6 Steps to Master Your Personal Branding on the Web

May 28, 2016, 3:00 PM UTC
Businessman looking out over city at sunrise
Photograph by Ezra Bailey via Getty Images

This piece originally appeared on Millennial.

Branding doesn’t just apply to businesses. Inasmuch as the Coca-Cola Company is known for their involvement in causes (while manufacturing one of the best sodas in the history of man), individuals can also harness the power of personal branding to set themselves apart. This should come in handy when looking for jobs, trying to switch careers, or helping you land an important project.

A good example of a personal brand would be entrepreneur and Virgin Group founder, Richard Branson. When people mention his name, you immediately think: successful, approachable, creative, and a visionary. The same could be said for Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, and Stefanie Germanotta (more commonly known as Lady Gaga). Their names are associated with certain key phrases and ideals because they have branded themselves as such.

Whether you’re job hunting or you simply want to define your presence on the Web, personal branding will help you stand out from the crowd. Not sure where to start?

6 tips to build your personal branding

Have a constant theme or “identifier”

Successful people usually have certain words linked to them. When you say innovation, you tend to think of Steve Jobs. When someone mentions fun CEOs, Richard Brandon pops in your head. That’s because they already established a working theme for their presence. This is built around a combination of personality and skill.

But before you could create a theme around your name and your skills, you need to have a great understanding of your strengths. Consulting services PwC has an amazing personal branding workbook that should help you identify your best traits and how to maximize them. Download the free workbook today to begin!

Maintain a consistent profile

Once you’re clear on the central theme that you want to be known for, maintain it whenever you use the Web. This is applicable to your website, blogs, and social media profiles. Your comments, replies, and interactions should also reflect the theme you chose. This makes it easy for people to tie you to certain ideas.

For example: I try to retain the same descriptions throughout my online accounts. I always mention that I’m an editor, a dog-lover, and a content strategist. My author byline on my published posts is also consistent.

Show a balance of lifestyle and work content

Aligning your work with your interests to give your profiles a human touch. Aside from showcasing what you do, give online users (and potential recruiters) a peek of how I spend my free time.

For instance: as my accounts always cite that I love baking, my Pinterest profile contains content such as cakes, pastries, and sweet recipes. My Medium blog on the other hand, says that I’m an adventurer. Thus, my stories pertain to my travel adventures as well as other topics related to tours and exploration.

However, as I am a content strategist and writer, I also talk about careers, social media marketing, and time-management. I share related content and participate in online discussions about such themes. This helps search engines, like Google, easily gather information related to me and display it on search results.

Don’t be active everywhere

You may think that being active on social media to promote yourself means having an account everywhere. On the contrary, you should keep only a select number of online profiles that you maintain regularly. It’s generally inappropriate to provide links to websites you haven’t updated in a while. Here’s a sample number to give you an idea:

  • 2-3 social media platforms to showcase your personality and interests
  • 1-2 blogs to draw in an audience and help people get to know you better
  • 1 personal website to link everything together

Consider your career and lifestyle when selecting platforms. For photographers for instance, having a Flickr orDeviantart profile would be useful. Web developers on the other hand, could do well with GitHub or Stack Overflowaside from their Facebook accounts.

Don’t have a personal website? Don’t worry: you can include these links on your blog (if you have one), too. Meanwhile, online services like About.me can also help tie in all your links so you can easily provide it as an email signature or on business cards.

Clean up your accounts

If you would be using your digital accounts for switching careers or job hunting, you may want to “spring clean” them. That photo of you in a binge-drinking session was fun then – but your future employers may think otherwise. Other things you may want to remove from your profiles are profanity or negativity pointed towards public figures or businesses. If filtering all these sound like too much work, you can create a separate professional profile and keep your personal one for everything else.

Don’t forget to take a close look at your Friends or Followers while spring-cleaning. Make sure you know who they are. There’s nothing that could ruin a good reputation than bad gossip (especially one that spreads online).

Build your following

Whether you’re after a career as a freelancer or a CEO, building a good number of following is as important as building up your presence. Why? First, it tells people that you provide interesting information – interesting enough that online users want to connect with you. Second, you establish yourself as an authority in your industry.

Nowadays, plenty of jobs rely on the power of Web presence to assert their products and services. In order to grab the attention of your dream company, it may be a good idea to begin by appealing to their clients first.

It can be difficult to stand out among thousands of amazing people online. But by understanding WHO you are, WHAT you’re good at, and HOW you do things differently, you can distinguish yourself without losing your uniqueness. Don’t delay! Find your personal brand today and slowly establish your presence on the Web.