Opinions expressed by <em>Entrepreneur</em> contributors are their own. You're reading Entrepreneur United States, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media. </p><div> <p>As we approach the end of 2021, one thing is clear: The personal brand is here to stay. You might wonder — aren't personal brands something reserved for celebrities or influencers? Once upon a time maybe, but now every individual is considered to already have a personal brand. The only difference is, now the entire world has access to it with a simple online search.
Personal branding has evolved over the years from being what Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos referred to as “what people say when you are not in the room” to what people see when they do a search for you on Google.
As entrepreneurs and decision-making executives continue to embrace this growing online space, more and more opportunities to attract your ideal client, generate leads, find the right employees and even potential investors become available to you if you are positioning, packaging and promoting your personal brand using the right channels and content that speaks to the unique problem that you solve.
The thing is, with so many professionals now in the online space, it can be more difficult for individuals to stand out with their brand amongst the digital media marketplace of experts. But here’s the thing: Opportunities are there waiting for you, but if there is no social proof to support your knowledge and expertise, your ideal client may just choose the next best thing they see online.
Here are 10 steps that you can start implementing today to give you a head start in 2022 with your personal brand.
1. Get clarity
Take some time to do some introspection on your personal brand journey to date. Are you clear about who you are as an individual? What are your core values? Are your goals are aligned with the person you are becoming?
2. Be a unicorn
Understand the unique value that only you have to offer to your ideal audience through your experience, expertise and education. Through your brand journey, what problem do you solve differently or better than someone else in a similar field?
3. Understanding your audience
Once you have that clarity on yourself and you have a better understanding of your unique value, you have to start thinking about the problem you are actually solving. Get very granular and specific with who needs your product or service and more importantly, where they live online.
4. Hit them with the headline
Create an impactful headline statement that includes who you are, what you do, how you do it and for whom. This shouldn’t be more than a sentence and can now be used in your online profiles and as an introduction when meeting new people. This should clearly communicate your brand.
5. Update your online profiles
Get a professional headshot, as it’s the first thing someone sees when they go on your online profile. Represent yourself the way you want to be addressed. Ensure that your profile has your new headline statement, as well as up-to-date and accurate information about your brand. Utilize all the cool tools that are available on your page — each touchpoint is a potential opportunity.
6. Hey Siri, search for [insert name here]
Start with a simple Google search with your name, then your brand name, then the keywords that would be associated with your name or brand. Make a note of where you rank on Google and what links show up for you first. You want to be aware of what others are seeing when they are trying to find you so that you can make the necessary changes or updates.
7. Be known for a thing
Think about what you want to be known for in your industry. What keywords would you want someone to use to find you online? If you had an opportunity to speak at an event, what would your ideal topic be? Figure out your niche and then niche some more — the more specific you are with your offering, the easier it will be for the right people to find you.
8. Create and share content
Write down the top 10 questions you get asked by your customers or clients. Use this as the starting point to creating content for your audience. Break down each question and decide on the best format, images, video and audio for your content.
9. Comment and collaborate
Don’t just be a poster on your social media platforms. Comment, like, share and connect. Start connecting with other people across your platforms. Real connection can lead to real opportunities for collaboration that can quickly expand your reach and audience and grow your online community.
10. Choose the right platforms
I often get asked “What’s the best platform to post my content?” and the answer is simply, wherever your ideal audience lives online. Find out where your people are hanging out and engaging online and meet them there. Get familiar with the platforms and start creating content that adds value to your community.
A strong personal brand, in addition to promoting thought leadership and expertise in a particular field, brings back the human element to business. It allows for community, which leads ultimately to people who trust your brand.
I may not know everything that will happen in 2022, but I do know personal branding isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It’s becoming increasingly more important, with a growing demand for entrepreneurs, employees and CEOs to have strong personal brands. Don’t wait until 2022 to get started — start building a better personal brand today and let Google do the talking.