What are the key elements of a strong personal brand? How many can you name?
Start with an active, well-curated LinkedIn profile. That’s table stakes — everyone these days knows a strong personal brand begins on LinkedIn.
Move on to a creative and informative personal website. Again, no surprise here. You need to tell a story in your own words, from a platform you control. A great personal website is essential if you want to stand out from the crowd.
Okay, keep going. Facebook. Twitter. These social media platforms have been around for what feels like forever and remain core to developing and furthering personal branding initiatives. Instagram, too — thousands of people make their living as Instagram “influencers,” living a life so good that corporate brands are willing to pay them good money to play them up.
Can we stop yet? Have we unearthed the last critical piece of a well-developed personal brand?
Not even close. The most effective personal brands include all of the above, to be sure, but also a variety of lesser-known online resources and platforms that reach audiences nearly as broad. Whatever they lack in name recognition, they make up in wide and diverse reach.
Utilizing these resources isn’t rocket science. It’s also not a walk in the park. It takes time, effort, and know-how. Keep reading to learn how you can leverage them to their full potential and still have time for everything else you’ve got going on in your life and career.
Medium is one of the most popular self-publishing platforms in the world. It’s sort of like a ready-made blog that takes care of basics like design and SEO so writers can focus on what they do best: writing. Or, since we’re talking about personal branding here, burnishing their personal brands.
Medium is a great place to write on topics that matter to you and, in the process, show that you’re a thought leader. It’s also a great place to get your writing noticed. There’s a clear intersection here: often, it pays to write about people more notable than yourself.
Ideamensch helps leaders spread wisdom, insight, and practical advice. Its detailed profiles and extensive interview-style biographies provide far more latitude than LinkedIn’s cookie-cutter individual and company pages. This Ideamensch profile for Aaravindha Himadra, a spiritual leader based in Washington State, shows what’s possible when the platform is utilized to its full potential.
Crunchbase isn’t as wordy as Ideamensch, yet it packs a lot of detail into its rather spare packages. This Crunchbase profile for Zappos CEO and investor Tony Hsieh illustrates Crunchbase’s value. Almost at a glance, you can see just about everything Hsieh has done of note since he arrived on the scene. It’s a lot, and yet somehow still easy to digest.
4. Better Business Bureau
The Better Business Bureau is a popular directory for small businesses in the U.S. and beyond, trusted by clients evaluating the quality of the companies they work with. It offers excellent value for those businesses, but what can it possibly do to burnish your personal brand?
Simple. If your personal brand is bound up in a business enterprise, however small, BBB is the ideal venue to put your best foot forward. Make sure your profile is accurate and any complaints against your business are promptly taken care of.
The same principle applies to Yelp, a local search giant. Your business name might have nothing in common with your given name, but their fates are inevitably twinned. Attracting and managing positive reviews and ensuring your profile is in tip-top shape is absolutely essential.
Snapchat isn’t exactly “lesser known,” but it’s also not the first social media platform people think of when they think about useful personal branding tools. For people of a certain age, it’s barely on the radar at all, even if the name rings a bell.
No matter. Your personal brand is stronger and more interesting when you snap away. Your followership might not ascend to the heights of your Facebook profile’s, but its composition will be different, which matters if you’re trying to reach hard-to-find audiences.
7. Your Personal Podcast
Predictions that we’ve hit “peak podcast” have yet to pan out. The smart money says we’ll have to wait a while longer for that to happen. In other words, you still have time to make the leap to podcasting. If you care about your personal brand at all, don’t delay.
Like podcasting, YouTubing is wildly successful for a lucky few. Most YouTubers can’t quit their day jobs and live off video income alone, much as they’d like. But that’s okay; the real value of YouTube isn’t the money you could earn as a prolific participant, but the exposure you could earn through your videos. Not only through online sharing, but people using a YouTube Mp3 converter. If you’re not familiar with the platform’s basics or the process of making and editing videos in general, check out this handy guide to YouTube basics.
What can the Western world’s biggest online retailer teach you about personal branding?
Not much you can’t learn from the other resources on this list. But it does offer a very important outlet for anyone serious about branding: a popular platform to publish and sell ebooks, which are essential to any branding effort. Once you learn how simple it is to self-publish on Amazon, you’ll kick yourself for not doing it sooner.
Give Your Brand the Chance to Shine
Does your personal brand have every opportunity to shine? To stand out from the great mass of competitors who, no offense, basically resemble you online?
These digital branding resources will give you a fighting chance to answer “yes” to both questions. Don’t assume that your work is done after you’ve created an account with each of them, though. Like any other investment in your future, personal branding requires ongoing effort. Calling it a marathon rather than a sprint actually sells it short. It’s more like a never-ending race where the runners’ relative position is less important than the fact that they’re still running at all.
Maybe that sounds daunting, like something you’d rather not partake in. But if you’re serious about taking your career to the next level or making the world a better place or whatever it is you do with your life, you don’t really have a choice. Not anymore. It’s a branded world out there, whether we like it or not.