Personal Branding: The Ultimate Guide (2019)
It has the power to shift you from a red ocean full of competition to a blue ocean full of endless opportunities.
In 2019, people will be making their buying and hiring decisions based on the brand of a person behind a product or service. They want to see if the person backing the product has a reliable personal brand which has authority in the industry.
Bottom line – It doesn’t matter if you are an entrepreneur, executive or a freelancer. You need to have a great personal brand if you plan to get ahead in life.
And in this guide, I will show you everything you need to build an awesome personal brand.
Let’s dive right in.
What Is Personal Branding?
It is a system which differentiates you from the crowd and positions your work skills as superior to others.
You create a position where you can get more work and charge higher prices. Also, your network starts becoming richer.
So how do you stand out in your industry?
You do so by having a deep understanding of your target audience’s needs and then solving those needs exceptionally well and in a medium they understand best.
When you highlight their pain points in their own language and then deliver them an exceptional solution, you stand out.
You become insanely more favorable than someone who is not establishing this empathy.
Your target market feels — “Hey! This guy really gets me”.
From there on, they look at you as a solution to their problems.
Of course, there are many strategies and tools (which we will cover later in this guide) which greatly amplify your personal brand. But at its core, it’s all about understanding your audience and addressing their needs in a way no one else can.
Why Is Personal Branding Important?
Here are some of the biggest benefits of building your personal brand in 2019:
3. Networking opportunities
5. A career full of perks
6. Higher productivity
8. Dream job
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Applying Personal Branding Strategies to Rapidly Grow Your Personal Brand
This section on Personal Branding Strategy will give you a step by step process on how to grow your personal brand and make it remarkable both Online and Offline.
Use these 38 actionable strategies, tips, and growth hacks to build rapid influence in your industry in 2019.
- Online Personal Branding Strategy
- Offline Personal Branding Strategy
- Personal Branding Growth Hacks and Tips
Online Personal Branding Strategy
Let’s not let this opportunity slip away. Here are 31 step by step online personal branding strategies which leverage the internet to make you stand out from the crowd.
1. Define your target audience
2. Identify and narrow down your niche
a) Identify your niche
For example, If you have a lot of passions but overall you are most passionate about improving lifestyle, select lifestyle design as your niche.
b) Narrow down your niche
For example, after you select lifestyle design as your initial niche, you can narrow it down to address a specific community and make your brand message custom tailored for them. So instead of lifestyle design, it can now become lifestyle design for entrepreneurs or lifestyle design for single dads.
This way your message comes across as tailor-made for a particular set of demography and hence more appealing to them.
Pro tip — If you have more special qualities, you can connect them under the umbrella of your main superpower.
For example, if apart from lifestyle design, you are also good in personal finance, then after creating a string of lifestyle design related content, you can connect your insights and tips on personal finance as an actionable strategy to achieve a perfect lifestyle.
3. Stand for something
Pro tip — Help people self-identify with your movement by giving them a title by which they can identify themselves and other members of the community with.
This gave the members something to identify with and added a sense of purpose to what they were doing. It made them loyal to the brand as they felt part of a community of entrepreneurs with similar values, ethos, and goals.
4. Create a Mini-Manifesto around your brand
It will show your industry what you stand for and against. This will help fellow members of the industry self-identify with your values and be magnetically pulled towards your brand.
Here’s an example of Russell Brunson’s Funnel Hacker Manifesto.
Pro tip — An awesome way to add more meaning to your manifesto is by asking your community to print this out or have it as a mobile wallpaper.
5. Create a personal branding statement
It tells your target audience (your prospective customer) what they can hope to get from your professional skills in the form of results and ultimate benefits.
It should look something like this.
“I help B2B companies (target market) double their leads (result) with LinkedIn ads (skill).”
6. Create a strategic bio
Take advantage of it by crafting your strategic bio beforehand which highlights the single biggest benefit your audiences can get from you. Then connect this benefit with your superpower or special skill.
The bio should be not more than 50-60 words. Additionally, mention all your media features and showcase your noteworthy achievements. Leverage it to the hilt by making it a common bio for your own blog and all your media columns/features.
Remember that the bio should reflect your values and what you stand for.
7. Use your headshot as your profile pic
8. Have a brand logo
Have a brand logo which imbibes the ethos and values you stand for. Create something which stands out and communicates your message visually in the best possible manner.
Treat the logo as more than a piece of design and more as your brand identity. Your customers will treat this image as synonymous with you. So make something which represents your core message.
9. Focus on having a uniform design language
Create templates for social media graphics and videos with a common color scheme and appearance. This will make your brand language consistent making you stand out and get identified in front of your target audiences.
10. Start creating content
What are the main pain points of the target audience? What are the strategies that work well in your industry? What are the latest trends in the industry? What are the popular tools to grow a business in your field? Write and make videos about all this. Put the articles in a blog and videos on YouTube and other social media channels (more on that later).
Above all, focus on being an evangelist of your niche to the outside world. Think what kind of information an outsider would need to get into your industry and create content around that. The more consistent you are with your content, the faster your brand will grow.
The goal is to make yourself synonymous with your industry.
11. Give high-value assets for free
12. Focus on SEO
To execute this perfectly, you need to rank on the first page of Google (or any other search engine) and typically for the top 3-5 keywords in your niche. Doing this is a bit hard and can take a bit of time. Having said that there are a few growth hacks to rank faster for your content.
SEO Growth Hack 1
SEO Growth Hack 2
Pro Tip — Use a tool like Ahrefs to find low competition keywords with high traffic volume.
13. Build a list
Also with Facebook’s January 2018 update effectively killing organic reach for Business pages, it will be a smart move to move your audiences to a platform you control completely — your email list.
First, drive traffic to your site. Then once the traffic is on your site, ask them to submit their email IDs in exchange for some awesome content (lead magnet or content upgrade). Once they sign up, win their hearts by delivering exclusive top quality content not available anywhere else.
Consistently giving value at a place where you are seen almost every day is a great way to engineer an awesome personal brand.
14. Grow your social media audience (organic)
Here are the exact steps to follow.
I understand the narrative about not taking your work home.
Over time you will build up an audience that will start associating you with your niche, thus forming stepping stones towards a robust personal brand.
Feature Download: Download the entire guide as a PDF to study offline.
+ Bonus 1 – Get the 60-second Personal Branding Implementation Checklist
+ Bonus 2 – 4 Personal Branding Character Types experts are using to build million dollar businesses. Download here.
15. Be omnipresent online
The more omnipresent you are, the more sticky your message will become. Also, this is a good way to take advantage of the mere exposure effect which is a psychological phenomenon where people prefer things familiar to them.
The more frequent and omnipresent you are with valuable content, the more preferable you become.
You will start building up a niche follower base of qualified people eager about your industry. You will become their go-to source for all things related to your field.
16. Get into new social media channels fast
17. Repurpose your content like a pro
Repurpose your existing content across different content channels like Medium and LinkedIn. Take your existing article and record a video of you speaking about it, upload the video to Youtube and audio as a podcast.
Also, ONE hot way of standing out with your content in 2019 is by making infographics. Make an infographic out of your article using a simple design tool like Visme.co.
Search Engines love Infographics coz they simplify big complicated ideas into visually compelling and easy to understand images. It increases a visitor’s time on your site and also increases the chances of your content being shared in the community.
All this adds great karma points to your brand reputation.
So take your present content and add more modes of delivery to it.
18. Get a vanity URL
This will be great for making the audience see a connection between you and your industry. Also, this will be great for Social Media organic search optimization.
19. Build a Facebook Group to propel your personal branding
The more value you provide, the more your target audience will see you as a leader in your industry. Building your personal brand on Facebook goes a long way as this is where people spend most of their time. The key is to focus on groups, not on business pages.
20. Ask questions
21. Have a professional email signature
Email signatures will be the visiting cards of 2019. So have an email signature which stands out from the crowd. Put your headshot in the signature along with all your social profiles. This way your email will stand out on a pitch. Use a free tool like HubSpot Email Signature Template Generator or a paid tool like Wisestamp to get this done right. Your personal branding image will skyrocket after this.
22. Do what the pros do
Find a mentor who is currently where you want to be. Study their career history and map out the path they took. List out all the strategies and base your plan of action around it.
23. Network with influencers
Once there, start giving real value without an intention to sell. This way you will be seen as a valuable member of the community and not an annoying salesperson. Your ultimate aim should be to give so much value that your name becomes synonymous with everything good about your industry.
The value-first mindset to connect with influencers
Now I know the word “free” can make some of us frown. But when you do it to build relationships with people who are the stalwarts of your industry, then this free work will pay itself off in no time and skyrocket your growth.
Just imagine a great video testimonial about your work from the biggest influencer in your industry OR an influencer blasting a mail to his 100k strong list recommending your work. You see the value now?
Networking tools and hacks
Another way to connect with influencers is by joining their courses/paid mastermind groups. Once a part of the group, provide upfront value to all the members to get on the radar of the influencer.
24. Get on major media platforms
To do this right, you need to first build relationships with these platforms. Use the same value-first mindset and offer your help or something of high value for free.
Once you get their attention, pitch them to feature you on their platform. Show them the value you can offer to their audiences with proven results of your work.
Once accepted, give actionable value and do not hold back. The goal is to win the hearts of the platform’s audiences. In the end, offer the audience a free cheatsheet or strategy call in exchange for them signing up for your newsletter.
Leverage media logos to build authority
25. Be helpful and have a knowledge-based mindset
The days of information ownership and competing for knowledge are over. Share your expertise for free without holding back anything.
We live in a value-centric, knowledge-based economy. If you are not sharing, you are losing out to someone who is giving it all for free and building an unbreakable bond with your audience.
Start by answering questions on Quora and other channels. Join all the industry forums and be the gateway people need to get into your industry. It will pay off in the long run.
26. Document and showcase results
For example, if you are in the field of SEO, make it a point to screenshot your rankings for the targeted keyword.
This will come as handy proof that you deliver on what you do.
Likewise, if you work for your clients, make it a point in your contract that you are allowed to showcase the results you bring for them.
Also, a very effective hack is getting video testimonials. When a number of your clients come on camera and share their success stories from working with you, your Personal Branding will skyrocket immediately.
One of the world’s leading consultants, Sam Ovens has 1000s of video testimonials on his site – consulting.com
Pro tip – Run paid ads on your video testimonials targeting potential clients.
27. Do webinars and live streaming
Apart from that, you can take advantage of various paid but cheap webinar software like Demio which allow you to collect leads.
Do webinars with pure value and no sales intent. Add your personal touch to it by being yourself, sharing personal stories and epiphanies along the way. It will make you charismatic and relatable to your audience.
28. Create chatbots
Again, like any other personal branding strategy, make the chat conversation sequence authentic and true to your voice. The audience should feel like they are having a conversation with you over a cup of coffee.
29. Invest in paid ads
Use smart targeting hacks. Target people with an interest list of brand names only hardcore fans in the industry know about.
The ad should offer something of value to your target audience and show your knowledge on the subject.
Retarget the visitors of your site with a lucrative offer.
30. Get on YouTube
Also, since its an audiovisual medium, the impact is higher and more intimate to the senses than the written word. All this adds great brownie points for your personal branding.
Now simply creating videos and putting it on YouTube may not work for your brand. Instead, you need to optimize your videos for YouTube’s algorithm.
Here are some quick tips on how to get traffic for your YouTube Video:
1. Keyword optimization – Do thorough keyword research. Use this 6 step process to optimize for your keyword.
- Search for your keyword on YouTube and see YouTube’s search suggest recommendations. These are keywords which people are actually searching for while looking for your topic.
- Go to a famous channel in your niche and search for the most popular videos. Click on them and see the tags they are using. Use a tool like VidIQ chrome extension to do this.
- Make a list of all the keywords and tags you collected and then go for the ones with low-level of competition.
- Try to use your main keyword at the beginning of the title and also use them as tags.
- Write a thorough video description, describing what your video is all about and the things the viewer is going to learn. Use the main keyword naturally wherever possible.
Mention the main keyword early in the video and use it wherever it feels natural to do so. Deliver on the promise by giving real transformational value so they are hooked till the end. Have multiple Calls-to-actions to subscribe and comment on the video. The Youtube search engines will pick it up and show your video to people looking for that topic.
3. Design Optimization – Have attractive thumbnails having your picture along with the title of the video.
4. YouTube Funnel Optimization – Create a funnel with your videos by offering a free checklist or report which acts as “The Next Step” for the viewer after they watch your video. Offer the checklist by making it available through a landing page where they can get it in exchange for their email. 5. Video Promotion – After optimizing, post the video on your blog post, social media and other forums as a helpful resource for someone looking to get answers on your topic.
6. Consistency – Be consistent on your video posting schedule. Make it a habit for your viewers to expect a video from you on a specific day. For example, you can have a YouTube banner which says – New videos posted every Monday and Friday.
For more YouTube optimization resources, I highly recommend checking this detailed article by Brian Dean of Backlinko.
31. Start a Podcast
A lot of top CEOs prefer to listen to podcasts over videos. Standing out there can mean connecting directly with your industry leaders and evangelists.
Distinguish your content by interviewing industry leaders, experts, and giving actionable content which your listeners can implement easily for quick wins.
For further resources check out this awesome guide on podcasting by Pat Flynn.
Offline Personal Branding Strategy
Having said that, building your brand offline have the added dynamics of physical presence and personal touch to your brand. This aspect can be very powerful while building your brand name and business relationships.
Let’s look at 4 step by step offline personal branding strategies to leverage your brand in the physical world.
1. Start doing public speaking gigs
Here is a great hack to do this perfectly.
Go to meetup.com and search for your niche/industry. Hit up all the meetups happening in your city related to your industry and say you want to give a 30-45 minute presentation on a hot topic in your industry. More often than not they will get back to you with your slot as a guest speaker.
Taking it to the next level
2. Network at masterminds and conferences
Become seen to the extent that your name becomes synonymous with your industry. Reach out to influencers and have the value-first mindset by providing value upfront to impress them.
You can use networking tools like Dux Soup and Meet Leonard to first connect with these influencers online and then meet them personally.
3. Write a book and give it away for free
It is best to launch a book when you have a thriving email list and an active blog. This is because it will come in handy for marketing the book. Having said that, it is not a necessary requirement as you can always run ads or collaborate with an influencer to leverage their list.
Now let’s come to the content of the book where a lot of people get stuck.
Follow these easy growth hacks to write a book fast.
Growth Hack 1
Growth Hack 2
Growth Hack 3
Making it available through dropshipping and digital download
Now, here’s where it starts to get really interesting!
After writing and editing your book, give it away for free and only charge for shipping.
Now before you start to frown, hear me out.
Books hold tremendous power in making your brand impactful. They create a great initial touchpoint between your target audience and your brand.
Also, they are a very personal item and tend to quickly become an intimate part of people’s lives. This can lead to amazing word of mouth exposure and formation of a loyal tribe. Imagine the number of sales and long-term brand equity you can generate from the tribe. Why restrict it all with a price tag?
So use the free + shipping method to quickly gain massive exposure and brand loyalty.
A great example of this is Russell Brunson’s now iconic book – Dotcom Secrets.
4. Merchandise giveaway
The key here is to create merchandise only when you have built a sizable following so you can leverage your superfans to promote it.
Pro Tip – Use a site like printful.com to drop ship your t-shirts.
For further reading, here are two awesome resources on Dropshipping.
Personal Branding Growth Hacks and Tips
1. Get featured on mass media using the Ladder Method
Now, usually, to do this successfully, you need to achieve something which is extraordinary like earning x million dollars in your industry, having a bestseller book, etc.
Does that sound a bit difficult? Fret not. Use this smart personal branding growth to get into mass media fast.
The Ladder Method
2. The Influencer Interview Rub Off
Do not aim for A-list influencers right away as it will be difficult to convince them for an interview. But you can surely aim for people who have some notable expertise and influence.
Think in terms of:
- YouTube creators with a substantial amount of subscribers
- FB group owners with more than 5000 active members
- Other experts who get featured on podcasts in your niche
Getting influencers to say ‘YES’ for an interview
You can alternatively promise them a paid promotion of the interview to their target audience.
When the audience consistently sees you with experts, they will start associating you as an expert too.
3. The Dennis Yu FB Dollar a Day Ad
After doing this for some time, two things can happen.
Leveraging Personal Branding Tools to Maximize Your Influence and Growth
3. Meet Leonard
Studying the best Personal Branding Examples to Grow Your Brand
Personal Branding strategies are best understood with actual real-life examples of personal brands in action. We list 3 of the best personal branding examples present today.
1. Neil Patel
And if it’s not him ranking on top, it’s definitely one of his many SaaS companies taking the honors.
Being the Wikipedia of online marketing
Purchasing tools and giving it away for free
He recently purchased UberSuggest, a keyword research SEO Tool and made it free for everyone through his own website.
Also, buying such tools differentiates him from other bloggers in the industry, making him “top of mind” for all things SEO.
Giant steps on YouTube
1. Own your niche by giving exceptional value. Become the default choice for content related to your industry.
2. Invest in tools and systems in your industry. Then provide the solution for free to win the hearts of your target market and ultimately convert them as leads.
3. Dedicate time and money to grow your social media channels. See what are your customer’s biggest needs and deliver it to them through their preferred social media channel.
2. Tony Robbins
Creating a unique look and feel
His unique mannerisms, aggressive tactics, and his openness to share personal stories, all blend together to create an exceptional brand identity.
Investing big on social media
Consistently creating content and building authority.
With celebs like Bill Clinton, Serena Williams and Hugh Jackman, Tony Robbins shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.
1. Develop unique aspects about your product which stick and stand out from others in your industry.
2. Put your content on social media channels. Be your authentic self there. It helps in forming a deeper bond with people.
3. Also showcase your mastery in the niche by doing something authoritative, like writing a book about your industry.
3. Tai Lopez
Didn’t this phrase just come to you the minute you saw his name?
That’s the extent of Tai’s brand recognition, which he created by continuously targeting YouTubers with ads about his fleet of cars, his big villa, etc.
Knowing what they want, giving what they need
He appeals to them by showing them what they care about most – having a luxurious life.
In the now-famous ads, he gained their attention and adulation by showing his cars, bungalows, sometimes even having models in the background to add to the “good life” picture.
Getting niche with targeting
Take a step back and think. Will this same strategy appeal to CEOs, developers or Startup Founders?
It won’t. On the contrary, a lot of them might even look down on such marketing tactics. This is because they are experienced. They know the ins and outs of the industry and such marketing ploys.
But then again, they were not Tai’s audience at all!
Tai’s audiences were and are young adults. They are ambitious but without any experience or awareness.
The key to Tai’s personal branding success is his laser-focused targeting and appealing to this audience segment with things they care about most.
1. Know your target audience and focus on creating content especially for them, even if it means alienating others.
2. Identify the emotions and lifestyle which appeals to your target audience and future pace them on that lifestyle by presenting your product as the medium to get there.
3. Use Social Media channels to target and retarget customers.
4. Dan Lok
Dan Lok is one of the highest paid business consultants in the world, and he has made his personal branding express that in a seamless fashion.
He echoes the result he promises to his customers by living the life they aspire to have.
Similar to Tai’s strategy but appealing more to the business executive and young consultant demography, he wears his brand on his sleeve with expensive suits, watches, and other luxury accessories.
He is also quite open about his failures and his journey to success (from being $150k in debt to becoming a multimillionaire). This story curve gives audiences a hero figure to look up to – a masterstroke in personal branding.
His YouTube Show “Boss in the Bentley” further adds to the aspirational aspect which young adults have about their lives.
The special thing about Dan is that his aspirational appearance perfectly blends with actual actionable content where he breaks down all the tools and strategies he uses to grow his businesses.
He shares footage of his high priced seminars and masterminds for free on Youtube. He explains this strategy as a branding exercise where the audience will get so much value from his free content that when he finally offers his paid content, it will be a no-brainer to buy from him.
His transformational content + proven results are intended to make his audiences feel the transformation in their heads (aka future pacing), thus giving them the psychological confidence to take action in reality.
All of this makes his personal brand very addictive for his audiences.
1. Live what you preach. If you are talking about high ticket sales, make your lifestyle look the part.
2. Be open about your journey and your struggle. This will make your success look more remarkable, and your audience will look up to you for inspiration.
3. Back your appearance with actual valuable content, so your audiences can truly believe in the possibilities you promise them.
5. Brian Dean
Brian Dean’s name has become synonymous with SEO. He is regularly quoted by top industry experts like Neil Patel, Eric Siu, among others. He is also known in the industry for inventing the “Skyscraper” and “Guestographic” technique.
This is because Brian has managed to distinguish himself as one of the top SEO influencers through his site Backlinko.
The site is known for its exceptionally detailed guides on all things related to Search Engine Optimisation and conversion.
The strategy Brian follows is simple but highly powerful.
He does not publish content frequently, but when he does, he pulls no stops to make it look and feel exceptional, giving more value than any of his counterparts in the industry.
His content is detailed, insightful and filled with high-quality examples focused on giving transformational knowledge.
Creating these exceptional long-form pieces of content and optimizing them for SEO makes him stand out in his niche.
Also as earlier mentioned, he has invented some highly powerful strategies in SEO and given them unique names. So next time an SEO expert is writing about “guestographic strategy”, he is more than likely to attribute Brian on that, thus adding more weight to his personal brand.
1. Create less content but when you do create it, pull no stops to make it exceptionally valuable to your industry.
2. Optimize the content for SEO so you can rank high and come on the first page of results whenever someone searches for the main keywords in your industry.
3. Share some strategies you use in your business and give unique names to them. Stick to those names and make them popular by making videos and blogs about them. Once the name catches on, you will be known as the inventor of the technique. This will bring a lot of traction and brownie points for your personal brand.
Using The Ultimate Personal Branding Infographic to Fix Your Brand Strategy
This has been one of the most detailed guides on Personal Branding.
It covers every concept and strategy that are relevant to growing your personal brand fast in 2019 and beyond.
The Next Step
I hope you got tons of AHA moments and epiphanies about how to build a profitable personal brand.
That’s why I have put together a collection of bonus content for you to take action right away.
You get the 60-second Personal Branding implementation checklist which will make you stand out in your industry and get leads in automation.
The implementation checklist is filled with many actionable steps written in crisp to the point execution sequences.
- Learn how to never again be confused about what to say to your audiences and what stance to take while communicating your sales message on Social Media (Point 1 and 2)
- Set your social profiles to speak your brand without any daily efforts from you (Point 3 and 4)
- Discover the 1 method which will put you in front of millions of target customers and help you generate leads on autopilot! (Point 5 and 6)
- The 1 smart tactic which can help you build relationships with influencers and even get promoted by them on their own platforms! (Point 13). ← This is my personal favorite (word of advice – Please be genuine and honest while using this).