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Personal Branding (In 4 Words or Less)

by Ryan Rancatore

Personal branding can be described in 4 simple words: Be You, Share You.  These 4 words (3, given that “you” appears twice!) form the foundation of any strong personal brand.

I’m cheating a bit here, the full description as I see it is:

“Always be your true self, and work continuously to make yourself better.  Share your passion, insight, and expertise – putting others first while building your own personal brand in the process.”

Be Yourself

It sounds incredibly easy, “being yourself.”  Who else would you be?  Yet, while attempting to build a personal brand, many people take on contrived characteristics that seem right.  Have you ever known an extremely funny person whose personal website is void of any humor whatsoever?  Maybe you’ve hidden true characteristics from plain sight that are a big part of who you are.  Don’t!

Today’s era is no longer about robots working 9-5, embarrassed to discuss or share the slightest personal detail.  In this social, web 2.0 world, showcasing one’s unique personal traits is both allowed and encouraged.  Are you a computer nerd? Go ahead, embrace it!  Love to knit?  Start a blog about knitting!  Honesty and integrity are necessary building blocks to a strong personal brand – be true to yourself and success will follow.

Share Yourself Share

A somewhat common misconception is that personal branding is a selfish activity, characterized by excessive self-promotion.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  The strongest personal brands are formed through the non-stop help of others.  Take Glen Gilmore, for example.  His @TrendTracker Twitter account is a continuous stream of useful social media information.  As a result, he has built an audience of 55,000+ followers.

I know you are passionate about something – everyone is.  You also have expertise, whether you think you do or not.  Think long and hard about what you truly love, and share what you know about the subject.  Melanie Notkin is an amazing example of turning a unique passion into a phenomenal success.  Her SavvyAuntie blog is “meant for all…ladies who are totally mad for your nieces or nephews…”  How brilliant is that? Melanie realized that being an aunt was her passion, and formed her unique personal brand around this fact.

Final Thought

The beauty of the “be you, share you” personal branding motto is that it is simple and intuitive to follow.  No need to change who you are – recognize and embrace the traits that define you, and work tirelessly to expand and improve your skill set.

Do you have a unique passion that is a part of your personal brand, or that you want to incorporate into your personal brand?  Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear about it.

“Knit Elvis” photo by Aine D. “Share” photo by Medmoiselle T.


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