In order for people to know and respect your talent, you need to be visible. Effectively demonstrating what you do and why you’re good at it is key when it comes to self-improvement, a career change, or building a business from the ground up.
Julissa Shrewsbury, corporate personal brand specialist and director of New Work Consulting, says that marketing yourself successfully isn’t as tricky (or as daunting) as it may seem.
Below she shares four achievable steps to shape your professional image, regardless of what career success looks like to you. But first – let’s answer the main question.
What does marketing yourself actually mean?
It’s as much about what you say, as how you are perceived.
Before others understand your brand, you need to understand yourself and your own value. This is something Julissa believes is crucial to self-marketing.
“When I work with a client on their personal brand, I always start with self-reflection exercises that encourage them to consider what matters to them, what they think they’re good at, and what others have said they’re good at,” she says.
Armed with a strong sense of your own value and how you want to be perceived professionally, the next step is to act outwardly so that others can ‘buy in’ to the brand you’re forming.
Four steps to marketing yourself more effectively
1. Have a marketing plan
To really get a handle on self-marketing, you have to think of yourself as more than just an individual.
- What do you want to achieve?
- What is the next step that will get you there?
- What is the time frame for this?
- Are there any weaknesses that might stand in the way (e.g. a poorly maintained LinkedIn profile or an outdated CV)?
A marketing plan is like a roadmap, and from here you can build even bigger goals.
2. Define your personal brand messaging
If the marketing plan is the external roadmap to achieving your goals, personal brand messaging is the internal reflection that informs it.
Having guided numerous clients through their personal brand journey, Julissa has seen the importance of this self-reflection.
“Clients often remark on what a mindset shift it is to actually reflect on the strengths that they bring and why they’re amazing at what they do. Doing this gives people confidence in moving forward with their marketing plan,” she says.
Once you’ve identified your strengths and weaknesses, translate them into a personal brand statement. This should be one to two sentences that address the following:
- What you are great at (your value)
- Who you serve (your target audience)
- How you do it differently to your competitors
In summary, this is your unique value proposition.
3. Learn how to communicate effectively
As you build your plan, you need to think about how you’ll market yourself outwardly. Polishing up your LinkedIn is a great place to start, but for Julissa the next step is demonstrating your authority by either creating or curating content.
“It’s a great idea to read up on subjects that interest you (or are relevant to your profession), watch videos and attend TED talks.
“Share this experience with others on social media, making sure to add your own comment to the link explaining why the content is worthy of people’s time.
“By doing this, you start to develop your unique voice and show others what you’re interested in,” says Julissa.
4. Start connecting with your audience
Knowing who you’re talking to is as important as what you’re saying, believes Julissa.
“The right people are also influential people – door openers, decision makers – who are actually going to help you achieve your goals,” Julissa explains.
The outcomes of successful self-marketing
“A key advantage of marketing yourself professionally is finding out about opportunities before they become widely known,” she says.
“You may find opportunities come across your path if you’re more proactive in talking to people and expanding your networks and your personal brand.”
“If you really focus on who you connect with and how you canvas what you’re looking for, you might find that someone influential opens a door for you and that gets you your next role or opportunity.”
Standing out from the pack
“The third outcome is simply being seen as a standout candidate because you’ve thought about your personal brand and the key things you want people to understand about what you can contribute.”
At the end of the day, people value people who value themselves. Potential clients or employers will always have endless options, so be loud and proud about your unique ideas, talents and strengths to grab their attention.