Personal Branding on a Budget

I’ve spoken to many businessmen and women over the years on the topic of personal branding. And I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard some variation of the following statement: “I understand that personal branding is important—but I just don’t have any room in my budget.” My aim today is to blow that excuse out of the water once and for all. The truth is that you don’t have to spend huge sums of money to create an effective personal brand. In fact, some of the most effective branding tools today are available for use completely free of charge. Below are some excellent tools and strategies to help you build your brand without busting your budget:

1) Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. The emergence of social media over the last ten years or so has completely reshaped our culture. And it’s completely revolutionized the world of personal branding. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn each have a different audience—but each is an ideal platform for building your personal brand. And best of all, all three services are totally free. If you haven’t entered the world of social media, don’t delay any longer. And if you are engaged in the world of social media but haven’t figured out how to leverage your presence to build your brand, I’ve covered these platforms in depth in previous blogs and articles.

2) YouTube. Twenty years ago, the notion of recording a video and quickly reaching a global audience would have been considered absurd. Now that technology is common—and cheap. And that means that you have the ability to be seen and heard by a vast audience—what better platform for branding could you dream of? If you’re not sure what you’d talk about, think about your area of expertise. What can you share that many people don’t know? If you’re a tax accountant, create a video series discussing the impact of a new law. Make it as interesting as you can and throw in some humor if possible—and voila, you’ve created a powerful branding tool. While it’s not a necessity, it is wise to invest in some quality recording equipment if possible.

3) Make yourself available to the media. This may sound farfetched—but you’d be surprised at how often reporters need insight from an expert in some field or another. Organizations like HARO (Help a Reporter Out: exist to connect experts in their field to media sources. Getting quoted in a story or on television will provide an incredible boost in your branding efforts—and once again it won’t cost a time.

4) Rethink the way you and your staff answer the phone. How many phone calls does your office receive each day? Each and every call represents a golden opportunity to build your brand—and the first impression you leave is critical. A cheerful greeting that includes your name and your company name has a bigger impact that you may think.

From cutting edge technology such as social media all the way down to old-fashioned telephone etiquette, the bottom line is that you have an opportunity to build your personal brand every time you interact with the outside world. You don’t have to spend a fortune—you just have to make personal branding a priority.