Jessie van Breugel x Pragya from Shield

If you've been thinking of being more active on LinkedIn, creating content and building an audience then this blog is for you.

The blog will take you through 9 steps of getting starting with personal branding on LinkedIn.

You will go through why personal branding is important for you, find you examples of people with great profiles, learn how to find what topics to speak about and

1. Understand the "Why" of building a personal brand

Having a personal brand is being known for ‘something’. When you are known for your area of expertise then people, clients, businesses come looking for you instead of you looking for them.

It doesn’t matter what your profession is. Whether you’re building the next tech unicorn, working towards a successful solopreneurship, or working for a thriving company, investing in your personal brand has never been more important.

So, why should you spend time building your personal brand? Here's just a few of the results you will see.

  • Interesting opportunities (more people want to work with you)
  • Ability to charge more $$ (as more people want to work with you)
  • Inbound leads (more/high-quality people come seeking you)
  • Direct line of communication with your audience (continuous feedback loop)

Building your online presence and audience is the currency of the future. If you do this right you will set yourself up for an exciting and prosperous future. 76% of American Millennials are more likely to buy from a person with a personal brand. The signs are clear:

People don’t do business with companies anymore. People do business with people.

Your personal brand has become more important than ever. Whether you’re self-employed, employed, or an entrepreneur, it pays off to have a strong online presence. It gives you full control over your future and career path.

That brings us to the question of how you do that, right?

2. Get inspired by others who are setting an example

Before we dive into the strategies to grow your personal brand, a couple of examples of powerful personal brands that can be found on LinkedIn:

The one thing in common these people have is their lazer-focus on their expertise. They all do one simple thing very well:

They focus all their energy, their resources, and their efforts on becoming known for one thing first. They become experts on that one thing. People like to refer to it as uniqueness, calling, purpose, or mission.

The best quote on this topic comes from a guy named Larry Winget:

Find your uniqueness so you can exploit it in the service of others.

If you want to be inspired, you can give a look to the profiles of some amazing content creators such as Austin Belcak, Dan Koe, Niharikaa Kaur Sodhi, Ryan Musselman, Dina Calakovic and Lea Turner

3. Define what you want to be known for

Let’s take starting a business as an example.  People will tell you: Find a problem and solve it. The problem with this is that there are already so many solutions available. Chances are that someone else already solved ‘your’ problem. If you’re all solving the same problem, why should someone buy your product or services instead?

It’s crucial to add something to the equation. It’s better to look for categories that you know super well, have some experience in, and are naturally attracted to. It sounds pretty simple, right?

Here are five questions you could ask yourself to figure out your uniqueness:

a. What’s the problem you want to solve?

There are a zillion problems in the world, but which one do YOU want to solve? What’s causing you pain? Find that and demonstrate how you fix that. Look at your own experience. Build the community you once needed or the tool you wished you had to solve your problems.

b. What’s the thing you're passionate about?

Passion can drive us far. Sometimes we often ignore these thinking of them only as "hobbies”. Think again. What's the thing you can't stop talking about, to the point your friends are sick and tired of it? If money wouldn't matter, what would you be doing and why?

c. What do you research?

Write down the resources you spend time on and you’ll be able to see a pattern already:

  • What podcasts do you listen to?
  • Which books do you read?
  • Which shows do you watch?
d. Where do you have the results?

You earn the right to talk once you’ve actually done the work and seen results from it. Each accomplishment is evidence of who you’re designed to be and whom you’re meant to help: You are most powerfully positioned to serve the person you once were.

e. What’s the advice your friends, family or coworkers come to you for?

An often overlooked area, but asking yourself this question allows you to have an outside perspective on the things that make you unique.

4. Position yourself with a sharp LinkedIn profile

It all starts with your LinkedIn profile. Not sure if your LinkedIn profile is good enough? Then head over here.

This is the ultimate checklist to building your LinkedIn profile.

Your personal brand on LinkedIn starts with your personal profile. You want to make sure that when someone lands on your profile they go back knowing exactly what you can help them with. The profile should be designed for your ideal audience.

5. Be visible on LinkedIn

Writing content on LinkedIn can be VERY daunting. Don't trap yourself into not starting because of that.

You do not need to post on LinkedIn to be visible.

Start with setting some time aside for commenting on other people's content, engaging. This is a great place to start to get people to start seeing your face in their world.

A great way to approach this is by time-blocking your calendar specifically for LinkedIn like Pragya does.

Once you get in the habit of writing comments, then writing your own original content comes naturally too.

6. Start posting content

Yes, the next step to really take your LinkedIn experience up one more notch is when you start posting. Start small, set realistic expectations of how often you want to write. Plan for it. If you're just starting out and need some help, check out 5 ideas on what to write on LinkedIn here. If you want to be more consistent we've got you covered there too.

7. Build trust with your audience

Growing a personal brand online comes with a healthy dose of patience.

You can’t rush the process of building trust. Trust is built by showing up day in, day out. And let that be an essential component of a personal brand.

61% of Americans believe their doctor should have an established personal brand

— Rory Vaden

Why do you think that is? Trust.

To establish trust, consistency is needed.

In this article, we shared our 5-step process to be a consistent creator on LinkedIn.

Secondly, you build trust with your audience by being vulnerable. Sounds scary, right? Share the story of a certain failure or adventure, something that’s personal to you but takes the reader on a journey. The creators who are able to make their audience feel emotion win in the long run.

Show up consistently on LinkedIn to create a group of like-minded people around you.

8. Find your tribe

Your content is the magnet you put out to attract like-minded people.

People who’ll support you. Lift you up, instead of tearing you down. A group of people to exchange ideas and build each other up. Being part of a strong community is one of the most valuable assets of a modern-day digital creator.

How good does that sound?

To be an active member of a community, you need to actively participate. There’s no other way around it.

The good thing?

Being part of a community doesn’t mean you always have to talk about yourself. You should focus on facilitating a community that empowers everyone:

  • Insert yourself in relevant conversations.
  • Show up daily and be an active contributor.
  • Share the content of your peers.
  • Interact with thoughtful comments to their content.

After all, social media is all about engaging with one another.

This article explains everything we know about connecting with other creators on LinkedIn.

Pro tip:

Don’t get stuck chasing the numbers game. There’s always the next ‘follower-target’ to hit.

It makes you forget about the most important part of building an audience: the human aspect. Chasing followers solely for the sake of growing the metric makes you forget that behind every profile picture there’s a human being. Growing your following account is a good thing, as it allows you to scale your impact and gain more exposure.

Just be careful that the chase doesn’t get the worst of you.

9. Only monetize if you’re ready for it

The monetization of a personal brand can be an article on its own, so we keep it short and concise here.

Our advice is to only think about monetization when you have a solid foundation.

With that, we mean:

  • Having an engaged audience)
  • A great understanding of the problem(s) your audience face
  • Validation of actual demand

Monetizing a personal brand is all about solving a problem your audience has and making money in the process.

In your pursuit of finding the perfect business model, there are two approaches to take:

The DARES checklist helps you to define the strategy to turn a pile of followers into a pile of cash. DARES is an acronym that stands for:

  • Digital
  • Automated
  • Recurring
  • Evergreen
  • Scalable

The more of these options you can implement in your product, the better.

The second framework is the PAIDS framework which helps you to figure out which path you can take to monetize your audience. PAIDS stands for:

  • Products (physical)
  • Ads
  • Info-products
  • Deals
  • Services

It’s recommended to pick one of these options if you’re starting out.

Conclusion

Your personal brand sets you apart from eight billion other monopolies and having an audience is a superpower that can transform your life.

Stop thinking that you need to be perfect and an expert in something before you can share your learnings with others. There are always people who can learn from you, be it one, five, or ten people.

If you have the ability to influence one person today, would you take that chance?

That one person can turn into impacting a thousand at some point.

The key ingredient?

You have to start somewhere.

Start building your personal brand today.

Jessie van Breugel x Pragya from Shield