Personal branding is a somewhat ambiguous phrase that gets tossed around a lot by business coaches, marketers, and branding experts.
But what does branding really mean, anyway, and how can you use it to score more clients and set yourself apart from other coaches?
The first thing to understand is that branding is not marketing. While marketing is all about getting the word out and promoting yourself, branding has to do with what, exactly, you’re promoting.
Branding is all about experience. What experience do your clients have when they work with you, visit your website, listen to your podcast, or sign up for your course?
That sum total of those experiences becomes your personal branding – something no one else in the world can project but you.
Branding can be subtle or in-your-face, but it should always be strategic. Every part of your personal brand – from the photos you share online to the fonts you use on your website – should be carefully chosen in order to convey a specific message to your audience.
Here are 7 personal branding tips to help you identify what makes you you, and to share that ‘you’ with the world.
So often we think of branding as a visual medium – what our website looks like, what our logo looks like, etc.
But verbal branding is a huge aspect of your personal brand. It includes everything from your website copy to your business name, and calls for the careful selection of words and phrases that define your brand.
Tip #1: Write Seamless Web copy
The tone of the copy on your website speaks volumes about who you are as a coach, and what type of clients you want to work with.
Is your personal brand friendly and conversational, or serious and professional? Are you a hardcore, no-B.S. kind of coach or the warm ‘n fuzzy type?
Your identity should be woven throughout your web copy, and should be consistent from webpage to webpage.
If your “About Me” page is humorous and your homepage is all business, prospects will become confused, fail to connect with you, and shy away from hiring you as their coach.
Tip #2: Get Strategic on Social media
Everything you post on social – including your comments on other people’s content – is part of your personal branding.
If you are a supportive life coach who teaches positive thinking, that positivity should be evident in your tweets, Facebook posts, likes, and shares.
Identify the verbal “voice” you established in your website copy, and use that voice to interact with clients and prospects via social.
Side note: Your personal branding may differ from who you are to your closest family and friends. That’s completely fine, just make sure to establish clear boundaries between business-related social media and personal social media.
Tip #3: Prepare for Interviews and talks
Another important part of verbal branding is the way you present yourself when giving an interview or talk.
The slogans, taglines, keywords and catch phrases you use in your web copy should also be peppered into your speech, creating a powerful offline presence that complements your online efforts.
If in doubt about how you come across in person, ask a close friend or family member to give you some feedback. If you’re laid back and casual in person but are trying to use an uber-professional, businesslike persona on your website, it may be time to choose the one personal branding-personality that’s truly “you.”
Visual branding is the area of personal branding most of us think of when we hear the phrase. It includes the images, colors, graphics, logos, and fonts you choose in order to tell the story of your brand.
Tip #4: Brand your Entire Website
Are you a hardcore personal trainer who pushes her clients to their breaking point each and every session?
Then design your site using bold colors, stark graphics, and hardcore images.
To do this, take the phrases, slogans, and keywords you discovered in your verbal branding work and find visual representations of each idea.
For instance, if your slogan is “Helping you reach the pinnacle of fitness,” search for visual ways to represent the idea of the word “pinnacle” such as climbing a mountain, reaching a summit, hiking, and so on.
Remember that even the smallest details define your personal branding. Make sure the little things, such as social media icons and navigation menus, are “on brand.”
Tip #5: Get Fierce with Fonts
Speaking of minor details, the fonts you use on your website and in your other branded materials say a lot about your personal branding.
Big, bold fonts tell one story, curvy scripts tell another. Consistency across your entire website conveys one feeling, lots of variation conveys another.
Are you starting to see how you can use every single design element to enhance your personal branding and tell your unique story?
Tip #6: Brand ALL of Your Marketing Materials
Besides your website, visual branding needs to be consistent across all marketing channels, both online and off.
The logos, images, and graphics you use on your website should be incorporated into your social media headers, business cards, flyers, and other marketing materials.
For example, if a prospect finds out about your coaching services on LinkedIn, they should be able to easily recognize your Google+ profile because the photos and headers you use are the same.
In fact, using the same profile picture across all social channels and marketing materials is a great way to increase brand recognition and create a seamless personal brand.
Tip #7: Prioritize your Personal appearance
You’ve enhanced your website, social accounts, and marketing materials with strategic personal branding choices, right down to the color of the Disclaimer link on the bottom of your homepage.
But what about the color of your outfit?
As a coach or trainer, personal appearance is an important part of personal branding, whether you’re in the gym or doing a TEDx talk. Make sure the way you present yourself is in line with your personal brand. This includes making strategic choices when it comes to your clothes, style of dress, haircut, and accessories.
Just as you want website visitors to have a visceral, highly specific experience the second they land on your site, you want prospective customers to have a specific first impression of you that’s in line with your personal branding.
The key to strong, effective personal branding is consistency across multiple marketing channels and different mediums.
- Write seamless web copy
- Get strategic on social media
- Prepare for interviews and talks
- Brand your entire website
- Get fierce with fonts
- Brand ALL of your marketing materials
- Prioritize your personal appearance
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