Building Your Personal Brand for Impact and Influence

We are living in some interesting times. Right now, you may find yourself questioning who you are and what you bring to the table.

By: Dr. Jen Bennett & Jake Hreha

We are living in some interesting times. Right now, you may find yourself questioning who you are and what you bring to the table. Maybe you are asking these questions:

  • What do I want to be known for?
  • What am I passionate about?
  • What can I bring to the table?
  • What is my story?
  • Why am I here?

If there is one thing I want you to know, it is this: You have a voice, and you have expertise that can impact and influence culture. You’re here because you want to make a difference. You want to grow your Kingdom influence. Somewhere in the middle of your busy schedule, you want to know that your life counts for something – but you do not know where to start.

Enter Personal Branding.

Now, I know the thought of developing your personal brand may make you feel a bit uncomfortable. Why? Because for so long, we have believed that personal brands are all about:

  • self-promotion
  • me, me, me
  • being famous
  • being extraverted
  • selling yourself
  • being known

However, here is the good news: Those are all personal branding misconceptions. Your personal brand goes so much deeper. Personal branding is about:

  • empowering others with your God-given knowledge and wisdom
  • using your gifts, skills, and talents for the Glory of God
  • helping and serving others through your expertise
  • inspiring others through your story
  • impacting & influencing culture for Christ

God has gifted you with specific skills for a Kingdom impact. Please do not shy away from them. Instead, be open to sharing what you bring to the table. Why? Because when you do, God can and will open doors of opportunity for you to use what He has given you to impact and influence culture for Him ultimately.

Building a successful personal brand is not about the amount of attention or followers you get, it's about sharing your own personal brand with the right people to share your message and meet your goals. An effective personal brand can look different for each person. For example, someone starting their own company will have a different personal branding strategy than someone who is looking to build community with other creatives. Effective personal branding strategy is all about knowing your goals and developing a solid personal brand that helps you build a personal connection with the right people.

Here are four ways to start building your personal brand online:

  • Claim Your Name: If you have not already, I highly recommend you "claim your name" on the social media platforms you are committed to being active on and a URL with that same name (if you choose to build a website). This will undoubtedly require you to brainstorm some different ideas, but this is the first, most important step you can take. When I decided to "rebrand" myself, finding a social media handle and URL with my name, Jennifer Bennett, was not easy since this is a popular name. However, what I soon realized was that DrJenBennett was available everywhere. I grabbed it! Brainstorm different versions of your name, including initials, abbreviations, nicknames, middle names, etc.

If you find yourself not having the time to be as active online as you would like, let me encourage you to focus on one platform: LinkedIn.

  • Claim Your Message: What message are you passionate about? What idea moves you? What area do you have much knowledge in? What message do you want to become “known” for? When I first started building my personal brand online, I was very passionate about social media marketing. I noticed that while everyone else was teaching on social media vanity metrics (likes, followers, etc.), I was excited about helping people #BeWorthFollowing. So, I ran with this message – so much that I wrote a book about it. What is your message?
  • Claim Your Content: Once you have claimed your main message, begin creating content around that central message. Break it down into smaller pieces. Write blog posts, create videos, create social media posts around the central message, etc. Share your ideas and your thoughts. You can share as much of your personal life as you feel comfortable with sharing. Building an online personal brand will build your credibility, but it will also help you stand out from the competition. Position yourself as a thought leader.
  • Claim Your Opportunities: It used to be that hard work and being good at something were enough. Those days are long gone. If you want to step into new opportunities, be open and willing to step out of your comfort zone. Do not be afraid to advocate for yourself. Do not be fearful of engaging in projects and opportunities outside of your job description. See a conference where speakers are needed? Apply for it! See a chance to write a blog post around your area of expertise? Go for it! Claim your opportunities.

One thing to not overlook when it comes to building a strong personal brand is how you interact with people. If you want building community to be part of your personal brand than you need to make meaningful connections with people. Be sure to treat each person with kindness and be open to making new connections and friends in a variety of settings. A well defined personal brand is more about who you are as a person than it is about what you share online.

One way to think about this is if you've ever met someone in person you first knew online. Were they who you thought they would be? What personal branding examples defined who they were in your mind? In the same way, does your brand voice line up with the real you?

Remember, building a personal brand does not happen overnight. It takes time. It takes changing your course of direction at different points throughout your journey. It takes consistency. Nevertheless, I can promise you this: If you are committed and open to helping others on their journey, doors of opportunity will open for you!

As you build your personal brand, our team at IWU-National & Global wants to support you. Connect with us on FacebookInstagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Dr. Jen Bennett

Professor, Host of the "She Impacts Culture" Podcast, Author, and Speaker

Dr. Jen Bennett is a driven visionary communicator who has a unique way of connecting with her audience. She enjoys teaching, leading, and building and is committed to helping others be successful. As a Strategic Communication Professor at Indiana Wesleyan University, Jen equips college students to discover their voice, develop their expertise, and lead with influence to impact culture for Christ. Jen provides students with real-world opportunities that help launch them into the careers and professions that they are called to.

Jake Hreha

SEO Copywriter, IWU

Jake Hreha is a graduate of Ball State University, where he majored in advertising with a concentration in media presentation and design. He is passionate about design, and in his free time he enjoys cycling, traveling, and reading.

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