Much of your efforts at brand management focus on business positioning or reputation, either for your employer’s company or your own.
But what have you done for your personal brand lately? Did you know there are specific steps you can take to better ‘advertise’ and ‘market’ yourself? Personal brand management is not new, but many individuals who could use a brand makeover simply neglect this simple and powerful process for personal advancement.
Although business branding is important, your personal brand might be in need of some immediate attention.
Score yourself (from 1 to 10) on each of the following personal brand factors:
1. Personal Content Creation
Are you an expert in some area? If so, start to produce thought-leader-level content. If not, choose an area where your interests and experience could get you to expert status relatively quickly.
There is a chicken-and-egg dynamic here. How can you start blogging if you don’t have legitimate expertise, and how can you demonstrate expertise if you don’t start blogging? The answer is, just start blogging, or writing white papers, or e-books or anything.
Initially, you may not have a strong venue or many readers. Doesn’t matter. The more content you produce the better you will become at it. Before long, more desirable and prestigious venues will open up to you, and your content will improve as you go.
The whole point of content creation, genuine expertise and thought leadership can be summed up in one word: promotion. All of your content will market you.
Many consultants, authors, executive coaches, trainers and speakers get most or all of their professional gigs because of the personal branding created by thought-leader content. Peter Winick, Founder and CEO of Thought Leadership Leverage, emphasizes today’s role of thought leadership as branding 2.0, “In this digital age, it is absolutely essential for individuals to establish and communicate personal expertise. Thought leadership disseminated via the Internet is the great equalizer.”
Score yourself on personal content creation (1 to 10) _____
2. Personal finances
Remember, anything that people can learn about you online represents an area of personal branding that must be managed. What are others saying about your trustworthiness and dependability in meeting your financial obligations? All of that information, and more, is in your credit report.
Managing this source of reputation is straightforward—just pay your bills on time. Except, there are sometimes issues that arise that can catch people by surprise. Scott Smith, Co-Founder and President of CreditRepair.com, talks about the credit report as a reputation and branding tool. “Most people don’t monitor their credit report regularly enough, and are unaware of negative factors that can sink their personal brand.
For example, identity theft, divorce, medical billing errors and general mistakes in reporting from any number of creditors can all create major reputation problems at any time and without warning.”
Score your financial reputation using your FICO score (800 or higher=10 points, 740-799=8pts, 670-739=6, 580-669=4. 579 or lower=2)
3. Social media presence
For too long, and for too many people, social media has been a dumping ground for careless, casual and directionless venting of stream-of-consciousness content. At the same time, your social media content has become the prime source of your personal brand.
Prospective employers no longer look to your resume or formal references as the most accurate representations of who you are and how you would perform as an employee. Your promotability in your current job, as well as your potential as a business partner, dating candidate and other roles are at stake (and at risk) depending on how you promote yourself via social media.
It’s high time we took these broad online venues for what they really are: far-reaching and permanent platforms for personal marketing. For ideas on how to up your branding game, read the article How to Use Social Media to Build Your Personal Brand.
Score the professionalism of your social media presence, from 1 to 10 (how would a potential employer or business partner assess you from this source alone?). _____
This is not an exhaustive list of personal branding opportunities, but depending on your score, any or all of these three areas could be a good starting place. If you scored below 10, you have an immediate need to work on weak areas. If you scored above 25, you’re probably in good reputational shape. Market yourself first, and professional opportunities will follow.
This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.
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