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The Secrets of Personal Branding for Professional Speakers

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Every successful public speaker knows the value of personal branding for long-term success. Unlike product-based businesses, people don't hire you to bring them a useful "widget". They need a personal connection with you so you can bring them inspiration, a game plan, or at least a vision for their own long-term success.

Your personal brand isn't just a name or a logo. It represents your unique message and values, what you stand for, and how you live out your purpose. It's what people can expect when they work with you or hear you speak.

Every asset you have - from your website to your social media profiles, to any "swag" or business gifts you offer need to summarize who you are and how you impact the world.

Here are 8 tips that will help you increase your visibility through branding, and ultimately grow your impact and influence.

Critical first step: Identify your USP

Most people think a USP is a "Unique Selling Proposition". The problem with that definition is it is marketer-centric, not market-centric. A better definition of USP is "Unique Solution to a Problem".

With this definition in mind, it means you're focusing on the unique, identifiable problems of your target audience, instead of what's so great about YOU.

If you've been a speaker for a while, you likely already know what your audience's core problem is; are you mentioning it front and center in all your marketing? If you don't know it yet, interview your best clients in order to zero in on how your message can inspire and help them with that problem.

If you feel like your message hasn't been clear enough yet, now's the time to solve that problem. Start with the end in mind. What do you want people to think of when they encounter your personal brand? What do you want them to feel? What do you want them to do next?

As you think about helping your target audience solve their problem, develop your unique system for solving that problem and give it a name. It will help you be discoverable when people start to hear about your solution and they start to search for it in online search engines. No one else will be able to solve that problem with that solution because you own it.

For example, Jeff Walker helps businesses with their online marketing by offering the Product Launch Formula. Another example is the Thunder Shirt, a unique solution to the problem of anxious dogs and cats. What is your audience's core problem and what is your USP?

Once you know your USP, make sure it's at the core of everything you do and every message you send to your market.

Zero in on one thing

When you're known for something specific, it's much easier to attract the people who are most likely to need your services. They see or hear your marketing and say in their heads, "That's my issue! That's what will help me solve problem xyz."

When you try to be all things to all people, you dilute your message and make it harder for people to see how you can help them. You also make it harder for them to remember who you are.

Narrow down what you want to be known for, and focus all your marketing on that one thing.

Stand out from the crowd

You aren't the only speaker who offers essentially the same thing. That's why you want to focus on the problem experienced by your target market, and your USP. Once you are clear on that you can make your personal brand stand out in these ways:

  • Embrace your experience and your story as a proven way to solve the core problem. People don't want to buy stuff; they'd much rather have a relationship with someone and buy what worked for them
  • Create a systematic online presence. From your ads, to your website, to your social media profiles and posts, to the emails you send to people on your list, make the investment to create a system
  • Be really clear on your values and your purpose. Post these on all your online platforms and live them out every day
  • Make a positive difference in people's lives. You don't need to change the world (although you certainly could!); the positive difference can be as simple as helping people take time out from a conference or a busy quarter to laugh. Laughter activates the neural pathways in your brain that are responsible for emotions like joy and happiness. Laughter releases endorphins which help you feel good. So make a positive difference and people will remember you!

When you follow these steps, you'll create a personal brand that people trust and that stands out from the rest and attracts more clients.

Consistency is crucial

The human brain unconsciously registers a feeling of discomfort - leading to a lack of trust - when something it expects to be consistent is unpredictable.

For example, if your prospect sees an ad or other marketing message that looks one way, and has one type of "attitude", but then they see something from you elsewhere that looks very different and has a very different type of attitude, that person's unconscious mind prevents them from fully trusting you.

This is why your personal brand should look and feel the same way, and represent the same thing, everywhere your target market encounters you. This means that all of your social media profiles, website, blog posts, articles, email signatures, and any other marketing materials should be aligned.

A great way to ensure consistency is to develop a style guide for yourself and your company. Every new hire or contractor needs to know that this is how your brand presents itself. From the colors and style of logo, to your speaker’s attitude and style of presentation.

The more consistent you are across platforms and media, the more your target audience will trust you... unconsciously.

Publish online content

One of the best ways to grow your personal brand is to publish online content. This could be in the form of articles, blog posts, white papers, e-books, or even infographics.

You should certainly be publishing valuable content on your own speaking website, but you should also be actively publishing elsewhere, such as on Newsweek Expert Forum. This is where you have access to a community of like-minded peers who are eagerly reading each other's articles and Expert Panel contributions. Publishing both on and off your personal website is also a great way to rank higher and be found in online searches.

The key is to provide valuable content that helps your target market solve their problems. When you do this, you'll not only get noticed, but you'll also build a following of people who trust and respect you.

The best part is that once you've published this content, it will continue to work for you long after you've written it. So make sure you publish great content that's worth reading!

Leverage social media for more eyes

Social media is a critical part of your personal branding efforts. It's where you can connect authentically with your target market, and help them get to know, like, and trust you.

Don't just use social media to push your offers; use it as a way to educate and engage with your target market. Share helpful content, answer questions, and be a resource.

When you do this, you're not only building your personal brand, but you're also establishing yourself as an expert in your field. And that's a highly valuable asset.

Make sure you share your Newsweek Expert Forum author profile with social media platforms because all your NEF articles are automatically updated on that page.

The networking advantage

Networking is one of the most powerful ways to grow your personal brand. The key is to focus on building relationships, not selling.

Think about how you can help others, and what you can do to add value. When you focus on giving more than you take, people will naturally want to connect with you. They will also remember you as the person who jumped in and helped them when they really needed it. It's no surprise that some of the best clients come from having met each other, not from ads.

Be sure to attend networking and community events, as well as industry events. Join relevant groups on LinkedIn and other social media platforms. The more connected you are, the more opportunities will come your way.

Stay informed of current trends

In today's always-online world, trends fade as quickly as they appear. But it is still important to stay in the know of what new challenges, platforms, or products are taking over your industry. Think about how you can utilize trends to relate to your branding efforts. A great example is the rise of AI in tech. Newsweek Expert Forum member Erica McMillan shares the importance of staying ahead of current digital marketing trends, including artificial intelligence. 

The bottom line is that personal branding is essential for speakers who want to increase their visibility and grow their business. By following these tips, you'll be well on your way to success.

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