In my last post, Personal Branding Has Never Been More Important – Part 1, I discussed the importance of maintaining your personal brand. In this post I’ll be helping beginners with the steps they need to take in securing their personal brand. My hope is to help you take only the necessary steps to get started with your brand and follow it up with Part 3 in which I will provide some hints and tips to advanced readers on the things they can do to enhance their newly established personal brand. So, let’s get started!
Step 1 – Determine what your personal brand actually is. How do you want to be portrayed? The best way to come up with this answer is to write several one and two key words down that best describe you and your area of expertise. Mine pretty much make up my existing Twitter bio, which I will get into later during Part 3, take a look:
Starving Entrepreneur. Social Enthusiast. Tech Nerd. Apple Fanatic & Trekkie.
There is one that is missing from that list and it might be “marketer”. Once you’ve established these key words, your next step is easy!
Step 2 – Secure your personal website domain. The best domain you can get for yourself is your first and last name, or something close to your name. However, this may be a bit difficult. Website domains are being picked up left and right and finding even your own name is often impossible, especially if it is a common name. Luckily, I was able to secure www.joshuahays.com a few years ago and have held on to it since. Go to GoDaddy now and see if your first and last name dot com is available. If it isn’t, fear not… try something else. If mine weren’t, I might have tried joshuawhays.com or even jwhays.com. It cost about ten bucks to buy the domain you decide on, do it. When you’ve done this, you are ready to move to step 3. Note: Once you purchase your domain, you may want to set up hosting for it as well. This is easy and it is usually less than $7 per month. When you purchase this option, you can get help with setting up an email address to match your new domain. This is key when identifying yourself on resumes, business cards and when signing up for other sites and services. Mine is email@example.com.
Step 3 – Brand yourself socially. To be honest, this could easily be step 2.2 as it is equally important. When branding yourself you have to remember that consistency is key, for a number of different reasons. The best thing you could do for your personal brand is have identical social network usernames that match your personal URL. For example, my website is www.joshuahays.com, my Twitter username joshuahays and my Facebook username is joshuahays. Try locking down your username on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Zerply. Don’t be disappointed if you can’t get your username with EVERY major website (See: How Do I Change My Facebook URL), but try your hardest to find something that will work for all. The easiest way to do this is by going to NameChk and typing in your desired username, it will immediately tell you what is and isn’t available and where. After you’ve done your research, start creating these accounts with your new username and/or changing your existing accounts to match. Note: Be sure you use your new email address when signing up for these.
Step 4 – Start blogging. If you don’t already, you need to blog. I don’t care what you blog about, but blog about something and do it about something you enjoy or something you know well. There are so many free platforms for blogging, the choice is yours! Blogger and WordPress are the more detailed platforms and for a beginner might get quite confusing, though their real benefits are that they are well crawled by the major search engines. If you’re not into all that, you can set up a Tumblr… which is in my opinion the easiest platform for blogging interesting content. Remember this… know as much as you can about everything, but be an expert in something. Blog about what you know and love most, this will eventually create traction on your social sites which may result in more hits to your personal website. Now you are starting to brand yourself! Note: In Part 3, I’ll explain why it is important to link your blog with your site and connect the dots with your social networks.
Step 5 – Don’t stop, even when you think nobody cares. At times, especially at the beginning, it will feel like nobody cares about what you’re doing, tweeting or blogging about. In fact, you may start to feel you’re becoming annoying to your friends and family who may be the only ones following your content. Regardless of the reason you feel like nobody cares, you’re wrong. Once you’ve worked hard to establish and build your brand, it is easier to market yourself for a new job or to promote a cause you favor. Most importantly, search engines care. The more content you pump into the web, the more likely people will discover it at the time they need it most. Just remember that the more you contribute, the more you’ll get out of the entire experience.
In closing, have fun! Branding is one of my favorite things to do, I absolutely love it! Brand yourself as who you are or who you want to be and work on it daily. Like that old saying goes… “dress for the job you want, not the job you have”.