Today it's more important than ever to learn how to brand yourself online. Over 1 billion names are Googled every day - so unless you live in a cave, you've been Googled. And what people find there is affecting their decision to do business with you.
Take our co-founder Pete, who was being mistaken for a drug dealer in Google. He couldn't afford to pay reputation firms thousands of dollars to help fix his results, and lost job opportunities because of the mixup. So, he developed BrandYourself, a free DIY product that makes it easy for anyone to improve their own search results. Create a free account today to learn how to brand yourself online.
How to Brand Yourself
Understanding how to brand yourself begins with uncovering your personal brand. Your personal brand is not a tagline or an ad campaign. It's a combination of your interests, beliefs, ethos, values, talents and skills, among a number of other characteristics. It's the descriptors that you're known by, "Oh Bob, he's such a diligent worker and it doesn't hurt that he's whip smart." It's these descriptors that over time are sewn into the tapestry of your personal brand.
Once you discover and identify your personal brand, you'll be ready to learn how to brand yourself.
1. Uncover Your Personal Brand
Uncovering your personal brand is step one when it comes to branding yourself online. Personal branding is not an act or a show you put on for others. Your personal brand is you to the very core. The qualities and characteristics that comprise your personal brand are unmistakable. If I asked ten members of your family how they would describe you, they would describe you by using a few key words. This is what makes branding yourself so important.
To help you in this self-discovery phase, here are a few questions you are going to want to ask yourself? Consider these questions, reflect on them and take your time in responding to them.
- What are my biggest strengths?
- Where are my passion areas?
- What makes me unique?
Once you have rolled up your sleeves and dug deep inside to find the substance that make you uniquely you, you're halfway there. Understanding who you are is the jumping off point for the rest of this process.
2. Make Your Personal Brand Targeted
Once you have discovered your personal brand: those qualities and characteristics that make you authentic and passionate, the next step in the personal branding process is identifying your target market. By pinpointing your target market, you will be able to position your talents and skill-set in the best way possible, to land that dream job or close that sale or accomplish a stated goal.
- Determine Your Target: Who needs to know about your product or services? Furthermore, which types of people would be interested in using your product? Of these people, how many would be willing to shell out money for your product or service? Focus first on those individuals and/or businesses that possess the pain points that you specifically can resolve. Once you have identified these people, build your personal branding strategy around this specific niche.
- Identify Your Competition: Understanding your competition is absolutely essential to your personal brand. Through understanding your competitors' core competencies, you are better able to position your abilities to fit your audience's needs. And to take your skills even further, you're able to do that, while differentiating yourself from your competitors. Not only are you speaking the same language as your prospective customers, but you're providing a compelling unique selling proposition on why they should choose you over your competitor.
- Create a Brand Statement: Based on the above steps, create a 1-2 sentence "Brand Statement" that encompasses who you are, what you do, and how you are different. Use these personal brand statement tips.
3. Create a Communication Plan
Fortunately, there are dozens, if not hundreds of social profiles and online platforms where you can promote your personal brand. In the last ten years, social media has flattened the playing field and allows "everyday Joes" to reach their audiences, at multiple touch-points, using hundreds of online tools. This amount of tools can become overwhelming if you’re new to the process of branding yourself. Deducing which platforms are right for you can be difficult and time-consuming, especially considering the endless methods and platforms that are at your disposal for reaching your target audience.
We built BrandYourself.com to walk you through each step of the process, including setting up the most relevant social media profiles and optimizing them to make sure they show up high when people Google your name.
4. Control Your Google Results
When your name is searched online, your name should appear in search results. Without an online presence, or worse, a presence that is less than desirable, people you know and don't know will likely have an inaccurate first impression of your personal brand.
If future bosses, colleagues, clients and customers are searching for you online, and you're not showing up in the search results, you're already behind the eight ball... without even knowing it! If what you find on Google is irrelevant or not you, then it's time you learn how to brand yourself by improving your online reputation.
Your goal is to fill the first page of Google with as many positive results as possible. Depending on your web history, here are the various treatment options and appropriate prescriptions.
1. I don't have a web presence, I have nothing that shows up when I'm Googled: The first thing you need to do to start branding yourself is create the foundation for your online reputation and that means creating profiles on sites that rank high in search engines.
Top sites to start with (in order of how high they rank):
While these profiles tend to rank high on their own, it's important that you build them so that they are optimized for search engines. This part can take a good amount of time, which is why we created BrandYourself, a do-it-yourself platform that will walk you through the process of creating these profiles and optimizing so they rank high.
2. I have specific content I want to push up higher: You might already have a personal website, a LinkedIn profile, or other content you want people to find when they search for you, but they just aren't showing up high enough.
If this describes you, then you are going to need to learn some of the ins and outs of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). A great place to start is Google's very own SEO starter guide. You can also create an account on BrandYourself and submit any links you want to show up high. Our system will automatically analyze those links and give you specific steps for boosting them higher.
3. I have specific content I want to BURY: Perhaps you have something unflattering out there about you, or you're also being mistaken for an ex-con. Unfortunately, you can't simply remove a result from search engines.
- The only way to get rid of a negative result is to bury that result with positive links. Site owners aren't required to remove it - in fact the law is on their side to keep it up. (And even if they remove it, it's still archived by Google and it may continue to show up). Luckily, we created BrandYourself to help people in this situation. Here are some steps you can take when you create an account to bury something negative:
BrandYourself makes it easy to bury a negative result:
- Build your BrandYourself profile. Our profile will rank high and help push your negative result down.
- Submit as many positive links as you can. The more you submit, the more you can use to bury this result. The "My Links" section also helps you create new links easily if you need them.
- Fully boost all your positive links. We analyze your links and give you Boost Steps you can take to make them rank higher. Make sure you complete every step so they will rank higher than your negative result.
5. Nurture Your Network
You should consistently engage your audience via social media and provide and curate relevant content for your audience that highlights your expertise. A blog is one of the most effective ways for creating this type of "expert" content and branding yourself. With the right platform you are able to disseminate this content to your audience with one click. Building a platform such as a blog and nurturing and growing a community are rocket fuel for your personal brand.
Personal Branding is Easier and Faster With BrandYourself
As you can see, there is a lot of work involved in understanding how to brand yourself but also actively managing your personal branding strategy. That's why we created BrandYourself, to make the personal branding process easier, more fun, and less time consuming. BrandYourself is the easiest way to get positive content about you to the top of the search results. BrandYourself serves as the hub of your personal branding efforts by building positive content in search engines around your name. This positive content can help you bury any unwanted or irrelevant results. BrandYourself is intuitive, simple (and free!) web-based software. Check it out here.
Ready to Take Control Of Your Google Results?
Today, it is just plain irresponsible to be passive about your personal brand. You spend a lot of time building your offline reputation It's time to apply that same discipline to your personal branding efforts.
Create a free BrandYourself account now to make sure you look great when employers, clients and even dates Google you.