Building a personal brand is a top priority for many solo entrepreneurs. Whether you are a consultant, coach, author, freelancer, or any other type of solopreneur; your personal brand might be the difference between success or failure.

Brand building has traditionally been something for corporate marketing departments. Nowadays, every business owner, consultant and even employee can benefit from a strong personal brand.

What is a personal brand?

A personal brand is the perception of you. It is the expertise, trust, and personality you radiate and are known for. It is also your uniqueness that differentiates you from others with similar knowledge and capabilities.

It is commonly said that your personal brand is what people say about you when you are not present.

So how do you create a personal brand? Or rather, how do you create a strong personal brand? You need to have some knowledge, skills or expertise to share. You need to be trusted and liked. But this alone is not enough. You also must become known – or even better, well-known, to your target audience.

To start with, you need to have a home on the Internet. You need to have a website, and preferably a blog, from which you can publish trust-building content that shows your expertise. Your website and blog is the centerpiece of it all. It is your hub on the Internet.

If you are a solo entrepreneur, you might want to carefully craft an “About me” page on your website as well, that gives a more personal background to who you are and highlighting any credentials or expertise you may have.

How do you build trust and show your expertise? You publish educational or otherwise useful content on topics that relate to your niche or industry. You can do this in any number of ways, but the most popular are:

Publish blog posts – usually on your blog, but also as a guest blogger on other blogs. You can also host an audio podcast, or publish videos on YouTube. A strong authority-builder is non-fiction books. You can write an eBook and publish it on Amazon, Apple iBooks, Smashwords, or Kobo. It is a lot easier than most people think.

Who do you think get more leads and can charge a higher consulting rate? One of the consultants you can find on the street, or the niche blogger who is perceived to be an industry influencer, also being the author of one or more non-fiction books on the same topic?

Once you have content – in particular, blog posts – you can use social media to drive traffic to your marketing assets. Publish social media posts that promote your educational content, and make sure to add a hypertext link. Popular social media channels include Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. But Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Periscope and many others exist too. They all have different pros and cons and attract different demographics.

To build a strong personal brand, you should try to network and build relationships as well. This can be done both online and offline, for example using social media or at conferences and seminars.

You might even try to become a speaker at a conference; this is something that helps build your authority and personal brand quickly. If for no other reason, because you can refer to it in future marketing and add your previous speaker engagements to your list of credentials. It is like being the author of a non-fiction book – you stand out from your competitors.

If you can’t get the authority of being a seminar speaker in the physical world, you can quite easily do something similar online. Create a Facebook or LinkedIn group focused on a problem or pain point your audience have, and you are more or less the keynote speaker of your own virtual conference.

You also want to build an email list – make sure your website and blog posts are set up to collect email addresses from visitors. You can then nurture your leads with educational or otherwise valuable newsletter emails, which helps build trust and authority.

When you start building your personal brand, you want to be consistent. On one level, this includes using the same logotype and similar graphics, colors, and fonts everywhere. On another level, it means producing content focused only or mostly on your particular niche, as well as keeping the same personality across different types of marketing channels.

It also means being consistent with your publishing schedule. If you want your audience to come back for more trust- and authority-building content, you need to be consistent with your podcast episodes or blog posts.

Randomly publishing something once or twice a year will not suffice if you start from scratch and want to become well-known as an influencer or authority in your niche. You need to consistently be visible, for example with a weekly blog post or podcast episode.

And finally, remember your personal brand is you. With hundreds or thousands of other people providing the same expertise or services you are; the only real differentiator might be you. Show (the best part of) your personality!

Download my free checklist on how to build a strong personal brand.

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