You have the power to design how you are seen by the world, which is a bit intimidating if you ask me.
To be honest, I still get stressed out when I do a portfolio redesign or update my online profiles, and I’ve been building my personal brand for the last seven years.
Finding quality inspiration helps relieve this stress, though, which is one of the reasons I wrote this post.
The other reason is that when I google “personal brand examples,” all the posts list the same trite (and to be frank, overly spammy) people, so this is my attempt to outdo them with a way better list of the most authentic hidden gems out there.
Whether you need inspiration for your personal website, professional bio, or just some really cool photography ideas, this post has you covered. By the end of it, you’ll know all the different paths to craft a successful personal brand.
Personal brand celebrity examples
Kate Toon is one of the most well-known names in the freelance copywriting and SEO world, and she’s also a renowned public speaker. A huge part of her success can be attributed to her personal branding strategy, which is out of this world.
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT KATE
HER PERSONALITY IS FRONT AND CENTER
Kate is living proof that you can have a successful personal brand while still having fun and being playful. Throughout her website and the products she sells, you’ll see images of her in costume and just generally having fun.
This is a brilliant strategy to make her not only stand out from the crowd, but attract people who will match her fun, vibrant energy.
SHE USES DIFFERENT MEDIA TO UNDERSCORE HER BRAND
Even though Kate’s specialty is the written word, she’s not afraid to step in front of the camera and showcase her personality with videos.
She also has her own podcast, a few training courses, a blog, a book—basically, she’s used every single medium you can think of to get her message across.
Of course, written text will be an important part of your personal branding—but don’t limit yourself. Try different mediums and see what resonates most with your audience.
Steven Pressfield is a veteran author of several books, including the popular self-help novel The War of Art, which he’s since turned into a free course on his website.
Steven has been in the writing game for a long time, and his goal to inspire other budding authors is at the very center of his personal branding game.
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT STEVEN
HE FOCUSES ON HIS AUDIENCE
Though Steven shares his story and plaudits throughout his personal website, as you look through his site you’ll see that most of what he’s written is tailored for his audience of authors.
HIS BRANDING IS INCREDIBLY CONSISTENT
One of the trickiest things about personal branding is that once you turn it on, you have to keep momentum going to be successful.
Steven shows us how this is done—and if you subscribe to his email list, you’ll find out what I mean. Every Wednesday, without fail, Steven publishes a brand new blog and sends it out to his list.
And every week without fail, these blogs generate lots of buzz and conversation with his audience.
Marie Forleo is an American life coach, motivational speaker, author, and the host of Marie TV.
She is practically a full-fledged personal brand celebrity at this point, showing off pics with Oprah and Tony Robbins on her site.
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT MARIE
HER STORY IS COMPELLING, RELATABLE, AND MAKES SENSE
The post shared her story about how she got into doing what she does today. Not only did I totally relate to her story, but I also began to see how the dots connected to who she is now. That helped me identify with her and instantly like her.
Before I read it, I tuned her out because she looked like just another self-help guru with big hair and perfectly concocted outfits.
This is why your story is so important. It makes people relate to you and therefore like you. It also allows you to explain your “why”—why you do what you do. Show me the passion, people!
Ramit Sethi is the author of I Will Teach You to be Rich (a blog and a NY Times’ Best Seller) and the founder of Growth Lab, a place for entrepreneurs to learn how to grow their businesses.
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT RAMIT
HIS CONTENT IS PHENOMENAL
Ramit taught me everything I know about negotiation. I wholeheartedly believe if it wasn’t for Ramit’s content, I wouldn’t be making the money I’m making today, especially when half of my peers are underemployed or unemployed.
HE HAS A LIKABLE PERSONALITY
Ramit is like a cool nerd. He can teach you so much because he’s so smart, but he’s also extremely likable because he has a great personality that he injects into his brand (in his copy, videos, etc).
The photo shows the beginning of his journey , so while his current persona (who is mad rich) may not be relatable to you now, his old broke college student persona is totally relatable to you in the present.
This gives his audience the feeling they can be mad rich too (someday) if they read Ramit’s content.
His about page is long, but you don’t even notice because his copy is so well crafted. You’ll notice logos of places he’s been featured as well as helpful videos and the beliefs behind his business.
Ramit also offers several free resources, including a quiz that can help you increase your earning potential at work and materials that cover topics like money, careers, and productivity.
Personal brand examples for students
Lily Herman is a freelance writer, editor, and digital strategist, and her work has been published on Teen Vogue, Allure, Glamour, Refinery29, TIME, Mashable, Business Insider, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, and more.
I discovered Lily’s writing on The Muse, and I included her because she’s a prime personal brand example for students.
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT LILY
HER WEBSITE IS SIMPLE YET IMPRESSIVE
Lily lets her achievements speak for her. Take a look at her bio:
Can you say, “WOW?!”
She opens with a long list of notable publications that any visitor would recognize, which makes you keep reading.
Then she breaks up her achievements into easy-to-digest bullet points, in which she QUANTIFIES things she’s done.
“She’s the founder of Get Her Elected, a political network of over 2,000 volunteers offering their skills pro bono to more than 220+ progressive women candidates running for office.”
“From February 2013 to May 2016, Lily was the co-founder, editor-in-chief, and CEO of The Prospect (TP), the largest student-run college access organization in the world. The site had over 400 student volunteers worldwide (all under the age of 22) over the site’s three-year span and has had over 6 million page views to date.”
SHE LINKS TO EVERYTHING
You can easily stay in touch with Lily by following her on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, and if you click through, you’ll notice she’s active on all platforms.
In fact, she’s practically a celebrity on Twitter as she has the “verified” badge and a healthy following-to-follower ratio.
Her bio is also impressive, and she makes it easy for people to get in touch with her by providing a professional email address.
Last but not least, I like how her profile pic is pointed toward the “follow” button. Eye-tracking studies have proven that this increases conversions (e.g. the number of people who click “follow,” in this case).
Aja Frost freelance wrote her way through college. Her writing has been featured literally everywhere you can imagine online.
Today, she’s a senior SEO strategist at HubSpot, where she’s worked since graduating.
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT AJA
SHE FEATURES WELL-KNOWN LOGOS ON HER SITE
Aja’s site is also simple but impressive because she features logos from very well-known media outlets and brands she’s worked with.
HER SOCIAL MEDIA IS CONSISTENT AND PROFESSIONAL
Take a peek at her LinkedIn or find her on Twitter—she has more than 10,000 followers, and she links to an impressive brand (Hubspot) in her bio.
Hopefully, now that you’ve read through all these awesome examples, you’re feeling energized and ready to start building or refining your own personal brand.
To help, I’ve compiled the biggest takeaways from these examples, so you can use them as inspiration on your personal branding journey.
Use your personality and story as your foundation
If there’s one thing all of these personal branding examples have in common, it’s this:
Personality should be at the core of all personal branding strategies.
In fact, this is one of the most fun and exciting things about creating a personal brand; you can use your genuine personality to attract the kinds of clients and followers you want in your network (and even drive away those you don’t).
To get started with this, think about what makes you unique. Try answering these questions:
Where did I grow up, and how did that influence who I am?
What am I most passionate about?
What are my personal convictions and beliefs?
What would my friends/family say about my personality? (Pro tip: If you aren’t sure, ask them!)
What are the things that make me weird/quirky/unusual?
What kinds of personality traits do I want or expect in the people I surround myself with?
What kinds of personality traits do I not tolerate in my life?
Meditating on these questions will help you gain a deeper understanding of what makes you you. Once you have these answers, it will be much easier to inject your personality into the copy on your website and social media pages.
Tailor your messaging for your ideal audience
Once you have nailed down how you want to portray your own personality within your personal branding, it’s time to shift gears and think about the people you’re talking to.
Personal branding is all about connections—whether you’re looking to bring in new clients to your business or simply create a recognizable brand that will help you find your next job.
For personal branding to do its job, it’s vital that you have a deep understanding of who your audience is, what they’re thinking about, and what they want.
Again, you can ask some simple questions to start getting a deeper understanding of your audience:
Start by listing out the basic demographics of who your audience might be:
What is the general age range of your audience?
Where is your audience located?
Is your audience more likely to be male, female, or a blend of genders?
What job titles do your audience members have?
What is the average income of your audience?
These basic stats can help, but the real magic comes when you go a level deeper with questions like these:
What issue is my audience facing right now?
What does my audience want right now in their life?
What past experiences have colored my audience’s perspective?
What does my audience need right now?
What’s keeping my audience awake at night?
What brings my audience joy and satisfaction?
You can probably think of the answers to some of these questions on your own, but you’ll have more success if you do comprehensive research. Look for studies and statistics about your audience for starters. Then take it further by getting in touch with people who fit your ideal audience profile and interviewing them.
You can do this by posting a poll on social media, for example, and getting in touch directly with people who answer to ask follow-up questions.
If you already have a following on social media or through email marketing, you can even make a quick survey asking some of these questions and send it out to your list.
Once you have this deep information about your audience, tailor every message you have on your website or social posts to address them directly.
Make it consistent across every channel you use
When it comes to personal branding, consistency is key. If you’re using more than one channel to promote your brand (and you should be), then it’s important that the look and tone of your personal branding spaces is the same from one place to another.
Note: This does not mean you need to be on every single social media platform. In fact, doing so will likely spread you too thin and make it impossible to keep your branding consistent.
Instead, focus on the channels where you know your audience is likely to hang out. If you’re a freelance photographer, your personal branding should probably extend to Instagram and Pinterest. If you’re working in a B2B field, LinkedIn is likely the way to go.
Of course, a personal website can go a long way toward building a personal brand—and the nice thing about a website is that you own it completely, and you won’t have to worry about a social media algorithm or policy changes making it hard to brand yourself there in the future.
But even if you don’t have a personal website, you can still launch a personal brand through the social media channels you’re already using.
LinkedIn is one of the best places to start building a personal brand, and we have some excellent advice for you if you want to get started there:
Use social proof to demonstrate your skills
Telling your audience that you’re good at what you do is one thing. But showing how good you are is really what matters.
There are so many ways you can showcase your skills throughout your personal branding by using testimonials, case studies, and a strong portfolio.
If you’re just getting started, this may be a challenge—perhaps you don’t have any work examples to show yet. If that’s the case, your focus should be on building some social proof as soon as you can.
First, think if there is anyone who would be willing to provide a testimony, even if they weren’t your customer. Perhaps a former colleague, professor, or mentor would be willing to give you a quote you can feature on your site.
Remember that your portfolio doesn’t only have to consist of paid work. If you’re a writer, for example, publishing a few blogs about your expertise on LinkedIn or Medium, and then linking to those in your portfolio, will work well.
Whenever you finish work with a client, don’t be shy about asking for a testimonial. It’s as easy as putting in an email, “Would you mind giving me a quote about your experience working with me? I’d love to feature it on my profile.” You’ll be surprised how many people are happy to give you feedback you can share to boost that social proof.
Remember, your personal brand is yours to mold however you like. Keep your personality at the core and speak directly to your audience, and you’ll already have a great start. Happy branding!