5 Tips for Building a Personal Brand

  • People invest in people. You need to be your absolute, true and authentic self. People want to see you, not a carbon copy of someone else. You are the thing that sets you apart from everyone else. Be you!
  • It’s important that your audience can see your face. This is how someone will connect with you on a different level.
  • When you’re growing a personal brand, you need to show an element of your life. What you share will depend on how comfortable you feel. How can you help others understand who you are? People will remember the details such as how you enjoy cooking, rather than your years of experience.
  • Consistency is key. People need to know that you’re going to keep showing up day in and day out before they connect.
  • It is best to choose one or two social media platforms and kill it! Don’t try and take on too much. Work incredibly hard on the platform you choose. You want to be able to focus on your platform, adding content that is valuable and worth reading. You can’t do this if you’re strapped with too many other platforms.

Building a personal brand means putting yourself out there. Share your knowledge with others and your audience. The more you get out there, the easier it is for people to get to know you!

  • Be you, not someone else – 06:40
  • Tip #1: Show your face – 09:47
  • Tip #2: Think about how to show your authenticity to others – 13:37
  • Tip #3: Create consistent content – 16:24
  • Tip #4: Find your social platform and work hard – 18:20
  • Tip #5: Get in front of other people’s audiences – 19:49
Transcript below


Hello, and welcome to Episode 26 of the podcast. So good to have you back with me again. Wherever you are in the world, I hope you are having a great day, and continue to have a brilliant and successful week.

This week I have recorded the first of my podcast interviews, because up until now, as I've talked about before, I have done all of them on my own, and that was purposeful. I went to an event, Traffic & Conversion in San Diego back in February, and I met John Lee Dumas, who is a podcasting king, and he suggested that before I interview anybody, I get really good at doing podcasts on my own, and I have lots of practise of doing the podcast on my own, so that's exactly what I've done.

Then it's given me the time and I guess position, in order to go and get some really good guests, so I've recorded my first one this week, and I loved it. I found the experience completely different, obviously, to how I record it on my own, because normally like now, I'm sat in my office, it's quite early in the morning again. As I always say, I do these in the morning, because then the house is quiet, and obviously I talk to myself for about 45 minutes, then I edit it down, and then there's the podcast.

Whereas actually, it was so lovely to have someone to bounce off, someone to talk to, and also someone who is phenomenal at what they do, and they can give you their advice and their suggestions on how to do it really well. So I am super excited to share with you who I've got coming up.

In the next couple of weeks, I've got another two interviews coming up, and I'm actually going to start these interviews with four or maybe five back to back, so week on week, there will be interviews for at least four or five weeks, and you are going to love them, and not want to miss them.

I think they're going to start at the beginning of September. I say all these, “I think, I'm not sure,” just because I want to make sure they're all in the bag, I've got them all recorded, and I'm confident they're all ready to go before we hit the button, because I really want this to be an amazing launch into this interview side. Then going forward, it's going to be a mix of interview and then sessions like this where I'm on my own, and I just talk tools, and tips, and tactics.

So yeah, I'm super excited. I can't wait for you to hear, I can't wait for you to see who I've got, which is going to be amazing. I'm … yeah, really excited about it. Anyway, onto today's podcast episode.

Now, I was out networking yesterday, which I haven't done in a really long time. When I first started the business, I used to network all the time, and if you are just starting out, I would suggest networking is a great way to meet other people, to meet … I've met loads of friends from networking, but also to get your name out there and get some customers. I have had customers from networking, although on first look, you might think, “No one here is going to buy my product or use my service.” Networking can be really, really useful.

It made me think about building a personal brand, and how often people think of building personal brands is only really applicable if you're a consultant, or a trainer, or you are your product. Actually, I was thinking about this, and I don't think that's the case at all. I think if you are the face behind a business, if you are selling something, whether it be a product or a service, people like to buy from people. People invest in people.

In fact, I can't think of any product or service that I don't use because I don't like either the person that I deal with or the people behind it. In fact, I know that there are products and services out there, this is me and my stubbornness, I can be quite stubborn, and unfortunately, I carry it over from my mom, but I know that there are businesses out there that I won't use, because I don't like the people behind it, or I don't think they're of similar character, or we gel, or whatever.

For me, it's all about the people. Often when people think about digital marketing and they think about the digital world we're in now, they feel like it's made us further away from human beings, and I get it. When I sit down every evening, and if the stepchildren and my daughter are ever in the same room as me, which is rare, because they go to their bedrooms, but they're all on their phone.

They don't have friends around like we used to. When I was younger, summer holidays meant we were out with our friends all the time, and that just doesn't seem to happen. They're on FaceTime to them all the time, but they don't appear to be spending that one-to-one time with them.

I get why people think that technology has made us further apart, but from a business point of view, I actually think it's even more important that we show that personal side, that people crave to see that personal side of business. Today I'm going to talk about personal brand, and like I said, you might be sat there thinking, “Well, I'm not a consultant, I'm not a trainer, I'm not selling a membership or a course. I don't need to build my personal brand.”

But I would urge you to listen to this, and just think about actually, if a few more people knew you, knew what your thoughts were behind the business, knew what motivated you or drove you to do that business, how many of those people might then come and buy from you or use your service?

What I'm kind of saying is, I don't think this would hurt. Some of these tools and tactics I'm going to give you, I don't think it will hurt for you to take on board some of these. Give it a listen, and see what you think.

Be you, not someone else


Before we get started on the actual steps behind how you start to build a personal brand, and some key things that I would suggest, I want to make it really clear that you need to be your absolute true authentic self. That is step number zero. This is the first thing you need to make sure you're doing before you do anything else.

What people want to see is you. They don't want to see a carbon copy of someone else who's really good. They don't want to see two Gary Vees or two Pat Flynns. They want to see you and who you are. In my industry, there are a million social media people, millions of us, but the only thing that sets me and them apart is me; is my history, my experience, my character, my personality, how I like to do things. It would be a complete disservice to myself if I tried to be someone else, if I didn't come out and be the authentic me as I am.

Now, don't get me wrong, there are parts of me that I choose not to share on a business front, so I can be really silly, and I like to laugh a lot and do stupid things, and I know that when it comes to social media, I'm a little bit more careful about how much of that stupid side I show. Also, I want to look good when I'm on social media, so again, I'm not as authentic as say someone like Jenna Kutcher, if you've ever seen her Instagram. I love it. She cracks me up. She will come onto Instagram and do an Insta Story, and will say, “I've just woken up.”

Now normally, what this means on Instagram, is when someone does an Insta Story and says, “I've just woken up,” it means they got up about two hours earlier, had a full hair and makeup done, and now they're putting themselves on Instagram. Not Jenna. Jenna looks like she has just woken up. She looks like a hot mess, it's hilarious.

Now, I would love to be that authentic, and that honest, and vulnerable, but you know what? I am not comfortable with showing you the mess I look when I wake up, because you would be shocked, I am telling you now for nothing. However, I feel like I show a very honest version of myself, and in doing things like the podcast, and videos, and talks, it's very hard to not show the honest self.

Just have a look at how you're coming across. Is that really you? Is that your true self that you're showing? Is there a passion in your life that you could show more of, or something that really gives people an idea of who you are and what you like? Okay.

I've put together five tips on things that I think you need to do, or concentrate on, or think about if you're going to start to try and build this personal brand. I'm not sat here saying, “Do this tomorrow, and wow, you're now Gary Vee.” I'm saying that these are really nice steps in order to take you to that personal brand to get you to show a little bit more of your authentic side.


Tip #1: Show your face


Tip one, okay, you might not like this, I know lots of people don't. I don't mind, and people think I'm a little bit crazy, but you're going to have to show your face. Now, I am very careful how my face looks when it's on social media, or when I come across on camera, or if I was to do a live, however, you really do have to show you, because people connect with people. If I can't see a face, I can't connect with anything, I can't find a way in which to link or identify someone.

Funnily enough, I was talking to my assistant yesterday, and she said to me, “There's a new group or a new event going on in the town where we live.” I know lots of people in this town, which is great. And she said, “Do you know who's behind it?” And I was like, “No.”

So we went onto the website and had a look, and it was so faceless. There was no name, no photos, no nothing, and immediately I felt uneasy. Immediately I thought, “I don't know who these people are, and therefore, I don't feel confidence to get my ticket for the event or feel the need to come along to the event.” I wanted to see some realness behind it.

I look at all these About Us sections on websites, and actually, funnily enough, that is normally one of the most viewed sections on your website, the About Us, because people want to know who they're talking to. Again, I looked at one the other day, and it just said, “We are this, and we are that.” No face, no name, no nothing.

I think … well funnily enough, at this networking group yesterday when there was a talk, it was a photographer, and she said that when you put your face on your website, you're showing people the, “I believe in what I do. I am passionate about what I do because of the fact that I am willing to put my own face on my website to say, ‘This is me, and this is my business, and I am proud.'”

So make sure you've got your face on your site, on your social media, that people can start to identify who you are, what you look like. Now, as I've said, I am very careful about what goes up of me. I really don't like the candid, pulling your stupid face shots, I have to say, although there are a few out there that I couldn't control, but I don't like them.

I actually have photo shoots done. I think I might have talked about this before. One, I have an amazing photographer over in San Diego who whenever I go to California, whether I'm in San Diego, or the last one was in Laguna Beach, he will come and visit me and take photos of me. Now, this seems like such an egotistical thing to happen, and it is a little bit, and I do feel a bit like that, I hear you. However, I don't want to look stupid.

I want those photos to look good when people see me and my face. Also, I want them to look real, and I know Tim over in the States, when I have those done, he can make me look real, because he makes me laugh, and he makes me do silly things that I wouldn't do, and the photos come out great, and I'm super happy with them. So I have photos done.

I also have photographers that I use over here, obviously, but I would suggest that if you aren't keen on having your face on your website or your social media that you go and get someone professionally to take some photos. I promise you the investment will be worth it.


Tip #2: Think about how to show your authenticity to others


Onto tip number two. Now, I kind of mentioned it in the intro about showing your real self. Once you've decided that you are showing the authentic you, or you are being honest to who you are, think about how you're going to show other people that, because you know when people meet me, they talk about stuff that actually either I've done personally, or somewhere I've been, and it tends to be the stuff that they've seen on Insta Stories.

If you don't follow me on Instagram, please come and follow me, because that's where I am most active. Every day, I probably do an Insta Story, or two, or three, depending on what I'm doing that day. That's when you'll get me talking to camera, that's when you'll get me showing you what I'm doing at the weekend with my daughter. I am more than happy to show you that side of my life, and I think when you're growing a personal brand, or you're trying to get your name out there a bit more, then you need to show an element of that.

Now, it's entirely up to you how much you show. That is purely your decision. I am happy to show a bit of my home life, I'm happy to show my dog, or my husband, or my daughter, my stepchildren are teenagers, I don't think they want to be on my Insta Story, but I'm more than happy to show those parts of my life.

Now, you might not be comfortable putting your children or your home life on social media, and I get it. No problem. But you've got to think how can you bring people into who you are? How can you show some of the more real side of you? If you think about some of the stories you've remembered recently, I bet they are personal details. I bet how long someone has worked at somewhere, or how many years experience, or what degree they have, that's not the stuff that sticks in your head. The stuff that sticks in your head is the personal details. It's do they have a dog?

As you know, I'm a huge fan of Amy Porterfield. I follow her, I watch her stuff, I consume her content, and I know her husband's called Hobie. She has a dog called Scout, and she has a stepson called Cade, and you know what? That enables me to relate to Amy. When I met her again for the third time, I think it was, we went and had coffee in San Diego in June, and one of the things that we talked about for quite a long time was the fact that we both have stepsons at similar ages, and what it's like to be a stepmom. It's tough, by the way, in case you were wondering. Really tough at times, but there we go. That was the thing that we talked about, and that was how we built our connection.

If you can show a bit of your personal life or feel comfortable to show a little bit of that, then great. It might be you have a hobby and you want to show a bit of that. It might be that you like cooking and you want to show what you're having for dinner. It might seem inane, it might seem a bit stupid, but I promise you, that's the stuff that people are going to remember.


Tip #3: Create consistent content


Onto tip number three, and you're going to get sick of me saying this, because I say it all the time. In fact, I did an entire podcast to it a couple of weeks ago. You need to create consistent content. How am I going to know that you are someone I need to follow or engage with about a certain subject if you never tell me you know about it?

I know it's irritating, I know it's hard work, believe me, it is Friday on the week before the podcast comes out, so my podcast comes out on Monday, and I am recording it at 10 to 9:00 now on a Friday morning. That is not ideal, I'm telling you, because this week it's been a super busy week, and I'm up against it, but I've committed to doing is every week, and therefore, I've got to get on and do it.

I know it's tough, I know it's hard to create consistent content, I know it takes work, and in the early days, no one is going to pay attention, and you are going to think, “Why am I doing this? I am sending it out to the world and getting tumbleweed back.” But those people need to understand that you are going to show up week on, week off, and they want to see that that's going to happen before they commit to loving what you're doing, consuming what you do. Decide what your content is going to be, and make sure that you are creating that consistent content.

As I mentioned in Episode 22, I did a whole podcast about the importance of creating consistent content, and in that podcast, I talk you through a bit of pros and cons to each of the different types of content you can put out, whether it's video, YouTube, podcast, blog, so go and have a listen to that one if you haven't already. That might give you some ideas of the types of content you might want to put out.


Tip #4: Find your social platform and work hard


Okay, so you're putting out that consistent content. The next thing you're going to do, tip number four, is find your platform and work hard at it. When I talk about platform, I mean social media. Now, you don't have to be on every single social media, it's a myth. I would much rather you be on one or two platforms and kill it. Do amazingly well on that platform.

Sometimes, and I am at the risk of this, because obviously doing what I do, I have to be on all the platforms. However, I run the risk of diluting myself because I'm trying to do so much. Funnily enough, I was just having this conversation yesterday when I was talking to my assistant, as I said earlier. We were talking about me starting a YouTube channel, which I really want to do, because I feel … well, I'm having serious FOMO, fear of missing out.

I'm watching these other people to YouTube and do an amazing job of it, and I'm sat there thinking, “I need to be doing that.” But the problem is, if I do that, am I going to lose focus on the podcast? And I don't want to do that. That's why I say pick a platform that you are really good at, and work incredibly hard at it. Make sure that you are posting, and interacting, and chatting, and showing up all the time on that platform.


Tip #5: Get in front of other people’s audiences


So onto the last tip, tip number five. Get in front of other people's audiences. Okay, my choice of getting in front of other people's audiences is speaking. I am one of those weird people who actually loves speaking. Do not get me wrong, that does not mean I breeze onto the stage like I was born to be there, and have no fear. I am terrified.

In fact, when I spoke at Converted '17 in Minneapolis, it was a huge event with a huge audience, and I woke up in Minneapolis and I phoned my assistant, and I phoned my husband, and they literally had to calm me down. I was freaking out. I am a little bit ashamed to say it, and they were worried. They were on the other end of the phone thinking, “Oh my word, she's not going to be able to do this,” because it was the biggest thing I had ever done at that point, and I was scared. I was properly scared.

Does that mean I don't love it? No, not at all. In fact, I'm kind of glad I'm scared, because it proves I care, that I want it to be really, really good. All I tell myself, and this was a Mel Robbins tip, and in fact, I think I had thought of it before, and I can't think who initially said it, which I feel bad about now, because I'd like to credit them, but anyway, Mel Robbins has also said, “Instead of saying, ‘I'm scared,' you say, ‘I'm excited. I am so excited to do this.'”

Actually, the feelings in your stomach are the same. Those anxiety feelings that you get when you're scared are exactly the same when you're excited, so when I stood there waiting to go on stage, and it can be a big stage, a little stage, it happens all the time, which again, I'm kind of glad about, I stand there and say, “I am so excited about this.” I get on there, and I love it.

So for me, speaking is definitely the way I get in front of other people's audiences, but there's loads of ways you can do it, and ways I've tried to in the past, or I've done in the past. Become a guest blog on someone else's blog. So for instance, in my world, Social Media Examiner is huge. That is kind of the go-to place if you are looking for social media advice, and I've been a guest blog for them, which they have a massive audience, so that's wonderful that I can get in front of that audience.

I've been invited on other people's podcasts. Obviously the advantage of people coming on my podcast is they get in front of my audience. Think about what you're comfortable with, what you're happy to do, and try and put yourself out there, because if you're the go-to person for that subject, if you're the one that's on every podcast someone listens to, or your blog is turning up every time they look somewhere, or every event they go to, your name is on the line up, then they're going to start to look at you. People are going to look at you and think, “This person knows what the hell they're talking about,” because otherwise you wouldn't be there.

The other thing that I kind of think about is … not that I actually bother too much about competitors, I have to say. I try really hard not to focus on them, I focus on me, but in some cases, I would much rather have my name there than someone else's. It has meant that I have agreed to things that I think, “Do I really want to do this?” And then I think, “Do I want someone else stood there, telling their story, or giving their advice?” No, I want to be doing that.

That's why I choose to stand on stage, and be terrified beforehand, and give my talks, and speak for a living, because I know that it does me and my brand the world of good. So have a think, like I said. What are you comfortable doing? Where can you add value? Go and look for all the industry experts or the websites or platforms where they're sharing knowledge, and see if you can help them and give some of your knowledge.

I'm really hoping that you found this beneficial, even if you thought at the very beginning, “I'm not a personal brand. I'm not trying to grow my personal brand.” You might not be a personal brand, or you might not think you're a personal brand, but actually, if I'm going to come to you because I need my website fixing, or I'm going to come to you for sewing tips, or whatever it might be, if you've been showing up in other places because people trust what you say, and you give good advice, or you help people, then I'm going to think to come and find you first. That's the person I'm going to come to when I need that product or service.

I really hope I've given you food for thought, and I want to see the real authentic you showing up in places. I can't wait to see what you're like and connect with you. As I've said before, Instagram is the place that I do it most at the moment. Do you know what? That might change, but I am loving Instagram and Insta Stories, and that's where you're going to find me more often or not.

Oh, quickly followed by Twitter, by the way. I love Twitter as well, still big advocate for it. Anyway, thank you so much for joining me with this podcast. As always, I appreciate it greatly, and like always, if you want to share it, if you want to tell your friends about it, if you know people that might benefit from it, then I would so appreciate you sharing it.

I know I say it a lot, but actually, I am so passionate about this. I love doing this, and I promise you, I have got some amazing people coming up for you with some great advice. So I obviously want as many people to hear that as possible. Thank you so much again for listening, and I can't wait to catch up with you again next week.