Have you ever Googled yourself? Did you like what you saw? No matter who you are and what industry you are in, a strong personal brand online can help you be more visible, secure a great job, and be more influential as you advance your business and career.

If you are a high achiever looking for ways to differentiate yourself from your competition; a business owner looking to make your corporate brand more relatable; or a freelancer wanting to attract more clients, improving and managing your online reputation is the key to your success.

What does it mean to have a strong personal brand online? In a nutshell, it means when your co-working colleagues search your name online, they are able to find relevant, updated, favourable information about you and can contact you easily in a variety of ways.

Increasingly, when employers are looking to hire a candidate or when investors are looking to fund an entrepreneur, they Google the person to check their professional reputation. If you cannot be found online, or if something negative comes up about you, it will significantly damage your chances of success. Yet, personal branding online is often an under-appreciated asset that we forget to manage and grow.

Hard at workKaitlin mid-flow during one of her personal branding workshops


 

Here are personal branding expert Kaitlin Zhang’s five steps to building your personal brand online:

  1. Pitch
    This first step is arguably the most important. A memorable, impactful pitch comes with a clear understanding of the brand positioning. Your brand position should include elements such as your brand’s mission statement, vision statement and values.

    Start by conducting market research into your target audience, marketing environment and competitors. Then consider what makes you unique, capable, authentic and relatable.
     
  2. Profile
    How is your profile photo? It takes a tenth of a second to form an opinion when looking at somebody’s profile photo. A first impression is the difference between someone clicking to find out more about you or turning their attention elsewhere. An amazing profile photo uses the right lighting, is crisp, has a branded colour scheme and likely features your warm smile. Hire a professional photographer if you need help.

    In additional, video profiles and video CVs are increasingly popular. For thought-leaders, company leaders or celebrities, it is well worth investing in a one-minute video to introduce yourself.
     
  3. Platform
    A personal website, with your name as the domain name, is an excellent platform for people to find all the information they are looking for you about you. Your website should have an About section, all your social media links and an easy option to contact you. Mobile-friendly personal websites rank really well on Google and is likely the first thing people will see after they search your name.
     
  4. Produce
    After completing the first 3 steps, you are ready to dive into the world of social media and content marketing. This step is all about producing valuable content to your target audience. You want to be as helpful as possible on all your channels, using tools such as social media, blogging, vlogging, books, events etc.
     
  5. Partnership
    There are two main types of partnerships: brand partners and media partners. Brand partners are mutually beneficial relationships that can help you expand your reach. Media partners help you increase publicity and help more people find out about you, With the right partnerships, you can skyrocket the reach of your brand and establish yourself as a leader in your industry.

Kaitlin Zhang is a personal branding consultant, blogger and speaker at companies such as O2, NatWest, Google, InnovateUK and various universities. She runs events and workshops at Club Workspace. Sign up at www.kaitlinzhang.com/events.