A personal brand is absolutely essential in this new digital age.
Back in 2013 when I first started writing on Quora, I didn’t really know what I was doing. But now being four years ahead of that, I have come to find that all the stories I wrote about failure, love, loss, business and so forth were the foundation to my personal brand.
The results of building my personal brand?
I was able to:
- Inspire others to take action and improve their lives
- Move forward in my career and substantially earn more money
- Start a successful company that is regularly featured in the media
- Create genuine relationships with people who wouldn’t have wanted anything to do with me
- And earn these weird things called respect, influence and authority
Another example of someone who has been able to build a strong personal brand is Joel Contartese. As the founder of Media Monsters and someone who has helped the largest influencers and organizations fine tune their brands, Joel is an expert on the nuances of building a strong brand and boosting brand awareness. Throughout his work with aspiring entrepreneurs and mega corporations, he applies a methodical logic to every client that he works with.
In the age of social media, personal branding is becoming increasingly important as a means of differentiating yourself from others and boosting a reputation that will lead you to success. Whether you are applying for a corporate position, hoping to close a round of venture funding or launching a company, a strong personal brand will help you do well at your mission, much like how it has for me.
While navigating the online world and attempting to structure your personal brand for success, Joel’s branding approaches can help drive results.
1. Maintain authenticity
A personal brand starts from within. One of the biggest mistakes that Joel and I see with people online is that they either pump out reposted content or are trying to build up an image that is not authentic to who they are. Rather than looking to themed Instagram accounts as a feed for inspirational quotations or only sharing luxury pictures from others, try to focus more on what interesting content you can produce yourself.
This level of realness will allow others to get a better glimpse in who you are and why you are worth knowing. If you look at examples like myself, James Altucher and Joel Contartese, we offer powerful examples of how well original and authentic content can do online.
Joel says, “Gary Vee talks from the heart at all times and it is obvious to viewers.” Rather than focusing on keeping a pristine and unnatural personal brand, owning up to your quirks and flaws and letting them fit into your unique image will set you apart.
2. Have an active strategy
When Joel was starting out, he talked to and networked with people organically because he happened to meet interesting individuals. Eventually, as he began realizing the value of his network and each conversation he had, he worked out a precise strategy for interacting and having more interactions.
As he was able to engage with more higher-quality people, his personal brand grew in value simply because more people were aware of who he was.
Figuring out what demographic you are working to gain influence over and how you can begin interacting with them more is one of the core steps of your personal brand. Joel likes to think of this as similar to running a political campaign. He says “You need to know what groups you want to interact with and then get out there and talk to them.” But you can’t do that without first maintaining your authenticity.
3. Focus on quality
As you get more comfortable sharing your authentic voice, you need to pay attention to the quality of your work. Avoid being repetitive and aim to give value to your audience so you can network through every piece of content you create, whether it’s video, an article, an image or even a tweet. Whatever type of content you are creating, allow it to channel your personality. But make sure to never push forward with low quality work.
Quality needs to be measured from all angles. It goes without saying that you need to put out high-quality content and deliver high-quality results for those around you. Joel knows that quality doesn’t stop there though. He feels that you also you need to be selective about the people you work with. If you pick less than desirable clients, partners or even friends, issues with their reputation can trickle into yours and cause harm.
It can be quite tempting to jump at any opportunity that comes your way, but you need to be patient and take the time to sift through both business opportunities and people. If you plan to stick around for the long run, the only way you will protect your brand is by working with the highest quality options.
4. Avoid hype
Work comes first. Your personal brand comes afterwards. The problem is that many people forget this. And that’s because they are so busy focusing on what is right in front of them.
Joel says, “The problem with this is that a personal brand is meant to be a way for you to present yourself and your work. It’s not meant to replace your work.”
Your brand is supposed to be utilized as an opportunity to talk to more decision-makers and find more success. But if you are too focused on putting yourself into a positive light instead of building a strong portfolio, then you will struggle with closing deals and will start to jeopardize your brand.
It’s tempting to allow hype to carry your brand to new heights, but you need to always ensure the image of you is in line with who you actually are. People can see right through fluff. Plus, if people read about you as a mythical businessman, but meet you in person and you aren’t anything like how you are described, they won’t think you are inauthentic… They will know you are.
And what better recipe is there for leaving someone feeling unimpressed than overselling and under delivering? There really aren’t many.
Regardless of what your ambitions are, pay attention to your personal brand and how it can boost your career in the long run. Joel Contartese works with clients on boosting credibility and authority with their demographics, plus he helps them find their unique and powerful voice.