Creating a Website for Your Personal Brand (5 Mandatory Steps)
Dan Waldschmidt’s website is a great example of a personal brand site
that embodies the five tips outlined in this post*
Although the concept of transforming yourself into a personal brand isn’t a new one, it’s more prevalent than ever these days. This is true for many reasons—the influence of Internet/social media, ego, and an ever-evolving definition of what’s cool. Not to mention, the following factors:
- It’s no longer taboo for public figures to endorse brands or to put their own names on products. In fact, whereas even ten years ago, actors, musicians and other high profile people risked losing all street cred for shilling a product, it’s now cooler-and more profitable-than ever.
- In the age of transparency, faceless corporations are, like, so 1998, while having a well-known face that consumers can relate to at the front of your company is totally in vogue.
- Personal brands can charge people more for appearances, books and other opportunities, than they could if they didn’t have a solid brand platform. In other words, if there are two people with the exact same expertise and value to offer, the one with the stronger personal brand platform will always 1) be the first choice for most opportunities, and 2) get paid more as a result. Not only do they come with an existing audience, they also offer a certain cachet.
Really, the main tenets of creating a solid personal brand platform are the same as creating any brand platform: good messaging, widespread appeal, finding a way to say the same old thing in a new and exciting way, and smart overall packaging. When it comes to doing this in the online world, you need to start with a website. Here’s how to get started:
1. Use your name as the URL. Sounds obvious, right? You’d be surprised how many people don’t do this. Even people who have made a conscious decision to transform themselves into brands are often timid or uncomfortable with the idea of, well, transforming themselves into brands. And this usually results in using some seemingly clever URL that encompasses the essence of what they’re trying to communicate with their brand, rather than using their name, which is one of the simplest and most effective ways to reinforce and brand your brand.
2. Put yourself at the center of it. Duh. This might sound even more obvious than the above tip, but again, it’s not always a given. You have to remember that many personal brands are not expert marketers, so they have a tough time branding themselves. Personal brands are often people who are experts at what they do, thought leaders, or other standouts in their industries. They know that they could be effective as the public face for a particular concept, but that doesn’t mean that they’re particularly savvy when it comes to implementing a brand strategy. If this is you, make sure that your beautiful mug is front and center on your website.
3. Showcase whatever it is that people know you for or what you want people to know you for. Your personal brand website should not just be a shrine to you and the things you like; it’s got to have a very clear objective. As much as your brand is all about you, it’s even more so about your audience. Are you known for you great insight into X? For your stunning looks or dazzling sense of humor? Do people gravitate toward you because they can always count on you to do Y? Well then, make sure those are the things people get the moment they land at YourName.com. This will yield a much better response than your list of “100 things you didn’t know about me.” (Yes, these are fun, but they shouldn’t be the centerpiece of your message.)
4. What do you want people to do? So, you’ve done your due diligence by giving people what they want, and thus given them a reason to come to your site in the first place. Now it’s their turn to return the favor and do what you want them to do. Is this inviting you to offer a keynote at their next event? Is this an interview with popular media outlets on your area of expertise? Maybe you want to pitch your own show, become the next Oprah, get a book deal or simply attract more interest in an organization you’re associated with. Whatever it is, make it obvious-your being a brand alone is not enough.
5. Partner with someone who knows you better than you know yourself. For the same reason that every writer needs an editor, every personal brand needs to partner with someone who can give critical feedback and offer an outside perspective. Because you know yourself so well, it’s easy to misinterpret the way you appear to others. In other words, your image of yourself is based on a well of information that other people don’t necessarily have access to. For this reason, you must take into consideration an outsider’s point of view. And make sure that outsider is qualified to do such-meaning, they must know your industry, understand what you’re trying to achieve, and have experience with what you’re trying to accomplish. Going back to the writer-needing-an-editor example-your mom and best friend are always going to tell you that they love your book-but at the end of the day, they’re not necessarily qualified to give you a credible opinion that matters. Find someone who is.
*What can we say? We practice what we preach: site created by us.