Whether you are up for a promotion, changing jobs, switching industries starting a business or hoping to grow the business you already have, you are likely looking for ways you can use the momentum of the New Year to get ahead. As you should! The New Year is an ideal time to hit the reset button on your career and implement a new plan of action to go after what you want in all areas of your life. Over the past five years, personal branding – or the act of standing out in order to get ahead – has become widely recognized as necessity for making your ideas, skills and talents known in the digital age. But what makes some people’s ideas and brands explode while others struggle to gain attention and traction? After a decade in PR, I’ve observed four strategies that the pros consistently use to stand out in their industries. If you want to build your personal brand this year, here are proven ways to do it.
Inform others in a generous way. When you can open up someone’s mind around a new topic that could change their life, they’ll never forget you. When you can do that for an entire segment of your industry, you become unforgettable. That’s why journalists and bloggers can become so well known, well-respected and revered. Think about a book you read or talk you heard that changed your life forever – you’ll never forget that author or speaker. That person for me this year was author Tara Mohr. Her ideas mirrored so many of the challenges I was experiencing as both a high achieving woman and a coach to high achieving women. She was able to put a name to many of our collective experience, and in doing so validated our experience. Information has the power to set people free and if you have a treasure chest full of the info that people need, they will not only follow you but they’ll come to rely on you as well. As you think about your 2017 strategy, ask yourself – how can you inform others? What do you know that others need to know? Depending on your personality and your specific skill set, you could write a book or blog if you like to write or you create a video series on youtube or periscope sharing your knowledge and expert tips. I’m enjoying podcasting as a medium and am excited about the new features on Instagram. But it’s up to you – do what comes most naturally to you.
Create something new or unexpected that fills a gap and solves a problem. And perhaps that something new is simply a new way of doing things that is atypical for your industry. For example, after I transitioned to coaching from PR, I started to notice how many people were having the same core challenges around positioning themselves as the Go-To Expert. Instead of writing a report on white paper (the standard) I looked to the education, training/coaching industries for ideas and came up with The Branding Box – a personal branding “toolkit”, which is a standard concept in the training industry but unexpected in the public relations and personal branding space. Because it was “new” for the industry, it quickly became my calling card. You have likely been sitting on an idea to do something new or do something old in a new way. Challenge yourself this year to put the new way out there for your industry to enjoy.
Inspire others to act. For the longest time I thought the value was in explaining and informing others only. I rolled my eyes at motivational speakers and writers whose content lacked actionable takeaways. But as I personally experienced the ups and downs of running a business with two small children at home, I realized that I needed more than just information to implement. I needed inspiration and motivation. I needed to get pumped back up and re-energized around my purpose. I needed my soul fed and someone just to say something to remind me that I could do it. This is when my mind and heart shifted and my perspective around content changed forever. If you have the gift of motivating and inspiring others, you will always be irresistible. Think about the inspirational people we follow like Gary Vaynerchuck or Tony Robbins or Oprah. They don’t so much tell us what we should do, they fire us up and inspire us to do. Beyond the what and how, most people need a catalyst to help them get into action. They’re in a rut or they feel stuck, and if you can reignite them, they’ll never let you go.
Connect others in your network. Sometimes it doesn’t even have to have anything to do with you and what you know, sometimes it’s just about connecting people to people which is why people who start meetups, organizations, or host networking brunches, lunches can shoot to the front of their industries so quickly. Beyond inspiration, our number one need as humans is to feel connected to other people. Natalie Franke at Rising Tide Society does this really well and is someone to watch for community building inspiration. We are social beings who want to connect to others so if you have the power to connect a certain segment of your industry – maybe the professionals in your city or the ones in your industry – you will be remembered. If you can position yourself as the center of a community, as someone who can connect others to resources and to one another, you will watch your personal brand soar next year.