Personal Branding: Where to Start When You Don’t Know How
Launching a personal website, launching a brand, launching a business. These were some of the key search terms on Google when people wanted to begin building a brand. Many of the personal branding articles share ambiguous advice without real actionable steps to act upon. Launching your brand does not need to take months and months of preparation. What it does require is countless hours sitting in front of a computer and a determined mind to get things done. Here is the secret formula to launching your brand in a nutshell: Vision + Plan + Action= Brand. Decide what you want to do. Decide how you are going to do it. Do it. That’s basically it, but don’t worry. I’ll elaborate.
Design your vision.
Launching your personal brand is easy when you can visualize exactly what it is you want to create. You can design your vision in a variety of ways by thinking through various aspects. You must uncover your unique purpose that drives your passion. With purpose fueled by passion, you are able to imagine all the possibilities available to you and paint a clear picture in your mind of what your brand looks like, who it touches and what it communicates.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Who is my audience?
- What do I want to share?
- What collateral materials must I create?
- How do I want to be seen by others?
- What is in my personal inventory?
Having a clear picture of what you want the final product to look like will guide you in the creation process. If you are not crystal clear on what you want, it will become very easy to get distracted because you are not sure of where you are going. Make sure that you are committed to your vision and ready to begin designing your blueprint to success.
Create a plan.
Once you have a picture in your head of what you want to create, you can begin to put together a plan of execution. Think of your brand as a puzzle comprised of many pieces that need to fit together. You have your design, communications, marketing, messaging, aesthetics, etc. Create a spreadsheet and give yourself tasks to complete each day. Below is an example.
Week 1 – Website Design
- Monday: Design simple wordmark, pick colors and fonts
- Tuesday: Write professional bio
- Wednesday: Write contact page
- Thursday: Write blog post
- Friday: Design website homepage
The most important part of the plan is setting and meeting deadlines. If you do not hold yourself accountable, you will not be successful in creating or maintaining your brand. By breaking up projects into small manageable tasks, you can begin to see progress as you cross each item off your to-do list. Have something or someone to hold you accountable.
The last step is to launch. Don’t get so caught up in the planning that no action is taken. Remember that it will not be perfect and doesn’t have to be perfect. If you wait until you are 100% satisfied, you will never launch. You are your own worst critic. Publish the website, start the blog, get on Twitter and figure it all out as you go along. It is a learning process and adjustments and improvements will constantly be made.
Emmelie De La Cruz is speaker, trainer and consultant in the areas of social media and personal branding. Through her courses and workshops, she teaches millennials how to use social media strategically and develop a digital identity that will help them succeed professionally. When she’s not working with students, she’s training higher education administrators on social media and managing John Jay College’s student life channels. Meet Emmelie on Twitter (@EmmelieDeLaCruz) or learn more at thebrandingmuse.com
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