Personal Branding Guidelines was written for Play Louder by a contributing author. Please note that contributing post opinions and expertise are of the author. They are not always in strict alignment with my own opinions. – Joe
The word brand is usually related to large companies. However, branding is also applicable to individuals. Personal branding refers to shaping how the public perceives you by showcasing your value proposition.
There are many personal branding strategies, one of which is building a strong online identity.
In this article, we will look at why you should establish personal branding and how to achieve it using online portfolios.
Why Build Personal Branding?
Having a strong personal brand can give you numerous advantages, especially for self-marketing. For example, people recognize Gary Vaynerchuk and Kevin O'Leary as credible financial influencers because they make it their personal brand identity.
Let’s take a look at several reasons why you should build a strong personal brand.
People are more likely to interact and do business with someone they trust. That is why building a good reputation is the key to thriving in a competitive environment. Personal branding can encourage your target audience to trust your messages or use your products.
As you build a good reputation in the industry, more people may talk about your brand. You have more chances to rise above the competition with more exposure. When done properly, personal branding also allows you to gain attention from the right audience.
Become More Memorable
Good personal branding can leave a long-lasting impression on your target audience. When people remember positive images from your brand, they are more likely to be loyal customers.
Build Consistency and Personality
It is easier to be consistent when you establish a specific quality and personality for your brand. For example, Tesla focuses on maintaining its image as a brand that produces futuristic and feature-rich cars instead of tapping into common car qualities like horsepower.
Because of that, it has established its place in the industry and managed to stand out among other popular brands like Ford or Toyota.
You as a person play an important role when it comes to building relationships with audiences. For example, among millions of YouTube channels, only a few have managed to grow and maintain their presence on the platform.
Even though the content quality is certainly a key factor, most of them have a personal brand that correlates with their target audience. This helps them establish relationships and garner loyal audiences that consume and interact with their content regularly.
How to Build an Online Portfolio for Personal Branding
One of the most effective ways to build your personal brand is by creating an online portfolio. Let’s take a look at eight useful tips you might want to consider.
1. Build Your Portfolio Website
An online portfolio can come in various forms. However, we recommend building a personal website to get the best result. According to a study by CareerBuilder, 50% of employers prefer candidates with a strong online presence, and a well-built website can be the answer for this.
Nowadays, building a website is easier and more accessible than ever. Many companies provide intuitive website builders and free domain registration. A simple search on Google can also give you hundreds of required materials and recommendations to fulfill your website-building needs.
2. Determine Your Target Audience
Understanding the characteristics of your ideal audience can help you figure out the best content to attract their attention. Therefore, it is in your best interest to learn more about their preferences and consider them when creating content for your portfolio.
This allows you to connect with your audience on a deeper level which may eventually turn into a business relationship. It is also important to know where your target audiences spend most of their time to pinpoint the best way to reach them.
3. Organize the Portfolio
Improving user experience is crucial to optimizing the impact of your online portfolio. One way to achieve this is by organizing your portfolio to help your audience view your content more easily.
Prioritize quality over quantity and consider limiting the number of posts you publish.
Take a look at all of your previous work and carefully choose the right pieces for your portfolio. Pick your best content that represents your best performance and has more chances to convince potential clients.
Don’t forget to keep the overall design simple and easy to navigate. Make sure your content is on point and easy to find. Take a look at some portfolio websites to get some inspiration and references for organizing your content.
4. Determine Your Brand Story
Storytelling is an excellent way to convey a message to your audience. Promoting your brand without any story may look like a traditional advertisement that most audiences find disruptive.
Begin with establishing your characteristics and background and understanding how you want people to perceive your brand. Take a look at your personal goals, values, beliefs, and present them in a compelling and exciting way.
There are various ways to present your brand story to your audience aside from including it in your portfolio, such as writing blogs, recording podcasts, making vlogs, and posting regularly on social media. Just make sure that you maintain consistency when presenting your story to strengthen your brand identity.
5. Create a Content Strategy
Content strategy is crucial, especially when you use dynamic platforms like social media as part of your online portfolio. Content strategy includes details like what content to post, how often you post, and the best time to do it.
According to CMI, 60% of the most effective B2C marketers have a documented content strategy. This is also applicable for personal branding purposes. A documented content strategy can help you figure out the best way to engage your audience.
With a well-structured content strategy, it is easier to develop your style and brand voice and maintain them. You will also have more time to create high-quality content and analyze your strategy to improve it.
6. Grow Your Portfolio’s Visibility
Once you have prepared your portfolio content, it is time to grow its audience. One of the most popular ways to boost your portfolio’s visibility is search engine optimization (SEO). This method involves adjusting various aspects of your website to help it rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
According to Backlinko, only 0.78% of people click on results from the second page of Google Search results. That means you have more chances to gain traffic if your portfolio site is ranked on the first page of search engine results.
A simple Google search can lead you to numerous guides to improve your site’s SEO performance. There are also many free tools you can use to help you boost your site’s search engine ranking, including Yoast SEO, Google Analytics, and Answer The Public.
7. Be Present on Social Media
Over 3.6 billion people were using social media worldwide in 2020. With that many potential audiences, it is safe to say that these platforms are a great place to get attention. However, gaining an audience base on social media is not a simple task.
You will need to build your presence and establish relationships with your followers. Try to interact with relevant people in your industry. It is also good to re-share content from popular accounts and join discussions. Finally, organize giveaways. You can utilize custom t shirts printing, for instance, and offer prizes that are valuable and have your brand (logo) on them.
Don’t forget to optimize your accounts for engagement. Optimize your profile bio by including a short description, contact details, and link to your portfolio website. If you are running multiple social media accounts, tools like Hootsuite can help you manage them easily in a single intuitive dashboard.
8. Build a Community Network
Even though building a large and broad audience is great for exposure, sometimes it might be better to focus on creating a smaller community of people who have similar interests. Furthermore, online communities have 44% higher chances to encourage engagement.
An online community is a great medium to share your knowledge with other members and establish your brand identity as a reliable expert in your field. It is also a place where you can learn many valuable skills and information through discussions.
Examples of popular online community platforms are Reddit and Facebook groups. It is also possible to build one on your WordPress website using plugins like BuddyPress and Youzify.
Building an online portfolio can be an excellent way to establish strong personal branding.
With the internet’s prominent role in modern society, improving your online presence can give you numerous opportunities and benefits. In this article, we have looked at eight steps to take when creating an online portfolio:
- Build your portfolio website.
- Determine your target audience.
- Organize the portfolio.
- Determine your brand story.
- Create a content strategy.
- Grow your portfolio’s visibility.
- Be present on social media.
- Build a community network.
Now that you have gained more knowledge about personal branding, it is time to build a positive image online and impress your target audience.