I was recently speaking on a panel for the Walkley Foundation on thought leadership and someone asked me a very interesting question:
When you start to build your role as a thought leader where do you start?
I just loved that question because we all have to start somewhere. (Beginning can be the most challenging place in the journey, don’t you think?)
I know when I was sitting in my sunroom all those years ago trying to figure out where to start I found it really hard.
My answer to her question: Start with your personal brand.
I believe that personal branding is the new marketing. We all need to take control of our brand and actively maintain and build it. Do you know what happens when you don’t?
Nothing. Na da. Zero. Cue the crickets. In fact, I’d probably still be sitting in my sunroom trying to figure out how to grow my fledgling business if I didn’t develop and grow my personal brand.
So here are my tips to develop and build your brand.
1. It’s personal. It’s marketing. 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.
2. Think about who you really are. What makes you unique? 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.
3. How do others think about you? This is a really interesting question, don’t you think? How do those closest to you, your customers and your work colleagues describe you? Do they describe you as you describe yourself? Be mindful of the experiences others have with you and ensure they match the impression you wish to set.
4. Find your niche. It’s important to think about your area of expertise, define your niche, and stick to it. Don’t be vague when defining your niche as it will dilute your brand and confuse your audience.
5. 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.
If you want to dive into more about personal branding take a look at the blog. I’d just love to hear your thoughts and advice in the comments section below.
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