The Important Lesson Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and Other Leaders Have Learned About Personal Branding

While running for president of the United States in 2012, Mitt Romney famously said: “Corporations are people, my friends.” Actually, the converse is true as well: People, in a sense, are corporations. Until recently, we thought that only companies had brand identities. That is, until we started thinking of celebrities–such as Kim Kardashian, Beyoncé, or Donald Trump–as having them, too. Today, we’re increasingly aware that each individual’s reputation and attributes constitute someone’s unique personal brand.

Just like household name brands like Starbucks, L’Oréal, and Coca-Cola, you have certain characteristics that define you: ways that you think of yourself and ways that others think of you. Your personal brand is made up of thousands of choices and opinions, from the simple to the complex. Everyone you’ve ever met has formed opinions about you. You may not be aware of your brand, and that means it might not be the best, most accurate representation of who you are and what you’re capable of. Effective personal branding isn’t about putting on a show or figuring out how to do as little work as possible while getting the most financial reward. Life is too short not to be the best possible version of yourself.

So, who needs to care about personal branding, anyway? Is it really that important?

The short answer to the two questions above: a) Virtually everyone, and b) Yes, it is. How people see you matters. This is a fundamental truth of being a human being.

What leaders like Mark Zuckerberg realize is that they have a brand just as much as they have a reputation. Let’s look at you. Are you the life of the party? Well, that’s part of your brand. Do you tend to take control in a key business meeting? That’s part of your brand, too. Are you prone to making bad jokes when you’re nervous? That’s part of your br– well, you get the picture.

So let’s talk about some potential situations you may be facing right now. You might be trying to:

  • Raise your profile in general, by getting better known for the skills that you have

  • Launch your own brand or startup from scratch, and know you’ll have to be the best version of yourself for it to succeed

  • Increase your profile to market your brand to prospective clients

  • Digitally connect with your existing customers to figure out what they think, what they like, and how to better satisfy their needs

Personal branding can help you accomplish all of these things. So when do you need to look into refining your personal brand? Here are some situations you might be facing:

  • Your career is just starting out and you’re concerned that people don’t know what you’re capable of.

  • You’re looking to grow your influence in your existing company and move up through the ranks, but something about your reputation is stopping you from getting there.

  • You’re trying to move from one area of your company to another.

  • You’re looking to move from one sector or career to another, and want to convince hiring managers or prospective clients that your existing skill set will be an asset, not a drawback.

  • You’ve been downsized from a job and need to ensure that you’re in the best possible position to land a new gig that’s right for you, and you’re on the clock.

  • You’re reentering the work force after taking time off; perhaps after having children, or even post-retirement.

Personal branding standouts like Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and Peter Thiel have learned an important lesson: If you don’t acknowledge (or choose not to tailor the presentation of) your brand, people will draw their own conclusions. As Branson once put it: “Branding demands commitment; commitment to continual re-invention; striking chords with people to stir their emotions; and commitment to imagination. It is easy to be cynical about such things, much harder to be successful.”

Many people like to keep their head down and focus on the day-to-day operations of their job. You’re entirely welcome to just focus on your “real” work, as opposed to also focusing on the branding work we advocate. But why settle for that, given how important your career is to you? Is there really a benefit to not presenting yourself well? Look at where you are in your career. Is this where you want to be? If you’ve read this far, there’s a decent chance you’ve already asked yourself that very question.

Life is too short to do a job you’re not passionate about–or worse, that you might outright hate. You don’t want to get stuck in a career that doesn’t fulfill you or play to your strengths, do you? It’s very important for each one of us to explore whether we’re doing all that we can to have the best possible professional lives.

Feature Image Credit: Getty Images


The Important Lesson Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and Other Leaders Have Learned About Personal Branding

Kaplan Mobray on Personal Branding and Being Consistent #TrendingVideo – Marsha Wright Official

Hailed as one of the most powerful talks on Personal Branding and Sales, The 10Ks of Personal Branding is described as a life changing event and must-see presentation

DESCRIPTION: Best-selling author and motivational speaker Kaplan Mobray delivers his electrifying presentation on The 10Ks of Personal Branding to help professionals grow their career, increase sales, become better leaders at all levels and build a winning leadership brand. Globally recognized as one of the world’s most dynamic speakers Kaplan Mobray captivates audiences with his high-energy, fun, interactive style and highly informative content.

*The video above is syndicated from a third party. Therefore we accept no responsibility for its content. The views in the video above are not necessarily those of, and we accept no liability for them. If you own this video and want to have it removed from the site please contact us.

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Personal branding lessons from the world’s best experts on it

Elon Musk announced that he will be selling flamethrowers at $500 apiece, and within the next few days, he sold all his 20,000 production units, amassing a total revenue of $10 million. Musk also sold out 50,000 Boring company baseball caps priced at $20 each. There was no sales funnel and no great marketing spend behind the sales of any of these products. The entire sales cycle rode simply on the name and brand that Elon Musk has garnered for himself. Just like that, he was able to sell $11 million worth of products to the general public. That is the power of a .

Another great example is Gary Vaynerchuk who started branding himself by joining the Twitter bandwagon and later with his ‘DailyVee’ vlogs on YouTube. Gary’s tactics are much-loved by many and despised in some circles for being too loud. However, there’s no denying that his persistent branding has helped Gary increase the bottom-line of VaynerMedia, his company.

As an entrepreneur, it is important for you to for yourself as you can leverage it for many things, from effective marketing to even crisis management. If you are known to be an entrepreneur of repute (which is an effect of your personal brand), people will be likelier to trust you in the case of a crisis, mistake or some mismanagement.

Here are some ways for you to build your personal brand:

Think of yourself as a brand first

It is important that you think of yourself as a brand first. Do you have a skill set which makes you an expert and encourages people to listen to your work? If the answer to that question is a resounding “yes”, then prepare material that people would be ready to consume. Keep sharing such content on different social media platforms, respond to people’s questions, and give away a few hours a week for free consultation. Before you know it, there is a small set of people who follow you dedicatedly, and with each video and piece of content, your personal brand will slowly build. Just to be clear here, a personal brand is not about selling your products and services blatantly, but rather about .

Put your name on the internet – literally

Think of Neil Patel, Seth Godin, Grant Cardone, , and other big names in the business world, and one thing common to all of them is that they have a website registered under their own personal names. When people search for you, they are likeliest to use your name, and what better way to direct traffic to your website than to have your very name as a domain name? Building on this idea further, you can also use social media accounts in your name to represent your brand. Share your expertise on these platforms and use your (website’s) name extensively so that people keep visiting it.

Be yourself

You might have noticed that Gary Vaynerchuk is fond of using swear words, something quite a few people don’t appreciate. However, Gary proves that you don’t have to sound nice just because that is the accepted norm in society. Be someone whose authenticity you can be proud of when you stand in front of the mirror. If there are gesticulation and other minor things that are unique to you, do not try to hide them. Celebrate and when you deliver your content, as long as it doesn’t affect the quality of your message.

Produce content consistently

With one of the world’s most popular blogs and the author of 18 books, Seth Godin is a name that very few in the marketing world fail to recognise. Apart from blogging and writing books, Seth also founded , an article-sharing site with a revenue-sharing model (later acquired by Hubpages), and , an Internet-based direct marketing website acquired by Yahoo! in 1998. He is also one of the very few people inducted into the , an accolade that “honours direct marketing professionals whose outstanding career contributions have contributed to the practice, growth, and stature of the direct marketing community”.

Each of Seth’s books has been dissected for further study and set standards for marketing on their release. However, Seth would probably not be recognized if not for the consistency with which he blogs. He keeps pushing new content on a regular basis to his email subscribers; since he delivers a lot of value for his free readers, they don’t mind paying for his books and being a part of seminars and conferences where he is a constant feature. In fact, one could say that virtually all of Seth’s fame and success stems from his consistency. Similarly, strive to in delivering value to your followers, even when you start with zero subscribers in the beginning, and you will see the payoffs soon enough.

It is alright to be outlandish

Do you have streaks of behaviour that most normal folks might call crazy? Perfect – think of ways to add them to your personal branding. Few people have aced personal branding like of the Virgin Group. If you see his pictures anywhere, he is always smiling and in a fun mood. He opens himself up to the public, and all the PR stunts which accompany his company launches or his business dealings are a well-thought-out strategy.

A simple example of the strength his personal brand is the difference in follower counts between him and his company on LinkedIn. has 13 million followers while the Virgin brand has just 1 percent of the figure. The Branson Center for Entrepreneurship is another example of him leveraging his personal brand. Richard runs about 400 companies, and if you take him away from the equation, they would likely look like just any other conglomerate. Richard Branson’s sets them apart.

A personal brand will evolve with every interaction and experience. You need to be on your guard and keep reinventing yourself. Have a clear story that you can talk about, and even if you have multiple areas of interest, do not let variety dilute the quality and lead to mediocre content. Brands aren’t built in a day – it takes a ton of patience, and you need to work on it each day. Make this a priority and you will eventually grow a following who could develop into your company’s clients and customers as well.


#PRStudChat Discusses Personal Branding & How to Land A Dream Job

PRStudChat Sponsored by Spin Sucks

We’re headed into March and spring is almost here. In a few months, seniors will graduate and look forward to pursuing new opportunities in the workplace. What’s the best way to get noticed between now and then? Using social media to launch your personal brand and help you land your dream job.

On Thursday, March 8th at 12:00 p.m. ET, the #PRStudChat community will gather for a Twitter discussion on how social media elevates your personal brand and jumpstarts your career. Joining us as our special guest and co-host will be Aaron Lee (), Regional Manager APAC at Agorapulse. Lee will lead a dynamic discussion with PR students, professionals and educators that dives into the importance of having a personal brand and the best ways to expand your digital presence.

Here are several of the topics / questions that Lee and our community will discuss the night of the 8th:

Q1: Why is important to have a presence on social media even in college?

Q2: What social media channels do you suggest for anyone starting out?

Q3: Can being active on social media help you build a personal brand? How?

Q4: Please share a few best practices for building a personal brand through social media.

Q5: What are some don’ts when it comes to behaving on social media?

Q6: Can you land your dream job through social media? Please share some examples.

Q7. What is the best way to expand your personal brand and digital footprint on social media?

Q8. What are some tools and resources that help you to build, maintain and protect your personal brand?

Q9: What advice do you have for anyone starting out on social media?

As always, we welcome your questions before or during the chat. You can tweet , ,  or  with any questions you would like answered.

See you on March 8th at 12:00 p.m. ET!

About #PRStudChat

It began with a simple question asked by , then President of PRSSA at  (CMU). “” A follow-up blog post by Communication Strategist  inspired a series of direct messages on Twitter between Breakenridge and fellow PR industry pro, . This was an important question and one that should be explored beyond one student or one blog post. Why not build a community to help students across the country, and even the globe, learn from the experience and perspective of industry professionals … A community where everyone can learn and grow together.

About Spin Sucks

Started in September 2006 by , the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm, Spin Sucks mission is to change the perception people have of the PR industry.

What started as a simple blog, soon became a movement.  is the number one PR blog in the world, the go-to resource for PR professionals to learn new strategies and tactics, to share and receive expert advice. It’s also the place where people have fun discussions, brainstorm, ask for help, and make new friends.


#PRStudChat Discusses Personal Branding & How to Land A Dream Job

Online Personal Branding: Establishing Narrative

Narrative is story, your story. The reason you do what you do, the way you choose to do it and reasons behind why you do these things.

Establishing your narrative is important because it becomes the lens that you view success through, it directs and guides almost all the decisions you make as you develop your personal brand.

Almost every business leadership book has touted the importance of having a company vision, writing a vision statement, and clearly communicating that vision so that you can lead a group of people in the direction you need. Vision statements are an important part of leadership. They are also an important part of your personal brand.

A personal vision will help you frame where you plan to go, and will help you begin working out how to get there.

Narrative is, however, different. Narrative brings something new to your vision and message. “Narrative tells the story of why you exist and everyone loves a good story. Good storytelling draws people in; gives readers or listeners something to connect with; and has an underlying moral that teaches a lesson or challenges a thought” (Saunders, 2016).

Questions that help you develop your personal vision (FundingSage, 2017): • What problem do I plan to solve?

  • Why do I believe this problem needs to be addressed?
  • Does this problem matter to other people?
  • Do I honestly believe we have the answer to that problem?
  • What changes do I believe I can affect?
  • What are my greatest strengths?
  • What is my dream for my life?
  • How would things be different if my dream came true?
  • Does my dream connect on a personal level with others?

Questions to ask to develop your personal narrative:

  • What’s your life story?
  • Who or what made a big impact in your life?
  • Why is this important to you?
  • On a good day, what excites you?
  • On a bad day, what irritates you?
  • What do you believe that most people don’t believe?
  • Why do you believe that?
  • What problem or injustice do you see in the world?
  • What are you doing, or could you do, about it?

If vision is about painting a picture of where you want to be, then your narrative is the story about how you get there.

When developing a personal brand the vision will help direct you, but the narrative will help you develop the means in which you get there. The narrative will also outline what’s important to you, what you wish others to see and understand about you. It will become the basis of the message you portray through your personal brand.

Attend our Online Personal Brand Course here

online personal brandingpersonal brandpersonal branding


Online Personal Branding: Establishing Narrative

New Course: Online Personal Branding

We are excited to announce that we have launched a new course to help people establish and manage their personal brand online. The course “Online Personal Branding” is perfect for sales people, advisors, brokers, business executives, entrepreneurs, consultants, CEO’s, aspiring online celebrities and creatives.

Your personal brand is one of the most valuable assets you can control. Your brand helps your build a career, sell better, start a business or even start a movement. No matter what you’re trying to achieve in life, your personal brand can help you achieve it.

In today’s hyper connected digital era we see big potential in helping your personal brand reach new heights. The Internet has become a powerful platform to build a brand on quicker and stronger than we could before.

Great brands and celebrities have used the internet to launch their careers and build their influence and many people are seeing the value in building a personal brand online.

Personal brands help establish credibility, increase your online influence, secure work and grow your career, generate sales, attract potential partnership conversations, attract employment opportunities and expand your professional network. The boost in image will open opportunities and conversations that would ordinarily be unavailable.

While there are practical aspects to your personal brands there are also some more intangible gains in building a personal brand. Building a personal brand will help set you on a path for personal development, it challenges you to improve, to collate your thoughts and to have a clear vision of success. A personal brand will help you find focus and drive your ability to take steps to achieve your goals.

 Attend our Online Personal Brand Course here.

corporate trainingdigital coursepersonal branding course


New Course: Online Personal Branding

The Definitive Guide to Personal Branding

The Definitive Guide to Personal Branding

What Is Personal Branding:

When we talk about “personal branding” we are referring to establishing and promoting what you stand for. Your personal brand is the unique combination of skills and experiences that make you you. Effective personal branding will differentiate you from other professionals in your field.

A Brand Can Be Anything

We’re used to thinking about brands in relationship to companies and products – think McDonald’s or Apple. But nowadays, anything can be a brand. Even as an individual, you have a personal brand.

So what is your personal brand? Whether you’re known for your snaps or you’re still using a typewriter, you have a brand that exists both on and offline.

Luckily, there are a lot of great tools and resources out there to help you with the personal branding process. Use them to leave the right impression on people who look you up online.

The idea of personal branding makes some people uncomfortable. But, if you don’t take control of your personal brand online, then you are missing out on opportunities and letting others control your narrative.

At BrandYourself, we believe that personal branding should be accessible to everyone. That’s why we created this guide – to help you through the process of building your personal brand online.

While the specific circumstances and goals vary by individual, the overall concepts and process are still be relevant to everyone.

Why Personal Branding Matters

When it comes to building a personal brand, some people dismiss the process as being too time consuming, or not that important.

It’s true – you will have to devote time and energy into self branding properly. But the idea that building a personal brand is not important is just false, and here’s why:

People Are Googling You At Every Stage Of Your Career

Regardless of your age or professional stage, someone is screening you online. What they find can have major implications for your professional (and personal) well-being.

Just consider the numbers. According to CareerBuilder:

“More than half of employers won’t hire potential candidates without some sort of online presence today.”

Don’t lose out on an interview over something you can control – like your personal brand.

And if you’re not looking to get hired and think this doesn’t apply to you, think again. Especially if you own your own business or work as a freelancer:

“Over half of consumers have chosen to do business with a freelancer or company because of a strong, positive online presence.”

If you aren’t properly managing your online reputation, then you are actively losing out on business.

The average person now switches jobs every 2-3 years and 40% of the workforce will freelance by 2020. This means that a strong personal brand is more important than ever before. In fact, the more successful you want to be, the more important personal branding becomes.

According to a recent study from Weber Shandwick:

  • Global executives attribute 45% of their company’s reputation to the reputation of their CEO. That’s nearly half!
  • Additionally, a CEO’s reputation plays an important role in attracting employees to a company (77%) as well as motivating them to stay (70%).

How a CEO interacts online is directly tied to the success and appeal of a company in a major way.

Personal Branding Can Help You Take The Next Step

Numbers aside, the most important reason to focus on personal branding is to help yourself. Think of this as building an additional channel for growing your own successes.

Personal branding is a painless step in working towards your goals. Regardless of your industry or professional status, your personal brand has the power to make or break all kinds of opportunities for advancement.

When building your brand starts to feel like a job, remember that it is an essential part of cultivating your career. And keep in mind that the greatest investment of resources, time and effort will likely come up front.

Building and optimizing new profiles, generating content about you and your work, identifying your goals, building a brand strategy – this can feel overwhelming. But once you’ve established a strong foundation, you’ll have a roadmap to follow, which makes the whole process much more manageable.

Distinguish yourself from your competitors and take control of your personal brand with the following approach.

The Most Effective Process For Building A Personal Brand

We have established that personal branding is the process of presenting yourself as a marketable brand. As you start to go through the stages of creating a personal brand, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. But before you throw your laptop on the ground, take a deep breath.

Think of building your brand and personal branding as an ongoing process that can be broken down into the digestible phases. You don’t have to go from an inactive Facebook user to a top influencer on Snapchat. This isn’t an overnight process, and the objectives and specifics look different for everyone.

Below we’ve gathered the most important tips on how to build a personal brand with long-term success in mind. This entire personal branding process can be broken down into 3 pillars:

  • Pillar 1: Building a basic brand
  • Pillar 2: Building credibility & an audience
  • Pillar 3: Targeting Opportunities

Pillar 1: Building a Basic Brand: Looking the part

Build an online presence that reinforces your qualifications. When someone looks you up online, they need to see a strong presence with fresh content in your area of expertise. In order to look the part, you will need to:

  • Audit your search results
  • Clean up any content that doesn’t fit your desired image
  • Define yourself and your personal brand
  • Build an online presence that reflects your brand and expertise
  • Follow a personal branding strategy and stick to timelines

Audit Your Search Results

Before you start building a personal brand, you first need to know where you stand in search results. Google yourself so you know what others see when they look you up. Is an article from a high school play you were in 12 years ago your first result followed by your aunt’s travel blog from 2002? While these aren’t terrible results, they aren’t relevant, and could be hurting you.

Don’t worry about what you find. While some results may cause a knee-jerk reaction, keep looking. You have to know everything that you’re dealing with before you can come up with an effective personal branding strategy. Identify what search results or online content attached to you can damage your reputation.

If you’re worried about how long this will take, sign up for our DIY tool. Our software will instantly scan your search results for potentially damaging information.

Clean Up Risky Search Results & Social Media Posts

Once you know what kinds of search results are closely attached to your name, you can take steps to remove them. Start with the easy wins. That means posts, images, videos, comments, etc. that you can simply unpublish or delete. Take some time going through your social media profiles and website(s).

Get rid of anything that doesn’t fit with your vision for your personal brand. That livejournal entry about how AFI changed your life was relevant in highschool, sure. But it may be time to unpublish your old posts when trying to make partner at a top commercial arbitration firm.

Clean up can at times be tough, even if you’re not particularly active on social media. That’s because there’s always the chance that a post, comment or picture from years ago could come back and sabotage your personal branding strategy (even if you didn’t write or post it).

With this in mind, we created a new feature on our DIY tool to help you find damaging search results and “red flag” content on your social media profiles.

After tons of research, we found the following types of posts/pictures/comments, etc. to be the most damaging:

  • Unprofessional Behavior
  • Unprofessional Communication Style
  • Drinking or Drug Use
  • Criminal Behavior
  • Polarizing Views – particularly when related to politics, religion, race and gender.
  • Sexually Explicit Content
  • Violence or Bullying
  • Bigoted Behavior

Define Yourself And Your Personal Brand

After you clean up existing web properties, you can really start to think about the personal brand that you are trying to build. Create your own personal brand online by identifying the unique elements that make you you.

What is your personal brand? What do you want to achieve by putting effort into how you look online?

When figuring out how to start your own brand online, ask yourself questions like:

  • Who are you?
  • What makes you unique?
  • What is your vision for your personal brand?
  • What is your goal with personal branding?
  • What are your professional goals?
  • Who is your audience? Who can you help?
  • How can you help them? What makes you different?
  • What’s your X Factor? What makes you reliable? Trustworthy?
  • How do you prove that? What’s the evidence?

In addition to these kinds of questions, start thinking about your accomplishments and gather any supporting materials that can reinforce them. What are your short and long-term goals for your personal branding strategy?

Before you start building your personal brand, think about (and find examples of) the information that you will want to share about your own successes.

Showcasing Your Skills And Accomplishments

You’ve just finished thinking about your goals and what differentiates you from others. Now it’s time to hone in on showcasing your assets.

  • Writing out the accomplishments that make you proud
  • Listing moments when others recognized you and your work publicly
  • Thinking of times other people acknowledged your work privately

Whether you’re building a personal brand while: applying to schools, job-searching or just trying to increase your network and earning potential, take some time to answer the questions above for yourself.

Think holistically about what you are projecting and the impression that you want to leave with anyone who searches for you online.

Now you can come up with a succinct description of your personal brand and bio, as well as longer versions. You will use these variations of your biography and personal brand statement for your social media profiles. This is how to make your own brand cohesive, but still have unique content available on different platforms. This is appealing to users and search engines alike.

Here’s a great example of the start of a personal brand statement:

Value: I help fast growing startups in NYC find flexible leases/office spaces that fit their culture and budget. I help them throughout their entire journey, from CoWorking to expansion. Nobody knows more about startups and how real estate fits into their strategies better

X Factor: I love NYC, am a die-hard Yankees fan, NYC Marathon veteran, and host quarterly dinners for new NYC Founders

  • Here are 3 testimonials
  • White paper on getting your first office
  • Monthly blog posts about startups and real estate in NYC

It’s not enough to just write a blog posts every month, successful personal branding means that the right people will see what you’re doing.

You want people to find results that are positive and relevant to you when they search your name online.

Spend time reflecting on who you are and what you want to highlight through your personal brand.

Building An Online Presence That Reflects You And Your Expertise

Just to recap, you should have the following written out somewhere:

  • A clear outline of your personal brand
  • Short and long-term personal branding goals
  • Your unique qualities, talents, areas of expertise
  • Your accomplishments

Once you feel confident in that, it’s time to start building an online presence that people find easily and leaves a great impression.

This involves following a 3-step process of building a strong foundation of sites and profiles, optimizing them for search engines, and then maintaining content over time.

A Strong Foundation Of Sites And Profiles

In order to have a strong online presence, you need to build the sites and profiles that you want people to find. This involves having a strong combination of personal websites and professional profiles. What does a strong foundation look like?

  • 1 Personal Website
  • 10-12 Professional profiles

You need to build these because each page of search results typically shows at least ten results. By taking control of at least 10-12 properties, you give yourself the chance to curate those key search results on the first page of Google. And what is a personal brand without visibility?

When choosing which profiles to build out for your personal branding foundation, we suggest that you select at least 10-12 from the following list:

  • Personal Website
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • YouTube
  • BrandYourself
  • Vimeo
  • Tumblr
  • SlideShare
  • Medium
  • CrunchBase
  • Pinterest
  • Quora
  • Instagram (while this is not as strong for Google search, it is an excellent networking tool and a place to showcase your personality)
  • 2-4 additional properties relevant to your industry

To learn more, visit our post on how these 20 key properties can improve your personal branding effectiveness and earn you more money.

Optimize Your Online Presence For Search Engines

Optimize the existing sites and social media profiles that you control for search engines and for people looking you up online.

To optimize these properties for search engines:

  • Use your full name on all profiles and domains (be consistent with the name you go by)
  • Write in the third person when you can
  • Fully fill out all profiles
  • Include your location when possible
  • Include relevant keywords in meta-data
  • Take advantage of h1 tags

To learn more about how to optimize your existing social media profiles and personal website, check out BrandYourself’s blog and BrandYourself University. These resources provide tons of personal branding information about how to optimize profiles for search engines and the people googling you!

To find out which properties are right for you and how to regularly optimize them, sign up for our free DIY tool and we’ll answer these questions step by step.

If you have an amazing personal brand, but no one sees it, it’s not helping you. That’s where strategy comes in.

Personal Branding Strategy And Timelines

When it comes to getting started with your own personal branding project, it’s easy to get a lot done in a short amount of time.

With a little bit of focus and the help of free resources at your disposal like our DIY tool, take control of how you look online. Our tool alone walks you through the following phases of personal brand creation:

  • Building
  • Auditing
  • Clean up
  • Optimization
  • Content Creation
  • Monitoring

Depending on the current search results for your name, some of the sites and profiles that you build might even start to rank pretty quickly.

However, in most cases, it takes time for Google and other search engines to index these profiles.

Typically, indexing takes 2 to 6 weeks, but even then, that doesn’t mean that your new Zillow account will automatically shoot to #1 when someone looks up your name.

Search engine optimization and personal branding are part of an ongoing strategy that depends on your consistent updates and regular engagement across platforms.

You will see incremental changes over time. While that can be frustrating at first, this is very common when you use proper personal branding and SEO strategies. At BrandYourself we follow best practices and work towards the long-term health of your online presence.

Pillar 2.1: Building Credibility

Use your personal brand to start getting credible placements in relevant third party publications and channels to get your content syndicated. In addition to ongoing content creation that you publish on sites and profiles that you control, it’s critical to show others (and search engines) that you are relevant and knowledgeable. Publishing on well-respected, and high quality platforms helps establish this kind of credibility.

  1. Writing strategic content in the right places

    As you get used to creating content (blog posts, images, infographics, videos, audio clips or a podcast, presentations, status updates, etc.), start to publish it in places where interested parties in your field will see it.

    Whether that means publishing on LinkedIn, Medium, or a super niche site devoted to a particular aspect of your field, do it!

    By finding your audience, you have the opportunity to create and share something directly with the people who will get the most out of it.

    And don’t be afraid to reach out to other well-regarded thought leaders in your industry to see if your work can appear on their sites and profiles as well.

  2. How to build your personal brand through third party placement

    As you start your personal branding campaign, try a combination of pitching to third parties and getting your content syndicated.

    When it comes to guest blogging – or creating new content for another platform, consider the following points:

    • Understand the audience and content typically found on that platform
    • Pick out the top performing content
    • Replicate aspects of what made that perform so well

    Talk to the editor, and perform your own research so that you are setting yourself up for a lot of engagement from this article. Hopefully you’re on the same page with the owner of the blog, but take this into your own hands so that your experience as a guest blogger can be held up as a shining example to others, and acts as a return ticket to guest post for this person in the future.

    Having your content appear elsewhere through third party publishing exposes your personal brand to another audience, and offers a new layer of credibility.

    Syndication (ie someone re-publishing your work) serves a similar function. The whole point of this is brand visibility and credibility.

  3. Data is your friend

    Keep track of the engagement that your content receives on different platforms. See if you can recognize any patterns in the type of content that tends to do well on some platforms and not so well on others.

    Consider what day of the week and what time of day you post content. Use the tools at your disposal to see if you can recreate those successful posts and avoid those that people don’t want to engage with.

  4. Stay organized

    In addition to using different tools to help you analyze the performance of the articles, updates, tweets, comments, videos, photos, etc that you’re posting, consider using social media management tools to make life easier when it comes to sharing content consistently. While organic posting is important, don’t be afraid to make your life easier using tools like Hootsuite or TweetDeck.

Pillar 2.2: Effective Personal Branding By Strategically Building An Audience

Start building a relevant audience of “opportunity gatekeepers” on key social media platforms and publications.

  1. Determine the gatekeepers of your opportunities

    First identify what your goals are:

    • Who is your target audience?
    • Where are the best places to connect with these people?
    • What kinds of content interests them?

    Once you identify this, you can then figure out who you need to get in touch with in order to get in front of that audience and accelerate your personal branding campaign.

    Make your own brand stand out by getting endorsements or even just mentions from respected leaders in your industry. Who really has the power when it comes to exposure and endorsement of your brand?

    Look to people in your industry who are highly successful and visible on social media. But also look for the best platforms to connect with your audience. Get creative when it comes to asking influencers in your field for help.

  2. Start with who you know

    Not everyone that you know will fit into the bucket of “strategic audience members” for your personal branding efforts. However, there’s a good chance that you already know a lot of people who are interested in your area of expertise that want to help you and see you succeed.

    When you’re first starting out, make sure to connect with these kinds of folks online since you’ve already developed a relationship with them in real life.

    Keep track of these key players because you may have special content, information or opportunities for them as you build out your personal brand. These are the people who can share your brand with other interested people that they know. This is an important facet of audience building.

  3. Connect with gatekeepers & influencers via social media & strategic publications

    Find inspirational influencers and mentors who are in line with what you’re trying to accomplish.

    Connect with and follow them using the personal branding tools at your disposal. An easy place to start is by looking at the people recommended to you or “also searched” (depending on the platform), when you look at a profile of a thought leader you admire.

    You can also do a quick Google search for the top influencers within a given industry. There are plenty of lists online outlining the “top people to watch” or “top people to follow”. Do a quick search of “Top [industry] influencers on Twitter/LinkedIn/etc” and go from there.

    Start off by focusing on people in your industry, but don’t be afraid to learn more about people from other disciplines who embody something about your personal brand.

    Whether you end up speaking directly with these influencers or not, you can learn a lot by watching how they (or their team) execute their own branding strategies.

    In addition to connecting with the people who are succeeding at goals similar to your own, make sure that you also connect with relevant publications, forums and news sources specific to your industry.

    Pay attention to the tone and type of content that is published there, and especially those items that tend to have great engagement metrics.

    Figure that out so that when you pitch a piece there, an editor will take an interest.

Pillar 3: Nurturing your audience for personal branding opportunities

Make unique, high-quality content to stay top of mind with your audience and to win more professional opportunities. You never know exactly how or when a piece of content that you publish will resonate with a potential business partner, client or employee – so keep at it.

By branding yourself as an active thought leader in your industry, you open the door to tons of possibilities. This includes (but isn’t limited to):

  • Speaking gigs
  • Jobs
  • Partnerships
  • Blog exchanges
  • Interviews
  • Mentorships
  • Promotions

If you opt out of consistently developing your personal brand and engaging online, you are choosing to limit potential growth in your career. It’s true that none of these opportunities presented by your audience will last if you don’t have the talent and drive to support the person you illustrate through your personal brand.

But, if you have the skills, why not open as many doors as possible for yourself? And that starts with personal branding, actively connecting, and building your audience.

How To Cultivate Your Own Brand With Advanced Audience Building Techniques

When it comes to developing your personal brand, visibility is a necessity. In addition to the initial steps suggested in Pillar 3, make a consistent ongoing plan to ensure “personal branding recognition”. Again, steps you can take to increase your visibility online by strategically working with your audience include:

  • Outreach
  • Networking
  • Ongoing engagement
  • Ongoing content creation
  • Link building
  • Advanced keyword strategy

This process blends best practices and proven strategy when creating a personal brand that showcases your strengths and increases your earning potential.

  1. Outreach

    This is a pretty broad topic, but it refers to contacting people, organizations, news sources, etc that you think would be interested in you or your work. Outreach can range from tweeting at someone, to sending a message on LinkedIn, to cold calling, emailing, pitching and more. Your goal in outreach is to create “brand awareness” in others.

  2. Networking

    While the term “networking” usually elicits groans and eyerolls, it doesn’t have to.

    When done well, networking is about making a sincere connection with another person that can then develop into a mutually beneficial relationship. It’s as simple as that. Personal branding tactics don’t always have to scale to be powerful.

    You already have a network, so when it comes to growing your audience and creating personal brand awareness – think about people that you’d like to reconnect with as well as new people to bring into your orbit.

    Really listen to what they’re up to, and check in with them regularly. Avoid using people when networking. Instead focus on finding good hard-working people, that you respect who may have some overlap in your industry or desired profession. While “networking” meetups and conferences exist, it doesn’t have to be so formal if that’s not your style.

    Just find events in real life or online relevant to your industry and talk to people. Some events could include:

    • Talks from a leader in your field
    • Charity events run by colleagues
    • Gallery openings featuring subject matter relevant to your industry
    • Online forums
    • Interest groups on social media

    Remember, networking doesn’t have to happen in formal settings. It can start in real life or online, but engaging on social media is the easiest way to nurture those relationships actively and passively. These efforts will always help you when it comes to personal branding.

    Your brand should nurture your network and vice versa.

  3. Ongoing engagement

    Publishing high quality content isn’t enough. In order to keep your existing audience interested and attract more people to your brand, you have to regularly engage on these platforms.

    Respond as best as you can to the comments, questions and content directed at you from your audience.

    If you don’t acknowledge the different ways that people are choosing to interact with you online, then your brand may come off as out of touch, and inaccessible.

    While you don’t have to craft long responses to every single person who comments on your Facebook page, respond when you can. And if you notice general trends in questions and posts, acknowledge that and respond publicly.

    In addition to engaging directly with your growing audience, publicly engage with people and news sources that are prominent in your industry. From commenting on articles to retweeting people you admire, it’s important to demonstrate that you are active in the conversation that’s happening in your industry.

  4. Ongoing content creation

    When it comes to developing a personal brand, regularly updating your profiles and website(s) with fresh content is a must. Consistent content creation positively impacts three channels of your overall personal branding strategy:

    • Search engine optimization
    • Personal brand development
    • Audience engagement and growth

    Search Engine Optimization

    From an SEO perspective, high-quality content that people engage with shows search engines that your property (and that particular video, blog post, photo, etc.) is valuable. Over time, this translates to an increase in authority, which mimics the authority you are aiming to grow with personal branding.

    Sites that search engines view as “high authority” outrank their competition … that means that when people look you up online, they’re more likely to click on that link, as opposed to those ranking below it. When people find this profile or piece of content, not only are they exposed to engaging information, but they see your positive personal brand and may increase your audience numbers.

    In short: Ongoing content creation + optimizing your properties for search engines = higher authority = best chance at ranking high in SERPs = Better chance of people finding you = successful personal branding

    Personal Branding Development

    After you’ve created and optimized a strong foundation of profiles and websites, you still have to keep them fresh by updating them with new content to keep your personal branding campaign heading in the right direction.

    • Demonstrate that your personal brand is part of your industry’s current conversation
    • Present your brand voice as relevant
    • Reinforce your personal brand values through examples

    Audience engagement and growth

    Another critical reason for ongoing content creation is, it nurtures your existing audience and encourages new audience acquisition.

    Nurture existing audience

    • Content creation with personal branding in mind reinforces the aspects of your brand that audience members enjoy with each post
    • Provide value to those who are already on your team
    • Encourage existing audience to engage more frequently with your properties
    • Increase the likelihood that your audience will follow your calls to action, which is the main purpose of personal branding at the end of the day
    • Sharing new content regularly gives you the chance to see what your audience responds to and improve their experience with your brand accordingly

    Expand your audience

    • New content is a must when pitching to news publications, blogs and magazines – getting placed exposes you to an entirely new audience
    • Increase your chances of being featured then discovered by a new audience on social media
    • Tailor new content to target emerging demographics that should know about your personal brand, but don’t yet
    • New content increases the likelihood that your current audience will share something with potential new audience members
  5. Link building

    By growing your audience with personal branding, you increase the opportunities for link building.

    Link building is a search engine optimization tactic where you try to earn links to your website or social media profile from a another site. The value of these links increases based on the authority of the site linking to you.

    In other words, a link to your website from the New York Times is much more valuable than a link to your site from a spammy website that doesn’t rank well.

    There are two main benefits of effective link building. The first is that you will earn referral traffic from the site that links to you, bringing your personal brand more exposure. The second is that new links to your site give it a greater chance of ranking highly for your target keywords.

    This can be links to your home page so you can rank for your own name, or links to a specific page on your site so that it might rank for its own set of keywords (more on this in #6).

    As you start to connect with your new community that you’ve built through personal branding, the opportunity for link building will undoubtedly present itself.

    Simply by expanding your audience and developing your personal brand, you increase the potential for link building. As you start to collaborate with others (many of whom may come to you or you’ll find through your network and audience), you start the process of link building if they agree to link to your site from theirs. There are many advanced link building tactics you can use in your personal branding strategy, but for now stick with the basics.

    In addition to SEO value, the process of link building takes advantage of your current audience and expands your reach to a new one.

  6. Advanced keyword strategy

    When it comes to capturing your target audience and growing your personal brand, don’t shy away from a keyword strategy. If you look at the top personal branding experts, most of them are comfortable with the basics of keyword research.

    Use free tools like Google Adwords and Keyword Planner to create a list of words related to your personal brand and industry. Using tools like these let you investigate the volume of searches for specific keywords.

    So what? You may ask. Well, by doing research on words related to your industry, you can find specific keywords or phrases (long-tail keywords) that a subset of your desired audience is searching for.

    The search results currently ranking for those kinds of keywords probably aren’t that competitive. By choosing content topics carefully and optimizing the content properly, you can likely get your piece ranking for that keyword.

    Even if only 100 people look up that term per week, you’ll get a significant portion of those people to view your content once it’s ranking in the first or second spot of search results.

    While this takes research, patience and awesome content, an advanced keyword strategy gets new people to discover you organically, and help the audience you’ve built with personal branding continue to grow over time.

Additional Resources

While the focus of personal branding should be about getting your story out there and connecting with the right people, another important aspect of actively branding yourself has to do with risk factors.

Personal branding to defend against a crisis

By thoughtfully developing your personal brand online, you are taking preventative steps. The act of personal branding will help you preemptively combat negative or irrelevant online content about you or someone who shares your name.

Even if there is nothing unflattering published about you online right now, there’s always the chance that a disgruntled former employee, an unreasonable client, or a temperamental ex will change that.

Instead of having to jump into crisis management mode when this happens, you are already getting ahead of that scenario through consistent work and development of your personal brand.

If you haven’t already done so, sign up for our DIY tool to help you stay on track and keep your personal branding efforts heading in the right direction.

Our free tool offers:

  • Social Scan Technology
  • Guides from BrandYourself University
  • Reputation Score
  • Regular audits of your online presence
  • Alerts when negative search results appear or change in rankings for your name
  • Steps to take to regularly optimize your sites

Dealing With Negative Search Results

If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of having damaging search results pop up when someone googles your name, you’re not alone.

Even though this is not uncommon, the effects can still take a toll on your professional and personal life.

BrandYourself was in part founded because Pete Kistler couldn’t get an internship since he shared his name with a criminal. Google searches that resulted in a mistaken identity caused tons of rejections. It also crystallized the importance of accessible tools for online reputation management and personal branding.

If you find yourself in a situation similar to Pete’s, all hope isn’t lost.

Developing a strong cohesive personal brand online isn’t going to happen overnight. However, over time you’ll find that the process of personal branding provides the added benefit of suppressing negative content and replacing it with a more complete picture of who you are.

To learn more about dealing with negative search results and how that relates to your personal brand, visit our advanced guide from BrandYourself University here.

In that guide, you’ll find:

  • How to build your personal brand’s foundation
  • How to optimize your sites and profiles
  • Updating old and creating new content
  • Techniques to “delete” or de-index offending search results
  • Filing a request with Google
  • Filing a DMCA takedown request
  • The right to be forgotten
  • Revenge porn
  • And more

Most successful people have to deal with negative, irrelevant or personal search results at some point. Even so, it can feel like an embarrassing failure when it happens. Try to brush that reaction aside, and instead focus on what you can control.

Dealing With Negative Search Results

If you don’t have time to put in the work that it takes to build and maintain a personal brand successfully, BrandYourself offers a number of managed services packages. We are happy to do the work for you and handle the entirety of the personal branding process.

No matter what your needs are, our team of experts are ready to work with you to come up with a solid strategy to accomplish your goals.

While every client campaign is different regarding the specifics of their personal branding strategy and execution, you can expect the following when you work with our in-house team of specialists:

  • We build you an online personal brand that highlights your expertise
  • We make sure people find your presence when they google you
  • We continually create positive content that positions you as a thought leader in your field
  • We strategically start to help you build an audience to amplify the opportunities coming your way
  • We leverage thought leadership to find speaking, press, and career opportunities
  • We monitor the web for damaging content and mitigate the impact if anything shows up
  • We report on your progress as your online reputation improves over time

Where You Go From Here

In today’s competitive job market, a strong personal brand is no longer a “like to have”, but a “must have”. Whether you choose to use our DIY tool on your own, or enlist the help of a highly trained Reputation Specialist, it’s time to get started with personal branding.

No matter who is doing the work for you, make sure that the work is consistent, valuable, shared with the right people, and optimized for search engines and users alike.

The steps in this guide have shown what is your personal brand, how to build your brand, but how to make sure the right people find it.

Now that you have a basic understanding of how this works, get started with BrandYourself’s DIY software which takes you through the personal branding process step by step.

If you want to take things even further, let us do the work for you. Give us a call at (646) 863-8226, or schedule a free consultation to discuss the best custom solution for you from our in-house Managed Services team.