Updated: Aug 12, 2018
See, here's the thing. If you don't own your story someone else will. I've taught thousands of leaders, professionals, entrepreneurs, influencers and experts about the importance of their personal brands and the common deficiency I come across is that many simply don't understand exactly what a personal brand is and why it's important.
To be clear, personal branding has been around for a long, long time. There have been what I would consider masters of personal branding all throughout history. Don't believe me?
Tell me in the comment section the first thing that comes to mind when you see the name Marilyn Monroe?
What about Abraham Lincoln?
How about Elvis Presley?
All of these people are excellent examples of people who were/are brands. The evidence of this lies in the fact that you can come up with words to describe these people and formulate opinions about their lives and who they are without personally knowing them (well unless you DO personally know them)!
Many of my students and clients sum their personal brand to simply being their social media profiles. While in 2018 that may be a large part of it, as you can see by most of the names I listed above, people were established as brands long before social media was even a thought in anyone's mind.
What is a personal brand?
The intersection of everything about you = your personal brand. The above diagram only depicts some of the things that help make up your personal brand. Your personal brand are those things that you can control, like your hair style, but it's also those things that you can't necessarily control, like your personality. In a nutshell, your personal brand is the lasting and repetitive message you want people you directly and indirectly engage with to remember about you.
So whether or not you have social media - and, honestly, I truly hope you do at this day in age - you have a personal brand!
Why is personal branding important?
To put it simply, personal branding is important because perception is reality. What someone thinks about you when you're not in the room matters. It matters because it can - and often does - affect whether or not you get that next job. Personal branding affects whether or not potential customers will buy from you and, personal branding has a direct impact on whether or not you get accepted to your dream school. (These are just a few examples of why personal branding matters...)
See, people are formulating opinions about you and deciding who you are and what you stand for long before they meet you - if they meet you. Remember the example above? We all have thoughts, opinions and perceptions about Marilyn Monroe, Abraham Lincoln, Kim Kardashian, Elvis Presley and Steve Jobs, but few, if any of us actually have personal relationships with them.
The Internet makes it easy for people you've never met or that you've made indirect contact with to decide who you are. People will have good perceptions and they will also have some bad perceptions. Personal branding is all about gaining a certain amount of control of those perceptions, because like I said earlier, if you don't own your story, someone else will.
Google is always going to be your most accessible line of defense in gaining control of your personal brand. We are well aware that people Google people all the time. Whether it's the human resources director for the job you just applied for, the college recruiter at your dream school, the person you just met at a networking event or the media sleuthing to find out more about you before they cover your story - people are Googling people! As a matter of fact, Google processes 40,000 queries per second!
Google yourself and Google yourself often because in my experience, every now and then, you'll find some surprises.
If you don't have a website www.yourname.com you need to get one stat. Your website is going to be your 2nd best line of defense to not only maintaining your personal brand, but controlling and owning your story!
Unlike the mass amount of information that can be populated in Google about you - some of it you put there, some of it is put there by who knows 🤷♀️ - your website is content that you 100% control. If it's done right, your website will rank in the top of a Google search when someone does Google you.
My students come from all age groups, young Gen Z to mature Baby Boomers. As you can imagine, some age groups are more comfortable with social media than others. What I will say is this, since we know that people Google people every day, if you are in certain age groups, it's almost more detrimental to your personal brand to have no social media presence than to have one.
Like your website, the great thing about social media is you control 100% of the content that gets published there. The other AWESOME aspect of social media is, that at their core, these are mega websites with SUPER-DUPER web authority. How does that benefit you? Because the more active you are with publishing intentional content (not all business and not all personal) the higher your social media profiles will rank in Google searches, and the better you can control the narrative of your personal brand. See how all that works in your favor? Yes, this even includes Facebook!
Under the umbrella of social media is video. Video is THE thing that solidified my personal brand and helped me earn more than $300,000 in revenue (and counting). Why is video so great?
Well, for one it's content that your audience, whether you're a professional or an entrepreneur is more likely to stop and consume.
Video is that thing on social media that can literally stop us in our tracks as we're scrolling through our smart phones and takes us down rabbit holes and before we know it, we've spent 2 hours watching them.
Video is not only highly digestible content, but it's highly sharable also.
Plus, video is GREAT for search!
On one end of the spectrum, I find many people are intimidated by video because they think they need to be skilled at lighting, cameras and editing. On the other end, I find a lot of people have dabbled in video but haven't fully made the investment in consistently using it on their digital assets - websites, blogs, social media, etc.
I'm not going to lie to you and tell you that video is easy. Simple, yes, but easy? Not so much. You're probably wondering what's the difference?
Is it simple to publish video on social media?
YES! It doesn't have to cost you a dime and you can do it right from the palm of your hand, any time you feel like it!
Is it easy to publish video on social media?
Well, this is a more complicated answer. While you have all the tools to do it, too often you'll make excuses why you can't. You don't have the time...you don't know how to edit them...you don't have anything to say...no one will watch them...
See the difference?
Because I've personally struggled with the difference between simple and easy in my journey, I know what it takes to make it stick. But trust me it did not come easy for me! Nor, did I have the support or access to anyone to help guide me through the process.
I want you to avoid the mistakes I made and make clearer path from your brand to your money 💰
So, as you're building and/or growing your personal brand, take note of the things you need to be doing to stay in control:
Build and maintain a website,
Stay active on social media and