element you can control in its entirety is a key element to your personal brand. Building your own website allows you to control the journey from start to finish.
- Start With The Domain
You may use domain availability to inform your decision about whether to go with your own name or a brand name. It’s worth noting that there are plenty of extensions to choose from in the (increasingly) likely case that your .com has already been snapped up. Other extensions will arguably perform just as well, because search engines use far more than domains to determine search results.
Your own ‘name.com’ will make it easy for others to understand that you are branding yourself as a professional, and will keep your site separate from the idea of ‘business’ in the traditional sense. Depending on your name, it’s also more likely to be available as a low-cost domain than a key phrase.
However, it could be less memorable to potential clients, less discoverable for key search terms.
In terms of hosting, we think EasyWP Managed WordPress is the way to go. It makes WordPress easy to install, and has so many themes to choose from that with a little research, you can almost certainly make your site exactly what you want it to be. At Namecheap, you can register a domain and get EasyWP Managed WordPress for a little over $30. That’s a year of everything you need for your online presence for the cost of a few drinks.
There’s a reason a third of the Internet runs on WordPress. For basic information on how to find and apply themes, check out this article. Or if you need a little help deciding on your theme? We can help you with our detailed rundown on what to look for!
What to Include on a Personal Brand Website
Whether it’s a fantastic one-page site or a multi-page website to show off your multiple services or qualities, there are things you ought to include. Make sure you have all your bases covered.
- Strong, emotive intro text that defines your tone of voice
Again, it’s crucial not to forget the ‘personal’ in ‘personal brand’. The whole reason it works is that people love real people. Real people are relatable, trustworthy, and understandable. So, ‘you, in your own words’ is perhaps the strongest way to engage this audience.
Leave behind the pseudo-CV talk of education and past jobs — we’re all more than that. You can add these in a specific section if need be (or even upload the CV itself) later, but make the opening text more about your primary interests, and/or reason for creating the website. Excited prose is exciting to read, so let loose!
Here is a great example of an opening statement from Simon Sinek’s personal site. Simon is, to quote his bio, an ‘unshakable optimist’ who started out with inspirational Ted talks. Now he’s a successful author and heads up a personal brand that includes a team. However, all the opening of his site consists of is an inspirational quote and a collage of images showing influential people with his books. It’s a statement. It’s engaging, striking, and makes you want to know more.
CGP Grey’s personal brand site is an excellent example of a portfolio-led personal brand.
As he’s quite a well-known educational YouTuber and podcaster anyway, his site is devoted to his latest work.
Packed with quirky design features, and engaging, integrated multi-media it also includes a simple lead capture box. Add this as a simple way to build a list of interested people. There are plenty of lead capture plugins for WordPress, which is great for building an email list and selling your services.
Peruse great personal branding sites, and pick the ideas you like the most to use for your own.
If you’re struggling with what to say about yourself, consider:
- What you are passionate about
- What inspired you to get good at it
- How you approach work, and your work ethic
- Where you are going to take your skills/products/services in the future
From here, you can then sketch out opposing ways to present this information (whether you start in an abstract way, like Simon, or dive straight into your projects like CGP Grey.
Of course, depending on what you’re going for, your website should include things like:
- Portfolios of work
- Reviews/blogs/vlogs, especially if you’re going for a front-of-camera style brand in the style of an influencer.
- Details about products and services and the ability to buy them
- A way to get in touch.
Be Your Brand
You need to be your brand across all online platforms, and also (most importantly), in real life. That means you need to pick something true to yourself.
It can be an amplification of your beliefs, work, persona, but it shouldn’t go further than that. Going back to the idea that the Internet already has your existing social profiles, you don’t want your social media depicting a different version of you to your brand. By extension, it’s worth taking control of your privacy settings, especially if you do want to alter your existing persona slightly.
Of course, alternatively, you can doctor your existing profiles, culling images that no longer fit with your new brand or sentiments you’d rather were kept away from potential visitors.
Which brings us nicely onto the social element of personal branding. Any avid Namecheap blog reader will already be well aware of the many virtues of Social Media for business. In the context of your personal brand, it does indeed have many uses, but most importantly, it’s a convenient way to remain present on a platform you can guarantee people are visiting on a daily basis.
This allows you a visible, topical voice for your brand. Make posts from your brand engaging, and don’t be afraid to talk about things other than business. Create posts that reflect your views on topical (or industry) news, start conversations, talk about special offers, and most importantly, get new followers who are interested in you.
You’ll find people funnel from social media to your website. Maintaining a presence on more than one website is also key, but know your platforms. Facebook and Instagram are very different in terms of how they should be approached by brands, and offer different virtues as a result. Take some time to learn about how to position yourself on each social platform.
There are many directions you can take your personal brand in, and you’ll get creative as you explore what similar sites are doing. We’re always keen to know how you get on — so leave a comment on the blog. Don’t forget to check out EasyWP when you’re starting your personal brand website.