The “why” of personal branding is just as important as the “how.” Krista Neher, CEO of Boot Camp Digital, answers the most frequently asked questions about why everyone needs a strong personal brand and how hers has impacted her career.
1. Why did you get proactive about your personal brand?
More than a decade ago, I was a marketing exec with a Fortune 500 company by day and side-hustling with a startup at night. As I grew my network, I started noticing industry professionals attempting to connect with me on MySpace. Yes. MySpace. That’s how long ago it was.
Why was that a problem? It was filled with questionable content, to be honest. For example, there was a picture of me in a bathrobe with a drink in my hand. It was taken at an industry “Pajama Party” networking event, but at first glance that detail wasn’t immediately evident.
I knew it was time to get seriously proactive about controlling what people would find about me when they searched online. That’s when my online personal brand was born.
2. Where did you start?
Where I started and where anyone should start depends on objectives. I knew I wanted to build credibility as an industry expert and branch out into speaking.
LinkedIn is the obvious place to begin. My next steps were to create a website and start writing blog. In other words, I was creating content that positioned me as a thought leader. The path may be different for you, though. That’s why Launch Yourself walks you though the steps of defining, designing, and delivering a personal brand that’s uniquely you.
3. What are some of the opportunities your personal brand provided?
There’s a long list, but let me give you a few specific examples.
Because of my online personal brand, I was recruited to write Visual Social Marketing for Dummies book, as well as a Social Media Marketing textbook. I’ve spoken at Fortune 100 companies, and, just recently was hired as the only external training partner for Facebook.
4. Why is it important to businesses for their employees to have strong personal brands?
In the past, companies and organizations have been reluctant to support their employees in developing a strong personal brand because they were previously focused on getting a NEW job. Not any more.
Today, people are assessing the credibility of companies and people, equally. If you have a team with online personal brands that position them as experts, industry thought leaders, active industry participants, and competent, the likelihood of next steps with the person doing research just shot up exponentially. On the other hand, if, while researching, all they find online about your team are Instagram pictures of them holding drinks and engaging in less-than-ideal scenarios for the company’s reputation, you have an unnecessary problem and limited potential.
An employee with a strong personal brand is an asset to your company.
5. If someone isn’t actively looking for a job, why should they invest in developing their personal brand?
There are two reasons.
First, if you try to dig a well when you’re thirsty, it’s too late. If you suddenly spring into personal branding action when looking for a job, prospective employers/clients see that immediately. You serve yourself well if you build it over time.
Second, a powerful personal brand will yield results NOW, even within your current company. Think raise, promotion, new client, new opportunities. When you polish your online presence, it not only benefits you, but also your company, and your employer knows that.
6. What does your personal brand look like in the future?
There’s been a shift in the past few years from personal branding being largely about accomplishment to being more about value. My 2020 plan is to focus on consistently creating content that’s useful and presented in a way that’s meaningful.
7. If you could change one thing, what is it?
Even though I was an early-adopter, I still wish I had started earlier. There’s an old saying about starting to dig a well when you’re thirsty. It’s too late. The longer personal brands exist and are tended too, the more effective they are.
Interested in learning how to define, design, and deliver a powerful personal brand? Launch Yourself is an onine training program created to give you everything you need to craft a personal brand that’s credible, engaging, and uniquely you.