Who are you? Really?
The internet is a busy place. There's lots of people shouting about who they are and what they do - how do you get yourself heard?
What is your personal brand saying about you, and why does that matter?
Building a personal brand takes a little know-how, but if you want to position yourself as an influencer, or an expert in your field, or simply attract the best kind of customer to your website, your personal brand is so, so important.
Blogging is a great way to expand and find this authentic voice for your personal brand.
Great writing is vital to build a successful blog, but blogging is about so much more than just words. Your personal brand as a blogger will be shaped by many other factors - your imagery, your style, your domain, the way you communicate both on and off your blog.
So whether you're a vlogger looking to cement your niche, or an Instagramer wanting to grow your personal brand and bag those important brand collabs, you need to understand a few things about what your personal brand ISN'T, and what to avoid to build a successful personal brand.
Your personal brand is not your logo
If you're going to exist online, you'll obviously need to think about what this looks like.
One of the mistakes I see lots of bloggers making is thinking that the elements which make up their website are their personal brand. No! Your personal brand is so much more than a collection of colours, or a logo and a typeface!
In order to build a loyal following for your blog, you need to understand that what your readers are engaging with is YOU. It's your unique voice, the promise of what you can offer them which will keep them engaged and coming back for more.
Having a beautiful blog is just one expression of your personal brand. The key is to make sure that these brand tools you are creating - be it your website, blog, social feeds, marketing materials or anything else - are all working for you to your best advantage.
Deliver on your promises
Building a personal brand along with your blog is a way to really connect deeply with your intended audience. As I touch on in some of my other blogs, branding is all about building connection.
A good brand meets its audience exactly where they need to be.
When thinking about your personal brand, you need to consider what exactly it is that your followers need you to represent for them.
Are you an inspiring leader, who they look to to challenge and excite? Are you the steadfast helper, offering advice for their problems? Are you representing pure escapism, a voice they can turn to and dream their own dreams?
Once you identify what exactly it is that you personally are uniquely positioned to bring to your audience, the next task is to make sure that every touchpoint along the way can amplify these qualities.
Don't sweat the small stuff
Your blog is likely to be the biggest showpiece in your personal brand toolkit.
It's great to spend time getting the look and feel of your blog right, as this is your showpiece! It's where your followers will go to feel truly connected to you. But don't fall into the trap of getting so lost in the detail you lose sight of the bigger picture.
Yes, your colour palette is important, yes the font size you choose will make a difference, but is this really the best use of your precious time agonising over it?!
Think about what will make the biggest difference to how your audience sees your brand, and focus on that.
Professional, impactful imagery can be worth a thousand well typed words when it comes to creating a great first impression, so it's worth investing time and effort to get these as great as they can be.
Be brand aware
When you're developing your personal brand, you'll need to learn from the best and stay consistent.
It's no good investing time and effort in building a personal brand only to change everything about it every six months. Your loyalty base will end up confused, and unsure as to what you actually offer them.
Obviously, all good brands will go through an ongoing process of refinement, and development. But fundamentally, being clear on what your brand is all about and keeping as close to this as possible is the best way to gain supercharged personal brand recognition.
Be uniquely YOU
Think of someone with a great personal brand, like Oprah.
She's built a rock solid reputation for herself simply by being authentic. Over time, what that looks like, and the causes important to her may have evolved and changed, but you can bet that she has remained true to herself throughout. It's what her followers love her for.
When thinking about your own personal blog brand, don't miss those opportunities to own your own natural voice. Yes there are thousands of blogs out there, but there's no individual one exactly like you.
Show up and own it!
When you're fired up and passionate about what you're doing, it shines through. It might be in your images, in your copy, or simply in the way you respond to your social followers, but the key to building a lasting personal brand for your blogging platform is to make sure you are 100% you, all of the time.