By emulating how others building personal brands, you’ll gain the confidence to find your voice in a busy online world.
Type personal branding into Google and the first autofill suggestions that appear are ‘personal branding examples’ followed by ‘personal branding meaning’.
Clearly, the topic of personal branding is a minefield for many.
And if you’re one of the people struggling to understand exactly how to hone your personal brand, I’ve got great news.
Thanks to social media, it’s never been easier to learn the art of personal branding or figure out which approach is best for you.
There are so many people you can emulate — from the bold and the funny, to the serious and straight-talking.
In this article we’ll take a look at 6 online creators — all with a slightly different approach to personal branding — to see how they successfully market themselves.
Laura Belgray is one of my favorite people to follow online.
Not only is she an incredible businesswoman — she generates most of her income via the hilarious stories she tells in her weekly emails — but she’s also a master at crafting an irresistible personal brand.
This may come as no surprise. I mean, she is a copywriter after all. She knows how to grab peoples’ attention and sell herself (and her products) without ever coming across as salesy.
Take a look at her website.
The entire thing is written in her refreshingly honest tone of voice. She’s not afraid to be cheeky and says it exactly how it is.
That includes talking about her lazy approach to work.
“When I started talking about the idea of laziness in my business, people started to identify with it because it was so relatable — people want to feel normal, and being lazy sometimes is normal.”
Laziness is a fundamental part of Laura Belgray’s personal brand. It’s something she talks about proudly (and often) and because of that, she’s generated a huge amount of revenue and PR.
Her advice on a podcast interview with Amy Porterfield was not to find a personality for your brand, but to make your personality the brand.
As social media freelancers, we are the brand. And in a hugely competitive industry with so many people offering the same service, the way to stand out is with our unique personality, perspective and voice.
Laura Belgray personal branding takeaway: Think about your qualities as a freelancer. How do you really approach your work? Make a list. These qualities will be a great starting point for defining your personal brand.
Jay Clouse’s mission is to help people become smarter creators in just 10 minutes a week.
This clear and compelling value proposition has helped him grow a massive online audience in a relatively short amount of time.
Clouse has honed his personal brand by talking honestly about life as a creator (the highs, lows, and mistakes) as well as educational content to help others replicate his success.
He does this through his podcast (Creator Science), email newsletter, social media content, and YouTube channel.
Clouse’s advice on personal branding is not to think of it as a personal brand, but a creative platform.
“... by calling it a creative platform instead of a personal brand, you can remove the grossness from it. It’s less about holding yourself up as a selfish, “look at me” type of person, and more about creating a reliable way to get in front of people in order to share your work.”
Take your ego out of the equation. Instead, think about what channel(s) you will use to share your work with your audience.
Jay Clouse personal branding takeaway: Which platform feels most comfortable to start sharing your work on? Pick one and start putting together a content calendar that includes posts about your experience (personal), your insights (educational), and how you work with people (promotional).
If you want a great example of someone who’s built a creative platform (and as a result, a killer personal brand) look no further than Thomas Frank.
Thomas Frank is now known as the Notion guy.
What started out as an interest in a tool that helped improve his productivity became an obsession that he began documenting on YouTube.
Now, Frank has 162k subscribers and makes most of his money selling the same Notion templates he uses in his business.
And all because he decided to create content about what he was doing anyway.
That’s one of the key lessons we can take away from Thomas Frank. Your personal brand doesn’t have to be personal.
If you work in a specific niche or have a passion for something (even if it’s not necessarily the thing that makes you money), why not create content about it?
This is a great way of becoming known for something without having to get personal to do so.
Thomas Frank personal branding takeaway: Do you work in a specific niche or have a passion project outside your normal 9-5? Talking about this online could be your vehicle for building your personal brand.
Jenna Kutcher’s ability to craft a relatable personal brand is how she’s amassed a huge online following and built a million dollar empire.
She tells her life story well and often. Just look at her recent Instagram post.
In it she talks about her entrepreneurial journey that started 12 years ago with a $300 camera and a Wordpress blog.
But it’s not just her origin story that she shares. Jenna frequently talks about family, faith, health, and the things that make her happy.
She’s very good at getting personal and that approach isn’t for everyone.
However, if you take one thing from the way Kutcher markets herself then let it be this: don’t hide behind your work for fear that your day-to-day is unextraordinary.
Your hobbies, interests, strengths, and weaknesses are your assets. They’ll connect you to more people because when you share a little piece of your life, others will feel emboldened to share theirs too.
Jenna Kutcher personal branding takeaway: Never underestimate the power of sharing your day-to-day-life. Your life is not mundane. Your routine and daily experiences will connect you to more people.
Codie Sanchez aka Investor in Boring Businesses has accumulated more than 1.2 million TikTok followers thanks to her straight-talking business advice.
But with almost all of the educational content she shares, Sanchez relates it back to her personal experience.
Take a look at this Instagram post as an example.
In it, Sanchez talks about how walking away from high paying corporate jobs gave her more freedom. Once she could make more money on her terms, that financial freedom led to personal freedom, which led to philosophical freedom.
In theory, what Sanchez does professionally isn’t very interesting. She invests in ‘boring’ businesses like laundromats and carwashes. But while these might not be the coolest companies, the lessons she’s learned along the way are incredibly valuable to others. That’s why her content performs so well. Because it’s helpful, authentic, and no-nonsense.
So is her advice about building a personal brand:
“A personal brand is the fastest way to become successful. The barrier to entry is so low that anybody can build up an audience and influence. So whatever you do, why not create content around it?”
Codie Sanchez personal branding takeaway: All of the knowledge inside your head is so valuable to others. Create bite-sized content sharing tips and lessons about the work that you do and start publishing. Don’t spend hours on video editing or graphic design. Just start publishing (even if it feels imperfect right now… it will get better!).
Leonie Dawson is proof that you don’t have to use social media to grow your personal brand.
Caveat: Leonie has now started using social media again, but for two entire years (2021-2023) she didn’t.
So, how did she continue to make sales without posting on Instagram, TikTok and LinkedIn every single day?
Because since 2004 she’s been blogging regularly about life, money, business, and creativity. All the content she creates — emails, articles, online courses — is infused with her personal insights and experiences.
And in the almost 20 years that Dawson’s been posting online, she’s grown a huge email list (100,000+ subscribers) that generates most of her sales. Because that’s the thing about putting more of yourself out there (aka building a personal brand).
The more you do this, the more like minded people you’ll connect with — people who will enjoy hearing from you on an ongoing basis, whether that’s via blog content, emails, or social media. And it’s so much easier to make sales and find new clients when you’ve built a solid online network.
Leonie Dawson personal branding takeaway: Don’t feel constrained by social media — that’s not the only way to build a personal brand. If you’re a strong writer or videographer, lean into those skills and choose a medium that aligns with that e.g. writing on Wordpress or Substack or vlogging on YouTube.
Building a personal brand becomes infinitely easier when you have examples to follow.
By emulating how others do it (and do it well), you’ll gain the confidence to find your voice and carve out your unique messaging in a busy online world.
And if this article has got you excited about working on your personal brand, don’t forget to check out our other articles on this topic.
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Every week, Emily interviews top brands, renowned influencers, and hidden agencies with one goal in mind: to understand what happens backstage of their social media strategies.Listen to esm2