In this three part series, we’ll explore various strategies to discover, create, and expand a personal brand for leaders. The first stop for any new personal brand is to discover what that brand is. Many factors are at play in discovering a personal brand, but what is most important are the various aspects that make a personal brand special and unique. There are many ways to think about this, these are a few of the most fundamental.
Here are five key strategies for leaders to discover a personal brand:
1) Define your expertise.
The first step in discovering a leadership personal brand is to get very specific about what your personal area of expertise is. Perhaps you have expert knowledge of a very niche industry or a specific segment of a larger industry. Maybe your involvement in unique business situations lends you a particular insight. Sometimes the way you see the world because of lived experiences intersects with your work in a unique way. Consider what your own personal expertise is and be as specific as possible.
2) Choose leadership keywords.
Once you’ve established what you can share, it is time to discover how you share it. Leadership styles are as varied and unique as fingerprints, and your personal brand’s tone should match your own leadership style. Is your leadership style warm, compassionate, and collaborative? Are you a decisive, creative visionary? Do you value efficiency, responsibility, and nuance? Create a list of your top ten leadership keywords that can help shape your leadership personal brand.
3) Hone your origin story.
Every leader has an origin story in their line of work, and personal branding is all about good storytelling. If you have not carefully honed your origin story, now is the time to do it. Consider how obstacles you have overcome or the reasons why you love your work can become cornerstones of the brand you are building now.
4) Outline your lateral connections.
Great leaders have strong connections, and those connections that have been built over time will be your best advocates on your fledgling personal brand journey. Make a list of those connections who you will be able to lean on for help sharing the content you will create. Consider that some connections may be personal acquaintances in other industries who can expand your reach into other audiences in the future. Once you have a strong personal brand, you will be able to return the favor.
5) Describe your audience.
The most effective personal brands have a strong idea of who will be most likely to consume the content they create. Is your key audience those who are just starting out in your field? Are you hoping to reach consumers in the industry you work in? Describe your audience’s demographics, tastes, and information needs in as detailed a way as you can.
When discovering a personal brand, it is always ideal to lay a careful foundation before jumping in to creation. Take the time to define your area of expertise, choose leadership keywords that describe you, hone your personal origin story, outline the connections who will help you, and describe who will be interested in the content you create. With these five short steps, your personal brand will already be well on its way.
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