Just like everyone’s a critic, everyone’s also a brand.

It’s a fact of the modern world that there isn’t a single person you know who isn’t in the midst of building their personal brand. With every photo and blurb posted to social media, people are contributing directly to how the world perceives them…and Statista states that, as of 2017, 2.46 billion people are on one platform or another.

That’s a lot of brand building going on.

Bar chart showing the increase in worldwide social media users, from under a billion in 2010 to over 3 billion in 2021.

Source: Statista

The question now is, do you take an active role in cultivating your brand, or do you let it bumble along unguided, inevitably leading you to absolute personal ruin?

Here to help you avoid such disaster are 5 tips on building your personal brand.

1. Audit yourself

What’s that saying? You can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been.

Just as we recommend to our corporate clients (and just as Serena Ehrlich reinforced in our webinar “Monitor, Measure, Evaluate, Evolve”), you need to get a snapshot of how things are right now. Monitor online mentions of yourself to get a clear picture of the current state of your brand.

Are people talking about you? What are they saying? If you want to build a strong brand, first you need to know exactly where you stand.

2. Take control of the conversation

Who’s more of an authority on you than you? Ultimately, you’re in charge of how you’re perceived, so get out there (aka get into a dark room and get online) and start bolstering your profiles.

Fill out your LinkedIn profile until you reach that All Star level; choose a background image on Twitter that speaks to who you are; turn your Facebook page into a living testament to your greatness (if that’s the kind of brand you really want).

A really easy and effective way to get your personal message out there is to build your own website. It can be as simple as a page or two, and can feature whatever matters to you, whether it’s your résumé and some examples of past work, or photographs of you riding an elephant on your last trip to Thailand. The important thing is that you put yourself out there and produce something that will rank for search.

3. Be authentic

The last thing you want to do is create a brand that has no credibility. And the fastest way to do that is to be disingenuous.

Authenticity has thus become the new buzzword when it comes to brand building. People are attracted to realness, whether it’s in a company or in another person. The science may be unclear on why, but there’s no debate on whether or not it’s true.

Nowadays, everything is verifiable. So don’t get caught bragging about this or spewing off about that; someone will expose you sooner or later, and your personal brand will take a big hit.

4. Win an award

Just as traditional advertising’s influence wanes compared to word-of-mouth and brand advocacy marketing, one of the best ways to prove your worth is to have a third party talk about it.

When you win an award, you share the good news. And when you share your win, you’re showing the world how good and capable you are, not just telling them.

For those of us in public relations and communications, building your personal brand can get a major boost from an awards win. We recommend the Bulldog Awards. For individual achievements in the industry, winning a Stars of PR Award from Bulldog Reporter is a seal of approval from your peers and journalists alike, and is a giant feather in your professional cap.

5. Stay on top of things

Not unlike Tip #1, if you want to maintain the shiny brand you’ve worked so hard on, you need to monitor the conversation around you. Just like companies around the world, you need to keep your finger on the pulse of public perception, react according to the winds, and evolve.

All this is to say that, when it comes to building your personal brand, your work is never done. But it’s worth it.

If you’re interested in entering to win a Stars of PR Award, apply online before August 18 and save with early bird pricing. Final entry deadline is September 15.

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Marcus Kaulback

Marcus Kaulback

Marcus is a content creator and marketer with a focus on branding and communications.

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