Here at Brand Auditor, we do personal brand audits for women and men regularly. Working with hundreds of female professionals and entrepreneurs, we accumulated hundreds of thousands of feedback data and insights about what makes personal branding for women successful.
If you plan to level up your professional career or “getting out there” to become the forefront of your business, you will need personal branding skills. Your personal brand can be your best asset or your biggest flaw – depending on your choices, efforts, and commitment to building your professional fame and reputation.
What is personal branding and why does it matter?
In a nutshell, your personal brand is a curated image of yourself, communicating your values, traits, preferences, and qualities that matter to your audience, business network, or people around you.
Managing your personal brand as a woman is not about creating an alter-ego or pretending to be better than who you are. It is about working on your skills, becoming a better person, owning your successes, as well as your voicing your opinion when you speak up for a case.
Without a well-managed personal brand, your unique characteristics will remain mostly unnoticed, which might not enable you to perform up to your full potential.
Women with a strong, authentic personal brand succeed easier in business, get promoted faster while gaining popularity day by day.
Branding yourself is the conscious and intentional effort to create and influence public perception of an individual by positioning them as an authority in their industry, elevating their credibility, and differentiating themselves from the competition, to ultimately advance their career, increase their circle of influence, and have a larger impact.
Step 1: define your personal brand, and choose your audience
Before anything else, you will need to conceptualize the image you will be putting forward. Start with a self-assessment to understand which of your traits will be interesting for your future audience and business network, as well as what is expected from the person you aspire to become.
What are you going to talk about? Who do you want to get on your side? What can you demonstrate to them to earn their attention and support?
Some of the most successful female entrepreneurs consult with stylists and get their appearance right. Be it a bit edgy, classy, casual, or corporate – your appearance and style will be a super important asset.
The same goes for your tone of voice and the content you will share. Develop clear personal brand communication guidelines that will help you – or your team – to keep your brand personality in line with what you aim to communicate.
Step 2: embrace the 8 unmistakable traits of successful businesswomen
Regardless of the style and tone of your choice, if you are in business then you need to act like you are in business.
In a timeless 2012 article, The Guardian listed 10 important traits of successful female entrepreneur brands. Although things have changed a lot since 2012, most values are still relevant today and should be reflected in your brand communication. Here are 8 characteristics that should be reflected
Show your self-belief
Successful women believe in themselves. Take a look at Cindy Mi, CEO & Co-Founder of VIPKID, or any other leading female entrepreneur – you will not find any signs of self-doubt in what they convey and communicate. Same with successful artists like Taylor Swift or Nicky Minaj. This does not mean that they don’t have doubts, or they are not concerned about their actions and choices at some points – it just means that they own their decisions and finish what they started.
Self-belief makes people respect you, and you will be seen as a strong woman.
Be clear about your ambitions
Planning to accomplish mediocre goals will not impress anyone, and will not bring you too far. Have big dreams and aspire to achieve great successes. Make it clear in your personal marketing communications, dare to talk about your ambitions and aspirations.
Your network and online followers will respect you for it, and some people might even open doors for you to make it happen. Always strive to push forward. Always aim for the top. What’s stopping you?
Success breeds confidence, and confidence breeds success. This is a circle that you want to be in. Be confident in yourself, with your actions, and be confident that you will achieve what you work for. Displaying confidence makes other people trust you and support you.
In business, showing confidence is key to win the trust of potential business partners, as well as earning promotions.
Needless to say, confidence needs to be backed with substance – people without results acting confident are often seen as cocky, or arrogant.
Be proud of your passion
Successful female entrepreneurs are always passionate about what they do because they tend to create businesses around the things they enjoy.
As Anita Roddick once said: “To succeed you have to believe in something with such a passion that it becomes a reality.”
You can be passionate about anything you work for. Be it a corporate role that has an impact on the results of your company, being a CEO or just starting a new business – passion is attractive and an amazing driving force to make things happen.
People seeing you being passionate about something will get you lots of direct and indirect encouragement, and people might want to join to support you on your journey.
Despite showing confidence, ambitiousness, and passion, remember that you need to stay humble. Do not brag about your successes, and do not compare yourself with your competitors – even if they were mean to you at some point. That stuff is cheap, kids behave like that.
Being humble is a virtue, a sign of gentleness. Flaunting your luxuries and successes will make people think that that is what you care about, and they will stop supporting you on your journey.
Resist the desire of showing off and keep your flashy stuff for yourself. There is no problem owning your successes, but make sure that your personal brand communication as an entrepreneur or professional is about your work and ambitions instead of your fancy lifestyle.
Have a sense of purpose
When people see you first, they want to know what are you all about. Who is she, what is she doing? Communicating your purpose clearly will answer these questions. Take time to talk about your purpose on your social media and other communication channels. Describe it clearly on your website, and make it clear when you do business with other people.
Having a consistent purpose will give people confidence in you, and you will be seen as a woman who knows what she does.
To be a successful businesswoman you have to be assertive, otherwise, people will not respect you. Convey assertiveness by being fearless, speaking with authority and purpose. Adopt a confident manner, deal with any criticism rationally, and be calm, cool, and considered.
Own your hard work
Hard work earns respect, and it is the secret of success. Be proud of your work and dare to show how much effort you put into pursuing a purpose. Offer an “insider” look into your workflow, that lets people learn something special about you.
Test and evaluate your personal brand before getting too invested
Not everyone will be popular, that’s a fact. Certain personality types are very unlikely to get positive attention. For your reference, here are the most unpopular personality types:
- ISTP: lack of interest in how other people feel
- ISFP: weird and eccentric
- INFP: sour, emotionally complicated
- INFJ: self-righteous raging
- ENFP: flaky and unreliable
- ENFJ: manipulative and phony
- INTJ: the narcissist elite
- ESFP: being desperate for attention and validation
Do a personal brand audit
Before getting too invested in building your personal brand, testing how people will react to you is highly recommended. You do not want to get started with a poor personal brand concept and make yourself ridiculous with it.
Your personal branding success largely depends on how people in your network and audience see you. The ability to audit and optimize branding, content, and communications is essential for long-term progress.
Brand Auditor makes personal brand-focused market research fast and affordable. During the auditing procedure, thousands of people will visit your website or social media pages to leave score ratings and comments regarding what they like and dislike about various aspects of your personal brand.
Growing your personal brand as a professional or entrepreneur
If you are already a successful businesswoman, then you will have a very easy job putting your personal branding into action. But if you are just starting, then the following steps will help you on your journey.
Master your style
It will take some time to find your voice and the type of content you will feel comfortable producing and sharing. It is a learning curve for everyone, so keep experimenting until you find combinations that are both effective and easy to produce.
Be it podcasts, social media posts, photos, or anything – you want to make sure that your work comes first and your branding comes second.
Create a consistent online presence
You don’t need to be on every platform. You do not need to be on TikTok or OnlyFans just to reach more people and get more attention. Instead, focus on the platforms and communication channels that are relevant to your online personal branding efforts. In most cases, it will be LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and perhaps YouTube. There is no harm in joining other platforms, but keep in mind that sometimes less is more.
Prioritize quality over quantity – few well-crafted posts a month can be significantly more effective than flooding your social media feeds with low-quality content.
Share interesting content
Your content is your single most important marketing communication tool. People will shape their opinion about you based on your content. Craft your content with a purpose, do not just share random pictures and posts about yourself.
- Before posting something, ask yourself:
- How I will be seen after posting this?
- Can this post offend anyone?
- Is this content valuable to my followers?
Write for relevant media
The most obvious, and most effective way to reach people outside of your network is by writing for media that is relevant to your business. As an industry expert, your views and insider knowledge will be welcomed by editors – and will be interesting for their readers. This is also called “guest blogging”.
The best way to get started with this is reaching out to editors on LinkedIn, or using their contact details shared in their journalist bio – typically at the end of each article.
Ask for informational interviews
A very similar approach to landing written publications, but doing interviews is a better way to emphasize your personality. Approach podcast hosts, find blogs and websites that interviewed other people in your league. Some media outlets will want to charge you for it – it is up to you if you feel comfortable paying for an interview.
Undoubtedly, the best way to make meaningful connections is real-world networking. This is how you make fact-to-face impressions with people who matter, and this will open the most opportunities. Do not underestimate the power of personal networking.
Your networking can start on LinkedIn, by identifying people with whom you can do some sort of value exchange. Do not hesitate to reach out to them with a sound proposition – this kind of networking will be always welcome.
A personal brand is, in many ways, similar to a corporate brand. It is who you are, what you stand for, the values you embrace, and how you express those values. Just as a company’s brand helps to communicate its value to customers and stand out from the competition, a personal brand does the same for individuals, helping to communicate a unique identity and clear value to potential employers or clients.