By Jeff Beals
You are a brand. You are a business of one.
As a hard-working professional, you have a personal brand, a reputation that must be carefully maintained and zealously promoted. In today’s economy, effective personal branding has never been more important.
Regardless of your occupation, you are probably fighting two major challenges: the economy and “commoditization.” You may be the best at what you do, but there are still so many competitors in your marketplace. In an era of commoditization, consumers have more choices than they know what to do with. Clients often assume all providers are competent, so they end up making their choices based on a professional’s personal brand.
So, when someone is ready for the services you provide, how can your personal brand stand out in a crowd? If you’re a good self marketer, you have little to fear. You need to be the professional whose name pops into the client’s head when it’s time to buy.
Building a bigger image takes work, but anyone with at least moderate talent can do it. The key is to follow certain steps:
1. See yourself as a business entity, not just a person
2. Think like a marketer – apply classic marketing principles to yourself
3. Determine who is in your personal target audience
4. Exploit the part of your expertise that is most interesting to outsiders
5. Live actively and network everyday
6. Foster relationships with local media
7. Become a writer and speaker within your area of expertise
8. Promote yourself 24-hours-a-day on the Internet
9. Use social media
You have sole ownership of your personal brand, but it comes with a burden. You bear the responsibility for building that brand, shaping it and promoting it to the general public. As a self marketer, you can recruit the services of others, but the responsibility to carry out a marketing strategy is ultimately yours.
Don’t let other people or any haunting feelings of self doubt stand in your way. Self marketers have to stick their necks out and take risks. Not only is it worth the risk, but establishing a well-known personal brand is essential in today’s ultra competitive marketplace.