Personal Branding Best Practices: 4 Rules of Content Creation

You’ve most likely heard about the many benefits of content creation for your personal brand. Through content, you can create traffic to your website, enforce your position as an educator, and build an audience for your personal brand, according to Web Presence Group. Content creation is one of the best practices in personal branding today. You can leverage your voice and enhance your brand’s authority through blogs, webinars, podcasts, tutorials, or videos. Read ahead to learn four rules of creating content for your brand.

Creating content is a personal branding best practice because it allows you to demonstrate your expertise while gaining exposure.

Creating content is a personal branding best practice because it allows you to demonstrate your expertise while gaining exposure.

Rule 1: Be specific in your content

Content creation is a best practice for personal branding, though despite branders’ efforts, many are making missteps online. One crucial mistake is in the subject matter itself. There is so much content posted online that it can be easy to blend into the background. Any one area of interest is sure to have many outlets of information posted online. To combat the information overload, make your content stands out with great specificity, suggests a recent Blogging 4 Jobs article. The more specific your personal brand’s content, the better.

Rule 2: Keep your content consistent

Content consistency is another best practice for your personal brand. Consistency does not mean producing a lot of monotonous, like-minded content. It means being consistent in delivering it. Set a schedule for yourself to publish a new post as often as you can manage, with once a week being the desired minimum. Consistently creating great content isn’t easy, but it will get your personal brand the strong digital presence and authority you want.

Rule 3: Interact with other content

Besides creating and publishing your own content, engaging with other content on the web can also be beneficial, according to a recent article in Inc. Magazine. Interact with your brand’s community by keeping up with relevant blogs or other content and engaging with meaningful comments or discussions. Bring new perspectives to light, propose some followup questions, or take an opposing view. By doing so, you not only educate yourself on current happenings in the community, but you also network with other creators and establish yourself and your brand as well.

Rule 4: Provide a home for your content

Blogging is a popular choice for creating content.

Blogging is a popular choice for creating content.

Because content can garner a lot of web traffic and visibility, you’re going to need a visually appealing site to welcome visitors and provide a strong first impression. Squarespace can do that for you. If you don’t already have a website, or if your current website is outdated, consider trying out one with Squarespace. With 24/7 support, you never have to worry about problems with your content. You can get a URL for the best possible visibility. Search engine optimization is built in to maximize web traffic to your content. Most importantly, Squarespace is known for its professional, award-winning designs. They’ll give your content an edge on the competitors and leave a lasting impression on visitors to your site!

There’s no getting around it. Content creation is a best practice of personal branding. What is your favorite type of content to create? Have you found success in any type in particular? Share your thoughts and leave a comment below!

Why Presentation is Everything in Personal Branding

Personal branding is all about image. You put time and effort into your brand because you want to impact how others see you, whether that’s as an expert, a leader, or an influencer. Much of personal branding is about the visual presentation of your image. And because a brand is all about you, it comes as no surprise that many branders are turning to professional photo shoots to enhance their image. Here, learn about the importance of the visual element and how to perfect your personal branding presentation.

The influence of the visual

The world has become more image-centric than ever. Business Insider predicts that 880 billion photos will be taken in 2014 - enough for 123 images per person on the planet. And thanks to the internet and social media we are sharing these images like never before. Over 300 million photos are uploaded to Facebook daily. The photo sharing app, Instagram, boasts 200 million monthly active users, according to Digital Marketing Ramblings.

We respond better to these images as well. On sites like Twitter and Facebook, photo posts garner significantly more engagement than typical text posts, according to Fast Company. Visual content is fun and easy. It makes it quick to get across a message or idea. Graphics and images are recognizable for brand consistency. And visual content is much more accessible than a block of text. It’s easy to see how some strategic images can really enhance your personal brand’s presentation.

Using visuals for your brand

Image-conscious professionals looking to give their brand an update have been turning to professional photo shoots, according to a recent New York Times article. Gone are the days of stuffy glamor portraits. Now, professionals seek out creative and extensive shots for the ultimate personal branding presentation. Sure, the images are out of the box, but they’re still professional. They also infuse elements of their personality, and most importantly, their brand’s values into the images more so than a run-of-the-mill headshot.

Headshots have come a long way.

Headshots have come a long way.

Yes, your brand is important – but so is the way in which you showcase it. A bad quality photo could detract from an otherwise solid brand, warns Celebrity Branding Agency. A good photo will provide a strong first impression and convey a professional aesthetic for your brand. The presentation of your brand should be consistent across various forms – business cards, social media, blogs, an your website. Taking a variety of photos from a shoot such as the ones featured in the New York Times allows you a solid base of consistent, high quality images but gives you enough wiggle room to update your look every now and then. Plus, they provide a face behind the brand for some much-needed personalization.

Visualizing your brand

With such a heavy influence of images, where should you showcase them? On your website, of course. If you still don’t have your own website, seriously consider it. The world is increasingly becoming digitalized, and people are definitely looking for you and your brand online. Nothing is worse than finding someone’s website online that looks like it’s straight out of 1998. Don’t rely on an outdated site or your social media platforms to house your brand – instead, get a Squarespace website.

Creating your own personal branding website is simple even if you don’t know code or web design with Squarespace’s LayoutEngine web publisher. Gain visibility and track your success with its built-in search engine optimization, analytics, and integration with Google Analytics. Most importantly, Squarespace, which features award winning design, will make your site look amazing on any device. Let a Squarespace website be the ultimate presentation for your personal brand!

What success have you seen from incorporating visual content? Share your advice and leave a comment below!

5 Steps to Creating Your Personal Branding Statement

A personal brand starts with a personal branding statement. A personal branding statement should be the backbone of your entire brand. It should sum up your intentions, your goals, your strengths, and your passions. It should be purposeful, succinct, and no longer than a few sentences you can comfortably use when introducing yourself to others. Yet, as simple as it sounds, crafting the perfect personal branding statement can be an intimidating task. Career coach Michael S. Seaver recently wrote a great guide simplifying the personal branding statement writing process.

Here are the components that make a great personal branding statement:

1. Begin with a big picture purpose

Everything about your personal branding statement should be purposeful. Specifically, the first portion of your statement should tell of your intentions in a grander scheme. Telling others with confidence what mark you will leave on the world is no easy task and takes some personal reflection. Ask yourself, what can I do and who can I become? How will I better the world around me? This, Seaver explains, should be a permanent and static declaration.

This first segment of your personal branding statement, which is sometimes identified as an intention statement, can be tricky to whittle down to such a definite declaration. However, by simply writing this down you’re already empowering yourself with focus and holding yourself more accountable, according to Empowering Personal Development. Business coach Kim DeYoung also has some great advice on brainstorming and crafting a strong intention statement.

2. Include your short-term aspirations

After dissecting your big picture purpose, take your perspective into the next three to five years, suggests Seaver. This next portion of your personal branding statement should focus on your personal goals for the next few years. These goals should compliment your big picture purpose but hone in on smaller, more tangible goals for your professional success. Ask yourself, what could you do in this time frame that would make you feel accomplished and satisfied? What would be a good representation of your brand? Whether it’s moving up in the workplace, mastering new skills, or finally starting that new project, select goals that are both challenging and achievable.

Planning out short-term goals for yourself that align with your personal branding statement is a good way to gain momentum for the long run.

Planning out short-term goals for yourself that align with your personal branding statement is a good way to gain momentum for the long run.

3. Add your interests

Sometimes personal branding statements can become too impersonal. Your passions and interests can say quite a bit about who you are and what drives you. Ask yourself, what makes you lose track of time? What can you concentrate on and achieve with a great sense of satisfaction? What makes you step up to a challenge?

For example, maybe your interest is running because you like to push yourself to meet race goals and top a personal best. This demonstrates your persistence and determination. Whatever your interests are, reflecting on what about them interests you is another component essential to your personal branding statement, says Seaver.

4. Sum up with your strengths and skills

The final portion of a personal branding statement should highlight exactly who you are what makes you different. Identify your strengths and best qualities. A good way to get an honest perspective on yourself is by asking those around you. Seaver also suggests examining your LinkedIn profile. What are your top endorsed skills? What have others said about you in your recommendations?

A good way to clarify your working habits is through differentiating yourself from others. What role do you play in a group setting – are you the one calling the shots, the one making sure all voices are heard, or the one suggesting an idea outside the box? How do you best work – independently or collaborating with others? What skills have you demonstrated and utilized in past experiences? Knowing and articulating a few key strengths and skills is essential to your personal branding statement.

5. Utilize your personal branding statement

All in all, your personal branding statement should be no longer than three or four sentences. It should be concise and something you can comfortably share when meeting others. Most importantly, it should be an accurate representation of your brand and those around you should know it!

Making your personal branding statement is half the work. Now you have to share it with the world. After all, a personal branding statement is no good if nobody knows about it. Share it with new acquaintances, reiterate your newly refined statement to coworkers, friends, and family, and publish it online to officialize it.

The perfect place to showcase your statement for the world to see is on a Squarespace website. Squarespace websites are easy to set up and they offer great network support. Squarespace will make your brand stand out from the crowd with award-winning design and mobile compatibility. A website that looks professionally crafted will be the perfect compliment for your personal branding statement.

Make sure to check out Josh’s Anatomy of a Personal Branding Statement infographic for more insight and share with us your own personal branding statement. Start the conversation and leave a comment below!

The 3 Fundamentals of Personal Branding for Professionals

It seems that there’s a lot of talk about personal branding in today’s world. There’s so much advice and so many statistics about what tactics deliver the best results that it can be overwhelming at times. But don’t let all the chatter prevent you from creating your best possible brand. Forget all the details and focus on the three fundamentals of professional personal branding laid out by Global Writes: authenticity, visibility, and an online presence.

1. Begin with an accurate and authentic foundation

In their recent article, Global Writes stresses the importance of authenticity in your personal brand. A brand with an inauthentic founding will not succeed – everyone will see through it. A brand has to capture your personality and values in order to work – that’s its point. Whether you already have created a brand or are just beginning, take the time to reassess the foundation of your professional personal brand.

A great way to seek out authenticity for your brand is to gain another perspective through personal assessments. StrengthsFinder is a very well-known and popular assessment that focuses on your best strengths, rather than weaknesses, and how these can work to your advantage in working with others. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator narrows your personality down into one of sixteen varieties and shows you your tendencies and how you best work. Additionally, the DiSC assessment reveals your communication and personality within a group setting and teamwork.

Having trouble defining your personal brand? Global Writes suggests you try reaching out to those around you that know your character and work habits. Sometimes others can have better insight on ourselves than we do. Ask someone how they might describe you to others, their impression of you, and how they perceive your strengths. Combine these with your own ideals to put your brand into focus.

2. Visibility is everything

You need an audience in order to be recognized, so let the world know about your brand! Networking, as always, is essential to your professional wellbeing, says Global Writes. Building relationships based on trust and your reputation is how you craft your brand. Make an effort to add networking regularly into your schedule. Networking events are common and popular, plus everyone in attendance wants a mutually beneficial connection too. As a professional, staying active in your field is equally as important as networking. Attend conferences, follow influencers, and stay involved in the conversation to stay relevant and visible in the community.

Grow a green thumb in your garden! Stay consistent across your social media profiles to optimize visibility and strengthen your brand.

Grow a green thumb in your garden! Stay consistent across your social media profiles to optimize visibility and strengthen your brand.

Another key to visibility is consistency. Staying consistent across social media platforms is essential to staying visible and maintaining your brand. While it’s good to show your personality with personal posts, make sure they don’t stray too far from your brand. Don’t post something on Facebook for friends and family that you wouldn’t want to be sharing on Twitter or Instagram with your followers. Ensure that your blog posts are relevant and on-topic to your brand. Keep your LinkedIn profile polished up to date, but don’t let your images on other sites diminish your professional appearance. Keep handles and usernames as similar as possible, or in the best possible scenario, the same. Post badges and links to these on your website or email signature to ensure that your connections are as connected as possible.

3. Lay your groundwork online

If you’re not online, then where are you? It’s true that your brand needs to be fully represented in person through the work you do, how you interact with others, and how you present yourself to the world. But the internet also provides limitless potential for branding your image in other ways as well. Because there are so many ways to promote your brand online, Global Writes stresses that you plan out your personal branding strategy. As Duct Tape Marketing so precisely puts it, “To wade into various social networks without intention is to almost guarantee wasted time and effort.”

So what does that mean when it comes to personal branding professionals? It means producing quality content over a large quantity of posts. It also means engaging and expanding your networks on social media. Target your content to fill a niche, reach out to your audience, and stay focused by infusing your brand’s fundamental values.

Another essential to a professional’s personal branding endeavors online is to utilize a personal website as a landing base to your online activity. Because 93% of website visits begin with a search engine, you want to put the best possible content out there at the top page of the search results. After all, only one out of four internet users make it past the first page of search results, according to Search Engine Journal.

That’s where your website comes in. Because you can completely customize and cater your website to showcase your brand, a personal website is the best investment you can make right now. If you don’t have one yet, give Squarespace a try. This platform makes it easy to create a website that looks professionally made. Plus, it has award-winning support services and design and is mobile-friendly. Squarespace will allow you to tell the story of your brand, expand on your experiences, and provide work samples or a portfolio. Most importantly, a Squarespace website will let you take control into your own hands to get your name front and center on a search results page. People are looking online, so give them something worth looking for!

Did we forget any personal branding fundamentals for professionals? Let us know and leave a comment below.

6 Benefits of Personal Branding for College Students

Getting a four-year degree is a big accomplishment, but it’s no longer your guarantee to employment following graduation. Students now need to demonstrate academic excellence, community involvement, leadership capabilities, and complete multiple internships in order to set themselves up for success. It’s no secret that college students are busy, but there’s one more item they need to add to their to-do list: creating a personal brand. Here, learn six reasons why a personal brand is a must-have for every college student.

1. You learn more about yourself

Personal branding begins with a lot of reflection and self awareness, according to a recent article on Youngisthan. Take the time in school to explore your interests with a variety of courses. A well-rounded education is oftentimes appreciated by employers and it allows you to seek out your interests and career goals.

While you’re in school take advantage of career and vocational development programs on campus to help you better understand your strengths, qualities, and carer interests, especially if branding is new to you. A good understanding of yourself is the first step to a strong personal brand, and there is no better time to do this than as a college student.

2. You can use the resources available to you now

When you’re enrolled as a college student, you not only pay for your courses, but for the multitude of services available to you as well. Meet with your career counselor to make your cover letter and resume reflect your brand. Take advantage of the free leadership development and personal assessments they offer now while you have the opportunity. After all, you’re paying for it!

3. You can utilize your current network

During your time in school, make an effort to network and make connections with fellow students, professors, and faculty, suggests the Personal Branding Blog. Arguably, you will never again have the plethora of potential connections as you do in college. Plus, as a college student, making connections is so much easier than it is in the real world. Because professors and faculty members have both a multitude of connections and experience, devote your time to establishing strong relationships with a key few to use for recommendations and referrals to speak for your brand down the line.

Personal branding is an essential for any college student.

Personal branding is an essential for any college student.

4. It allows you to showcase your collegiate accomplishments

If you’re staying busy in school, you’re more than likely accumulating a lot of experience, skills, and knowledge related to your aspiring field. Document this now rather than pushing it aside. Whether it’s a course you found really applicable, a project you completed, or some work samples from your internship, collect these for future use in an application, to add to your portfolio, or to publish on your personal website.

5. It sets you apart from the pack

The recession may be over, but it’s still difficult to break into the job market with an entry-level position. Unemployment for young adults 25 and under is estimated to be double that for other working professionals, according to the Economic Policy Institute. A strong personal brand is a great way to set recent graduates apart from the pack. Besides developing an impressive grasp on yourself and your career goals, a good personal brand will do the talking for you and allow hiring managers to have a better idea of yourself and your aspirations.

6. It's a great way to express your internet prowess

The world is more digitalized than ever and the internet is simply changing how business is done. Chance are you’re a pretty internet savvy Millennial, like most are, but push yourself to take your skill to the next level. Brand your social media profiles, which are more often than not inspected by hiring managers and recruiters. Create and continue to produce quality content through a blog, which can demonstrate both your writing and communication abilities and demonstrate your personality, according to Uloop. And as always, continue to work on expanding your network on LinkedIn.

Most importantly, create a professional personal website to showcase your brand. As a college student, now is the perfect time to make a website for your personal brand. Utilize your campus’ technology center or find a computer science friend to help you out, or simply open a Squarespace account. It’s an extremely easy platform to use and you don’t have to know code to create a professional-looking website. Plus, you can acquire a URL for optimal visibility. A website will allow you to further elaborate on your educational background and showcase your projects, work samples, and portfolios. Squarespace has won multiple awards for its aesthetics and user support and is the best choice for a branded website. Plus, it costs less than your Netflix account and will be an impressive asset in your upcoming job search.

What personal branding advice do you have for college students? If you're a current student, what strategies are you successful with? Share your insight with us and leave a comment below.