Just as it is important for any business, positioning and establishing a clear brand identity is crucial for anyone growing a personal brand. To best appeal to your audience, you need to understand your audience on a personal level. This understanding will help you crystallize your positioning strategy, which should underpin your marketing activity from day one. This article aims to outline a few methods to reach this understanding.
Know your audience and appeal to your audience
Positioning yourself as a thought leader amongst a particular audience requires you to first have a deep understanding of that audience. Start by creating detailed description of your target persona(s). This may include the following characteristics and anything else noteworthy:
- Job Types & Income Level
Your understanding must be personal and empathetic rather than a bird’s eye view. Know their problems, know how they feel about those problems and what they usually do to try and solve them.
Acquiring this understanding often requires you to go out there and discover it for yourself. Scouring through customer research articles will only tell you so much. In person is the best way to gain this appreciation. In person you will form a human connection with the members of your target audience, which is the key to unlocking interesting insights which you may have never considered. Over the phone, group discussions and digital forums are a distant second, third and fourth best methods.
Develop your story
Human beings have an innate desire to use stories to entertain and inform. In developing your own narrative, consider the experiences of your life which capture your views of the world, your failures and successes. You will probably notice themes of meaningful experiences. These engaging anecdotes and meaningful moments can be weaved into a progressive journey, which should resonate on an emotional level with your audience. Your story should evolve to justify why you are now building your particular personal brand. This evolution of your story should also have a strong sense of direction towards a clear future.
Heather Huhman, a contributor for the “Personal Branding Blog” suggests some questions to ask yourself when constructing your personal story:
- Describe the path you took to get to the place you are today?
- What inspired you to fall into your current career?
- What values do you hold close to you and your offerings?
- How can you set yourself apart and succeed in your industry?
- In a normal social setting outside of work, how do you respond to the question, “What do you do for a living?”
From your personal story, you can simplify your brand identity into an “elevator pitch” style statement for your digital accounts. This should clearly state what you do for people, provide proof of value and finish with a call to action.
The first thing you should do when you are launching your personal brand is to conduct a search on GoDaddy.com for your own name, and secure an Internet domain for yourself.
Having a website gives you a space to produce your own intellectual property and somewhere to direct interest in you. The direct accountability of building a brand under your own name can also be a motivator to remain authentic and work hard at producing quality content.
To enhance your credibility you can also obtain professional headshots, set up your own email address line & email signature and set up a schedule for your blog articles and social media posts.