By Pavan Belagatti.
As we all know, everyone has a purpose in life, and with constant focused effort, we can become what we wish to be.
Knowing what you are passionate about and becoming an expert on a particular subject is crucial. If you really want to make a difference and become a known personality, ask yourself these three questions:
- What makes YOU stand out?
- How are YOU different to other people?
- How would YOU prefer to share your expertise with the world?
Once you know your answers, make a commitment to yourself. That’s right – it’s time for you to build a brand for yourself, a brand called YOU.
What is self-branding?
Self-branding is a strategy in which an individual works constantly and consistently towards creating a brand for themselves. It’s a process of positioning oneself with credibility and trust when it comes to a particular topic, or a constant endeavour to get better at a particular skill and making an impression on others.
It is not just about being excellent at your skill, but also about how well you share it with the world so that the world actually knows who you are. Hence, promoting yourself is the most important aspect when it comes to self-branding.
The importance of self-branding
No matter what industry you are in, you should always strive to be known for your skills and what you do. Come on – who doesn’t want to be a hero or look like one?
While many don’t understand the value of self-branding, some early adopters are enjoying sweet success because of the brand they have created for themselves.
Gary Vaynerchuk is one such person I can vouch for when it comes to self-branding. Gary knows his audience and understood the value of self-branding at a very early stage of his life. He knows and has implemented many ideas to become a brand himself, and the proof is in his videos and updates on social media getting literally millions of likes, views, and comments from fans around the world.
Once you have established a good follower base and credibility for yourself through self-branding, you can go on to act as an industry leader where you will have the power to influence thousands positively through your content.
Enough of the theory part. Let’s look at some incredible growth hacks and specific examples of how others have soared at self-branding.
1. You need a personal website with a unique home page
A personal website is like your home, it represents you and should look welcoming. It’s always better to have a domain in your name.
Your home page should talk about your life story – make it relatable so that visitors can easily connect with it. Add humor and anecdotes about your struggles, failures, wins and emotional milestones. Include a narrative about how you started it all, your passion for a particular subject, and your achievements so far.
Compelling professional pictures and a clear call to action at the end will help add more professional clout to your home page. While many people neglect this point, it is vital to make sure your website is polished-looking without any grammatical or spelling mistakes.
Let’s look at Leonard Kim, a marketing and branding expert, as an example. His website is an excellent example of self-branding. The home page talks about him, who is he, his early life and his achievements. You will also see a clear value proposition with his blogs centred in the middle and a clear CTA at the end to subscribe to his updates.
2. You should be smart and consistent on social media
Be sure to use social media in many varied and unique ways to see what works best for you. Know your customers and try to share updates by varying your formats. Sometimes an image and sometimes a blog post will work best. You should try to update your social media as often as daily.
Put your name as a signature or a watermark on your images to avoid plagiarism. Make sure to use your name or anything that represents you consistently on important updates. If you’re bored by inspirational quotes, come up with your own and make them look appealing in InDesign! And don’t forget to put an appealing cover image and strong profile description on all of your social media accounts.
Brian D. Evans is a serial entrepreneur and a marketing influencer. He uses social media consistently and efficiently. Whether it is Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, he uses different formats to share daily updates with his fans. You might want to take a look at his social profiles to see how well he maintains a daily schedule of posts and interaction with his audience. His cover images are also compelling and say a lot about him.
Brian Evans on Instagram
Brian Evans on Twitter
3. You should adopt a storytelling approach
Storytelling is an art that marketers often use to promote their ideas or products, and is considered the best growth strategy for a small brand. Stories are engaging, and can help create and sustain an emotional connection with readers. Great stories inspire people to change for good and take actions, and can really help you position yourself as a thought leader.
Apple uses the storytelling approach in the best possible way – everyone knows the basic history of Steve Jobs. Even an individual can use this method. Take an experience, build a narrative around it, and publish it on your social media platforms.
You cannot look past Gary Vaynerchuk, an American serial entrepreneur, when it comes to self-branding and the power of storytelling. Gary is a great storyteller who uses the storytelling approach to the best extent possible, and that is how he connects with his audience. He has gained a great follower base around the world through his talk, suggestions and entrepreneurial skills.
4. You need to guest blog on popular websites
Articles authored by Neil Patel
Guest blogging is still considered the best strategy to build a personal brand. You might have noticed that many subject matter experts don’t just blog on their own website but are always on the look-out for ways to share their knowledge and thoughts through other websites and platforms.
Guest blogging helps you build credibility. Start small, connect with local bloggers who are looking for contributors to their website, and focus on making connections with like-minded people. Once you build some confidence and success, move onto the bigger publications and approach them for guest posts.
Try these different variations to find opportunities for guest blogging:
- Your keyword + Write for us
- Your keyword + Contribute
- Your keyword + Submit post
5. You need to create communities of conversation
In terms of building a voice in a community sense, one of the best places to look is the question-and-answer based platform, Quora. It’s a ready-made platform to share your insights and build an audience based on your expertise. You should also join any Facebook groups and forums that are relevant to your skills and what you do so that you can be there and chip in when someone is asking for advice or solutions.
Try to answer every question that you can when interacting in online communities and be generous when helping others with their problems through your replies and suggestions. This will enhance your credibility. When you start answering questions on a particular subject or topic regularly, people will get to know you, and you will become their go-to source for information on such topics.
Nicolas Cole, the founder of Digital Press, is one of the top writers on Quora. He will reach 700 answers soon with 20.2m answer views so far on Quora. Nicolas’s name has become a brand in itself when it comes to Quora. Nicolas’s answers are up to the mark, provide great value to anyone who is reading them, and generate a good number of ‘up votes’ from users.
Knowing your true self is the key to effective self-branding. Once you know who you are and what you are really passionate about (and how you want to stand out in the crowd), you will be ready to build a brand for yourself.
Investing in self-branding is the best investment ever but it begins with understanding YOU.
By Pavan Belagatti
Guest Author: Pavan Belagatti is one of the youngest growth hackers from India and a digital marketing influencer. He writes about marketing and growth hacking related topics as well as helps companies maximize their traffic and outreach. He is the owner of Growth Hacky and contributes to some top-notch websites around the world including TheNextWeb, Influencive, ThriveGlobal and Tech in Asia.