4 Key Stages In The Evolution Of Personal Branding:
- There was a brief time in history where you could find a job and keep it for life. Your tenure in that job was the centrepiece of your personal brand (although no-one called it that).
- Job security decreased while the competition and a need for differentiation increased.
- Social media allowed us to differentiate ourselves by enabling us to broadcast our ideas and create a following.
- Shrewd positioning, followed by a sustained contribution to a specific niche through digital and traditional channels emerged as the basis of modern personal branding.
Personal Branding Fundamentals
You were born into a world in which you had two employment options: to become an employee or an entrepreneur. Back then, only the latter group had to learn the art of branding and marketing. Today, everyone has to. Even if you work for someone, you are the head of marketing of a company called You, Inc (hence why I prefer "human marketing").
Job Trends In 2015
People are building careers that mix up periods of working for themselves with periods of working for others. More people express interest in jobs which offer them a sense of belonging to a worthwhile cause, while LinkedIn and Web 2.0 have transformed the hiring process to allow employers find such people with ease.
What Do You Stand For?
Before you begin publishing content under your brand name, you need to know why you're doing it. Your brand is a promise of value. Can you articulate that value? Who are the people that your brand serves? Why should they care about you? Your brand also needs to define its voice. The voice of Virgin is very different, for example, to that of BMW. What is yours?
Create A Winning Strategy
You are a small, yet vocal and nimble media company which owns its means of distribution. Your mission is to make a difference to your crowd by publishing content which distills original ideas, stimulates discussion and provides context on topics of interest in your niche. The biggest mistake people make is that they create content which adds a lot of noise, but little value. Before you publish anything, ask yourself - have I created anything new?
Marketing Your Content
Creating content is a great start, but it's not enough. For your content to have value it needs to be consumed by other people. Social networks allow you to achieve that. Don't try to be on all of them at once, or you'll end up being nowhere. Pick one or two where your audience hangs out and leverage them by create useful, meaningful connections with like-minded people.
The days of LinkedIn being a digital copy of your resume are long gone. It works best in conjunction with your resume, to help recruiters and hiring managers find you. LinkedIn has also recently allowed you to publish your own content on the site, which means increased visibility and credibility of your profile. Invest in a great headshot, regularly participate in LinkedIn Groups and remember that the key to success is consistency over time (there are no overnight results in the personal branding game).
Building A Loyal Twitter Following
The biggest mistake people make on Twitter is when they use it as a tool for pushing content. Pushing is allowed (and is necessary), however first and foremost Twitter is a listening and connecting tool. Once you find your niche, drop in on conversations and listen to what's being said before you even utter a word.
Becoming A Top Gun Blogger
Write. Write. Write. It will not be pretty when you start. That's OK. Write on your own blog and offer guest articles to other bloggers. Continue thinking about the needs of your people, connecting ideas, making discoveries - and writing about them. Treat each blog post as an authentic story, rather than an opportunity to preach.
Are Resumes Obsolete?
If a resume is the only weapon in your personal branding arsenal, you're in trouble. However, it still has a strong place as a part of your personal branding mix. Think of it as an extension of your business card. Ensure that your employment history is above the fold and that your personal profile matches the requirements of the role and positions you as a cut above your competition.
You're Hired. Now What?
Your personal branding efforts don't stop the moment you receive a job offer. Your brand is what will help you keep your new job, prosper and attract new opportunities. You must demonstrate brand integrity by upholding all your promises and value propositions, every moment you're on the job.