If you’re looking to make a better name for yourself within your industry, it’s time to start focusing on and strengthening your personal brand in 2020. Whether you’re working for a company, freelancing, or you run your own business, having a strong personal brand is just as important as a business’s brand.
A strong personal brand can help you to stand out from other applicants, freelancers, and business owners when people are considering working with you.
Your personal brand doesn’t necessarily have to just be your social media presence, either. Let’s dive into my top tips for strengthening your personal brand and becoming an influencer or thought leader within your industry.
How to Strengthen Your Personal Brand In 2020
1. Define your niche.
The first thing you need to do when working to strengthen your personal brand is define your niche. While this is likely already the industry you’re working in, it doesn’t necessarily have to be.
Defining your niche for your personal brand can be a great way to start making a name for yourself in the industry you want to move towards in the future. Or, it can just help you to become more prominent within your current industry.
Because your personal brand is all about helping you make connections and put yourself out there professionally, you want to make sure you’re targeting the right niche before you even start.
2. Use the same profile photo across the board.
Make it easy for your audience to find you on various social media sites. Anytime you get a new headshot or want to change your profile photo, you need to do it on every public platform, whether that’s your Twitter, LinkedIn, personal website, etc.
Doing this helps people who are working with you and want to find you on other platforms easily know whether a profile belongs to you or not.
Many of these people don’t know what you look like that well, so keeping the same photo across the board makes it easy to connect with your audience on a variety of different platforms.
3. Find a color to represent your personal brand.
Just like businesses have their brand colors within their logo and style guide, you should have a color scheme for your personal brand.
While you don’t need to have a logo – unless you want one – you should have at least one color that you incorporate into your personal website, business cards, resumé, and more, that represents you and your brand.
For example, my color is a pink/coral, and I keep the hex code saved so that I can access it anytime I’m creating something for my personal brand. Even if it’s a quick graphic to share on Twitter, I make sure that it somehow incorporates my specific brand pink.
4. Create a personal website.
If possible, purchase the domain for your name and turn it into a single-page, basic website. If that’s not feasible – for example, the domain for my name is $15,000 and my personal brand just isn’t that lucrative – see if you can create a domain/personal brand name that incorporates your name and your niche.
Your website doesn’t have to be anything crazy in-depth. You can have a single page introducing yourself and what you do, or you can create a multi-page site that also serves as a blog and/or portfolio.
Creating a personal website doesn’t have to be expensive, either. There are many apps and software available that will help you do it for cheap or even for free.
5. Send a weekly newsletter.
You don’t have to own a business to start building a list and creating a regular newsletter. In fact, this can be a great way to test the waters for a side hustle, or simply become an outlet for you to be creative.
A couple of different marketers at Buffer are great about owning their personal brands and creating their own newsletters. Product marketer Alfred Lua links to his website in his bio where you can sign up for his biweekly newsletter about his marketing journey and favorite tips, tools, and tricks.
Brian Peters, who works with the strategic partnerships department at Shopify and was previously digital strategist at Buffer, also has his own personal website and newsletter. His goes out each Friday and covers a different topic designed to get his audience thinking critically.
Discover ways that you can start to build your own email list and send a weekly or biweekly newsletter to help strengthen your brand and your position as an industry leader.
6. Participate in Twitter chats.
A Twitter chat is a typically hour-long session where a group of individuals chats about a set topic using a hashtag to keep the conversation organized.
For example, #hootchat, hosted by social media management tool Hootsuite, is a marketing Twitter chat. They host the chat weekly, focusing on a new marketing related topic each time. Hootsuite leads the chat, tweeting out five or six different questions throughout the hour for participants to answer and discuss.
Finding a Twitter chat in your industry and participating in it regularly is a great way to meet new connections in your niche as well as get your insight out there. Let people know who you are, and ensure your profile is branded with your photo, bio, and website link.
7. Have professional photos taken.
Instead of getting a friend to grab a quick snap of you on your iPhone camera to use as your next profile photo, book a session with a local photographer.
Not only do you want to get a professional headshot taken, but it’s also a good idea to have an entire professional shoot done so that you can use photos of yourself for many different purposes.
If you’re freelancing or trying to start your own business, these are great to use throughout your website, within social media ads, in your newsletter, and more.
Help your audience get to know you by offering snapshots of yourself in your work element. Hiring a photographer to come into your home office and get a few shots is a great idea to do every quarter or so, so that you can continually have fresh branded content.
8. See if your company will let you use your name to represent them.
Not everyone wants to start their own business, but everyone should still have a strong personal brand and position themselves as an industry leader, even when working for a company.
If this is you, see if your company will allow you to use them to help forward your personal brand. There are a few ways to do this. If you create an email newsletter for the company, see if you can have it sent from you, instead of just the company name.
As I am content marketing manager at Visme, the emails people on our list would receive would say they’re from “Chloe with Visme” instead of just “Visme.”
Not only does this help you and your personal brand, it also helps the company seem more personable, and can increase open and clickthrough rates. Sounds like a win-win to me!
This is a highly specific example, though, so take a look at your position and find something that’s public facing and see if you can put your name out there.
9. Guest post on industry blogs.
One great way to make a name for yourself is to write longform content and guest post on blogs in your industry. If you aren’t able to find blogs to contribute to, at the very least consider publishing your content on LinkedIn.
However, if you search regularly and continue to reach out to editors and follow up, you should be able to find a good guest posting opportunity at least once a month.
10. Create genuine connections.
If you take anything away from this post, let it be this – in order to have a successful personal brand, you need to create genuine connections with others in your industry.
Don’t let your relationships be all about what you can get from them. You’ll find that you see a much higher return on investment if you create actual connections with people within your industry that you can talk shop with and ensure that you both help each other out when needed.
What have you done so far to strengthen your personal brand? Which of these tactics are you most excited to try out? Let me know in the comments!