Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding pr firm OFD Consulting. As a highly sought-after speaker in the wedding industry, she is the exclusive Wedding PR Education Expert for WeddingWire as well as the national Communications and Marketing Director for WIPA. To learn how OFD Consulting can assist you, as well as more about our new wedding PR kits, please visit us today.
While you may be familiar with big brand names (think Apple and Nike), ask yourself what you’re doing to build your own brand. That’s right – a personal brand captures your personality and tells people you are an expert in a certain area.
The stronger your personal brand is, the more you’ll be respected as an industry leader, which certainly has a direct impact on a business if you’re an entrepreneur. That being said, you don’t need to own your own business to build a personal brand – all you need is a good idea of who you are and where your values lie.
First Things First
Before anything, you’ll have to ask yourself a few questions to really get an idea of how you want to portray your brand. What kind of adjectives would you use to describe yourself? How do you want to project yourself to other people? What are some of the things that you view as most important in your life?
Keep in mind that the answers to these questions will define the parameters for your branding, so it’s best to give them a lot of thought rather than to skim over it.
Know Your People
Ask yourself: Whom are you trying to reach? What are you trying to share with them? Understanding your target audience is the key to crafting a brand that will draw in the right kind of people.
Plan It Out
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” The only way to ensure that your personal brand not only fits your personality but is also targeted to your ideal audience is to plan, plan, plan. After you’ve determined whom you’re trying to reach, figure out what channels you’re going to use to get in front of them. For example, if you’re trying to reach female millennials, Instagram and Pinterest are great places to start.
You’ll also need to determine a timeline for your branding journey. Actionable steps are wonderful, but are easily overlooked or forgotten if no deadlines are set in place. Give yourself a realistic date to reach your goal to keep you going in the right direction. This will not only act as motivation, but will also give you a benchmark to evaluate your progress and determine if you’ve been successful.
Tricks of the Trade
While the journey to one’s personal brand will be different for every individual, there are a number of tactics that helped me along the way and can easily be adapted to your end goal.
Find the media outlets, whether online or print, that focus on your niche and pitch yourself as an expert. Once you build some editorial relationships, go ahead and write until your arm falls off!
There are a number of national conferences in the event industry that sends out a call for speakers every year and this is a great way to build your brand in front of a widespread audience. Need practice? Reach out to regional networking groups (think NACE, WIPA, or ABC) or local universities to inquire about speaking opportunities.
I love using HARO (Help A Reporter Out) to find press opportunities from journalists, so my quotes are used in articles around the web. While it may not be a full article, getting included in a reporter’s piece provides invaluable third-party validation. When you do get picked up, remember to promote on social media!
This may be a far-out goal in the beginning, but awards also provide well-deserved third-party validation and can do wonders for increasing brand awareness in your market.
Never stop networking! Whether you’re attending local industry groups or you’re a pro at juggling coffee dates, get yourself in front of the people that matter and get ready to shine.
At the end of the day, your personal brand should encapsulate the essence of who you are. Remember, as Scott Stratten said – “if you’re your authentic self, you have no competition!”