We’ve all heard the stories about entrepreneurs building their personal brands, gaining huge followings and becoming rich. While this is always a possibility, for most of us who won’t become famous through our personal brands, or leverage them to create multi-million dollar businesses, you might ask what the point is.
The point is that personal branding provides real value for professionals at every level. Making people in your respective industry more aware of your credibility, creating new connections, and improving your skills are all tangible benefits that are hard to argue with. These byproducts of personal brand development can be leveraged to achieve a variety of goals, as a personal brand is an asset that delivers a range of benefits.
Check out the discussion below to learn more about the benefits of personal branding.
One of the most fundamental and powerful benefits of personal branding is building your network. Whether your network consists of a few hundred contacts, or a few hundred thousand, those people represent everything from potential friends to job referrals to business partners and customers. The upside of being intentional about your networking efforts is immeasurable, as you never know what doors might open by making a connection with someone new and sharing value with each other.
Value is the key here, as you first need to provide value to people for there to be a chance they provide any in return. This is why having a small number of very close connections is more beneficial than a large network of shallow connections. Rather than judge your network by follower count, judge it by the number of people you’d be willing to do a favor for, and the number of people who you think would be willing to return that favor. Those people are your real network connections, and represent the audience for your personal brand.
Building strong relationships is both a core pillar of personal branding, as well as its biggest benefit.
Get more tips for figuring out the target audience for your personal brand networking efforts, and ideas for how to provide them value in this blog post: Personal Brand Framework: 5 Steps to Defining Your Personal Brand [plus a free template].
One of the bi-products of the network growth that personal brand development creates is opening more doors to job opportunities. In terms of ROI, exposing yourself to more job opportunities in your field could be one of the most life changing benefits of personal branding. This can come from both relationships you build with peers in your industry who are willing to vouch for your skills and credibility, as well as building a reputation that attracts recruiters and impresses companies searching for talent.
On the peer relationships front, the people you connect with on your personal brand journey will be like minded people who share similar passions and interests. This increases the likelihood that they know about job opportunities in your shared niche industry, and potentially even job opportunities within their own company. The more relationships you build, the better your chances are of being recommended for jobs, or the more people you have to turn to and ask about relevant job opportunities when you start looking for a new one.
On the reputation front, growing a following and showcasing yourself as a thought leader in your industry will increase the likelihood that recruiters find you and reach out to you. For example, having a strong LinkedIn profile that is fully built out, a following on the platform, and an active content strategy all increase the likelihood that a recruiter finds your profile.
On the flip side, if you apply for a job without a warm intro, having a strong personal brand will be a recognizable proof point for your credibility as an expert in your field. It is not uncommon for job applications to give you the opportunity to add URLs to your LinkedIn profile, Twitter profile, or personal brand website. Having these channels filled with engaging content and an engaged audience will be another example of your credibility and the value that you could bring to a new job.
Get more personal branding content ideas and tips from these blog posts:
Building a successful personal brand takes hard work, leveraging current professional skills, and learning new skills. These skills include strong communication and networking skills, marketing skills, content creation skills, and a startup-esque mentality. For many of us, building a brand for ourselves requires bootstrapping and side hustling while we predominantly focus on our day jobs in the same fashion a startup founder works on a new company.
For entrepreneurs, this is good practice for building your own business as you test what strategies help fuel your personal brand growth. For professionals seeking career growth through employment, building a strong personal brand signals to employers that you have valuable skills.
Personal branding is also great practice for your professional endeavors, allowing you to try experimental strategies on your own brand or personal business before you suggest it to your employer. An example of this would be trying new social media platforms, or creating a new type of content.
There are plenty of similarities when it comes to the skills and strategy it takes to build a successful personal brand, and succeeding in various job roles and business endeavors. Take advantage of this overlap and develop skills and strategies that are to the benefit of yourself, as well as your performance in your day job.
Consider the platforms in our personal branding toolkit to help supplement your skills and establish your brand across channels.
Having a wildly successful career path that no one knows about can be detrimental, as it doesn’t allow you the opportunity to take due credit and earn respect for your career accomplishments, or the skill set and expertise you’ve developed.
Jobs are temporary, but personal brands are not. Regardless of what happens on your career journey, having a strong personal brand to fall back on will ensure you are taking your credibility and professional reputation with you from job to job.
For example, if you happen to lose your job and have a strong personal brand in place, you can leverage it to find new job opportunities as mentioned above. This is due to the fact that you’ve developed a network of connections, and people who know what you have to offer in terms of your professional expertise. If you encounter this same scenario with little to no personal brand reputation, you’ve limited the pool of people who trust you and can vouch for your professional value, or who can help you to find your next job.
Think of your personal brand as an asset that will forever serve as a safety net and foundation to support your career journey. The more you develop it, the more value it will provide in guiding your career path regardless of which jobs you end up landing or losing.
Learn about more personal branding benefits in this blog post: What do Most Goals for Personal Branding Have in Common?
In brand marketing, an audience is an invaluable asset that a company can leverage. Personal brand audiences are no different, as there are hundreds of examples of entrepreneurs who have used their personal reputations to build a business. Check out Gary Vaynerchuk’s book “Crushing It: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence” for tangible examples of people who turned their efforts in engaging with people about their hobbies into profitable side hustles, or full time jobs.
To pick on Vaynerchuk for a second, he exemplifies how a niche audience can be used as a market for new products and businesses. The book linked above is one example itself, as Vaynerchuk has written two books targeting marketers and entrepreneurs, which is perfect, since one of the key segments of his personal brand following consists of those people.
It is not uncommon to see entrepreneurs like YouTube creators, social media influencers, and small business owners promoting products on their various marketing channels. These are all examples of people cashing in on their personal brands by creating and selling products or services that their audience would find valuable.
Check out our Gary Vaynerchuk personal branding case study for more examples from Vaynerchuk’s branding.
Ensure Any Products You Create Provide Real Value
That last part is key, as people never like feeling sold to. So if you do plan on monetizing your personal brand audience, you should do so in a way that seeks to actually help people in return. This can mean the difference between creating an engaged community around your products and the community resources you share, and severely hurting your reputation and credibility.
Since you are in the same niche audience as your network, think about products and community resources you would want for yourself, and make those. That way, whatever products you try to sell to your audience will be authentic and valuable.
We use marketing industry examples on this blog a lot (go figure, being a marketing blog), and an example of this concept in the marketing industry would be a marketer creating marketing advice-focused ebooks to sell to their peers. In this scenario, the marketer should seek to make those ebook products something they would be willing to buy and read themselves. This will ensure they are actually providing valuable resources to their niche community of fellow markers vs. coming across as someone taking advantage of the community.
In the blog post linked above with steps for defining your personal brand, one of the key strategies explained is how to build a personal brand based on your passions and connecting with people who share common interests.
The best personal brands are built on people’s hobbies, the things that get them excited, and the causes they care about most. This is due to the fact that people recognize authenticity, and if you are out in the market creating content and engaging with people about a topic you love, they will notice and your efforts will resonate.
Whether it's your hobby, or current profession that you’re really into, working on your personal brand development represents an opportunity to go out and talk about the things you love with other people who get excited about them.
Aside from tangible benefits a personal brand presents like providing a career safety net and business growth, there are also strong intangibles, and one of those is the opportunity to provide value to other people. One of the most rewarding aspects of personal branding is helping others through the sharing of thought leadership, expertise, and community support.
Not only will this feel great, but giving away value for free is a powerful marketing strategy that also applies to personal brands. The more value you provide to your audience, the more likely it is to be reciprocated at some point through a sale for one of your side hustle products, a job opportunity, or getting help and guidance on a professional challenge of your own.
Put value out into the world in terms of the content you create, and the way you engage your audience, and see what comes back.
Personal branding is an endeavor with wide ranging benefits from job opportunities to supporting your own business efforts. Consider the benefits of personal branding discussed in this blog post as you determine how much to focus on building your own brand, and read our Personal Branding Guide for more tips and information.
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