How to do personal branding
Sold? Let’s dive in for understanding how to do personal brand statement. We’re going to steal a little from business theory here, because they were the ones writing branding statements first. You want to focus on your Unique Selling Proposition, or the thing that makes you stand out from the crowd and the best at what you do. Just follow these steps to write your personal branding statement:
- Write down all your skills.
Just start with a free form list. We are going to narrow it down later on. List all your strengths, areas you have a lot of experience, or even just personal qualities you like.
- Figure out who you love to do those things for.
You may have a favorite job you worked in the past, or perhaps a client that you love doing your freelance work for. What do those people or companies have in common, and what work did you do for them that made you feel valued and fulfilled?
To continue our web developer example, you might really like doing the front end development for sites that have a bigger humanitarian goal in mind, rather than just another run of the mill blog.
- Listen to what everyone else is saying.
Start eavesdropping at networking events or browsing the LinkedIn profiles of people like you, and see what they are saying so you can come up with something totally different.
Once you start observing, you’ll find that there is a typical pattern to the way people talk in your industry when they describe what they do, and you want to make sure you’re saying something different.
- What do you do differently?
Now that you have looked at your competition, go back to your list on #1 and pull out things from that list that make you unique from other people who work in your field.
For our web developer, it could be that they’ve done a lot of work in a language that not many others have, or have a more specialized skill set in one aspect of websites that they didn’t realize they had.
- Who’s your target audience?
We’re going to look back at step #2 now, and figure out who you want to hire you. Now that you’ve thought about it all a little more, you might be more comfortable saying “I want to specialize in working with humanitarian brands.” It can take time, and working through steps #1, #2, and #3 a few times before you have an aha moment.
It also doesn’t have to be too complicated. It can just be as simple as a specific age group or industry.
- Put it together in a few sentences.
Now, you’re ready to actually draft some options for your personal brand statement. You’re going start your sentence with your answer to #4, “I do x” Then, you’re going to add your answer to #5 by saying “I do x for y.”
It’s totally normal at this stage for your statement to be pretty simple. For our web developer example, it’s going to read “I do front end design for companies who have humanitarian goals.” Not super inspiring, but we have the core content we need to build a great statement from there.
- Add adjectives, and simplify it.
Sometimes it’s best to sit with the phrase that you created in step #6 before you move on. Variations of it will come to you, and you may find better ways of saying what you do. Keep it simple, too. Don’t get lost in technical terms. If you are using words that are too unique to your niche, try and generalize them to make sure people outside of your field understand it.
In our example, “front end design” isn’t particularly inspiring, and it’s an industry specific term. Instead, we could say they “make beautiful websites.” The second half of the phrase could be snappier too, like, “I make beautiful websites for companies with a cause.” Much better.
- Make people want more.
This last step is a little more intangible, and in some cases comes with time and using your branding statement in different situations to get a feel for it. But, your goal is to add a call to action, challenge, or a little bit of mystery to your statement. You want people to ask you more about what you do, or take a specific action (like hiring you) because of this little snippet.
You’ll see more of this in some of the examples of personal branding statements we’ve gathered from around the internet in the next section.
Where to put your personal brand statement
Now you have one, what do you do with it? Since it is short and easy to understand, it’s great to use in your social media profiles like LinkedIn or Twitter bios where future employers might see you. It can make your resume stand out from the pile, so add it to the top near your name. If you have an online portfolio, it works great as a tagline there, too. As you get used to using it, you may find it helpful to use variations on different social media platforms. It’s not a job title, or a job description. Save it for places where you need to summarize and quickly emphasize your expertise.