It can be hard to get ahead in today's competitive business environment, but one way to go from unknown to expert and stand out from the crowd is showcasing what makes you unique.
That's where personal branding comes into the picture. Branding is the art of standing out: a set of characteristics, values or qualities which set your proposition apart from other products or individuals. Simply put, it's your reputation.
In today's competitive environment, personal branding is critical if you want to be seen as a leader in your field. Your opportunities expand when you have a strong personal brand and it helps to carve out your niche as a thought leader and expert.
Personal branding is how you market yourself to others; it's what you're known for. You need to be very intentional about creating a brand which resonates with your audience, otherwise other people will create it for you and potential business opportunities may slip through your fingertips.
Think about who you really are
It's worth taking some time to think about who you are and what you stand for. Have a think about the 'one thing' that sets you apart from your competitors.
The personal brand you adopt forms the essence of your communication and the voice of your strategy across every platform. For example, Disney = magic, Apple = innovation and Richard Branson = entrepreneurship. Mine is inspiration, and it forms the core of my business.
Find your niche
It's also important to think about your area of expertise, define your niche, and stick to it. Don't be vague when define your niche as it will dilute your brand and confuse your audience. My niche is public relations and social media, and everything I do comes back to this platform.
Owning your niche will add value and consistency to your brand. It will also build credibility and trust among your audience. This personal trust flows over to trust for your business, which in turn may lead to new business.
If you invest time in building your personal brand it will help build your business or career. When you share your knowledge freely you will be able to watch your opportunities skyrocket.
Get your brand out there
It's one thing to have a strong brand, but it's not much use if no one knows about it. Start networking with your audience, publish articles, join groups on LinkedIn and start a blog. Make you and your brand known to your audience.
Social media offers an amazing opportunity to promote your brand and set yourself apart from your competitors. LinkedIn and Twitter are fantastic platforms to share insights about your industry and watch your online following grow.
Remember you only get out what you put in, so make a concerted effort to get your name out there. Before long your reputation as a thought leader will speak for itself.
Continually investing in your personal brand will ensure you stand out from your competition. It is through elevating yourself above others in your industry that will make people clamor to work with you. When managed well, your personal brand is an asset that can make all the difference to your business.
About the author
Catriona Pollard is the author of 'From Unknown To Expert', a step by step framework designed to help entrepreneurs develop effective PR and social media strategies to become recognised as thought leaders and influencers in their field. www.UnknownToExpert.com. Catriona is also the director of CP Communications, which merges traditional PR tactics with cutting-edge social media strategies that engage consumers as well as business.