Content Marketing
What is Personal Branding? Everything You Need to Know

What is Personal Branding? Everything You Need to Know

April 24, 2021
9 min read

With the rise of the use of artificial intelligence, personal branding is becoming even more important. When everyone can create expert-sounding text, who is speaking is maybe even more important than what you are saying. That’s why personal branding has started trending again!

Are you struggling to get customers for your business? Think about your personal brand and if that may be the problem.

What is personal branding? It’s a way to market yourself to build name recognition and create relationships with your customers, and it’s crucial for any business owner or executive.

According to Psychology Professor Kendra Cherry, Personal branding is the process of developing a unique and consistent professional image and identity that sets an individual apart from others in their industry or field. This image and identity should communicate the individual’s values, skills, and expertise, and be consistently presented across various platforms, both online and offline.

what is personal branding

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Why Personal Branding Matters

According To Harvard Business Review:

  • Reputation and personal brand are not the same. Reputation is based on how others perceive you based on your actions and behaviors, while personal brand is intentional and reflects how you want to be seen.
  • To build your personal brand, start by identifying what drives you and aligning your values with your organization’s goals. Choose a keyword or attribute to help drive your brand, such as innovator, leader, or creative.
  • To increase your visibility, create a stakeholder map and identify key decision-makers to connect with. When reaching out, showcase your skills and interests and demonstrate how they can benefit others and the organization.
  • Building a personal brand is about defining the distinctive value you bring to your career, strengthening connections, and ultimately realizing your goals.

Personal branding is when you market yourself and your work as a brand. You don’t have to have a traditional business or any business to create a personal brand, but business owners can benefit from it as well.

Branding yourself is important because it helps you build and grow your business. Whether you’re a founder or work as a marketing executive, your personal brand can help you sell your ideas to your audience.

Consider a few reasons why personal branding matters.

Gain Recognition

As you develop your personal brand, people will start to recognize you and your name. Whenever they see your blog posts or social media posts, they will be able to tell it’s your post without even seeing your name.

It doesn’t matter what type of business you have or what industry you’re in. Building a personal brand can help you get your name out there so that you can grow your overall business and career.

People Come to You

Another benefit of having a personal brand is that it can help attract your ideal audience. You don’t have to spend time marketing yourself or finding new people to follow you.

Instead, your ideal followers will hear about you and know that they need to connect with you and your brand. Then, you can easily get new followers and customers. That way, you can save time and money marketing yourself online.

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Grow Your Following

When more people know who you are, you can gain more followers. Think about the most popular accounts on Instagram and Facebook. They all belong to celebrities, and those celebrities have personal brands that attract an audience.

Luckily, you don’t have to be famous to build a community of people who love you and what you do. Even if you do work to bring in new followers, you can use your personal branding to help attract your ideal people.

Create Relationships

As you grow your personal brand, you can build relationships with your followers and other people in your industry. Having relationships with others can add credibility to your brand, which helps you grow even more.

When your brand gets big enough, you can start to focus on having conversations with more people instead of individually. Not only will that save you time, but you can help more people and then get more customers and sales.

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Build Know, Like, Trust

The know, like, trust factor is crucial for gaining long-term followers and customers. Personal branding can help people learn about and get to know you, and you can use your brand to get people to like you.

Different branding strategies can help you get people to trust you, such as by sharing your expertise. Once someone reaches that stage, they will be more likely to want to support and work with you.

Control Your Reputation

As you build your brand, you can use it to control how others see you. That way, you can get and maintain a good reputation in your industry and online.

When you control your reputation, you can make sure it’s a positive one. You don’t have to wait for customers or followers to post a review or talk about you elsewhere.

Here’s a quick video describing personal branding and why it’s important!

Make Selling Easier

Your story is a big part of personal branding, and you can use your story in everything you do. Now, the story should relate to your brand, such as how you got to where you are.

People love being able to relate to others, and you can make that happen with your story. When you talk about your experiences, you can use that to promote your products or services, and you can get customers without having to feel sleazy.

How to Implement Personal Branding

Knowing what is personal branding is important, but being able to implement personal branding strategies can help you achieve the benefits. However, it can be hard to know where to start if you’ve never created a brand before.

If you’re having a hard time with your personal branding, you can follow a few steps. Then, you can create a brand that accurately represents you.


The first thing you can do when working on your brand is to reflect on yourself and your life. Consider your most important qualities and what makes you unique. Think about your strengths and what you like doing.

If you know what you want to be known for, you can include that. Write all of these things down and see how you can turn them into a cohesive personal brand. Then, you can use that to start branding yourself online and in your career.

Find Your Ideal Audience

Next, you should figure out who your ideal customer is and how you can help them. Learning about your ideal audience can help you refine your personal branding to attract those people.

For example, a graphic designer who works with startups will have different branding than a corporate finance consultant. So think about what your audience would want to see in a personal brand to help select colors, fonts, and other elements.

Learn From the Experts

Another thing you can do when branding yourself is to look a the thought leaders and experts in your industry. See what their personal brands look like and how they act online and in person.

Read their blog posts and other content they publish online. Use that content to inspire your brand, but don’t copy anyone. Not only will that make you look bad, but it won’t be genuine. Consider how you can use other brands to create your own.

Create an Elevator Pitch

Whether you need to update your social media bio or introduce yourself at a business event, you need to define your brand story quickly and concisely. One of the best ways to do this is by using an elevator pitch, which is short enough that you can say it when riding an elevator.

These pitches are usually between 30 and 60 seconds long, and they shouldn’t leave anything up to interpretation. A good way to craft this pitch is to share who you help, how you help them, and the results you help them achieve.

Work on Your Online Presence

Having an online presence is essential for personal branding, especially if you do any work online. You can build your online presence by simply creating a website and publishing frequently.

Many business people think that social media is where all the action is. But you don’t own your brand on social media. They decide who sees what you publish. And social media only delivers about 3% of the traffic websites get!

So you don’t need to use every social platform available. Instead, use the research you did of industry thought leaders and see what they use. Then, you can focus on growing your presence on a couple of platforms instead of trying to balance everything.

Build Your Network

Networking is where you talk to people in your industry to help get your name out there. You can network with people in-person or online, which can help you meet more people.

As you network, you can start and build connections with others. When you start, try to be helpful and don’t ask for help right away. But when you need help later, you can use your network to get that assistance.

Keep It Up Offline

It can be easy to implement personal branding online. You can choose the right colors and fonts to use on your website and social media. But you also need to maintain your brand when interacting in person.

Use the same vocabulary when speaking at events. Keep the same composure that people expect from seeing your brand online. Then, you can get people to know and recognize you even more.

tell your personal brand story

Examples of Successful Personal Brands

As you work on your personal branding, you should look at successful examples. Here are a few of my favorite “personal brands” who have inspired me over the years. Maybe you can use them as inspiration as you work on your own brand and business.

Ann Handley : follow Ann on any of her website or social channels and you will see she is about as authentic online as she is in person.

When you meet her in person you feel like you already know her.

And then she validates what you thought. She is just as smart and sweet and funny in person as she is online. (Subscribe to Ann’s amazing weekly newsletter, called “Total ANNARCHY” – get it?)

Joe Pulizzi is a successful entrepreneur – and a hustler in the best sense of the word.

Joe was the founder of the Content Marketing Institute, and now The Tilt – a community for creators.  (Subscribe to his newsletter for the latest tips and tricks for creators of all kinds!)

I first met Joe and Ann right after they came off a panel discussion at one of my favorite marketing events, MarketingProfs B2B Forum. I asked them how to best to build a successful content marketing program for SAP.

They both joked: “buy our book!” (I did!) But thus began a mentorship that I still rely on to this day. Great people doing great things!

Jay Baer is one of the nicest people in the marketing field. I’ve always enjoyed Jay’s keynotes at conferences. And I really respect his business success (which is obvious from his plaid suits!)

But what sets Jay apart for me is his goal of truly helping business people understand that marketing is about helping people!

The bottom line: Each of these people has worked hard to create a brand that showcases their strengths and experiences and who they really are. You don’t need to be the best or most well-known person for your brand to be successful.

Whether you’re a writer, speaker, or do something else, you can create a unique brand. Then, you can use it to help succeed in your business and career.

Personal Branding Tips

If you’re still trying to create a personal brand, consider a few different branding strategies. Not every strategy or tip will work for everyone, and your success may depend on your audience and industry.

Either way, you can use some or all of the following tips to help build a successful brand.

Connect and Share Daily

As you start building your brand, being consistent is crucial. You need to show up online every day and connect with new people and share content.

To connect with people, check out their accounts, like some of their posts, and follow them if you want to. When sharing content, share stuff that you like. Create posts that use your brand elements to help gain visual brand recognition.

While you may be able to scale back on posting later, you need to get as much of it out there now. Then, you can help people find and learn about your brand.

Write and Share Your Expertise

Each week, you should take the time to write a blog post or article to share your knowledge. Talk about something that you’ve experienced in your career, or share a post that relates to your business.

Writing blogs regularly can help people start to trust you because they will learn that you’re an expert. When you have something to promote, you won’t have to worry about annoying your audience, and they can be ready to buy.

Create Long-Form Content

You should also make time every quarter to create and release some sort of long-form content. If you’re a writer, you can do this by writing an e-book or physical book and publishing it on your website.

If you prefer to speak, you can create a presentation that you offer in person in your community. Another great option is to do a webinar so that you can attract people from all over the world.

You can offer this content for free or very cheap to attract leads. If the content has a lot of value, you can charge for it so that you can start making money, even if you don’t have other offers available.

Ask Your Audience About Their Challenges

Another great way to improve your personal branding is to talk to your audience. Ask them what their biggest struggles and problems are and what they’ve tried to do to solve them.

Surveying your audience is a great way to conduct market research. Once you get some results, you can use those to decide which products to create so that you can solve the biggest issues your audience is facing.

Tell Stories

Stories are a huge part of your personal brand because they tell people about you rather than just your work. You can use your story to connect with your audience and other professionals, and you don’t have to make anything up.

Try to incorporate your story into as much of your content and branding as you can. For example, you can use your favorite color as the main part of your brand.

You can create posts around a problem you used to have and share how you solved it. Or you can use your struggles to empathize with customers that have those issues right now.

A Review of What Is Personal Branding?

Whether you’re new to business or have been working for a while, you may wonder, what is personal branding? Personal branding involves selling yourself like you would a product or service.

It’s helpful when marketing yourself online or creating a product or service that uses your expertise. And you can use your personal brand to build connections and grow your career.

Do you need help with your personal brand and business? View our services to learn how we can help.

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Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula", and Founder of Marketing Insider Group. Recognized as a Top Content Marketing expert and Digital Marketing Leader, Michael leverages his experience from roles in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as his leadership in leading teams and driving growth for thriving startups. Today, Michael delivers empowering keynotes on marketing and leadership, and facilitates actionable workshops on content marketing strategy. Connect with Michael today.

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