Your personal brand is a reflection of who you are, so it’s worth taking the necessary action to improve it.
I read Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk some time ago. And although a bit outdated as the Internet changes so fast, there is one powerful lesson I took from it.
Whenever I pick up a book, I try to make the best of it. I highlight anything important worth reading again and sometimes take notes. And if I come back to it again, I’ll have selected useful content to check out again.
An even better thing to do when reading a book is to take action upon what you learned immediately.
As a result of Crush It!, I focused on improving my personal brand over the course of a few days (although it’s a never-ending process and needs to be considered every step of the way).
What is Personal Branding?
Everyone in the digital world (and in life) has a personal brand, whether he’s aware of that or not.
Your online presence is the broader term, and it consists of everything you do online. All your actions, the roles you play, the information you share, the interactions – these shape who you are in the eyes of other people.
If you want to be taken more seriously, connect with influencers, find prospects for your business, or get hired as a freelancer, you need to take control of your personal brand.
Personal branding means marketing yourself as a brand. It used to be related only to companies and businesses some time ago, but today every individual is a brand.
So never again should you doubt whether you have a personal brand or not. It’s time for action. The good news is that you can always do something to improve it.
The first thing you need to do is realize how important that is.
If you want to be someone in the digital world today, you need to constantly be offering value, connecting with the right people, creating content, building stuff, learning new skills, etc.
You should be thinking of yourself as a brand. And whatever your business is, or if you’re a freelancer, have something on the side, or just have a blog, your personal brand is what will get you ahead.
I’m freelancing, running this site, have been blogging and writing professionally for many years now, have been published on some big sites, and am the author of a few eBooks. I have to be social too, so I communicate with my readers, followers on social media, and contact some important people through email.
I occasionally get into the more technical stuff – I design sites, do research, start new projects, work with audio content, put systems in place, and am constantly looking for ways to improve my skills online. Writing these days is simply not enough.
But I have overlooked my personal brand.
It was there, yes. I had a photo on social media accounts, had a long About page which I updated whenever necessary, my name appeared in many places, and people knew I was a writer and blogger. But that was all.
Now that I work with serious clients, however, accept sponsored posts on Let’s Reach Success, work with other writers, get hired and have a portfolio to show, I needed to take things to the next level.
And it didn’t take long. I did my research to see in what ways I could improve my personal brand and make Let’s Reach Success more business-like, rather than just a random blog.
Just a quick note: If you’re don’t already have a blog, or any type of site, that’s your most important first step. Here I’ll just share the changes I did to my blog that’s already a few years old.
So here’s what I did (and will soon do) and what actions you too can take to become an authority online:
10 Steps to Improving Your Personal Brand Today
1. Added an author bio.
Most people have that already. But I thought it wasn’t necessary. Well, it is.
2. Portfolio page.
Now that’s something important for a freelancer.
I usually find my clients through sites like UpWork and Guru, or sometimes they find me through my blog. I give them examples of my work in the form of links to articles. That works well. They can always browse my archives with 1600 blog posts to see whether my writing style fits their needs.
But now that I’m a brand, I should have a page for people willing to hire me. So I needed a Portfolio page too. There I included my experience in writing, what I can offer, press releases, contact info, some additional skills of mine (that always comes in handy), a contact form, more details on working together, and downloadable contact details just in case.
3. Added a personal touch to the homepage.
Let’s Reach Success has always been a blog first. Now it’s also a site and a business. That’s why I separated the blog (it used to be the front page), and personalized the homepage.
There are also the most popular topics on the blog, plus links to the best content in each. And that’s followed by an email signup form offering freebies.
PS, Things change all the time and I try new versions of this. Currently, there’s a magazine-style theme for the homepage. Experiment until you’re happy with what you see and the results.
An inseparable part of your personal brand and business.
It can be added to:
- email signature;
- in the newsletter;
- Facebook page;
- Favicon (the small icon next to the URL);
- business cards;
- social media profiles;
- any content you create online (SlideShare presentations, videos, infographics, PDFs, etc.);
- physical brand products (stickers, T-shirts, paper books, etc.).
4. Special attention to the About page.
That’s one of the most important pages on any site. Its purpose is to say who you are, what you do and what the site is all about.
There are no limits as to how creative you can get with your about page. Don’t forget to be yourself, though.
5. My photo, short bio and social media buttons in the sidebar.
Now even people who come to my blog using Google and read just a single post will know who’s the person behind it.
6. Professional photos.
That’s another thing you should do if you want to improve your personal brand as a freelancer and site owner.
Bad photos speak of bad quality. You want to look professional. And although we’re talking about freelance writing, people do need a confident individual with a personal brand behind all that.
7. Page for advertisers.
Created one with info for sponsors.
8. Made changes to the footer.
I’ve changed it many times, and will many more probably, but for now, I like how it looks.
It consists of three sections. On the left there’s a picture with the logos of the big sites I’ve been published on (it builds authority), under it there’s a quick link for advertisers or those who want to hire me. In the middle, there’s a short description of what the site is about. And on the right, a quick signup form with a search field below it.
At the very end of each page, there’s the copyright notice.
9. Created a more professional email signature.
Both in my email and in the footer of the newsletter for subscribers.
I included name, blog title plus link, Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus.
If you want to be even more professional, you can add the company name, photo, address and phone number.
10. Asked people I’ve worked with for testimonials.
Sometimes all you need to do is ask.
That’s it for now. I’m sure there are many other ways to improve your personal brand. Companies and big businesses are working on that 24/7. But for the digital enthusiast who is just starting out, the freelancer, or the blogger, that’s enough.