The technology age is a brave new frontier for anyone interested in elevating their unique perspective about, well, just about anything. We all have a digital footprint across the web that has been cultivated and curated by ourselves, friends, family, and coworkers. The question has become not whether or not you have a personal brand, but whether or not you’re choosing to cultivate it. So, if you choose to develop your brand, here are a few ways to get started.
1. Think of yourself as a brand. What do you want people to associate you with? Are you an expert in a particular industry? Identify this area of expertise and begin to voice your opinion, write articles, and share content that is relevant to what you’re passionate about.
2. Get your site set up. Having a personal website is a fundamental way to get yourself seen on searches and move through the search rankings. Don’t stress about it being over-the-top. Start with something basic but informative with clear access to your social networks and body of work. Add to it over time.
3. Google yourself. Knowing who you share a name with, and what’s being said about you (or someone with your name) is an important part of cleaning up your brand. Carve out your space by using your middle name or initial, especially if your name is a common one (hello, John Smith). Keep tabs on what’s being said about you with alerts too.
4. Be authentic. This ties back to the first point. As you build your brand, it should be a reflection of who you are and what you’re about. People want to feel like they’re connecting with other REAL people. Assess and develop your true self, people who like what they see will want want to engage and stick around.
5. Act purposefully. Every speaking engagement, article written, tweet sent, and Instagram posted has an impact on your brand. Once you’re clear on what you’re about, strategically manage what you’re sharing to nurture it in the direction you desire.
6. Leave room for growth and change. Some of the people with the best personal brands are on their second and third acts: think Martha Stewart, Richard Branson, Mark Cuban. They haven’t left their original passions behind, but they have created avenues to share their other interests while remaining true to their original narrative. No one remains static on their thoughts and interests, allow your brand to be ever evolving as you will be too.