Personal Branding Checklist - Essentials Every Personal Brand Needs [Free Guide + Examples]

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A look at the best examples of personal brands reveals common characteristics. These individuals have found their niche, crafted a message and content creation style that stands out, and made their vision clear in the way they present themselves.

We’ve boiled down these key characteristics into a personal branding checklist that walks you through the essential strategies and assets needed to start your personal brand and scale it. 

Use our checklist to evaluate your brand and see where you have opportunities to grow, or use it to get a head start on building your brand from the beginning.

Personal branding checklist overview: 

  • Personal Branding Goals
  • Personal Brand Statement
  • Personal Brand Attributes
  • An Identified Niche Topic and Target Audience
  • Visual Assets Like Your Professional Headshot
  • Pick one primary channel to focus on, and grow from there

Personal Branding Checklist Item 1: Personal Branding Goals

Goal: identify clear goals for your personal brand

A clear vision and north star is a foundational element of a personal brand. Identifying what you want to accomplish with your personal brand will inform everything from your strategy to the channels you use to build an audience and the types of content you share with them. 

That is why setting goals is the first item on our personal branding checklist. For example, if your goal is monetization, you will need to come up with products and services to make revenue with your brand, and establish marketing channels for generating leads. If your goal is to raise your personal brand profile to yield more job opportunities, you will need to be active on channels like LinkedIn. 

Think about your dream state for your personal brand, document your goals, and work backwards from there to build a strategy for reaching that dream state.

Check out these personal brand goals examples for inspiration.

Personal brand goals example

At the core of Justin Welsh’s prominent personal brand is his goal of building a portfolio of self-run businesses that generate $5M in revenue. This mission informs his approach to products and monetization, what he talks about on his social media channels, like Twitter and LinkedIn, and the audience he targets. 

Get Justin Welsh’s “The Operating System” LinkedIn brand building and monetization course

Personal Branding Checklist Item 2: Personal Brand Statement

Goal: clearly communicate who you are, what you do, and the value people can expect from you. This should be clear to yourself and others

A personal brand statement serves two key functions: 

  1. Internal alignment: It gives you a clear direction to align your personal brand strategy to. Do you have a question about whether you should make a certain piece of content, build a certain product, or establish a following on a particular social media channel? Going back to your personal brand statement and vetting whether or not that decision aligns with it will inform the best approach. Justin Welsh explains this idea in this Tweet, demonstrating how any time you have a question about whether or not you should do something, you should reference your priorities (goals). If it doesn’t support those goals, skip it. 
  2. External communication: A personal brand statement can serve as your tag line and elevator pitch externally on channels like social media, your personal website, and email newsletters. Personal brand statements let people know who you are, what value you offer them, and what to expect from you in terms of content and areas of expertise
Justin Welsh exemplifies the idea of staying true to your personal brand statement and goals in content and messaging, as it serves as a guide to help you prioritize and focus 

Draft your personal brand statement to serve as an internal guide in your day-to-day content creation efforts, and as a key asset for your external-facing brand by including it on social media profiles and other channels.

Personal brand statement example

Niharikaa Kaur Sodhi exemplifies how your personal brand statement can serve as an external communication tool, sharing your vision and brand across channels.
“I help writers become consistent & get traction via my CBC, Summit 21. 23x Medium Top Writer | LinkedIn Top Voice” - Niharikaa Kaur Sodhi 

This personal brand statement from Niharikaa Kaur Sodhi concisely communicates the value she offers to people who are considering becoming a member of her personal brand’s audience. She also backs up the value she claims to offer with examples of her credibility and ability to offer that value, listing her status as a top content creator on Medium and LinkedIn. She also includes a call to action for people interested in that value by mentioning her cohort based course, Summit 21.

Learn more about personal brand strategy and goal setting in our personal brand framework

Personal Branding Checklist Item 3: Personal Brand Attributes

Goal: determine what attributes you want to be known for

Personal brand attributes are the unique characteristics people associate you and your brand with, and they are a combination of: 

  1. Personality traits - we can’t change these. However, we can influence how much we accentuate them in the way we act and communicate 
  2. Communication style - this we can be intentional about by determining the tone, style, and mediums we use to communicate
  3. Goals - our goals become personified in your brand, with your mission and vision being conveyed in the topics you focus on, the projects you prioritize, and the way you talk about the former and the latter

Personal brand attributes example

Gary Vaynerchuk’s personal brand attributes come through in everything he does. From his focus on marketing, branding and entrepreneurship to his inspirational style of communication and fan engagement you know who Vaynerchuk is and what he stands for when you see his content. 

Strive for this level of consistency and clarity by identifying your personal brand attributes and making them a pillar of the way you present yourself and create content.

Check out these personal brand attribute examples for inspiration

Personal Branding Checklist Item 4: An Identified Niche Topic and Target Audience

Goal: determine the primary topic your personal brand focuses on, and to whom you will communicate to about that topic

When you first start building your personal brand it is a good idea to choose one niche topic to talk about and one audience to speak to. Otherwise you risk your content mix seeming random and not resonating with anyone in particular. Rather, you should pick one topic, identify an audience who will be interested in that topic, and focus on creating content that will resonate with them. 

Personal brand niche topic selection examples

Creators mentioned in this blog post followed this path:

  • Vaynerchuk started talking about marketing and business growth to his audience of fellow entrepreneurs. He then expanded to other topics that resonate with different segments of his audience, like trading cards, NFTs, and personal development
  • Dulma became known for her DTC brand analysis TikTok videos. While that is still the core of her focus, she also talks about the creator journey and personal development and has expanded to channels like Twitter
  • Easlo built a foundation for his brand by gaining recognition for his Notion products and teaching others how to create with Notion. He has since expanded to teaching skills he has learned on his creator journey, like getting started as a creator, building notion products, and Twitter growth - get Easlo’s Twitter Operating System to learn the strategies he used to gain 200K+ followers  

Think about the things you are good at and enjoy talking about. Then identify an audience who will enjoy content about that topic and focus on creating value for them. Once that flag is planted and you’ve built a reputation in your niche, you can expand to other topics and scale your personal brand audience.

Learn more about getting started with niche selection in our personal branding action plan

Personal Branding Checklist Item 5: Visual Assets Like Your Professional Headshot

Goal: establish the visual aesthetic for your personal brand

Written communication is not the only way your personal brand’s message, goals and attributes come across. Visual elements like the style of your social media profile photo, cover images, graphics, newsletter design, video graphics, etc. all contribute to your personal brand aesthetic. 

In the personal brand attributes blog post mentioned above we went in depth on this topic, explaining how different visual styles complement personal brand messaging and content creation styles.

Personal brand visual assets example

A portion of Easlo's personal branding success can be attributed to the strong visual aesthetic he's created for his brand. When you see Easlo's content, profiles, and products you know it's him.

Easlo is a creator who made visual aesthetics a big part of his brand. His minimalist black and white style and illustrative graphics and icons make his Twitter account, newsletter and website standout. He also uses this same design system for his products. The result is that anytime you see content from Easlo, you know it’s his. 

As a starting point make sure you are taking advantage of visual branding opportunities on the channels you use. This includes having a profile photo that reflects your brand style (ex. Professional if you have a professional brand, casual if your vibe is more casual), cover images on every profile, a branded header for your newsletter, etc. 

And to take personal brand visual aesthetics a step further, you can come up with a design system for these assets to make them look and feel the same. For example, you should use the same fonts, colors, and lighting across channels so your brand is consistent and stands out like Easlo’s does. 

Use Canva to easily create graphics and assets for your personal brand channels.

Personal Branding Checklist Item 6: Pick one primary channel to focus on, and grow from there

Goal: select the primary channels you will build an audience on

For business brands and personal brands alike it is smart to focus on using one channel well vs. having a weaker presence across several channels. Social media audiences, for example, compound, and it is much harder to take advantage of that compounding if you are slowly growing on several channels instead of growing faster by focusing on one.

Personal brand visual assets example

As mentioned above, Dulma started her personal brand on TikTok. Choosing this channel, posting consistently, and building audience traction not only led to a huge TikTok following, but also gave her an audience she could bring with her to other channels, and the ability to cross promote her other channels like her newsletter and Twitter account on TikTok. Dulma reflects on this strategy in this Tweet, advising her followers to start with one platform, learn it, develop a narrative, and then eventually expand to additional niches and platforms.

Dulma explains how starting with one channel and then expanding to additional niches and platforms is a proven creator audience growth strategy.

It helps to pick a channel to start with that plays to your strengths. For example, if you are a good writer, Medium, LinkedIn or a newsletter would be good options because their long form content style caters to your strengths. Creative professionals like photographers and filmmakers might consider Instagram given its predominantly visual content style

If Twitter is your platform of choice for building your personal brand, consider these Twitter personal branding content ideas

Final Thoughts 

A prominent personal brand is a combination of the right approach and consistent content creation. Use this personal branding checklist to put in place a strong foundation for both that will help you build your brand.

Bonus Personal Branding Tips and Insights

About the Author

Hi, I'm Justin and I write Brand Credential.

I started Brand Credential as a resource to help share expertise from my 10-year brand building journey.

I currently serve as the VP of Marketing for a tech company where I oversee all go-to-market functions. Throughout my career I've helped companies scale revenue to millions of dollars, helped executives build personal brands, and created hundreds of pieces of content since starting to write online in 2012.

As always, thank you so much for reading. If you’d like more personal branding and marketing tips, here are more ways I can help in the meantime:

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