As a professional or entrepreneur of any kind, improving your own personal brand is a major key to your long-term success. In fact, in today’s business world, self-promotion and individualization is a must in order to differentiate yourself from all the competition.

Therefore, learning how to build up your personal brand is applicable whether you are in the corporate world, an entrepreneur or in virtually any field in between. Read below to learn the five steps you should take to improve your personal brand:

1.) Define Your Personal Brand:
Your personal brand is not a show or an act, it is you to the very core. The characteristics and qualities that comprise who you are is exactly what you should use to build your personal brand. To find out what you personal brand should be, consider the following questions:

  • What makes you unique?
  • Where do your passions lie?
  • What are your greatest strengths.

If you still aren’t sure about your personal brand even after answering these questions, ask a few trusted friends, coworkers or even family members to define who you are and what you are about using a few words, and see if you notice a pattern. The main point is to define yourself in terms of your professional goals.

2.) Stick to Your Priorities:
To have success, you first have to define what success means to you. For example, is your goal to acquire a certain number of clients, earn a certain amount of money, revolutionize a certain market through an innovation, or are you simply wanting to make the world a better place to live?

When a business opportunity arises, check it against your predetermined priorities and see how measures up. If it doesn’t fit within your preset priorities, it’s best to move on to the next opportunity. After all, building your brand is about defining your goals and sticking to your guns when others ask you to compromise, even for seemingly innocuous reasons. Keep in mind you are after great, not just good, opportunities.

3.) Create a Pitch–or Message–That Explains Who You Are and What You’re About:
When pitching your personal brand to potential clients, bosses or anyone else, you want to keep your message short and sweet. Keep in mind that Twitter only allows you 140 characters to express yourself, and most TV commercials are only 15 to 30 seconds. Therefore, a shorter and more precise message is best.

However, be sure to define yourself well within that short timeframe. As an example to get you started, read what a CEO from a private equity company used to define themselves, “I am passionate about finding the hidden potential in people and businesses-and challenging ourselves to deliver it.”

Another example from a senior level marketing officer reads as follows “I love being a catalyst for ideas that transform organizations and create new paradigms.” Use those as examples, and create your own that correctly communicates who you are and what you are about.

4.) Pick the Right Time to Share Your Message:
If you pay attention to the way big name companies advertise, you will notice that timing is a big aspect of what they do. For example, have you ever noticed that a fast food chain that sells hamburgers and fries will often advertise in the late night when you are feeling the need for a late night snack, or have you ever noticed all those advertisements for luscious steaks that bombard you while watching a football game on a Saturday evening?

The marketing professionals involved in the advertisements listed above have done their homework and know when to share these ads so they will be the most effective. You also should pay attention to when you share your message with potential clients or employers.

Do so when your message will be the best received, such as a year end review or during planning meetings. Of course, sharing on your message on your Linked In profile and across social media is always smart.

One final note on the timing aspect. Be sensitive to others when sharing your message.

For example, if you know someone has just experienced a death in the family, don’t try to tell them about a great new business opportunity until a little time has passed. Be sensitive when sharing your message, but share it as much as possible within those boundaries.

5.) Repeat, Repeat, Repeat Your Message:
According to many studies, a compelling message should be heard three or more times before it will sink in. However, it is important to not repeat your message so much that anyone listening simply lets it go in one ear and out the other due to the fact that they are tired of hearing it.

The key is to strike a balance between making sure your message has been heard and understood and not pushing so hard that you become annoying. Use all your connections, such as social media or meetings to share your message, but don’t overwhelm your loved ones and friends with your message, especially if they couldn’t help you achieve your goals even if they wanted to.

When improving your personal brand, you are in essence narrowing down your priorities and defining what it is you are passionate about through a concise message. You must always be aware of marketing opportunities and jump on anything that you feel may have potential.

Just don’t ever give up, because if you work hard and utilize the five steps listed above, you will improve your personal brand, making it a force to be reckoned with.

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