Building Your Brand [Learning to Live Online]

Have you ever heard of the term "personal brand?" Your personal brand is how you define yourself and sell yourself. When you're in a job interview, when you're talking to a client, or even when you are talking to your friends, you are showcasing your personal brand and strengthening the connections that that brand has with a larger network.

Everyone who knows of famous women or men like Mother Theresa, Benjamin Franklin, or even Kimmy K, and can describe who they are, what they value, and their life's mission. Personal brand is just this--it is the way that people see you, describe you, and remember you. It includes the values that you have and the characteristics that describe who you truly are. All of the things you think, do, and say make up your personal brand.

The biggest step you can make in your personal professional life is to take control of your personal brand and make it what you want it to be. This has become popular and even more simpler than in the past years because of online media like websites and social networking.

The first step in "Learning to Live Online" is to learn who you want to be online, and how you want your brand to be perceived. Your personal brand is essentially your reputation, and having the ability to harness that side of who you are will make your brand even better and more appealing to your targeted audience.

So, lets get started. If you're ready to be proactive about how you start defining yourself and your personal brand, then these tips are a perfect place to begin:

1. Define your brand.

I challenge you to actually take out a piece of paper and write down what defines you. What are your thoughts and values, what words would you use to describe yourself, and what words would others use to describe you? Being truly transparent will allow you to see how you appear now and manage your personal brand by taking control of the things on your list that you want to change.

This all being said, it is important to still stick true to yourself. The best brands are the brands that are personable and honest to who they really are. Remember that you are wonderful no matter what, we are simply enhancing the beautiful thoughts and expanding on a personality that you have. If you need some more tips on discovering yourself then click here.

2. Specialize in something you are passionate about.

This is something that I will admit that I have truly struggled with in the past. I wanted to be good at all things and share my thoughts with the world about everything. I had to cut back and realize that I wanted to generate a specific audience who would continue coming to my blog and site every day to hear what I had to say about a certain topic.

Picking some sort of specialty is definitely the best place to start when beginning to define your brand. You want to make sure that your name is remembered in relation to something, and that you are relevant within one individual field (at least!). Everyone wants to be indispensable, and having a specialty is an excellent way to provide an extra value to the work you create.

3. Write your bio.

Now that you've collected your thoughts and maybe started defining who you are and what you want your personal brand to be about, start writing a short biography about yourself. You can post this on LinkedIn or Facebook or don't even post it at all. Just start describing yourself in words as you would to a potential employer. 

Your biography might include your educational background, the experience you've had with your specialty, any related publishings or content, awards and honors you've achieved, and your volunteer work and other personal interests.

One thing to remember when writing your bio is to make sure that it is marketed towards your intended audience. Write a biography that would be worthy of being read to a room full of people interested in what you specialize in. Tailor your bio to the people who would actually turn around and be interested in your blog/website/business/service.

4. Create a blog.

I don't care if you're a big wiz business or a small town homie starting from the bottom. No matter what, a blog is going to help you define who you are and start selling what your personal brand is. Blog posts and content within your site will give you credibility for whatever you are trying to sell, whether that be a product or simply selling yourself.

For example: If you're interested in selling graphic designs that you created, then when a person finds your site and stumbles upon your blog they are expecting to see articles and posts that show how capable you are of making graphics. Maybe you share information on how to use Illustrator CC, or maybe you talk about the workflow you go through to create one graphic, but no matter what, you are giving your audience proof that you are capable of what you say you are.

5. Talk about yourself.

Building your communication skills is essential in order to market your personal brand. Whether you're shy or outgoing, it is important to be able to communicate well. I've taken public speaking courses and developed my skill through outside resources and in class exercises, so the more you practice the better you get.

Develop a little "elevator pitch" that you can spout off to anyone interested in learning a little bit about yourself. An elevator pitch is a short introduction that should be able to be told to someone during the time in which you are moving from one floor in an elevator to another. You want to make sure you talk positively about yourself, and make a good impression so they don't forget who you are.

These beginning steps can set you on the right path to building your brand and expanding upon it. Your personal brand is all about who you are, what you think, and what you hope to achieve. It's important to have a personal brand, so people can understand and define you properly. And harnessing the power of your brand is key in learning to live online.