Career success

A Simple Guide To Creating A Successful Personal Brand

Personal branding

1. Think of your personal brand without coming off as a braggart only interested in talk, with not much to show. Even if you have many things to show, be humble, for humility is the hallmark of good personal branding.


2. Pick your niche: You can’t be all things to all people, pick a specific addressable niche- E.g. career guidebooks


3. Define your message/your manifesto: Why you are doing what you are doing and what is your solution? (E.g. 'You don't need to waste money and time on pointlessly wordy books and guide. We must make better and concise guides for everyone.')


4. Create a 1-4 word tagline: E.g. simplify everything


5. Create an elevator pitch: E.g. After creating several successful news websites and blogs, I am working on a series of short but clear guides on important stuff for everyone.'


6. Create visuals and other supporting material.


Other items that go into making your personal brand:


- Your résumé

- Your online profiles

- Your online portfolio

- Your blog / website

- Your elevator pitch / brand


7. When your personal brand is on display most:

- interviewing, networking- or, whenever you need to create a strong first impression


8. Opportunities to build your personal brand:

Speaking (conferences, workshops, meetings), presenting, educating/training (screencasts, webinars, books) and writing (books, magazine articles, blog posts, guest blog posts)


9. Opportunities inside the company:

- Raise your hand (for prestigious projects, in meetings)- get attention from the bosses by being valuable


10. Work on your story!

He/She who has the best story wins!

- Tom Peters


A. Know Yourself

Before you let people know about your brand, you have to figure out what your brand is.


- What are your top five strengths? (With examples for each)


- What are your main weaknesses?

(E.g. you are not interested in your work- you lack necessary skills and work experience- you can only work so much/it is beyond your capacity- you keep using the same tricks all the time and it is getting predictable and stale)


- What are your top five values? From the list below, circle words that you identify with, and then choose the top five from the circled words.


Accessibility Courage Empathy Honesty Originality Speed

Accomplishment Creativity Enthusiasm Humor Passion Spirituality

Accountability Curiosity Excellence Imagination Peace Spontaneity

Accuracy Dependability Experience Impact Perfection Stability

Adventure Determination Expertise Independence Power Strength

Affection Clarity Fairness Integrity Prosperity Success

Affluence Comfort Faith Intelligence Punctuality Sympathy

Altruism Commitment Fame Justice Recognition Teamwork

Ambition Compassion Family Kindness Relaxation Understanding

Assertiveness Completion Fidelity Knowledge Reliability Vision

Balance Contentment Flexibility Leadership Resourcefulness Wealth

Bravery Control Fun Learning Respect Winning

Calmness Directness Generosity Love Security Celebrity Discipline Grace Loyalty Sensitivity Challenge Diversity Growth Mindfulness Significance


Next: For each of these top five value, give yourself a score from 1 to 5, where 1 indicates 'I am really not living this value' and 5 indicates 'I live this value so consistently',


- What are your passions?

1. What would you do with your life if money weren’t an issue?

2. What are your favorite activities? What are the top 3 things you love to do?

3. What type of people are you drawn to?

4. What kind of stories in the news always capture your interest?

5. What are you I interested in learning more about?


Was there a common theme across your responses?

Why do you love what you love? (the 'passion behind the passionate activity')


- What do others think about you?


How would your friends describe you? Write three adjectives.

What would your friends say you are known for?


- What are you most proud of?


- What is that one word about you?


If you had to create a hashtag (#) that described you and related to your career what would it be? (e.g., #GoYourOwnWay)

What is the top characteristic you want people to remember about you? (e.g., 'When I say I will help, I do help.')


B. Personal elevator pitch


The best elevator pitches establish a track record of success/relevant work experience, and provide directions for the future.


Eg. I have managed successful online marketing projects in eCommerce companies, small and big, and I am always looking for new ways to improve online marketing performance.


A non-work, general personal elevator pitch is modified: Your life experience summarized in SAR format- Situation, Action, Result.


E.g. I have successfully broken many bar and street fights, before things got bloody and without bringing much harm to myself.


The best elevator pitches also summarize a theme. In the above example, the themes are 'good Samaritan' and 'courageous'.


Think about what exactly is the value you provide. What is it that uniquely defines you? What can someone expect of you?


Regarding word count: Think how many words can say in a coherent sentence or two under 15-30 seconds.


C. Coin a Term


Let's start with Seth Godin who has coined multiple phrases to summarize concepts of new marketing: 'permission marketing' (sell only to those agree to be sold to), 'purple cow' (create outliers products and companies), 'tribe' (if you are good at what you do, get out and make some fans), and 'linchpin' (be indispensable in your area/company).


In the field of online news,

Jay Rosen coined 'Mindcasting' (about using Twitter).

Jeff Jarvis coined 'Link Economy'(On the value of links).

Scott Carp of Publish 2 coined 'Link Journalism' (On the value of aggregation).



Although the guys at Adaptive Path coined it probably, Tim O'reilly promoted the idea of 'Web 2.0' (aka the participatory Internet)/

A Wired writer, Jeff Howe coined 'Crowdsourcing' (Getting people to contribute in a news project).

Chris Andersen coined the 'Long Tail' (about there being a market for even one).

James Suroweiki of the New Yorker coined 'Wisdom of Crowds'.

Malcolm Gladwell, also of the New Yorker coined 'The Tipping Point'.

Thomas Friedman of the New York Times is responsible for popularizing 'World is flat' phrase.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb coins 'Black Swan' (something that no one could foresee or calculate).

Tom Peters the famous business guru uses the 'Wow' word a lot.

Tyler Cowen coined 'the great stagnation' (about a society that has stalled, isn’t doing new stuff, solutions and jobs are slowing)


As you will have noticed, almost all of the above are famous writers and reporters. In many cases, their whole 'Post-coining' career has done wonders after their coin making has taken place..


So, what is something (trend, big idea, big solution) that you can summarize in a one or two words?


D. Be a thought leader:


Thought leadership is a MBA-style buzzword, standing for being an authority in your industry, where people (media etc) come to you for sound bites and you attend a lot of events, pitching yourself and your company in garb of having a unique summary of some important industry situation, or having coined some phrase to explain something important.


In short, Thought leaders are supposed to have the answers to the important questions in the industry. In real life, this quality is what the expensive Business consultants and the so-called Superstar CEOs are supposed to possess. It is a marketing /personal branding thing.


How you can be a thought leader:


This is paraphrased from a Linkedin post (it is full of 'thought leader' posts)


- Identify the questions your customers are asking. Identify them all. Then prioritize them.

- Answer those questions, in news articles, blog posts, Tweets, Infographics etc

- Make some bold claim (E.g. 'SEO is dead')

- Make all this 'Visionary content' interesting like it is all viral content, as interesting as a cat acting as a judge in divorce court.

- Most importantly, make sure all this content is seen by people who pay the bills, i.e. your customers.


And get their inputs and responses.


E. Avoid Buzzwords

Online, you will everyone trying to outsmart everyone else, especially on sites like, and you will find overuse of buzzwords. Everyone is sounding like everyone else.


According to a survey by Linkedin here are the top 10 overused buzzwords used in Linkedin Profiles in the USA in 2010:


1. Extensive experience

2. Innovative

3. Motivated

4. Results-oriented

5. Dynamic

6. Proven track record

7. Team player

8. Fast-paced

9. Problem solver

10. Entrepreneurial


In other countries extensive experience was most used in the USA, Canada, Australia, dynamic was most common in Brazil, India, Spain, motivated was the most common one in the UK whereas in France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, innovative ruled the roost.


F. Don't be a braggart

Don't talk nonstop. Don't interrupt. Don't exaggerate. Don't lie. Don't steal credit. Don't drop names.


G. The 4-1-1 rule: An effective approach to building a personal brand on social media

Joe Pulizzi suggested the '4-1-1' rule for Twitter activity but this rule is applicable to other other social media activity - blog posts, Facebook posts, G+ posts etc.


The 4-1-1 rule says,

'...for every one self-serving tweet, you should re-tweet one relevant tweet and most importantly share four pieces of relevant content written by others.'


Thank you for reading.
This guide is from The Success Manual, which contains 200+ guides to succeeding in business, career and personal life.  Get the pdf ebook for $12 only.