Four easy steps for personal branding

You don’t need a billboard to communicate your brand — but you should know 
what your slogan would be.

Call it self-marketing, personal branding, professional development or any other buzzword you’d like. In any case, both finding a job and climbing the career ladder are all about investing in the business of you.

The four Ps of marketing are product, price, promotion and place. In the realm of self-marketing, you are the product that’s up for sale, which means you must successfully apply the traditional marketing model to you: the person, the professional and the brand.

Product: Be consistent and recognizable
What do you bring to the table that others in your industry do not? Know your strengths and play to them by creating a consistent brand around yourself that’s complete with a mission, objectives and recognizable visual brand elements. Today’s hiring managers are social consumers who are more apt to hire you based on the experience you’re selling rather than your ability to carry out a few specific tasks.

Place: Recognize your niche
In traditional marketing, products were distributed across geographic regions. As a professional, you are only one person. Be realistic about where your target audience spends their time. Research who needs your services and where they participate online. Spreading yourself too thin across communities and niches where your products and services aren’t needed will only make more work for you — with little reward.

Promotion: Communicate your brand
This final tactic is arguably one of the most important. How will you communicate your messages to the market you’ve targeted? Selecting the appropriate mediums means the difference between being heard loud and clear or getting lost in the clutter. To make this critical decision, turn your attention back to your audience. Determine where your target audience gets their information and make sure your messages are present on these channels.

Price: Know your value
   
The importance of this element in self-marketing is twofold. In addition to accounting for the value you add to an organization, you must decide what you, the hard-working professional, are worth and what your bottom line is — particularly if you ever decide to freelance or become an independent contractor.
   
Decide what you’re worth based on how much others in your industry are being paid for the work they perform, and be resolute about how much you’re willing to accept.



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