Boosting Your Personal Brand Online

Does a brand exist if it’s not online? It seems like the way of the world is increasingly digital, and that goes for your personal brand too. Personal branding is great, but if it hasn’t debuted on the web yet, you’re missing out on immense opportunities to expand your network, reach new audiences, and build credibility, which is what your brand is all about in the first place. Here, discover new ways to rejuvenate your personal website, expand your brand, and get the most out of your time online.

Laying the groundwork

First things first – the site itself. We like Squarespace for its clean look and ease of navigation. Anyone can create a site that looks good, and when you want this to give a first impression for your brand, this is no place to cut corners. Check out their templates and set your name as your URL to get started. Whether it’s a sleek professional look you want or a nontraditional, stand-out site, Squarespace has tons of looks you can easily pull together for your perfect site.

Next, sign up for Google Analytics to track your website’s traffic if you haven’t already. This way, you can cater your content to exactly what people are looking for. By meeting your audience halfway, you’ll boost your visibility and expand your audience, according to Social Media Today. Sprinkle the site with keywords and phases to utilize search engine optimization and create a web of links to similar and complimentary content in your field to get your website showing up in Google searches.

Website must-haves

Once you get people to your website, you’ll want to provide a few features for them to check out. Make sure you create an About Me page. This is the place to show what you’ve got, but unfortunately it is oftentimes left off the table. Add your personal branding statement or go all out on your personal narrative. No matter how in-depth you’re willing to go, always link your strengths, experience, and qualities back to your brand’s ethics and values. Don’t hesitate to share the good and the bad – people appreciate the honesty and expect transparency.

Invite visitors to your site to engage. Prompt them to leave comments to your posts and invite them to join your email newsletter, which is another great way to keep them coming back to your site. You’ll also want to display your social media badges badges to allow visitors to experience your brand on all levels. Installing a small Twitter feed to run your latest updates along the side will further inspire your visitors to follow.

Displaying all of your social media badges on your website is a great way to keep visitors engaging in your brand.

Displaying all of your social media badges on your website is a great way to keep visitors engaging in your brand.

King content

When it comes to the content you create, make sure to focus on quality rather than quantity. As Social Media Today points out, nobody shares boring content. And with the potential for good content to go viral with a few clicks on so many social media platforms, you can’t afford to not make it top-notch, infectious, entertaining, interesting, relatable, or all of the above.

Personal Branding Blog recently posted about the importance of featuring guest bloggers. If you feel like your site could use a little shake up or your audience isn’t where you want it to be, consider reaching out to an influencer in your field. Don’t have the connections you’d like? Start networking and reaching out. Don’t be shy about it – these connections are mutually beneficial to both parties. The guest blogger will receive more publicity and have the opportunity to be featured on another site, and your personal branding website will generate traffic because of it.

A guest blogger can give a fresh, new voice to your site. They can also expand your audience, as the guest blogger will carry over their own followers. Because they’ll plug their blog postings on their own site, your website will see an increase in traffic and visibility from the added links. A guest blogger can also provide credibility to smaller and newer websites.

Don’t feel like your website has to feature blog posts only. There are many ways to create content that’s engaging, informative, and interesting to all kinds of audiences. Consider creating infographics to lay out hard facts in a visually interesting image. Or, take your traditional blogs and transform them into video format, which is becoming increasingly popular. Transform your videos into webinars by including presentations you’ve made to make them more informative. Check out Search Engine Land for some great ideas about adding variety to your content on your personal branding website.

 

How have you improved your personal website? Let us know! Leave a comment below.

Your Personal Branding Checklist

As a recent Human Capitalist post smartly put it, personal branding is a lot more than updating a Wordpress blog every once and a while – it’s about authenticity, trust, and reputation, to start. Whether you think you’ve masterfully crafted your brand or you’re just getting started, Human Capitalist’s checklist for personal branding is a great reference to make sure you’re on the right track.

Defining Your Identity

No matter where you're at, take a step back to the drawing board and reassess your brand. Human Capitalist recommends asking yourself three questions: Who am I? What do I stand for? How am I different? Cook your answers down to a succinct and positive portrayal of yourself that represents your values and your abilities. Next, take a look at your own personal qualities and pick out the ones that can positively affect your brand.

This first step is essential to narrowing your brand – without doing so, it will be so broad and unfocused others will have trouble recognizing it. If you're having trouble defining your brand’s foundational characteristics and qualities, Tico and Tina have some great ideas about further questioning yourself and applying your analysis to your brand, or check out our own post on it.

Establishing An Audience

What’s the point of a brand if no one knows about it? Avoid this checklist’s common pitfall by marketing yourself once the brand takes shape. Build consistency across the board and try to incorporate your brand into all aspects of your life – this will help the brand stick. Use your personal branding statement with new acquaintances. Use it on business cards, your personal website, social media, and any content you create. Once it’s out there, make sure there is an audience to see it. Build networking into your schedule regularly – networking events are great opportunities to meet other professionals and create mutually beneficial connections. However, networking doesn’t have to be just in a formal setting. Let your family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers know about your brand what what you have to offer. You never know when someone might know someone.

Add these to your personal branding checklist: network, maintain connections, create an audience, and establish your brand through content and engagement.

Add these to your personal branding checklist: network, maintain connections, create an audience, and establish your brand through content and engagement.

Audience Engagement

Personal websites have become an essential in the world of branding because they allow you to lay your brand out for all to see, build an audience, and create content to keep them coming back for more. With so much networking and interacting taking place online, creating a digital launching pad for yourself is essential to directing your connections to the right place. If you haven’t already, create a website that reflects the ideology and personality of your brand. Claim a domain in your own name for consistency and visibility. Squarespace allows for you to expand on your brand, tell your narrative, and direct visitors to all your other outlets for maximum control of their online experience. And with a plethora of clear-cut and stunning templates, your website will make your brand stand to others. Keep visitors coming back through quality content – newsletters, blog posts, podcasts, tutorials, webisodes, updates, etc. This will help build your audience and solidify your brand. For some visual inspiration on branded websites that look great, check out Navid Moazzez’s list of some of the best.

A Foothold in the Community

The last item on Human Capitalist’s personal branding checklist is to establish your place amongst your audience, networking connections, and influencers. Your brand can benefit from other brands too – have you solidified your place in your field’s community yet? As we’ve said above, networking is key to establishing your brand and creating an audience. However, those connections become much more valuable if they build trust – once that is established, says Human Capitalist – influence becomes much greater. Build trust in your community of like-minded brands by reaching out to others, collaborating, gathering recommendations and testimonials, and leaving a legacy of great work, no matter what it is you do.

Five Personal Branding Strategies For Your Website

People don’t just like transparency or visibility, but they have now come to expect it. And because the world is so digitally inclined, having a personal website is an essential for your personal brand and professional wellbeing. But how can you get your website to stand out from the crowd? The On Ramp recently created a list of ideas for your perfectly branded website. Here are some of their best tips to get the most out of your website:

Good shots

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: high quality images will go a long way for your personal website. They put a face to your brand, build trust, and add transparency. Visitors to your website want to see the face behind the brand, and they don’t want to see old, outdated, or fuzzy photos. On Social Media Today, Barry Feldman suggests you take a variety of photos, both up close and in various settings, such as at your desk, leading a small group, or doing a presentation. If you’re known for your creativity, choose some unorthodox photos. If your brand is all about your professionalism and ingenuity, make your images professional. Make sure the feel of the photos capture your brand.

Use of video

Another suggestion from On The Ramp is to implement video on your website. Videos will make your site more visible through search engine optimization and they will help you stand out from the crowd. For those who sound better talking rather than writing and have the charisma to hold a viewing audience, video can truly enhance your personal website. Branding and personality can have their chance for the spotlight through video. Consider making a welcome video, a tutorial, or switching up your typical content to video format. And, of course, make sure the video is engaging with viewers. Invite them to share their thoughts through comments.

Invest in high quality images that reflect your brand for your website.

Invest in high quality images that reflect your brand for your website.

Great design

What good is a website if it’s all text? If it looks like it’s straight from 2003? If the navigation is confusing and the layout is cluttered? Like your professional photos, your website should be all about presentation. However, your website also needs to be functional. Ebay Partner Network recommends removing all unnecessary distractions from your website to retain visitors. For a perfect platform where ease meets aesthetics, consider Squarespace. You don’t have to know how to write code to create a professional website for your brand. With Squarespace, you can create a website with your name as your domain that is easy to navigate and best presents your brand in the digital realm.

Engage the audience

If somebody stops by your website, that’s great. But how can you keep them interested and coming back? The On Ramp says email newsletters are the best way to keep viewers engaged. Weekly newsletters will keep your site relevant and on the minds of your audience. Additionally, keep your content engaging for readers or viewers. Ask for their input and make sure there is room for comments and messages.

Add credibility

Recommendations and testimonials can do wonders for your personal website. Ask those who have used your services, worked with you, or know your professional habits to vouch for you and your brand. Testimonials work great both on your website and on sites such as Yelp and Google + Business, which The Huffington Post recommends for amping up your search engine optimization. These tools make personal branding easy on your own website.

Personal Branding Mistakes That Sabotage Your Success

Personal branding takes a lot of work. It’s a conscious effort and requires continual maintenance. Professionals know that a well-crafted brand can pay off in a big way. However, many of us may be sabotaging our efforts without even knowing it. Chad Brooks of Business News Daily writes on the many mistakes we all-too-often make when it comes to personal branding in his post, 7 Ways You're Tarnishing Your Personal Brand. Here are some of the personal branding mistakes you should avoid and what to do instead.

Being inconsistent or unprofessional

One of Brooks’ mistakes is common and all-too-often overlooked: your brand is inconsistent. Even if your LinkedIn profile is maxed out on recommendations, loaded with connections, and paints a glowing picture of you, a Twitter account that does not match that caliber detracts from all the hard work you’ve put in. Keeping your presence professional across the board on all online profiles, accounts, and web sites establishes your credibility and more importantly your brand. Dig deep to clean out old pictures, posts, and comments that don’t reflect your brand and start adding content that does. Check out our post on branding online for more advice.

Using low quality photos

A personal brand is about defining and expressing an image you want others to know you by. An essential visual to that image is a photograph – it instantly makes your website, blog, or social media presence more personable. Don’t ever use photos with another person cut off, selfies, or blurry images – those don’t convey your brand. Instead, invest in some professional head shots that convey your personality and leave a memorable impression. These will also take your personal website to the next level.

Keep your brand consistent across the board to build credibility and believability.

Keep your brand consistent across the board to build credibility and believability.

Too much bragging

Brooks argues that there is a fine line between promotion and bragging when it comes to personal branding. However, the mistake here is excessive discussion of achievements and accomplishments. Mentioning them is fine, though mix-up your dialogue with relevant and interesting articles, happenings, and nods to others in the field. Knowing when self-promotion goes too far is tricky, so check out Personal Branding Blog’s article on it for more advice.

Lack of in-person interaction

Do not underestimate the value of a face-to-face connection. These hold the potential to build longer professional relationships than online interactions. Brooks suggests attending networking events, which hold untold potential for business connections. Additionally, meeting others in person can better demonstrate your authenticity.

You’re not creating content

Creating content will not just get you more visibility online, but it will also build an audience and your credibility. So why aren’t more people doing it? Creating content was even named one of top personal branding strategies of 2014 by The Guardian! Whether you’re posting videos on your own personal website or writing on your blog, create content to match your brand to avoid this all-too-common personal branding mistake. And if you’re short on time, remember to keep the focus on quality over quantity. Make posts thoughtful and engaging to stay relevant.

A lack of website

There is more than one way to create a first impression, and because the world is increasingly digital, many will search for you online before you ever meet face to face. Having your own website takes the power of your brand into your own hands. With a website in your own name, you’ll ensure anyone looking for you will see the best you have to offer. With Squarespace, you can create an aesthetically pleasing launching pad for your brand. Don’t make the personal branding mistake of relying on the inflexible and indistinguishable platforms of social media to promote your brand.

Personal Branding For Young Professionals

WIth tough job prospects and tuition rates higher than ever, establishing a personal brand is essential for young professionals under pressure to find employment. According to the Economic Policy Institute, employment for those under 25 is close to double the national average. For recent graduates facing the sea of other applicants, standing out from the crowd is key to professional success. For recent grads and young professionals, personal branding is a must.

Find your focus

Some young professionals have found their calling and know exactly where they want to go in life. Others aren’t quite so sure. Wherever you’re at in your job search, hone in on your goals. Scrutinize the qualities and ideals of your most-wanted career. How can you utilize your talents and abilities in these areas of interest?

Black Enterprise advises you mold your brand around these ideals. The more clear you are in your vision, the stronger your brand can become and the more focused your career will be. Keep these defining characteristics consistent across the board in your job search.

Know yourself

What are your best qualities? If you can’t name a few off the top of your head, Wet Feet suggests asking those around you. This feedback from friends, family, and coworkers will provide you with the impression you give others. Or try a few assessments to get a feel for yourself and how you operate. StrengthsFinder focuses on your greatest assets. Myers Briggs and DiSC analyze your personality and tendencies when working with others.

This self-awareness will give you an insightful advantage over other young professionals and the foundation to an honest and authentic brand. Because personal branding is about marketing yourself, knowing your strengths will strengthen your brand.

Stand out from the sea of applicants and other young professionals with a strong personal brand.

Stand out from the sea of applicants and other young professionals with a strong personal brand.

Building the brand

Once you have developed a sense of self and career direction, begin building your brand. Many young professionals recognize the importance of a digital presence, though they may not be utilizing every opportunity online. Social media is a given, though make sure your profiles match your brand across the board. Delete and remove any unprofessional, negative, or unsavory posts and images and update regularly. Keep LinkedIn current and continuously work to add more connections to your network. Create brand-relevant content through videos or a blog to keep your presence visible.

And, if you haven’t already, invest in your future through a personal website. Through Squarespace, you can claim your name as your URL for the ultimate launching pad online. On your website, you can customize your look, tell your narrative, upload a portfolio, and elaborate on your brand for the world to see. Your website will serve as an impressive launching pad for all your online outlets and best present your brand.

It’s a tough time to join the job market for recent grads, but young professionals with a strong sense of self and direction will ultimately have the edge on the competition. With a well-iterated personal brand, professionals of all levels of experience will have the upper hand in their job search and begin the long road of professional wellbeing.