The term "personal branding" is often used in articles and on social media to refer to the entirety of a person’s online presence. As a creator, you might be thinking, “All of the content I already create IS my personal brand!”
But a personal brand is about way more than just creating content. Having a strong personal brand means being recognizable for WHO you are more than what you do. Through everything you create and post online, it’s essential to show WHO you are so that people recognize what you stand for and not just what you sell.
Amazing demonstration of what it means to have a brand identity!
Benefits of developing a strong personal brand as a content creator:
Having a strong personal brand offers you:
- Flexibility: it seems counterintuitive that having a clearly established niche of expertise can actually offer you more flexibility, but it’s true! A strong personal brand makes it easier to build new followings on different platforms, or even pivot in your content if you want or need to because people follow YOU, not just what you post.
- Credibility: Why should people trust your recommendations, buy the things you like, or believe you’re worth following for your take on whatever it is you talk about? Your strong personal brand can help you appear higher in search results, get quoted in articles, and generally build and establish that all-important expertise.
- Portability: a strong personal brand isn’t lost if your Instagram account gets deleted, because you own your audience (right!?) and have the credibility we just talked about to transition, rebuild, and grow anew.
- Individuality: your personal brand represents your unique take on the work you do, which is especially helpful in a crowded niche. If you’re looking to stand out in a sea of similar creators, do some thought work on your personal brand direction and what feeling you want to leave people with that will make you unforgettable. If you’re the TikToker who cleans gravestones, maybe you’re already so recognizable and unique that’s not a huge selling point, but in gaming, fashion, beauty, UGC and other areas, standing out can definitely be make-or-break when it comes to your earning potential.
Personal branding leads to good networking, earned media, and outreach for paid deals.
When your identity is clear and easily discoverable, the right people are able to find you for the right opportunities, whether that’s a feature in an article, a connection with a like-minded friend, or a casting call for the perfect partnership.
You can also think of your personal brand as your creator safety net.
Of course, we hope you can be a content creator forever if that’s what you decide you want to do, but if you ever experience a transition in life where you might like to work for a company again, or maybe even start your own company, having a personal brand actually makes that transition a lot easier. There’s research that shows that recruiters and hiring managers are SIGNIFICANTLY more likely to want to hire someone with a strong, clear, positive internet presence, ie a personal brand.
An applicant with a positive online reputation is favored during the hiring process to some extent by 85% of US recruiters and hiring professionals. Additionally, almost half of them say that it affects their hiring decisions to a greater extent. Whatever the case may be, your online reputation affects your professional life to some extent, whether you think that’s fair or not. That is why you should always be careful with what you post online, particularly if you’re posting content publicly.
Ultimately, as a content creator you’re already doing the hardest part of personal branding, which is putting yourself out there authentically online. The main reason people resist creating a personal brand identity is because they’re scared of backlash, trolls, or getting canceled - fears that are all too familiar to creators, right? So since you’re already fighting that battle, you might as well reap all the benefits of intentional personal brand-building, too!
As a Beacons user, you’re uniquely positioned to quickly and easily start your personal brand-building right now! Having a single website (hello, Beacons link in bio) that represents your brand and helps people easily find you across platforms is an essential starting point to personal branding. Collecting emails and communicating regularly with your audience in their inboxes also helps elevate your personal brand - all of which is super simple to do on Beacons.
When is your work content creation vs. personal brand-building?
Now that you’re sold on why to build a personal brand, it’s important to understand the difference between creating content and building a personal brand and when you should focus on one vs. the other.
Here’s a line that should make it easy to remember:
All personal brand building is content creation, but not all content creation is personal branding 👍
Your personal brand as a content creator includes things like your brand colors, the style of images you usually post/appear in, your Beacons page, the types of things you sell, your niche and how you talk about things online. Think of it as your “ethos” or even an identity: how would someone looking at a piece of content in the sea of content available online know that it was undeniably you? We all communicate things about ourselves through our content and the stylistic choices we make, and you can’t create a personal brand identity without creating something to put out there about yourself.
On the other hand, you might sometimes create content that’s for UGC partners, has to be done on brand-specific terms, or is outside your niche in general. Those things aren’t necessarily a part of the brand identity you’re creating for yourself and your content.
Not all content creators have intentionally developed a personal brand, but once you create enough content, the themes of what you create and how you show up in your content will start to speak for themselves! This approach is fine if you are aware and intentional about allowing your content to speak for itself. Lots of creators who work hard and put out a lot of contents still don’t see the return in following or engagement simply because they haven’t cultivated a strong and specific enough personal brand to be memorable.
So what are some easy ways to be more intentional about building your personal brand through your content?
- Know your message.
It’s so important to have a clear understanding for yourself of what you create, who it’s for, and how you want those people to feel when engaging with you. Whether you call it a mission statement or something else, it’s that “how will they feel” part that should infuse all your content and will comprise your personal brand down the road.
- Use consistent colors, fonts and imagery across your Beacons page and socials
Your Beacons page should be the cornerstone of your personal brand and showcase the strong, consistent visual identity that is the foundation of any content creator’s personal brand. There are lots of fun new features and ways you can improve the design of your page now, if you haven’t had a chance to make an update lately!
- Come up with a weekly series.
Weekly series content is GREAT for personal brand building. It allows you to establish yourself as an expert on something and allows for a bit of variety in a consistent and recognizable format. Whether you show “5 outfits for a different occasion” or recap a reality show or take us through a different level of your favorite video game every week, this is a strong part of any creator’s repertoire.
- Narrow your focus for a while
It’s better to be established in one place than failing to gain a foothold in 2 or 3. With so many platforms out there, it’s easy to want to be on all of them - but to build a strong brand identity, you may need to go hard in one place for a while before extending that elsewhere.
- Don’t be afraid to repeat, repeat, repeat yourself
You’re the only person who sees your own content so often. For everyone else, it’s a blip on the FYP so it NEEDS to be the same and recognizable as yours. If you have less than 10,000 followers and you’re not sick of using the same color, talking about the same topic, or worried that all the content on your feed looks too similar, you’ll have a harder time growing. Once you have a larger, more loyal following you can branch out a bit for those people, but your growth content should still be focused on your tried-and-true brand identity.
So how can using Beacons specifically build and establish a personal brand as a content creator?
It all starts with some of the most important elements of personal branding: consistency, ownership, and expertise.
Being consistent in your personal branding means that your content is recognizable as uniquely yours no matter where someone comes across it (while creating and posting content consistently is also important that’s not what I’m talking about here).
Beacons helps you create consistency by giving you ONE single platform where you can use our amazing design tools to represent your brand visually across all your different social platforms. Beyond your website, we also let you manage your email marketing and store. Because you don’t have to start from scratch with 7 or 8 different platforms, your brand will be more consistent, recognizable, and best of all: easy for you to set up and distribute!
Ownership is that all-important concept of having ways to access your audience that aren’t subject to the fickle whims of social platforms, who might delete your account for no reason or go dark for unexplained reasons for an indefinite period of time (remember the great Meta outage of 2021?) With Beacons, you’re creating new and different ways for people to find and connect with you so that if one platform goes down, you’re not out of the game.
Expertise is another commonly touted pillar of brand building. Building a personal brand essentially boils down to creating content that positions YOU as a subject matter expert on a specific topic within your niche. Beacons helps you demonstrate comprehensive expertise by making it easy for you to set up emails, sell consulting appointments and coaching programs, share links to all the places where you talk about your subject, display stats about your following and engagement, and even build out a media kit to get more brand deals.
If you’re using Beacons just as a page for links, you’re actually leaving a lot of important elements of content creation and personal brand building on the table.
The question of impact and demonstrating your value through your personal brand
In The State of Influencer Marketing 2023 report from Linqia, they addressed the common influencer marketing question of “impact:” brands are buying more creator content than ever, and using it in more places, but 60% of them cite ROI as their biggest challenge.
Creators who can show clear impact from their campaigns to direct sales or wins for the company will be the ones to get the best brand deals. It’s a “tale as old as time” with creators fighting to show the value of what they do, and brands struggling to make the numbers line up for leadership like they did in the days of traditional media and marketing.
Here is a different study from Whalar (lots of brands release these types of downloadable reports this time of year) with some pretty mind-blowing stats on impact and ROI (return on investment). What they found is that contrary to popular anecdotal conversation about influencer marketing budgets having blown up without a clear return, the actual dollar value of investing in creators is REALLY high: Whalar says they found that brands got $2.40 back in brick-and-mortar sales for every $1 they spent on creator content in 2021 and 2022 😱 That’s a nearly 150% return.
It’s important to note that the data in this study came from Whalar’s own creator-led marketing campaigns in the CPG personal care category in the US and UK from 2021–2022, but here are a few other key 🔑 stats they report:
- Despite representing only 0.7% of overall media investment, creator content accounted for 2.6% of brands’ total sales impact. This means that creators are having an outsized impact on consumer purchases relative to other media like TV, online video, and social.
- The return on investment (ROI) for brands that spent on creator content was 2.6% in 2022, up 38% from a year earlier.
These numbers are meaningful because it’s some of the first clear evidence of what many creators and influencer marketers knew intuitively: influencer marketing WORKS. Creators have authentic connections with their audiences, and people trust you to share products and services that are actually good and are truly valuable to you personally.
Understanding and demonstrating your IMPACT (aka ROI) for brands is a super important element of that personal brand building. It needs to be immediately clear and obvious to any brand who comes across your content that they want to work with you because you’ll deliver outsized value to their bottom line.
How can you showcase that impact? Enter: the Beacons media kit. They’re super easy to set up and connect to your social accounts - all that fancy data and number crunching is automatic, so you can start showing your engagement, demographics, and other stats that showcase impact in just a few minutes. They’re easy to link to and integrate onto your Beacons page so brands can find and view it. Plus it’s easy to make them look gorgeous and consistent with your brand coloring and imagery, creating that all-important personal brand consistency that makes you look even more professional. Practically a no-brainer!
You need to weave your impact into the story you tell that makes up your personal branding, and Beacons media kits are one of the most incredible tools you have at your disposal to capture and demonstrate this type of potential ROI to brands you want to work with.