Building a Personal Brand Tips

One of the trickiest parts about establishing yourself and building a personal brand is actually deciding what that brand will look like.

Here are a few tips for navigating the process. It’s not comprehensive but hopefully a starting point to start building your brand.

Building a Personal Brand Tips

What is a personal brand?

Branding is so, like, vague. Can a colour be a brand? Yes. What about a sound? Sure. How about a particular hat, can that be a brand? Why yes, yes it can.

So…anything can be a brand?

Also, how does this relate to building a personal brand?

Think of your personal brand as an extension of your personality

Online, a personal brand is best represented by something simple yet distinct.

Here are a few examples:

  • The topics you talk about (stick to a core few and watch your brand explode)
  • Your hobbies (not all of them, but a few relateable nerdy things)
  • The way you do your hair (unique style maybe? Or a memorable streak?)
  • Strong opinions (yeah, drama works)
  • Interesting jewelry or accessories (bright glasses, apron, bling, etc.)

But maybe more important than the look of your persona is the way you make people feel. How do you want to be thought about? And what adjectives would you like people to describe you like?

For example:

  • Helpful
  • Relatable
  • Funny
  • Polarizing
  • Smart
  • Competent
  • Expert
  • Trustworthy
  • Influencer

When thinking through your personal brand try and stick to your actual personality.

If you’re not good with staying organized then don’t bother trying to brand yourself as an on-top-of-things entrepreneur. You’ll be found out one way or another and it will all have been for nothing.

And if you’re an outspoken extrovert maybe avoid acting like you’re demure. It just won’t ring true.

When thinking through building a personal brand remember to be yourself

It can be tempting to take cues from others who have a strong brand when you’re not sure about yours.

And that can be OK at first.

Just be careful not to copy. Being inspired to try something on (a look, an approach a style, whatever) is one thing, but stealing is another.

Aside from the ethical issues, if you are trying to pass something off as yours that isn’t true to you there will be some problems.

  • It won’t fit
  • It won’t ring true
  • People won’t know why but they will be able to tell something’s off

Extra credit: Building Your Brand as a Freelancer

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Building a personal brand

For me, one of the most difficult things about crafting my brand has been trying to figure out which parts of me to highlight and which to leave behind.

Over the years I’ve tried things on, took cues from people I admired, threw spaghetti at the wall and generally struggled to find my laser-focused brand identity.

Part of my problem came from my resistance at narrowing my public persona. What do I cut? What do I keep? And how much do I share? Oh, and how much do I hold back?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to personal branding. If I’ve learned anything in all of my trial and error it’s this.

Building a personal brand is personal and should be carefully thought through

My brand used to be all over the place because I couldn’t decide which parts of me to share with others and which to keep private.

This all changed when I did a little exercise where I listed the things I was comfortable sharing online, in public, and the things I was not comfortable sharing.

Here’s what I came up with the first time I went through the exercise:

Things I’m comfortable sharing online, on social media

  • Things I like
  • Travelling pictures
  • My gardening
  • What I’m writing

Things I’m not comfortable sharing in public or online

  • Anything about my immediate family
  • About friends who are not colleagues or in my industry
  • My personal relationships

Once I listed out my go/no-go list I immediately stopped feeling pressure to share things about my personal life on social media. Up until this point I didn’t even realize how much internal turmoil I was going through.

Because other influencers were saying this is what I needed to do to build a personal brand. I had to be vulnerable. In order to build authentic relationships I had to put my whole self out on display.

But it didn’t sit right with me. I’m not secretive but I am selective. There are very few people in my every day life who know everything about me so the idea of sharing EVERYTHING online made me sick.

It’s not who I am.

Therefore, it didn’t fit.

So, yeah, people who can share their emotional ups and downs for everyone to see do attract a lot of people to them. And that’s great for them. But I am also confident that approach wouldn’t work for me.

My next concern was worrying that I’m not interesting enough to have a personal brand.

I love blending into the background, helping others get attention and observing from a distance.

Wasn’t working to stand out and draw people to me from my irresistable brand kind of the opposite of my favourite things?

Yeah, kind of.

And I’ve had to work through it. Because I want to be known as a trustworthy source of solid, reliable information I have had to learn to put myself out there and ask for attention.

And for a while, it didn’t fit.

But I’m learning, and I’m growing into it.

Case in point: this interview

Transcript: Robyn Roste | How to Become A Freelance Writer

You can read more about my journey in Platform Building: Smart and Strategic Tips for Writers

Free downloadable tips sheet. Elements of a brand | tips for bulding a personal brand

OK, time for a few quick tips. Remember, you can download these tips from my resource library, just subscribe to my email list and I’ll send you the password.

Once you’re in the library, navigate to the blogging section and look for the worksheet called “Brand Elements.”

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Elements of a brand

Branding is an interesting science mixed with art but there are consistent elements. These are all things you’ll need to think about, decide upon, and commit to if you want your branding to be solid.

  • Positioning (what you do and who you serve)
  • Colour palette (in general, like a signature colour)
  • Branded graphics or catchphrase etc.
  • Consistent fonts and image use
  • Voice (like, you need one and it should be distinct)
  • Consistent topics and keywords (whatever you decide you’re comfortable sharing, stick to the list)

Ready to go deeper into branding?

One of the trickiest parts about establishing yourself and building a personal brand is actually deciding what that brand will look like. Here are a few tips for navigating the process. It's not comprehensive but hopefully a starting point to start building your brand.

One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.

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