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Mel Carson

How to Build a Compelling Online Personal Brand

Mel Carson
How to Build a Compelling Online Personal Brand

With the explosion in use of digital and social media online, it’s not just brands getting in on the action with the end goal of reaching and engaging more Internet users. People like and you and me are waking up to the fact that we have the opportunity to create an impression through digital media that not only helps us in our careers, but also has added benefits for the company we run or work for.

Building a compelling personal brand online is not something you can achieve instantly. However, with a bit of disciplined thinking and action around the following three strategies, you can start to understand what works for your personal brand and your niche and start to build a presence which will reap many rewards over the years to come.

Be Discoverable

To have any impact in your area of professional interest people need to be able to find you online, either through search engines like Google or Bing, or across social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

There are two ways to be found: either by name if people have heard of you or want to research your experience, and by area of expertise, where someone is looking for information or advice on a given topic and your name keeps cropping up in association with that subject.

If you Google yourself, what do you see? Are your social profiles coming up top? Do you have a personal website or page with your name as a domain name that ranks well?

Have you contributed to articles on your expertise? How are you injecting your name into conversations online about your niche? What avenues have you explored within your industry to promote your experience?

In order to be able to express your knowledge you need to have visibility, so think in terms of how people in your industry wanting to learn from you will search for you and your expertise, and set yourself up to be found.

Be Shareable

Now that people can find you, what is it about what you have to say that makes someone want to share your wisdom? The beauty of digital media and social interaction online is its viral nature. Say something of value and your target audience will want to share it.

The secret to great content lies in your AURA. Think about what you publish either in articles and blog posts or short form updates like a Tweet or Instagram photo as Authentic, Useful, Relevant and Actionable.

Authenticity is key to building trust with your audience. A genuine love of sharing knowledge and presenting yourself with true confidence and sincerity is the first step in creating content and thought-leadership people will trust.

Useful content is important as you want to avoid what I call the “So what? Factor." Often you’ll have just one chance to make a good impression, so make sure that interaction is useful and there is no cause for anyone to feel they got nothing from it.

Relevancy may sound obvious, but being explicit in your bios about what you do and why is crucial for people to know they’re in the right place or that perhaps you’re not the right person to be following. Publishing relevant content as a brand has always been a number one mantra, so keep that consistency when it comes to you personally.

Actionable content is your holy grail in the quest to be shareable. Firstly you want the publishing platforms you use to allow your thoughts and content to be easily shared. This is a given on LinkedIn and Twitter, but I see so many personal sites or web pages that are not set up with the right infrastructure to let people share. Secondly, people only have a finite amount of time with you before they have to do something else, so making sure your content allows them to take action and maybe click through to some more content, watch a video or leave a comment. It’ll mean they’ll spend more time with your wisdom and that leaves less time to spend with your competition.

Be Memorable

The sum of the work you do being discoverable and sharable is that your personal brand will be more memorable. You want people to recall your name or a post you’ve written and share it at an appropriate time because your words had a positive impact on them.

Capitalizing on the power of digital and social media to help hone your personal brand and become more essential to others in your industry is a must for any serious professional in this day and age. With a platform like LinkedIn become much more than just a place to lurk when looking for a new job, now is the time to start buttoning up your digital presence and really learning to shine online.

Do you have more personal branding tips? Please add them in the comments!

Join the Webinar!

For more information about this topic, please join me in the SEMrush webinar "How to Build a Personal Brand Online," this Thursday, May 21 at noon EST.

Mel Carson

An experienced member who is always happy to help.

Mel Carson is founder of Delightful Communications, a Seattle-based social media strategy, digital PR and personal branding consulting firm. He is co-author of Pioneers of Digital and speaks about digital marketing and communications at conferences globally. He spent seven years at Microsoft as its digital-marketing evangelist.
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