As a Personal Brand Strategist that has worked for entrepreneurs, founders and consultants, I often get asked the question,
“What are the most important things I need to do to communicate my brand on my website?”
If you are in the midst of creating a personal brand or reinventing your brand, it’s critical to remember that this process is all about YOU. Your brand is essentially you telling your story in your own voice. No matter what you are offering to prospective clients, you must be the center of your brand.
And for those who are looking to position themselves as a paid expert, generate leads for services, or sell products, a website is a must, but only if it is properly branded. When done correctly, it will be the foundational centerpiece of your business to market, promote and monetize your brand.
One person who does this extremely well is Michael Hyatt, who is a virtual mentor, author and professional development expert. He has mastered the art of the personal brand, as you can see here.
Website by Michael Hyatt at www.michaelhyatt.com.
I really like Michael’s website because it’s clean and simple, and he uses highly quality personal photos that capture his energy. You can immediately see the type of mentor he is from these pictures alone. In addition, the tone is warm, inviting and friendly. And most importantly, his site clearly communicates that he is an expert in personal and professional development, while at the same time showing what his brand stands for.
3 Things Your Website Must Do to Communicate Your Personal Brand
1. Be clear about what you do. Companies and people pay for expertise and accessibility. If a person visits your website and can’t figure out what you do, they are not going to hire, refer, or recommend your services. CLICK! They just moved on! Communicating a consistent brand message across all platforms (print, social, content, speaking and pr/media) is essential to your personal brand strategy. I have found this step alone, being clear and consistent about what you have to offer, has of helped most of my clients to be able to increase their consulting fees by up to 50% in one year alone.
What to Avoid: Don’t just list everything you can do on your website. I see this a lot with my highly accomplished clients. You might think it makes you look impressive, but it comes across as unprofessional, “small player” and, even worse, generalist (the kiss of death for a paid expert).
Tip: Focus in what you enjoy doing vs. everything you can do (there’s a difference). Write down, in five words or less, exactly what you do, and stick to that. For example, “strategic marketing strategist.” It’s simple, clean and to-the-point.
2. Connect on a deeper emotional level. People buy from people. There’s an emotional element to making a purchase or hiring an expert. A website needs to communicate a personal brand that is trustworthy and authentic by connecting to people on a deep, emotional level. This can be done through shared experiences, passions, challenges, and interests.
This is what I call Interest Breeds Authenticity. Think about it. Who would you trust more and hire, someone that shares similar interests, passions and experiences as yourself or someone that just uses generic messaging, buzz words, stock images and the same old same old? Building an emotional connection through shared interests gives you a unique competitive advantage over your competitors, especially when trying to “play big” in the wider marketplace.
What to Avoid: It’s always good to understand what competitors are doing, but don’t let competitors define who you are or what your website looks like. Your website needs to reflect you who are as a person. It should showcase your unique perspectives, skills and talents.
Tip: Do you share a common interest, passion, or hobby with your clients and target market? One of my former clients, Jonathan B. Smith, is a high- growth business expert, author of Optimize for Growth: How to Scale Up Your Business, Your Network and You, as well as a pilot. I was able to combine his business expertise with his love of flying into beautiful, captivating homepage images that showcased both his personal and professional sides. We also worked on creating a blog post connecting flying to scaling up businesses, which made him stand out from his competitors in a unique way.
Website by Jonathan B. Smith at www.chiefoptimizer.com
3. What is the story behind your brand? Personal branding is all about telling your story in your own voice. It’s important to share the story of how you become an expert or authority in your field, or what brought you into this particular business in the first place. You also want to share the mission of your brand, particularly if it’s personally motivated. And don’t just do this once. Its important to tell your story in a variety of ways across different platforms such as videos, photos, blogs, podcasts or on your website.
What to avoid: While you want your website to be personal, you need to be careful not to share too much information in a way that could jeopardize your reputation. Only share personal and professional experiences that tie directly to what you are trying to accomplish with your business and leave the posts of your most recent vacation or night on the town to your private accounts.
Tip: For inspiration on how to use storytelling as part of your branding strategy, look at other websites outside of your industry. Can you incorporate some of their storytelling styles and branding elements into your own website? For example, a leadership development strategist might look at websites of top celebrity wedding planners.
Remember, when it comes to developing a successful personal brand strategy to monetize your expertise and “play big” in the marketplace, it’s important to develop a personal brand strategy for your website which clearly communicates who you are, what you do and why you’re different. It’s that personal connection through your website which is going to set you apart from your competition, position you as a “go to” expert and put you on your way to building a successful personal brand.
Question: What is your personal story of how you became an expert? Share your answers on LinkedIn or Twitter.
About Andria Younger
Andria Younger is a personal brand strategist. Andria provides personal brand consulting services to entrepreneurs, consultants, CEOs, and founders on how to brand and market themselves as paid experts, as well as coached them how to “play big” in the B2B marketplace. Follow Andria on Twitter or read her personal brand blog at andriayounger.com.