Personal Branding Is About The ‘What’ – Not Just The ‘How To’

Personal branding Jill Celeste Your Branding PowerAn important part of creating an online personal branding strategy is often the part most skipped – the process of discovering what to brand yourself as. Many entrepreneurs and professionals are eager to get to the “how to” part of personal branding, but it’s equally important to know what you’ll be branding yourself as. Otherwise, how will you know what you’re branding?

Think of this way: You wouldn’t want to sell a car without revealing the car brand, right? Of course not. Knowing the car brand, whether it’s a Ford or BMW, is part of the marketing message. And you shouldn’t brand yourself online without discovering what is at the core of your personal brand. (Click here to tweet this.)

Many of you may be thinking: I already know how I want to brand myself! That’s wonderful! However, I challenge you to put aside your initial thoughts and think about your personal branding in different terms. Furthermore, if you’re not sure what to brand yourself as, these questions will help you isolate the core of your personal brand.

5 Questions To Ask Yourself To Discover How To Personally Brand Yourself

  1. What is my passion?
  2. What are my skill sets?
  3. What do others see me as an expert in?
  4. What do I want to get paid to do (though I would do it for free)?
  5. How do I want to help others?

Don’t just rattle off the answers in your head. This is an exercise in self-discovery, and it deserves reflection and thought. Truth be told, rushing through this step will only hurt you in the end because you’ll run the risk of branding yourself incorrectly.

Instead, copy and paste these questions into a Word document, or write them down on a sheet of paper. Then answer each question fully. Remember, it’s not a college term paper: Don’t worry about spelling and grammar. Write down the first responses that pop into your head. It’s all about brainstorming and going with your instincts.

Finding The Core Of Your Online Personal Branding Strategy

Personal Branding is about the what not just how to

After you’ve answered each question, analyze your answers. What you’ve written down is the very essence, the true core, of your personal branding. If you’ve answered each question honestly and completely, your responses to these five questions make up the answer to the biggest personal branding question of all: What do I want to brand myself as?

You see why this step is so important?  You have to know your personal brand in your heart – only then can you convince people what your personal brand is.

Now, in the same Word document or on the same piece of paper, spell out your personal brand. Make sure to reference your answers to the five questions. It may go something like this:

“I am passionate about helping people succeed with personal branding, and my skill sets in social media, content marketing and training can help entrepreneurs and professionals achieve this success. I love helping entrepreneurs and professionals be the best they can be through online personal branding.”

That’s the core of my online personal branding strategy. Now, tell me, what’s yours? Let me know in the comments below. I would love to hear from you.


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17 thoughts on “Personal Branding Is About The ‘What’ – Not Just The ‘How To’

    1. Jill Celeste Post author

      Hi, Sevi: Thank you for stopping by! I am so glad my article was helpful to you. Make sure to subscribe so you can get my weekly ezine, filled with personal branding tips like this one! =)

  1. Don Roy

    Great article, Jill! The number one problem with recommendations for practicing personal branding is over-emphasis on the “how to” at the expense of the “what.” Without clarifying your meaning and the unique value offered, going through the paces of “branding” via social media is meaningless.

    1. Jill Celeste Post author

      Hi, Don: Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and commenting on this post. I am thrilled that you liked the article and agree with its premise. =) Now, I am off to check out your blog.

      Jill =)

  2. Paula Margulies

    Great post, Jill. As a book publicist, I can’t stress enough how important having a personal brand is for my author clients when it’s time to promote their books. One question I would add to your list is this: How am I (or my product or service) different from the others out there? Being able to differentiate yourself (or your product or service) is key when developing a brand.

    1. Jill Celeste Post author

      Hi, Paula! Thank you so much for your comment. Yes, how you differentiate yourself from the marketplace is very important. Wonderful point! I appreciate your feedback and “stop by” anytime! =)

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  4. Rita Antoniou

    Hi Jill, I knew when I decided to work for myself that I would need to get a grip of social media and after a period of ‘experimenting’ with it realised the importance of projecting an authentic voice or as you put it my personal brand. Then it got really difficult! Then I came across you on Twitter and your advice is proving really helpful. Now the hard work begins!

    1. Jill Celeste Post author

      Hi, Rita! Thank you so much for stopping by, and I am thrilled that my article helped you in some small way. Just remember: Be yourself! Smile when you type your social media posts; I find that always helps. =) Best to you!

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  9. Leigh Ann Dickey

    Hello Jill, I just found you on social media through some other mentions. I appreciate this article. I have been having a tough time finding the what in the how to. I was able to actually write a clear and concise message about who I am and what I offer so that I can brand myself better in 2015. Thanks!

    1. Jill Celeste Post author

      Hi, Leigh Ann! I am so thrilled that this blog post helped you! Yay! It’s so important to have this clarity. GOOD FOR YOU! Thanks for letting me know. Best, Jill =)

      1. Leigh Ann Dickey

        How does this sound? “I’m Leigh Dickey. Passionate WordPress Website Designer. My #1 strength is creativity and I get to create blogs for a living – how awesome is that? I also have a deep appreciation for beauty and a great love of learning. My mission is to help YOU learn WordPress too so that you can confidently take your small business online and show the world just how beautiful, courageous and determined you really are!” —Do YOU have any insight into helping me tweak this to sound even better!? Thanks JILL!


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