I know you've been wondering how to start taking advantage of your ever growing knowledge of social media platforms and online marketing. Perhaps you have a small Twitter following already, a small blog or Tumblr, but it's all been mostly for fun. You never take it too seriously.

But what if you did? I'm really thankful I started thinking about this in 2013. I've already had 18 months to refine and get laser focused. While I've enjoyed spending time working on things like my personal brand and identify, I've come across some frustrating moments that seemed to bottleneck me. Part of this process is the pursuit towards authenticity which can be difficult for most of us. Sometimes it can be hard to get comfortable even in your own skin when it comes to putting your self ‘out there'.

Nonetheless, I'm glad I did it earlier than later, and you should be thinking the same. The good news is it won't take you long to get going, the bad news is you are already late.

Do I Really Need Personal Branding?

Perhaps you are thinking “well in my job I don't really need to focus on personal branding”. But what about the fact that your co-worker has been focusing on it. Who will be more prepared when it comes time for a promotion? The one who has no online presence or the one who has been demonstrating the passion for their industry through social media and content creation.

[mk_blockquote style=”quote-style” font_family=”none” text_size=”12″ align=”left”]No matter what you do, it’s time to start thinking about your personal branding.[/mk_blockquote]

Let me break it down for you.

You will be Googled by someone if you ever plan to be someone.

The truth is without great personal branding, you can get by, but you can't get ahead. I agree. It's becoming one of those things that you have to do simply by nature of the market.

Imagine what people would say if you went to the job fair without any resumes because you didn't think it was necessary. Exactly.

And if you are saying, “well it's still early, I can put it off until it's really popular”. But won't it be harder to stand out and build a following of like-minded thinkers at that time as well?

Entrepreneur or Employee, you still need Personal Branding

From a strict business perspective, it's clear that people want to do business with people. We simply can't deny that modern audiences tend to trust people more than corporations.

Does that spark any ideas for you in terms of establishing a reputation, finding new leads, or building a network?

What if I told you that by spending less than 10 minutes a day on your personal branding you could get a 5% raise in income every year – then would it matter to you?

Not only would personal branding help you stand out in a competitive industry it will help you get promotions, contract and freelance work, new partnerships and opportunities, speaker opportunities, anything sound good to you?

Could clear and concise personal branding be the bottleneck holding you back from bigger things? From your true audience?

The Real Key to Personal Branding is Authenticity

Without authenticity you'll just be another face in the crowd. You have to accept that it’s okay to be yourself and that you are already welcomed exactly as you are. The internet doesn't just welcome experts and thought leaders, it also accepts those willing to learn and share as they go along, it accepts facilitators, aggregators and curators, it is an open space.

The truth is that it's passion that people are attracted to, and although that often goes hand-in-hand with expertise, the skill-set is not always the tipping point.

Your opinion is always valid and worth something in the forum of digital expression. The internet is a much better place if we all come with our own uniqueness rather than start trying to blend and conform to standards.[mk_blockquote style=”quote-style” font_family=”none” text_size=”12″ align=”left”]Expressing a point of view is always legitimate, and if you’re doing it because you’re genuinely passionate about a topic, I don’t think anyone will have a problem with that. – CEO of Ogilvy Mather[/mk_blockquote].

Your flaws will be just as valuable to your readers as your strengths. They need to know that you are human and are just like them, and then they become empowered and inspired because they believe they can do it too.

Some will say it’s not really about you, it's about your content. This is true to some extent as it is ultimately just bits and bytes that people download and share, not any physical aspect of you. Ultimately, it comes down to can you build your credibility through content and connections. If you can, you are on the right track.

So how do I start building my personal branding today? Where do I begin?

Create Personal Branding through Impact

Let everything you focus on bring an impact to your community or industry. By ensuring that you are making an impact you will inevitably get noticed.

One of the best ways to make an impact is to start providing undeniable value to your peers. Go deeper with your research or help others become more actionable in their everyday lives and jobs.

Another way to create impact is to laser focus your content and become ‘that guy' who dominates a certain niche. You have to become ‘that guy' to your readers so they think of you when they have the problem that you are well-known for solving.

It can even be as simple as curating industry news, as long as you are doing something that helps others, you will get noticed if you maintain your consistency.

If you think you are ready to sit down and hammer out some personal branding principle, tag-lines and brand filters, I've collected the very best how-to guides and tips for you:

The Complete Guide to Building your Personal Brand by Neil Patel (in-depth)

5 Steps to Building a Personal Brand by Jayson Demers

12 Practical Ways to develop Personal Branding

Awesome tips for using pinterest for your personal brand – Excellent post. Highly actionable.

26 tips for creating a powerful personal brand online – Light in detail, heavy in ideas.

Conclusion

Don't get discouraged if you haven't figured out your unique selling point or voice. It takes time to refine; for me nearly 18 months before I had anything I liked.

Remember that there are no rules to personal branding. You are free to express yourself in anyway you like, especially on the internet. However, the internet's truest power (and your leverage) comes from its ability to connect two people together and make an exchange of value.

Even though personal branding is mainly yourself, it is also about your connection and how you are viewed by others. Its about what you intend to deliver to the world and all of the future interactions that come with that.

The age old answer to improving any and all marketing efforts is to ask who are you helping and how do you help them. That answer is ultimately the foundation for your personal brand and what you stand for.

Thanks for reading this post. Let me know in the comments section if I missed any key points! I've also enabled Commentluv!

Rich

PS. Here is a Personal Branding Infographic.