To build your personal brand, where would you start?
Considering what you have control over (not some kind of leprechaun luck where you “get discovered”), I say you must start with writing something.
Your personal brand is what people think of when they hear your name; it’s a collection of impressions people have of you. A number of elements help create those impressions, such as:
- Books you’ve authored (both the look and the content)
- Blogs, articles, speeches
- Online interaction with others
- Social media contributions
- The look, price, and performance of your product or service
- In-person interactions with audiences, colleagues, and others
Your brand goes beyond who you are to include what you stand for, how you handle and present yourself, and what you do.
There are many examples of highly successful people who have a personal brand which carries over to their books, but also we see people who first became an author and their book is an ongoing super-booster for their personal brand.
Identifying and developing your personal brand is an important process that takes time and effort. Be thoughtful about it, not only to be sure it feels “like you,” but also keep in mind your audience. Usually this means clarifying: who is my ideal client?
For example, yesterday I met with a first-time author to go over and discuss the 17 unique cover designs my graphics team had created for her review. First, she narrowed the contestants to five that she liked, designs that “spoke to her.” Then we talked about her readers and what would catch their attention. Three designs were very attractive. Then I asked her about her bigger goal—that is, how her book was going to be instrumental in forwarding her career and her mission. She talked about the “professionals” who would appreciate that she had the credibility and depth of experience on her subject—i.e., she will be “the one who wrote the book” and thus an ideal resource, speaker at events, and expert consultant. With those professionals in mind, the choice was clear. No question, one of the designs perfectly communicated what she intended.
Doing the work of creating and fine-tuning your personal brand yields a terrific R.O.I. (return on investment). Don’t leave the impression that you make on others to chance. Leverage your custom-designed personal brand to open all kinds of doors of opportunity.
“The best luck of all is the luck you make for yourself.” —Douglas MacArthur