Personal branding: What it is and how you can build yours

Let’s take a look a personal branding.

What does it mean to be you?

To think like you do or to behave as you do? What defines you? 

These are the kinds of questions you should be asking yourself when it comes to personal branding, especially if you want to create a content plan.

You might be thinking ‘what the heck is that?’

what is personal branding

Or you might be confident that you know what branding is; ‘it’s the type of perfume I use or the bank I’m with, not to mention my preference of fizzy cola drinks!’


Not quite.

While many brands may feature in your day to day life –  some may even feel inseparable from your character – personal branding is less about the products and more about the person behind them.

So, if you’re ready to look inward, keep reading to learn about personal branding and how you can use it in your life.

This blog will cover:

  • What is personal branding?
  • Examples of personal branding
  • Why is personal branding important?
  • Is personal branding just for influencers? 
  • What is a personal brand statement?
  • Step by step process for building a personal brand
  • How to manage negative backlash online
  • How to monetise your personal brand

What Is Personal Branding?

Personal branding is a way of marketing yourself.

A personal brand explains who you are, what you do and informs people why they should care about you.

Through your personal brand, you can curate a deliberate identity for either your professional or personal life, both on and offline.

The brand you present is typically a combination of your experience, skills and personality which creates a persona for you and influences how you are perceived by other people.

Build Your Brand

Personal branding is a unique person-centered approach to business and has become one of the most effective ways of creating a point of differentiation between yourself and others, in a content-saturated world.

So, whether you use your personal brand for a job interview, for someone to hire your services for their company or to get cast in a TV show – personal branding is front and centre of successful marketing communications.

Spending time developing your personal brand will help you to present yourself, your work and your skills in the best possible way. 

And getting this right is essential if you want to create a PR plan for yourself and your business.

tony robbins

Examples of Personal Branding 

There are excellent examples of impactful personal branding in every sector from politics to pop culture. 

Business Leader and best selling author Tony Robbins has curated a personal brand that motivates and inspires individuals and businesses around the world. 

His approach to self-help and positive thinking has helped individuals in the public eye from politicians to sports stars, all the while earning the moniker of ‘The CEO Whisperer’. 

If it’s good enough for his 5.8 million instagram followers, it’s good enough for us!

Bestselling author, podcaster and business guru Tim Ferriss has curated a successful personal brand through his committed approach to sharing his lifestyle optimizing tips and work week hacks. 

With 700+ Million downloads of his podcast The Tim Ferriss Show, the former entrepreneur and angel investor now shares insider knowledge and advice from world-class business performers. 


Why Is Personal Branding Important?

A strong personal brand can have a big impact in your professional life, bringing multiple benefits, such as helping to develop an online audience, drive sales or get traction in a campaign you are running.

Through personal branding, you can focus on things you are passionate about as well as using it as a space to promote your achievements.  You can excel in thought leadership.

In fact, the best personal brands don’t just shout about how good a person is, they share value and insight and become known for standing out from the crowd and making a difference. 

thought leadership

People connect more when someone is being honest and open about successes or failures and what they’ve learnt from those experiences.

Personal branding can also be instrumental in getting your next job.

Your online profile is readily available for the public and future employers to see so you need to make sure it gives the best first impression.

We’ve all heard horror stories of people being denied life changing-jobs after an employer looked on social media and found inappropriate comments or images from their mis-spent youth. 

Developing an authentic personal brand where you can present an honest, engaging persona, sharing your style, your values or your skills, will get you ahead.

Is Personal Branding Just For Influencers?

It’s true that if you want to be considered influential, a strong personal brand is essential for your success. 

Many people associate personal branding with influencer marketing and, alternatively, influential people in the public eye, because they represent a niche interest, skillset, area or audience. 

influencer and branding

Influencers are able to utilise the public desire for role models and aspirational values in every field and sector.

From fashion and fitness to motivational speakers and scientists, social media influencers with professional skill sets epitomise the aesthetic and practical values of personal branding success. 

This is because they speak to an audience who are actively seeking advice, tips and ultimately, easy ways to be the best you can be.

However, personal branding should not just be seen as the territory of influencers. In fact, just about anyone with an audience can reap the benefits of personal branding. 

Many of us do this already, probably subconsciously, via the posts, images and ideas that we share on social media. 

With character limits and profile pics, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn provide the perfect opportunities to present yourself in a socially conscious and concise way. 

Whether you’re looking for a new job or wanting to engage with a wider network, curating a personal brand and streamlining your online presence can help you get on the path to success, whatever that may look like to you. 

what is a personal brand statement?

What Is A Personal Brand Statement?

A personal brand statement is a short (1-3 sentences) bio stating who you are, what you do and why that is important. 

From it, people should be able to understand your skills and experience as well as what you have to offer. 

You want to aim for something that is not only short and sweet, but passionate, personal and professional at the same time.

Providing enough information about yourself to get someone interested, but leaving space for them to want to know more. In which case, they’ll have to get in touch. 

Alongside your online profile, your personal brand statement is a way to grab people’s attention online.

defining your personal brand

Having a strong presence online can attract opportunities from the employers that you want, and even those that you didn’t know you needed. 

If you’re already in a job you love, it’s worth remembering that many companies will appreciate your presence as a brand ambassador for them, it will support their digital PR work.

See how you can incorporate building a personal brand with the resources and networks that are readily available to you.

Building A Personal Brand Step-By-Step

  1. Clean up your online profile – Have you got a long lost MySpace, Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr lurking in a dark corner of the internet with thoughts and images from your former self? It might be worth revisiting this ancient history to check there’s nothing out there that could be damaging to your personal brand.
  2. Figure out what you want your brand to be – This could be governed by how you envisage your interactions with other people. Think about whether you anticipate social or professional interactions and craft your online presence in a way that reflects this. 
  3. Find your niche – There’s nothing wrong with doing the same thing as the last guy or gal, but it’s not going to make people sit up and take notice of you. Finding a niche area of your sector or tapping into a gap in the market is going to make you, your skills and your ideas hot property and full of potential.
  4. Write your personal brand statement – Write something that’s short, sharp and sexy to bring your professional skills and personality into one key idea.
  5. Build your online profile – Now it’s time to align your online presence, linking social media profiles with your website, bringing your network together.
  6. Remember security – Go through security settings and make sure you’re only sharing data that you’ve agreed to and that your profile is only visible to those people you want to see it.
  7. Strategy – Now you need to get out there and publish some epic content. 

Your content strategy for your personal brand needs to reflect the values you uphold and the skills you bring to the people and projects you’re involved with. But this doesn’t stop at your personal branding statement – it needs to be reproduced throughout all your online content. 

brand audience

Editorial mission statement

This should connect to your brand statement, uniting your personality with a professional mission. It includes your audience, the type of content you will provide, and how you intend for people to benefit from this.


When defining your target audience, you should consider the following questions. 

Who are they, why do they follow you and what are they going to gain by interacting with your content?

You need to target a specific group of roles or a sector, rather than trying to be everything to everybody. 

Once you have this, spend some time locating your audience online and noticing their behaviours. For example, what networking sites they use or what information they’re looking for when interacting with these sites.

personal brand goals

Content marketing goals

Content marketing is all about creating digital content that people want to consume and sharing it with your networks. It should keep your audience interested as well as attract new interest and opportunities. 

  • Get your name out there by building awareness of your brand and your mission. 
  • Earn the trust of your audience as a reputable source of insight and information in your field.
  • Build partnerships that strengthen your integrity and provide interesting content for your audience, building links and providing opportunities for engagement. 

Identify your style

This is a balancing act between your own interests as a content creator and your audience’s needs and interests.

The overlap of interests are the core areas which you should cover in your content when establishing your personal brand.

brand style

Build your content calendar

When setting your expectations for your content calendar it’s best to start small and build up as you feel comfortable. Trying to push too much content in too little time can get messy and stressful and lead to poor quality content. 

It’s worth finding a platform that allows you to plan, schedule and post content via one app, saving you time and energy along the way!

Create some epic content

It’s your responsibility to know what your audience wants and plan your content to give it the best possible traction with them. 

Engage with your followers through interactive polls, stories or surveys on social media and allow yourself to be open to feedback on topics and types of content.

Measure your progress

Taking some time to evaluate your progress will allow you to identify what works well, as well as what doesn’t.

This is important as it will allow you to streamline your content creation and really give your audience what they want. 

How To Manage Negative Backlash Online

We all say or do the wrong thing from time to time, but what happens when you make a mistake on the social media stage? 

Public opinion can be pretty ruthless when it comes to pointing out mistakes and criticising certain actions or comments, for example. 

Whether you agree that you’ve made a mistake or not, it’s important to take a measured approach, considering all sides of the issue, as your business, brand or following could be at stake. 

Be humble – Prioritise protecting your brand and minimise any lasting damage.

Be accountable – We all make mistakes. Period. If you recognize yourself as being at fault, take ownership of your mistakes and focus on learning and moving forward.

Make amends – You’ll need to put in the work to rebuild trust in your brand as well as any products or services.

Plan a positive campaign – Revisit your brand values, mission, and culture then action any changes through your services or products. 

This being said, when it comes to criticism of your personal brand, it’s hard not to feel like you’re being personally attacked. 

negative backlash online

Constructive Criticism Or Online Bullying?

There is a difference between genuine criticism in light of a mistake on your part and social media trolls or bullies who are attacking your brand for reasons unknown. 

While you should acknowledge genuine issues or grievances that play out on social media, dealing with trolls is another story. 

It’s best to avoid any engagement with trolls online.

Not only will it fuel their fire, but responding to comments on public platforms (especially if you’re feeling emotionally provoked) could lead to unintended consequences. Such as other people getting involved. 

So, to avoid your brand ending up all over Twitter for the wrong reasons, the best policy is to ignore the online ne’er do wells. Instead make the most of the block button.

How To Monetise Your Personal Brand

Once you’ve got your brand established, it’s never a bad idea to use it to your financial advantage.

In fact, there are myriad ways that you can monetise your personal brand. These are all made easier by the accessible nature of social media and its power to connect people and ideas across the globe. 

In this section, we’ll take a look at a few popular ways to monetise your personal brand. 

how to monetise your brand

Start a podcast

Podcasting has fast become one of the most popular outlets for professionals with personality.

Podcasting helps your audience get to know you better and can mix entertainment with topics that are mutually important. 

It can also be a great way to attract partnerships and sponsors via advertising products or services. Dedicated listeners may also show their support via Patreon or similar sites. 

Write a book

If you believe you have what it takes, then it’s worth a try to write a book.

Whether it’s your memoir or a self-help guide then a book is a one-stop-shop for sharing your knowledge. Not to mention your skills and passion to your dedicated audience.

This has been made even easier by ebook culture and self-publishing. 

Sell templates

If you know, for example, how to write a press release, your knowledge and experience could be invaluable for somebody who needs a helping hand. 

Creating bespoke templates for tasks is a fantastic value-add for your audience. Your template can save them value time and makes everything easier for them.

Any subsequent success’ from people who purchased the product helps to strengthen your brand as a go-to industry resource.

sell products online

Advertise products

Product placement is huge on Instagram and social media. Companies send you free stuff and you share your thoughts on it with your followers.

It is now a requirement to warn your audience that you are posting an #ad. This is so that you don’t mislead anyone.

But promoting products on social media is still a strong way to build your brand. Especially if you genuinely love and use the product you are featuring. 

Just remember, your brand is a representation of you and your professional skills and goals. So be wary of anyone attempting to exploit your brand or jeopardize your integrity. 

Don’t get blindsided by financial offers that are too good to be true. Stay away from anything that you wouldn’t feel comfortable being associated with. 

A good personal brand is built on integrity and being genuine about endorsements.

Personal Branding: In Summary

We’ve covered a lot in this personal brand guide so here are our top 3 tips:

Have focus. Getting your personal branding on point is great, but for what? Keeping a strong focus throughout your branding journey will make you stand out for your speciality. And stay relevant.

Tell a story. A brand without a story is like food without a flavour. Consumers of your brand want to be continually nourished and satisfied by your output, not left hungry for more.

Be authentic.  The most important thing to remember when building your personal brand is that you want to be authentic. Without this authenticity, you will fail to provide consistency between your thoughts and actions. 

And if you’re ready to take your PR work to the next level grab our PR Starter Kit.

Our must-have kit has every template, script, strategy and guide you’ll ever need to do PR – all in one place.

Good luck!

About Gemma Clay

Gemma is founder of Class:PR which teaches small businesses and startups around the world how to get major media coverage. In 2010 she founded of one the UK’s leading healthcare PR agencies, Arc Seven Communications.