Personal branding is getting a lot of buzz these days, especially among younger workers who consider the opportunity to build a personal brand as much of a job perk as a short commute.
What is a personal brand, you ask? A personal brand is an individual’s reputation in their field, what we at Hinge call a Visible Expert®. Visible Experts are technical professionals who have attained high visibility and expertise in their industry, establishing a personal brand that is widely recognized. And just as a firm can have an overall brand positioning statement, so can a Visible Expert. We call this a personal brand statement or expert positioning statement.
In this article, I describe how you can write a personal brand statement in three easy steps—one that will differentiate you from other thought leaders in your field and help people associate you with the value you deliver.
A personal brand statement is a carefully crafted paragraph, usually 4–5 sentences in length, that describes your expertise, who you serve, and most importantly, how your approach is different from that of other experts in your field. It may also specify key issues you believe in.
How to Write a Personal Brand Statement
Many professionals find it difficult to succinctly say what they do. This exercise will help you with that. To start, you’ll need to answer a few questions:
- What are you an expert in?
- What do you specialize in (if anything)?
- What other factors make you different from your competitors?
The answers will provide the ingredients you need.
Whether you choose to write in the first person or the third person is up to you, as long as you keep the tone conversational and to the point. Your personal branding statement will speak to a wide variety of audiences, so try to avoid technical language and industry jargon.
Three easy steps
Step 1: Identify your specialized area of expertise and describe it.
“I am an expert in ________________.” The more niche your expertise, the easier your rise will be.
Step 2: Build out the middle.
Tell your story—how you’re different, what problems you solve, where you stand on issues. And don’t forget who you serve. Who buys your services? Do you serve a particular industry? How do you want people to perceive you? Two or three sentences should be all you need here.
Step 3: Write a concluding sentence.
Wrap up the paragraph—and if you can, speak again to your expertise or most compelling differentiator, making your conclusion the most impactful part of the statement.
A Couple More Tips
A little aspiration can be a wonderful thing
As you go through the process and ask yourself questions, you may notice some areas or skills that you need to work on. In fact, you may find yourself speaking about a version of yourself that isn’t fully baked yet. Don’t get discouraged. As long as it’s attainable, use your aspirational brand statement to set some personal goals.
Focus on issues where you can shine
No matter where you are in your personal branding journey, an expert positioning statement will help get you there by focusing your expertise in ways you hadn’t before.
A piece of advice? Choose issues that don’t have easy solutions and aren’t likely to go away any time soon. If you are struggling to think of relevant issues, try answering these questions:
- Where do your interests lie?
- Where do your clients struggle most?
- Where can you deliver the greatest value?
Take some time to apply your new positioning to the personal bios and profiles on your website and social media accounts. While you are at it, ask yourself a couple of questions: Do they present you as a highly credible professional? Do they convey a consistent message?
If done correctly, your personal brand statement will help take your career to a new level of visibility, respect and value. And every time you prepare a new promotional piece or sit down to write educational content, you can dip into your personal branding statement for welcome inspiration.
How Hinge Can Help
Want to become an industry thought leader? It’s one of our specialties. Hinge’s Visible Expert® Program provides all the guidance and help you need to implement a thought leadership platform that builds your reputation and visibility in the marketplace.
- Find out how to become a sought-after expert in your industry. Download a free copy of The Visible Expert®
- Learn about our research into high visibility experts in the research report Visible Experts®: How High Visibility Expertise Helps Professionals, Their Firms, and Their Clients.
- Hinge University offers a practical, research-based Visible Expert® course that will teach you how to raise your expertise to a higher level of prominence, success and profitability.