Having a clearly defined personal brand can be the difference between top candidate for the position or promotion and also-ran. In an effort to get a leg up professionally having a clear, consistent personal brand is a boon to your career.
However, developing a consistent brand can be a little daunting or even a confusing proposition. But it doesn’t have to be. It can be as simple as the following five steps.
1. Define your Hedgehog Concept
Jim Collins documents the Hedgehog Concept in Good to Great as the convergence of what you are best in the world at, what you are deeply passionate about and the things that drive your economic engine. You can apply this thinking to your personal brand. I would encourage you to think through each of these areas and write them down as you work to identify your Hedgehog Concept.
The purpose of the Hedgehog Concept is this: When you have your Hedgehog Concept identified if focuses you in a unique way. It makes it abundantly clear what’s important and what’s not. It will manifest itself throughout your messaging because anything that falls outside the Hedgehog Concept is not part of your personal brand. This is what will drive the consistency of your brand.
2. Identify topics or areas of expertise
Based on your Hedgehog Concept, you can identify some areas of expertise and themes from which you can focus. I recommend that you choose 3-4 themes. For example, I am a recruitment marketer by trade, my themes are: candidate experience, digital innovation and branding. When I create content on any of type, I focus on all of these topics or themes.
In addition, when I curate content into my social networks, I focus on these areas as well. It is consistent across the board. When you see an update from me socially, you know it will fall into those areas. If it falls outside those areas, it doesn’t get posted.
3. Build your profile to support your brand
Your social and digital profiles are your billboard. Having a clear and consistent profile across all social channels and digital properties will go far into creating consistency. That doesn’t mean that every one of your profiles needs to mirror and be exact replicas. However, there should be consistency. Your LinkedIn profile should be very professional, Twitter can be a little less formal and Facebook should be friendlier versions of the same profile. They key is that it is consistent with your Hedgehog Concept with minor variations based on the channel.
4. Follow influencers in these areas
Part of building a strong, consistent brand is being THE curator of great content in your areas of expertise. In order to do that, identify influencers in your areas of expertise. Build a strong list of blogs using an RSS reader. I use Feedly and love it. I subscribe to a ton of blogs and industry news publications and this is a great source to share and curate great content that supports my Hedgehog Concept and personal brand. I always try to make sure that whatever I share is aligned with the themes that I have.
In addition to blogs, build lists in Twitter and follow influencers on LinkedIn to get additional sources of content. Finally, join professional groups and start adding content, comments and shares that add value to the group as it aligns with your brand.
5. Promote your brand socially
You will see your personal brand grow over time as you share great content with people. You can also grow your network by participating in relevant Twitter chats. Check this site out for a schedule of Twitter chats. It’s ok to lurk at first, but when you find a question where you can add value, don’t be shy. You’ll be surprised; your ideas will resonate. Twitter chats are a great resource for you to gain fans and followers. In addition to Twitter chats, LinkedIn groups are excellent sources to promote your personal brand among your peers.
Finally, those blogs you start to follow, pitch them a guest post. Try to write a piece for them to generate additional interest in your areas of expertise. If you aren’t quite ready to pitch an article, get active as a commenter. When you comment be sure that you advance the conversation of the post.
Knowing what t share and what doesn’t fit into your personal brand is half the hurdle. It is important to identify your themes and your Hedgehog concept. This will help you see what’s adding to your brand and what’s not worth your time. This exercise will take a little time in the front end, but once you master it, you will see time savings as well as a boost in that personal brand you are working hard to cultivate.
This post was originally published at an earlier date.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a Work It Daily-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.
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