POST WRITTEN BY: Forbes Agency Council
Successful PR, media strategy, creative and advertising executives from Forbes Agency Council share trends and tips. Forbes.com, December 21, 2017

One of the most important activities any agency can engage in is branding. And we’re not just talking about developing and promoting a corporate brand, but also establishing your own personal brand, positioning yourself as a credible industry expert and thought leader.

Like any form of marketing, personal branding requires acute knowledge of both yourself and your intended audience, and consistently producing content that resonates with them. If personal brand development is on your to-do list, follow the advice of these Forbes Agency Council members.

Forbes Agency Council members offer up their best personal branding tips.

1. Build Your Digital Footprint – Share your knowledge and points of view online. Look past your professional expertise and offer views on topics that speak to your values and interests. Publish on LinkedIn, Medium or a company/personal blog. Engage in social arenas. Comment on stories that interest you. All of these efforts leave a digital footprint that offers evidence of who you are and what you represent. – Carm Lyman, Lyman Agency

2. Understand Yourself – Done right, a personal brand will stick for the long haul, so get real with yourself first! Ask some hard questions and be true to not only who you are today, but who you are committed to being down the road. Your personal brand must be authentic in order to truly resonate with others, so don’t skip the process of knowing who you really are first. – Katie Harris, Spot On Solutions

3. Be Consistently Good – With so many choices in marketers and who to follow, I think more people are going to gravitate to the “who’s who” rather than the new person on the block. If your personal brand shows a consistently strong track record, people will be more likely to come along for your ride. Also, let your work show that you personally care about what you do and who you affect. – David Kley, Web Design and Company

4. Be Transparent Above All Else – Share what you do, what you think and what you like. I feel connected to the people I follow when they are transparent, not worrying if what they post will be likable or create controversy. People will always criticize something, but they will still follow you if you share authentic content. – Martha Madero Gonzalez, GROU Crecimiento Digital

5. Work Through The Obstacles – It’s easy to get excited about your ideas and where you want to be, but it’s easier to get discouraged once you hit your first roadblock. Consistency is crucial, so study your audience and understand what sets you apart, then come up with your personal brand message. Once you have your message, engage with your audience while monitoring their engagement and use the results to guide your strategy. – Ahmad Kareh, Twistlab Marketing

6. Don’t Compare Yourself To Established Execs – If you’re just starting out, there’s some bad news – not a lot of people are listening. That’s also the good news. This means just get started and learn as you go — don’t be intimidated by execs who have fully polished personal brands. Just put time on your calendar and work on it religiously. – Dan Golden, Be Found Online

7. Grow Your Instagram – Having a large and engaged following on Instagram comes with multiple benefits. It grows your brand awareness, builds your credibility as an expert in your field, and can track the attention and desire of other businesses and brands looking for beneficial partnerships. – Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR.

8. Keep Building Your Credibility – It is of utmost importance to have consistent, insightful and original input on social media channels. Double- and triple-check what you write prior to hitting “submit.” Once you lose credibility, it will be hard to regain the momentum and voice you had previously created. Strive to be a pioneer in your respective field. Learning and thinking is a fluid process. Stay one step ahead of everyone! – Jonathan Snow, Social Cadre

9. Follow The Examples Of Others On Your Chosen Platforms – Personal brands are built on platforms like LinkedIn, Medium and Quora. Before posting content to a platform, see what has worked already on the platform and make it better. For example, was there an article within your niche that generated more views than others? Take the topic, put a spin on it and make it better. This approach increases your visibility on a crowded platform. – Brett Farmiloe, Markitors

10. Know What You Stand For – Knowing who you are includes identifying your strengths and weaknesses, and being familiar with your character flaws and special skills. This includes key values such as honesty, integrity and transparency. Once you know yourself and what you stand for, you will be able to effectively communicate with nearly anyone. – Ilissa Miller, IMiller Public Relations

11. Establish Your Differentiation And Plant Your Flag – There is only one you, and you must find what it takes to differentiate yourself from the crowd. This can be done by appearance, niche, brand or even your speaking or writing style. Whatever it is, you must become memorable to people. Don’t wait to be recognized as the thought leader or authority in your space; plant your flag and challenge anyone who questions it. – Douglas Karr, DK New Media

12. Focus On Delivering Your Best Work – Stop trying to be a celebrity and just do the best work. When you consistently deliver work that is unparalleled, creative, inspirational and unique in the marketplace, the delivery of that work becomes your brand. But no matter how innovative your thought leadership or how good your Instagram, if you don’t have real, honest credibility in your work, your “brand” is a hollow shell. – Craig Greiwe, Rogers & Cowan

13. Find The Right Content Mix And Frequency – Building a personal brand is even more important now. The most effective executives, like Richard Branson, are approachable and true to themselves. Blending personal perspective, industry thought leadership and company highlights can be effective in building your personal brand. Publish consistently with a regular frequency with this mix and you are well on your way. – Gina Michnowicz, Union+Webster

14. Be Interested In Others – Building a personal brand requires a different approach than for a company. First and foremost, you need to prove to your target audience why you are valuable to them. Why should they follow you? Show potential followers you are interested in them, and show how you can benefit their life with your insights, knowledge and personality. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

15. Consistently Gather Feedback And Insights – Creating great content is the obvious piece of the personal brand-building puzzle. However, one of the most beneficial building blocks for me has been to ask for feedback from specific individuals on a weekly basis. What worked, what didn’t? Did they like it? What were their takeaways? From this (hopefully honest) feedback, you can gather key insights and further hone your message and content. – Chris Carter, Rep Interactive

16. Be Consistent Across Platforms – A consistent voice builds a memorable name and a recognizable face. Multi-faceted communication platforms are here to stay. Don’t camouflage yourself based on the outlet you are being interviewed by. Be bold, be consistent and don’t shy away from who you really are. There are enough talking heads out there. Be yourself and grow your fan base authentically. They will listen. – Timothy Nichols, ExactDrive, Inc

Forbes.com, December 21, 2017