The Hardest Part of Building Your Personal Brand Online is the Most Important

Where to direct your limited resources for achieving the greatest impact.

Building a personal brand has been receiving more and more attention, as we spend more of our time interacting, connecting, and hiring online.

There are a number of ‘tried and true’ ways of building your brand online — professional photos, blogs/publications, interaction on forums and platforms, and putting your authentic self forward. But even if you do all of the above, you will find yourself hitting a ‘glass ceiling’ of sorts — your strategies will begin to lose effect, and what was previously engaging to others will grow boring and non-remarkable.

The solution is this — Never Stop Improving. Remain a student of your industry or niche — the world is changing in the way it solves problems — keep your fingers on the pulse of the change. Come to terms that you are not as knowledgeable, successful, influential or famous as you think (or want). Approach improvement strategically — seek out fundamental faults and write out a plant to work them out. Accept your faults as areas where you will work harder, don’t let them demotivate you or diminish your worth. Finding fault for the purpose of improving is not self-destruction. Here are three strategies to help you narrow down your focus.

Approach Personal Branding with Humility

Assess your strengths and limitations — there are things you have mastered about your field; there are things that require refinement. If you approach your personal branding with humility, continuous learning will come easy and natural — you are simply widening the boundaries of your comfort zone, and accepting that things outside your knowledge are available to you, even though they are not yet yours. Your disposition will get noticed — humility builds credibility and brings that ‘human’ factor that is the at the heart of personal branding.

Invest in Yourself

Being a student is expensive — either you invest a lot of time, or your invest a lot of money (or both) to learn something new. However, it is one of the best investments you can make. Attending conferences, industry events, or even participating in seminars or webinars will not only broaden your network but also give you content and ideas to share with others (i.e. grow your personal brand). It is a good idea to connect with people you admire and seek opportunities to learn from them. Either observe their tactics, or, if you are fortunate enough to reach out and get a response, identify a few thoughtful questions to ask. Not only are you connecting with people who know more than you, you are positioning yourself as a thoughtful, curious individual — the latter may even earn you a business referral from an incredible source.

How do you stay on top of your field? Do you keep up with blogs and industry events? Are you networking with people at the forefront of innovation?

Take the Time to Understand the Principles

Almost every industry has a set of ‘fundamental truths’ — principles that make it tick. Whether you are trying to position yourself as a marketing whiz, or a superb project manager, take the time to understand what makes your industry tick. Once you are able to boil it down to the principles, you can innovate. An Innovator or an Inventor is much more valuable than a Preacher or Regurgitator. If you want to lead the pack, take the time to understand it first. Jump on new platforms, embrace new strategies and take time to understand the trends. There is no certainty in what will stick and what will become a passing fad, but at least you’ve taken a little bit of time to understand where your world is heading. After all, innovations exist to solve problems — a new innovation can suggest a different perspective on a problem. And that’s just free inspiration to help you stand out.

Inna Morgan