Picture this: you are the creator of a small business, you are excited, motivated and ready to go. The only glitch is… you have no idea how to communicate who you are, what you stand for or where you are going. You have no personal brand. No need to panic, we have compiled for you, The Ultimate Branding Cheat Sheet to help guide you on your way to branding greatness.
We highly recommend reading 5 Tips and Tools For Effective Personal Branding for a step by step guide to building your brand. For now, let’s dive into The Ultimate Branding Cheat Sheet.
First, recognize that personal branding is about creating an identity for yourself to help reach your personal and professional goals. It is the mark that makes you and your business recognizable while building a trustworthy foundation between you and your consumers.
1. Know Thyself and To Thine Own Self Be True
It is nearly impossible for others to accept you if you have yet to accept yourself. The key to self-acceptance is self-knowledge. Before your branding effort can even begin, you have to do a self-analysis and establish in your own mind, who you are. Ask yourself: What is unique about you? What you are passionate about? What drives you? Who are you?
Knowing yourself will help you find your area of interest and expertise. It has been said “do what you love and you will never have to work a day in your life”. Passion for your work leads to a sense of personal fulfillment and enjoyment and this will translate itself to your consumers.
2. Identify your area of interest/passion:
Now that you have established who you are in your own mind, the next critical step is to determine what you are passionate about in the long term.
Some Questions to Ponder:
- What do I love to do?
- What do I love to read?
- What kinds of subjects and topics do I love to discuss
- What activities do I naturally gravitate to?
- What is my unique strength?
- What are my weaknesses?
TIP: If you struggle to determine your area of interest; seek help from your friends, colleagues and family members. Do a survey with them to identify your area of expertise.
“Trust not what inspires other members of society to choose a career. Trust what inspires you.” – Ernie J. Zelinski
3. What’s in a Name
An unusual name is a conversation starter and is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression. Ask all the celebrities with unique baby names. A unique name means you will stand out from the crowd and in the world of branding, that is gold. Start with a look at your own name and/or the roots of your family name. You’ll be amazed at what you unearth.
Questions to ponder:
- Do I have a common name?
- What does Google have to say about my name?
- Do I have an attention-grabbing nickname?
- Do I have a unique family name? (Do some research on your family roots and find out if there are any unique names that make you stand out)
TIP: If push comes to shove and you are stuck for a name, link your name with your area of expertise to add some flair.
4. Formulate a Brand Statement
When you hear the catchphrase “I’m lovin’ it”, what do you think of? Right. McDonald’s. A brand statement is a tagline or catchphrase representing your brand and like your name should be unique and convey your business or personal values. Whenever the tagline is used, minds gravitate to you.
Now that you’ve done the self-analysis, identifying your niche and creating a brand statement, it’s time to research your niche and build an audience. That leads us to:
B. Market Analysis
1. Research your Niche
Knowledge is power. The more information you gather and learn related to your niche, the more you add to your base of expertise.
1. Research your niche in Google
2. Research your niche on social channels.
3. Keep abreast of current and trending discussions
4. Evaluate how you can add value and fresh content to the field.
“Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.” – Malcolm S. Forbes
2. Identify your Target Audience:
Knowing your audience helps you to provide a service that is relevant, helpful and in-demand. You wouldn’t want to sell ice to an Inuit but perhaps a warm jacket would do. Find out:
- Who would be interested in your niche? Gather their demographic details.
- Who are their primary influencers? Gather their interests, social media channels, followers etc.
Now that the theoretical is out of the way, it’s time to put things into action. How do you show your expertise, become an influencer of your market and build a growing audience? Read on.
3. Create Online Channels for your Brand
1. Start a blog
Blogging is a wonderful way of showing your expertise. Identify topics and write blogs at least once a week. Include interesting content pertaining to your niche.
2. Create social media profiles
Formulate a creative and professional portfolio and keep it active. Your profiles are a key to your brand. Share your blogging content through your social media channels. People love to hear your story.
Sharing stories from other people that are niche related shows your audience that you are not selfish and are interested in the development and promotion of others. This is an attractive attribute.
TIP: Use a consistent portfolio in all the media channels you engage with. It helps people recognize you.
3. Join groups and communities related to your niche. This increases your online presence and keeps you in the loop about social trends.
4. Answer questions and solve problems.
“Branding demands commitment; commitment to continual re-invention” – Richard Branson
When you go out each day, you take time to groom yourself, put your best foot forward and present your best face. That’s because our world is very visual and image; especially in business; is everything. Dedicate some time to elevating your online presence in order to present yourself in the best light possible. Be consistent and authentic. After all, this is your passion.
You can probably tell by now that The Ultimate Branding Cheat Sheet is not a cheat sheet at all. It is an honest, tried and tested guide sheet to enhancing your online presence and building your personal brand.
What issues do you face in elevating your online presence? Share with us!