I’ve had my work cut out for me these past ten years as a personal brand consultant. I started in 2010 as the EVP of Online Profile Pros where I built a marketing team to increase our brand awareness. Over 200 clients and a couple of investors later, and I’d say it worked out pretty well.
2010 is around the time that social media really started to take off. Over the last decade, business owners like myself have recognized the power of social media and have chosen to utilize it over traditional marketing. I mean, just think about it: YouTubers and influencers have learned how to become self-made millionaires simply by filming themselves at home. It’s that kind of vulnerability and amenability that has rewarded them with career opportunities that none of us could have ever imagined. It was their personal brand.
Now the social media space and the internet, in general, are saturated with entrepreneurs trying to make a name for themselves. I can tell you from personal experience that what worked in 2010 does not work now. Even personal brand strategies from last year are outdated.
One way to stay on top of the trends for entrepreneurship is to hire a personal branding consultant. I have jumped through hoops enough times to know what will get your brand noticed. But more important than that is being about to recognize what will make your brand last in our ever-changing virtual environment.
What Does a Personal Brand Consultant Do?
If you want a cookie-cutter personal brand, there are plenty of free resources and affordable templates at your disposal. However, if you’re looking to make Forbes 40 Under 40 or you want a venture capitalist to invest, those strategies are too mundane to make that kind of impact.
There’s no problem starting out that way. Your personal brand can definitely be taken on DIY-style. It’s once you’re ready for the world to recognize your name that you’ll want to hire a personal branding consultant.
Here’s a quick guide on what a personal branding consultant can do for your business:
Help You Figure Out Your Business Goals
A good personal branding coach will first talk to you about your business goals. Are press interviews, podcast appearances, and a higher social media following all on your vision board? Once you voice these aspirations to your consultant, they can help you curate the perfect personal brand strategy.
Do you want to attract more clients and boost revenue?
If you feel like your goals are unattainable or too ambitious, then you really need to talk to a personal branding consultant. We can explain exactly how you can use your personal brand to achieve relatively any future plans you have for your business.
Give You a Personal Brand Audit
I also encourage my clients to invest in a personal brand audit. The audit will be able to pinpoint which areas of your brand to capitalize on, and which aspects need to be axed immediately.
This is all done through careful dissection of your social media and website analytics. Your customer feedback also plays a vital role in knowing your brand’s current worth.
Supply You with Competition Analysis and Feedback
A personal branding coach should also offer a competition analysis.
I’ve talked about this before when it comes to producing your own original content. You want to know what your competition is doing — not so that you can copy them — but to see what your own audience might respond to. A competition analysis also helps you see where you can pick up on topics your competition lacks.
Likewise, if you’re not utilizing a certain strategy that is a staple in your industry, that could be causing a major hit on your brand. As a coach, I provide my clients with feedback that informs them which content needs to be present within their brand.
Give You a Strategic Strategy and 1-on-1 Coaching
Once your consultant has all the tedious details in hand, they will usually come up with a strategic plan tailored specifically to your business, your goals, and your niche. I personally like to pair that with one-on-one coaching just so you don’t have this mountain of information shoved at you with no direction.
Putting together your business is rough— cultivating your personal brand so that it speaks louder than your competition is the next hurdle you’ll face as an entrepreneur. It’s a ton of information (a decade’s worth!) which is why hiring a personal brand consultant is such a necessary investment. My favorite part of being someone’s coach is lifting that weight off of their shoulders while simultaneously educating ambitious entrepreneurs so they can keep their momentum going.
RELATED: What Is Social Media Branding?
Why Do You Need a Personal Branding Consultant?
There are plenty of people who know exactly what it takes to make a post go viral or how to curate an Instagram aesthetic that is pleasing to the eye. For some, that’s the easy part.
But a pretty social media presence and a one-hit-wonder won’t reward you with career opportunities. Maybe you’ll get an off-the-cuff feature or a single paid gig, but you have to know how to harness that viral energy to get your brand from getting lost in the crowd.
It takes an aggressive type of strategy to achieve that goal. And for those who don’t even know how to begin their company awareness, a personal branding consultant will help you get started on the right track.
If you’re still on the fence about hiring a branding coach, ask yourself if you have the time and knowledge to follow these necessary steps for your business:
1. To catapult your social media presence…the right way
You might have your social media figured out. You might know exactly what to post each week and you might have a firm grasp on your hashtags.
However, a stagnant social media means stagnant growth. If you want to escalate your social media presence to gain more recognition in your industry, you need to think outside of the box. That’s what your personal brand consultant is for.
On the other hand, you might not have a clue what I mean when I say the “right way” to use social media. As I said, I’ve been in this game many, many years. I know what it takes to make a personal brand go viral and I know what will make it crash and burn.
2. To make sure your blogs can be found on Google with SEO
SEO is a complicated, technical mess that is typically the last thing on an entrepreneur’s mind. But if you’re writing blogs hoping to share your expertise (and maybe even get a press interview out of it) you must have SEO implemented in your blog’s copy.
I give my clients access to our exclusive training video vault which touches on all of these simple, yet impactful strategies that your personal brand should be utilizing.
3. To make sure your brand is seen by the press and investors
Speaking of interviews, blogs are a great way to get noticed by journalists. Your blogs help build your brand authority in a way that social media can’t quite capture. But without the right keywords embedded into your content, Google won’t recommend your expert advice. Journalists don’t typically get their expert sources off Instagram, which is why having that personal branding presence on your own platform (aka your website/blog) is necessary if you want to get featured.
A solid personal branding presence will also make investors take you more seriously. It shows that not only are you willing to invest your time and energy into your business, but you’re willing to showcase yourself in a vulnerable way that speaks to potential customers.
Remember: investors invest in the person far more than they invest in your idea.
Signs You Need a Personal Branding Consultant
If all of these tactics sound good, but you’re still not sure you need the help of a professional— I get it. It took me a while to finally release some of my own brand responsibilities to my team. After all, who knows your personal brand better than, well, you?
There are a few things that you can watch out for that will indicate that it’s time for you to invest in a personal brand consultant. Sometimes, that outward perception is exactly what you need in order to find the right path to expanding your business.
Sign #1: Your social media is idle
And to be clear, your follower count isn’t what matters here. You can have 20,000 followers and still have a hard time getting clients or making sales. It’s all about your engagement.
If you’ve noticed that your social media community is becoming less engaged, you need a personal branding consultant to gauge what the problem is. It either has something to do with the type of content your posting or the way you’re communicating to your followers.
If you’re looking for your social media to advance your career, you need your engagement rate to be on point. The days of companies simply rely on follower count are behind us. Most now require proof of engagement, which means if your social media is idle, you will likely be missing out on those opportunities.
Sign #2: Nobody is reading your blogs
Blogs take so much time to put together. Between the SEO research, adding in backlinks and images, and actually writing the content, it’s only natural that you want people to actually read them.
Your Google Analytics (which you have set up, right?) will be able to tell you how often your blogs are being read. But if you don’t know how to gauge these measurements in order to determine which posts rank on Google, or which ones perform the best from your readers’ perspective, then you might need a personal branding consultant.
Sign #3: You don’t know how to reach out to press
There are two ways to get featured in the press:
- You can catapult your social media presence and blogs with the help of a personal branding coach so that journalists are coming to you. Or
- You can reach out to them yourself.
Press interviews are huge when it comes to your personal brand. And it’s actually something that most entrepreneurs don’t even consider. Either that or they assume that the press will come to them.
If your social media engagement is low and people aren’t reading your blogs, there’s no way that a journalist will recognize your expertise. And even if you reach out to them yourself, your lack of content or engagement with your community will send off red flags for them.
If your brand presence is starting to gain traction, it’s still advisable that you put out the word about your brand the old fashion way: email. As a personal branding consultant, I can guide you on the right way to reach out to the press to expand your brand recognition.
The easiest way to determine whether or not you need a personal brand consultant is to take my free quiz! I created this personal brand rating to give you insight into the strength of your brand— specifically the strength of your authority, influence, and trust.
The quiz will take you less than 5 minutes. By the end of it, you will have a pretty good idea of where your personal brand stands in the eyes of a consumer.
I’ve seen so many of my fellow entrepreneurs struggle to find new clients. They’ve voiced frustrations to me about how so-and-so is doing so well (and so quickly!) while they’re feeling under-appreciated and under-recognized for their accomplishments.
There’s a simple way to fix all of that. And the answer is to simply invest in your personal brand.
The social media presence, the loyal followers, the enthusiastic investors, and the interested journalist— none of that will come without a personal brand.