By Bryan Driscoll
You have a website for your company for a reason: so your customers can find you online. When modern people need a product or service that they can’t find with a quick trip to the local market, they look online. More specifically, they Google it. So naturally, you want your business website to land on the front page of search results. Your business website serves many purposes: It's an online brochure that’s available 24 hours a day, a method to acquire customers, an easy way to communicate your value, etc.
As many business owners know, having a website isn't where it ends. People won't be able to find your site without proper SEO (search engine optimization). Achieving high search engine page ranking isn't easy, and let's face it, if it were we wouldn't be here.
The best digital marketers recommend a lot of different SEO strategies -- keywords, backlinks, valuable content, meta tags, niche marketing, long-tail keywords, etc. But one approach that's gaining traction is personal brand development. What is personal branding and how is it different from business or product branding?
As a business owner, you’re probably familiar with branding in its best-known form: Creating a unique image and name for a business or product that establishes a known and trusted presence in the market. Successful brand establishment attracts new customers and cultivates customer loyalty.
Personal branding differs from business or product branding because it’s not centered around a product or service. Personal branding is the establishment of an identity, expertise and personality. It establishes a known and trusted identity as a subject matter expert and the go-to person for knowledge within an industry.
How Does a Personal Brand Help Improve SEO?
If you’re a solopreneur, you are your business. In an organization made up of more than one person, any personal branding associated with the corporate brand adds depth and a personal connection with that company. People like to connect with people, not corporations. Personal branding benefits your SEO strategies in a few ways:
You can build a brand around several key people in your company, not limited to your CEO. In fact, encouraging employees to create their brand within the company structure boosts employee engagement. In addition to greater staff participation, some statistics support the value of employee personal brands. Brand messages shared by employees get 24 times more re-shares than the same ones shared by the company’s social media account.
Your selected personal brands should engage with the company’s target audience. Regularly post meaningful content on your chosen outlets (company blog posts, guest posts, social media, etc.) and encouraging customer engagement. Having an army of brand ambassadors with their own audiences, all under the larger company umbrella, is like having hundreds of tentacles in the field. Try these six tips for developing your personal brand for both businesses and individuals/solopreneurs.
Make Sure You Have a Separate Identity From Your Personal Social Media Accounts
This is especially true if your personal accounts don't align with the company’s message. It can’t be stressed enough. If you’re in the majority people who have Googled their own names, you probably know what’s out there with your name attached.
Clean Up Your Digital Footprint
If you’re not aware of your digital footprint, start with a Google search. If you don't like what you see, a few things can be done to clean up your digital presence:
- Check your Facebook privacy and security settings. Start with changing your account privacy settings to “Friends Only.” This ensures only people who are friends with you on the network will see your profile and timeline.
- Edit your personal blogs if you use them to vent or have published content that could be damaging to your professional reputation. Personal blogs show up in searches.
- Delete social media accounts that you’ve abandoned.
- Add content that serves your brand identity helps push some of the older stuff out of the way.
Use a Consistent Headline on Your Profile
A major component of personal branding is your brand identity statement. This tells your audience four key things: who you are, what you're passionate about, what you do, and what differentiates you from others in your field, in a few sentences.
For example: "I’m an entrepreneur, writer, philanthropist and an unshakable optimist dedicated to helping you become the person you most want to be." –Marie Forleo
Life coach, philanthropist, and writer Marie Forleo explains in one line who she is, what she's passionate about and what she does, and you get a sense of how she’s different from others through her voice and imagery throughout her website.
Find Your Brand Voice and Persona
These include images/colors/words used to convey your message to the world. It’s your digital image infused with your unique personality.
Develop Your LinkedIn Profile
If you haven’t created a LinkedIn profile yet, don’t hesitate on this one. This is your hub for professional networking and getting your brand out in front of people that make up a tremendous pool of resources and potential business. Be sure to get your branding statement right in front, along with a professional looking photo or image that represents your brand.
Write Content That’s Valuable to Your Audience (or Your Company’s)
This is what people looking for your expertise are seeking out. If you're having trouble determining what content your audience wants to read, try using tools like BuzzSumo or Reddit. You can search out topics related to your industry and see what kinds of questions people are posting.
Once you’ve developed your brand, create new social media profiles dedicated to getting your message out. Remember, cleaning up your personal digital footprint is only the beginning. Focus on creating a whole new persona for your business with a targeted audience and purpose.
Bryan Driscoll is founder of Think Big Marketing & SEO expert helping businesses grow their brand, improve Google rankings, and generate more sales.