More and more, knowledgeable individuals are developing themselves as brands. For example, well-known fitness professionals like Chalene Johnson and Cassey Ho have become the product they sell. Public relations expert Marsha Friedman believes that everyone should follow in these experts’ footsteps. “By branding yourself—making sure the world knows who you are and what expertise you have to offer—you not only set yourself apart from your competitors but you also open the door to new opportunities,” she explains.
Here are her top tips for developing your own brand:
- Make sure your website represents you exactly the way you want to be seen. Your website is one of the best places to control your image. That could mean you want to be viewed as witty, as intellectual or as physically fit. It could mean you want the world to see you as an expert in a particular field. Maybe you want to convey an image of trust.
- Maintain a strong social media presence. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media sites are invaluable tools for networking and for getting your message out quickly under your personal brand. Make sure you have a unified message that weaves through your website, your social media sites and anything else you use to promote yourself. Also keep design elements consistent from one platform to the next.
- Keep your presence alive in traditional media, too, making yourself available for interviews. Media appearances act as a third-party endorsement, casting you as an authority in your field. This also needs constant cultivation. If you were quoted in a newspaper article last year, then you’re last year’s news. Even worse, if your competitors are quoted in articles today, they’ve become more relevant than you and they’re winning the personal-branding war.
- Remember: Branding yourself is not a one-shot deal. One of the biggest misconceptions about branding is that people believe they can do just one or two things to promote themselves and then their work is done. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your branding effort never stops. It’s like trying to become physically fit. You wouldn’t go to the gym for just 1 week to get your dream body—nor would you expect that a good work- out 3 years ago would leave you set for life. Your personal branding effort works the same way. It’s ongoing.