Your brand is how the world sees you. This includes the online world and the physical world. It is one of the most important aspects of the way you communicate your idea, business or entrepreneurial spirit to other people and its importance can’t be underestimated.
When people start to understand who you are, what you offer and to ally you with your area of expertise, you’re on your way to making a name for yourself. Most entrepreneurs innately understand the importance of their brand, but many don’t know how to grow it. I’ve come up with five ways you can build your brand into something fascinating, intelligent, and recognisable.
- Don’t lose your authentic self
You can’t build a brand that will break through barriers if you’re not being true to yourself. Just think about how difficult that would be! You’d have to appear a certain way even if it went against how you feel and think.
Your brand needs to be a true reflection of who you are, what you offer and your outlook on life and business. Cultivating a fake brand is too exhausting to maintain and won’t work out in the long run. People connect with authentic people – know who you are, what you stand for and what you want. Turn this into your brand.
- Don’t stop speaking out
Are you talking at every possible occasion? Are you fronting seminars? Making strides in your area of expertise? If not, then you should be. This will help you develop communication skills and learn how to tell other people who you are, what your brand is and what you have to offer.
Speak from a place of self-knowledge. Always know what you’re talking about – you need to understand your industry inside and out, as well as fully understand the product or service you’re representing.
Invite questions and open up discussions, even with those who may criticise you and your ideas. You have to be open to feedback and welcoming of other people’s views. Start off in small ways and build up your speaking experience.
- Take interviews and write articles
You’re a thought leader aren’t you? An expert in your field? Then show it. Landing interview opportunities or blog and article placements takes time and effort but it’s well worth it. Be open to things that come your way and you’ll be able to grow your own PR.
It can be challenging when you start off to get in with online publications and those likely to feature interviews with you, but you can always start with a personal blog. It’s a powerful way to communicate your brand and every single online and physical outlet you make a contact with will increase your brand authority.
- Don’t neglect your online persona
In fact, this is something you should actively work on from the get go. You need to monitor and track how you and your brand are translating publicly online.
Make sure your social media channels are part of a cohesive outreach plan – in fact, treat them as PR and you should be able to control (to an extent) how your brand is viewed.
All pertinent channels for your industry should be updated regularly, completed with relevant information, communicate your brand effectively and make you look as professional as you are. Only use good quality photography, for example. And ensure you interact with others online, rather than just post ads for yourself. The online brand needs careful cultivation.
As well as social media, you need to have a professional, well-constructed and well written website. Add new content and make sure it always represents you well. To find out exactly how you’re coming across, Google your brand regularly and monitor the kinds of perception people have and what they’re sharing about your brand. It takes time, effort and dedication but is very important.
- Never stop studying your industry
The moment you feel you know it all is the moment you stop growing. No matter how much background knowledge you have on your industry or sector, it’s always good to remember that things change fast. You need to stay up to date with any trends and changes for your brand to remain relevant.
If you don’t then it will mean all the effort put into building your brand could go to waste. Learn new things, develop skills, expand your knowledge any way you can, whether it’s about keeping up with industry news and articles, or attending conferences.
As an entrepreneur if you’re not growing, you’re staying the same and that’s never a good thing. Stay on top of the game always, refine your brand and you’ll soon see opportunities heading your way.
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