How to Create a Strong Personal Brand

A cartoon illustrating a strong personal brand.

For any artrepreneur thinking about a startup, developing a brand for your company is an important step in the process. Your brand is what sets you apart from the competition; it’s what leaves a lasting impression on your target audience. If it’s strong enough, with an authentic voice and a unique aesthetic, you shouldn’t have a problem attracting attention and sales. But what if I told you, building a personal brand is just as important, if not more? People like connecting with people and by utilizing your personal brand to increase exposure, you can attract a larger audience, bring in more clients, and open up new opportunities. If you’re unsure how to get started, here are a few tips to help you with the development of your personal brand.

Find Your Brand: Amplify Your Personality

Your personal brand is an extension of you. You want to develop one that showcases your personality in the best way possible, where your skills and passion are at the forefront. Make sure people know what you can do and what you can offer them, but whatever you do, don’t lie. Authenticity is important. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not or know something you don’t because people will figure it out. We all know the expression: “There is no such thing as bad publicity,” but the last thing you want is a scandal negatively impacting your brand. That being said, a little exaggeration never hurt anybody. Nothing is stopping you from becoming something or learning something new: as you grow, so will your personal brand.

Build an Online Presence to Promote Your Personal Brand

If you don’t have a personal website that showcases what you do, make one. This is the one platform that you completely control, especially in regards to that first impression. Make sure it looks professional and it’s showcasing your best stuff.

Additionally, you should be working your social media accounts. They are extremely important and should be consistent and reflective of your passions and beliefs in regards to the industry you’re trying to compete in. If you don’t have a private personal account, the one where you might share vacation photos with family, separate from your personal brand’s social media account, I suggest you do so. This leads me into my next tip.

Understand your Target Audience

We all want to be liked, but pleasing everyone is a huge feat. It’s nearly impossible, so you shouldn’t attempt to. Trying to target everyone as a potential client will only take away from your brand’s reach. It destroys your consistency, confuses your audience, and you’ll lose more clients then you’ll gain.

For example, let’s say you’ve developed a personal brand as an actor. You’re forming relationships through your social media accounts. You’re posting content related to your theatre work. Your audience is growing. Everything is going great. Then suddenly you start posting about something unrelated, like your favourite sports team. Gradually the sport posts overwhelm the theatre content and your audience starts to wonder what your brand is about.

I’m not saying you can’t have more than one passion. But if your goal is to use your personal brand to expand your reach to more potential clients, then it’s best to keep your other hobbies separate.

If you’re unsure who your target audience is, you might want to complete an audience profile. Performing one of these will help you understand the wants and needs of your target audience and you’ll be able to refine your content accordingly.

Interact with Your Community

Share your content not only on your own platforms, but other peoples’ platforms as well. A great rule of thumb is to promote yourself 20% of the time, and use the other 80% to promote others, specifically your competition. A weird concept, I know, but by shouting out and showing your support for others, especially within your industry and highlighting their accomplishments, you’ll extend your reach because people will usually reciprocate. This will also help you start building the relationships with influncers that you need to generate buzz.

Don’t be afraid to interact with your audience too. Your platforms are where this happens. Be a leader within the niche community you built. Create a place where your audience feels welcome interacting, sharing, and supporting one another. They should feel like they can reach out to you directly. Forming strong bonds within your community will take you and your business a long way.

Start Thinking of Yourself as a Brand

Whether you like it or not, everyone has a personal brand. Before someone decides to do business with you, invest in you, or hire you, I guarantee they’re going to google you. By taking charge of your personal brand, you’re controlling the narrative, instead of letting others define it on your behalf. So, if you haven’t already, start building your personal brand. You won’t regret it.