Building a personal brand is important for people who desire significant professional and personal opportunities. From attracting talent, customers, and capital to a business, to obtaining good jobs and promotions, to finding a significant other, a strong personal brand can improve one's life in numerous ways.
While many folks do not consciously work on developing their personal brands - leading to others inevitably de facto creating one for them - most successful people do make a conscious effort to create, preserve, and enhance their brands. As such, here are some techniques to help you develop your own brand:
What do you want to come to mind when people mention your name? Do you want to be known as an expert in a particular field? Do you want your ethics to be viewed as impeccable? You must define for what you want to be known in order to execute a strategy to achieve such a goal.
If you want to be viewed as an expert you must know your industry and remain up-to-date, so that you can make smart points and comments on a regular basis.
Once you know on what area you would like to focus, help others by creating content related to that field. You want to be recognized as a trusted source of information and unique perspectives; if you deliver value to readers in that regard, you will build a following. Do not worry if your first few blog posts or articles achieve only a small number of readers; building a loyal audience takes time. Remember that you are competing for eyeballs with many other people, so keep generating useful, high quality content and you will see how people who appreciate one of your articles come back for more. Also, consider that if you create sufficiently good content on a regular basis you may be able to migrate from simply blogging to writing for an established publication such as Inc.
If your articles present unique viewpoints - and do not simply repeat the same advice that other people have already given - you are more likely to develop a significant readership, to be quoted by others, and to be asked to discuss a particular topic in other media (e.g., television). Furthermore, if, on a regular basis, you do not feel that you have anything of value to add to trending discussions in your field, you may need to go back to step 1 and figure out a better match for about what you wish to be known.
Make sure you have a website that accurately portrays you in line with your desired image. Obviously, if there are negative materials about you online you should work to push them down in Google search results - creating content that is frequently shared can help achieve such a goal. Hiring an expert to help with this task may also be worthwhile.
As part of your online presence, be active on the social media platforms where your followers, and potential followers, hang out. Pick appropriate social media handles so you can be easily found (e.g., use your name for your handle or use a description of for what you want to be known, and keep it consistent across the social platforms that you plan to use - I use @JosephSteinberg on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, musical.ly, and LinkedIn). Post content regularly - sharing both your own articles and those of others. Engage with your audience and with people who already have strong brands in your field. Also, ensure that you are not posting content that could adversely impact your brand (Full disclosure: SecureMySocial, of which I am the CEO, offers patented technology that informs people if they are making such posts.)
While our writing can be done from anywhere, in today's world you cannot establish a strong brand unless you are accessible to others. Whether by engaging with folks at relevant conferences, by being available to appear in other media (i.e., television, radio, print, or online) when contacted by its producers, and/or by being active on social media, you need to "be seen" and to be available to people who have questions.
Part of strengthening your own brand is knowing other people in your field who already have strong brands. Interact with them on social media. Also, when the opportunity arises, help other people with appropriate referrals and recommendations.
When appropriate, use physical-world techniques to spread the word. Some people use fancy business cards, while others give away books they have authored or swag. Others wear some specific element of clothing (e.g., Bill Nye's bowties) or color. Remember to keep in mind what image you are trying to portray when selecting and designing such items.