How to Create a Personal Brand – Step-by-Step Guide with Examples, Tips & More

Before you finish creating your online course, it’s a good idea to take steps to develop your personal brand as well. 

Your personal brand will help you determine what type of audience you want to market your online course to. 

This will ultimately cause your sales to increase as you’ll know how to market your online course in a better and more effective way. 

In this post, we’ll go over what a personal brand is and how you can strategically create one based on yourself as an online course creator. 

What is a Personal Brand? 

A personal brand is in many ways similar to a corporate brand. 

It signifies what you stand for, what your values are, and what the purpose of your brand is. This refers to what you hope to achieve with your brand and its products (your online courses). 

Your personal brand should highlight your strengths, tell a story and communicate to the audience how the products you want to offer are unique from your competitors. 

Telling a story with your personal brand is borderline-essential because not only does it make you relatable to your audience but it also helps explain what type of problems you are hoping to tackle. 

Developing a personal brand may seem like a challenge but there are some clearly defined steps that you can follow to create one that is authentic and speaks to your target audience. 

Do I Need to Create a Personal Brand as an Online Course Creator? 

If you want to make it easier to market your online courses and promote them in a way so that they stick within your potential customers’ minds, then yes, you do need to create a personal brand. 

Your personal brand will capture everything you’re about and all of the skills you’re going to teach to your students. 

Thus, even if students don’t know what your online course is specifically about, they may still get in touch with you or visit your website purely on the basis of your personal brand. 

According to a survey by CNN, as of 2020, 43% of the workforce in the US consists of freelancers and individuals looking to make money on their own. 

The presence of personal branding for yourself can make all the difference when it comes to making you stand out amongst your competitors. 

LinkedIn is a great business tool to boost your brand, increase its reach and gather customers.

create personal brand

How to Create a Personal Brand 

This may not come as much of a surprise but developing a personal brand will require you to perform a lot of self-reflection.

To create a personal brand as an online course creator, start by: 

Figuring Out Who You are and What You Want to be Known for 

Your personal brand is going to be all about you, so you have to be a little introspective when you develop it. 

Think about yourself and develop a list of strengths and weaknesses. 

Some questions to ask yourself in order to populate this list are: 

  • Which areas or fields of study do I have expertise in? 
  • What are some hobbies that I’m fairly passionate about? 
  • What are some qualities that people regularly compliment me on? 
  • What are some fields or projects that I can work on for extended periods of time without feeling burnt out or exhausted? 

Naturally, your personal brand will have something to do with your first online course’s niche but that’s not all it should be about. 

These questions will help you determine who you are, what your values and interests are, and what type of individuals you hope to connect with by promoting your personal brand. 

Your Personal Brand isn’t Just About Who You are but Also, Who You Want to Be 

We mentioned that you should assess your strengths and weaknesses when developing your personal brand. 

This is because assessing them will help you determine what you want to work on and how you want to improve in the future. 

Your existing strengths are just as important as the skills and competencies you want to develop in order to break into whatever sub-niche you want to in the future. 

Assessing yourself in this fashion will help you uncover traits that make you unique as an online course creator. You can then advertise these traits not only to market your online course but also your personal brand as a whole. 

Create an Audience Persona 

Chances are that you may have already done this when developing learning outcomes and course objectives for your online course. 

However, if you haven’t, then now is the time to do so. 

An audience persona can be defined as a rough outline of the type of person that will be inclined to buy your product (in this case, an online course). 

By creating an audience persona, it will be much clearer to you how you want to present yourself in order to appeal to that specific type of person. It will also make it much clearer what type of brand you want your personal brand to be. 

For example, say your online course is about a coding practice in Python that makes programming neural networks easier. 

In this case, your audience persona will be a student in the AI field that’s having trouble coding neural networks. They will most likely be in their mid-20s or early 30s. 

Thus, you’ll need to develop your personal brand accordingly in order to appeal to that generation of computer programmers. 

Tell a story about how you faced difficulty with neural networks and how you were able to overcome them. 

Don’t Try to be Too Many Things at Once

A common mistake that many people make is to try to be an expert in many different fields at the same time. 

Not only is this not humanly possible, but it also ends up seeming quite ingenuine. 

When people look at your personal brand and see that you’re an expert in many different fields. They’ll end up thinking that you only know bits and pieces about all of those fields. 

As a result, they’ll be very apprehensive about buying from you. 

The key to an effective personal brand is finding one problem within a certain niche and then using your brand to solve that problem. 

People will have a much easier time understanding what your brand is all about when you have a clear-cut defined problem that you’re aiming to fix. 

Write a Personal Brand Statement 

You can think of a personal brand statement as your slogan. It’s a maximum of one or two sentences that detail what you’re about and what you hope to achieve with your brand. 

It should be: 

  • Concise 
  • Clear 
  • Convey your goals and objectives 
  • Convey what makes you unique from your competitors

Naturally, cramming all of this into one or two sentences will definitely be quite difficult so, we advise that you take as much time as you need to perfect your personal brand statement. 

We’ve written a post on how to write an effective personal brand statement along with examples that you can check out if you’re having trouble writing it for yourself. 

Research Your Industry

You will have already done this as part of your online course creation but now, it’s important that you conduct research on a larger scale. 

Research the current trends and innovations within your specific niche and determine who the prominent thought leaders are within it. 

Once you have them identified, determine if they have a blog, podcast, or some other platform where they disseminate their thoughts to the public. 

Listen to what they have to say and follow their examples. 

Imitate them to an extent but not to the point where you’re labeled a rip-off. 

Try to have your own spin on it by highlighting your own unique struggles and solutions to those struggles. 

Ask for Interviews from Established Creators 

When researching your niche as well as competitors within the online course market, you’ll identify many established creators with big audiences who are doing quite well for themselves. 

Although they are your competitors, you don’t stand to gain much by antagonizing them. Instead, it may be a good idea to invite them for a small interview in order to get some valuable information out of them. 

A small interview will take no more than 30 minutes but you will be left with information that could be paramount in you being successful as an online course creator. 

Naturally, most of your competitors won’t be in the same geographical location as you so it’s a good idea to conduct the interview over an online meeting app such as Zoom or Skype.

Some great questions to ask your competitors are: 

  • How did you find your first small group of loyal customers? 
  • What would you do differently if you had to break into the market all over again? 
  • What steps are you taking to maintain your relevance and authority? 
  • How do you stay updated with the latest trends in the industry?

It’s important to note that while you’re mainly conducting these interviews to gather information from them, at the same time, you’re also introducing them to yourself. Thus, these interviews can be a tool to build brand awareness among leading experts in your industry as well. 

Collaborate with Experts to Create Value

We recommended researching experts within your industry, the next step is to directly collaborate with them to provide value to your audience. 

You can do this in a number of ways as an online course creator such as by hosting a webinar with them, having them on a podcast, creating an ebook with them, etc. 

When you collaborate with a prominent figure of your community, you will open yourself up to their already established audience. Furthermore, you will also be placed on a similar authority level to them. Thus, boosting your prominence immensely within the community. 

This should go without saying but you should always collaborate with individuals that have similar values and brand goals as you do. 

Condense Your Story into an Elevator Pitch 

What we mean when we say you have to develop an elevator pitch for yourself is that you have to find a way to condense what you’re all about into a 30 to the 60-second story. 

Within these 30 to 60 seconds, you need to express: 

  • What your background is. 
  • How you came to be where you are now. 
  • What you hope to achieve with your brand and what steps you are taking to achieve it.
  • What do you hope to dabble in in the future. 

Having an elevator pitch such as this ready to go can be very useful whenever you are at a networking event, community gathering for your specific niche/industry, or even online forums. 

Figure out what to emphasize and focus on within your elevator pitch and determine whether it’s effective or not. 

Be sure to focus on the main aim of your personal brands such as your strengths within a specific sub-topic of your niche or the unique aspects you teach within your online course that not many people do. 

Don’t be Afraid to Network and Engage 

Community engagement is crucial when it comes to the promotion of your online courses but it’s also essential for building brand awareness. 

It’s highly important to grow your professional network if you want to become a prominent member of your niche’s community both online as well as offline. 

Becoming a prominent figure within your niche’s community can be a one-way ticket to boost sales for your online courses. It’s something you should always be working towards. 

We’ve already mentioned many approaches to grow your networks such as taking part in online discussions as well as inviting industry experts for collaborations and interviews. 

Other than that, it’s important that you strive to meet as many people as you can within your niche’s community by going to formal and informal networking events. 

It can also be a good idea to take part in online events such as webinars. 

From the contacts you make at these events, don’t be afraid to invite them for an informational interview or some sort of collaboration. 

If that’s something they’re not interested in, you can still ask to stay in touch via email or LinkedIn. Having as many contacts as possible will prove very useful once you start marketing your online course. 

Focus on Building Your Online Presence

While this is something you’ll primarily be working on when you’re marketing your online course, it’s a good idea to get started with this when you’re creating your personal brand. 

This will typically be around the time when your online course is either almost done or before you even start creating your online course. 

Not only do social media and online communities help you get in touch with industry experts but they also help you build your authority and prominence among potential customers.

When you spend a lot of time to build your online presence, it is important to provide value to members of the community by engaging in meaningful discussions. They will be much more likely to buy your online course once you do come out with it. 

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Wrapping Things Up… 

Creating a personal brand is one of those steps that many new online course creators feel is unnecessary. 

While it’s true that you can definitely get away with not working on your personal brand and still have decent sales, having a personal brand to back up your online course makes it much easier to sell. 

How did you go about coming up with your personal brand? Do you feel it’s necessary to effectively sell online courses? Let us know in the comments below.