9 Ways To Build Your Personal Brand In 9 Minutes A Day

Most of us spend so much time promoting our corporate brands that we forget about ourselves. But it's our personal brands, according to William Arruda, co-author of "Ditch, Dare, Do: 66 Ways To Become Influential, Indispensable And Incredibly Happy At Work," that help us win in the long run.

At The Women Of The Channel Winter Workshop, an event hosted in New York this week by CRN publisher The Channel Company, Arruda sat down with Juniper Networks Vice President of Global Partner Marketing Luanne Tierney to discuss best practices for identifying and building a personal brand. Given today's increasingly connected and social-media-driven world, Arruda and Tierney said it's more pressing than ever for women -- and professionals, in general -- to promote the unique value they bring to the workplace.

Here are nine ways to make your brand -- not just your company's -- stronger than ever.

According to Arruda, there are three key steps to creating a personal brand: identifying or "extracting" that brand, making that brand visible and, lastly, exuding that brand in all that you do.

Arruda said to identify your brand by mixing both your personal perception of yourself and your strengths, along with the perceptions of others. Then, to make that brand visible, leverage tools such as social media. And to exude that brand, make sure it's at the forefront of every action you take.

"If you're brand is all about creativity, then the agenda I get for the meeting that I am going to with you better be creative, and the way that meeting is run better be creative," Arruda said.

When it comes to building a personal brand -- especially online -- Arruda said video is king.

"If you want to stand out and if you want to do something that differentiates you from everyone you compete with: video," he said.

Arruda specifically suggested embedding video biographies into your LinkedIn profile to give your page a more personal touch. They shouldn't be any longer than two minutes and should focus more on what you enjoy about your job -- such as solving problems or leading a team -- than your actual skill sets or strengths.

Arruda also encouraged the use of video thank you notes, or sending video messages to your teammates or clients in lieu of an email or phone call. "You're giving people an opportunity to connect with you on an emotional level," he said.

Camera-shy? Arruda said writing a blog can be just as effective as video, especially when linked to your LinkedIn page.

"If video isn't the tool for you, then pick the tool you like," he said.

For those who want to get started with video, Arruda suggested practicing the dialogue in front of a mirror or even filming the same video over and over until you view one you like. Nobody said it has to be done in one take (and, again, it's only two minutes).

Like video, using keywords on sites such as LinkedIn is a must for building visibility around your personal brand. For instance, Arruda said, if your personal brand is centered on team leadership, then be sure to generously sprinkle the phrase "team leadership" into every section of your LinkedIn profile.

The same holds true on sites such as Twitter. Be sure to consistently hashtag the phrase you most associate with your personal brand. Not only will using the same keywords increase your odds of being found in a Google search, but they make your brand overall seem stronger.

"The more those words are repeated, the more valuable [they are]," Arruda said.

When it comes to social media -- and especially LinkedIn -- the more connections you have, the better.

The reason, he said, is that when somebody (i.e., a potential future employer) searches for keywords such as "channel manager" or "channel sales," the chances of your profile showing up in that search, even if it contains those keywords, decrease significantly if you don't share a LinkedIn connection with the person conducting the search. So go on, Arruda urged, and "be promiscuous."

"The more connections you have, the more opportunity you have to show up in searches," Arruda said.

Arruda encouraged dedicating nine minutes every day to building your personal brand, either online or through some other means. Any longer than that, however, is risky.

The reason, he said, is that when we try to set aside a more aggressive target, such as 30 minutes or an hour, we tend to feel overwhelmed and push it aside altogether. Nine minutes is plenty of time, according to Arruda, to update that LinkedIn profile, send out those brand-building tweets, or to work on the latest video you might be filming without it seeming like a total time-drain.

To grow professionally and maintain a strong personal brand, don't be afraid to hear the word "no," Arruda said. In fact, if you never hear "no," it means you aren't taking risks. And where there's no risk, there's no reward.

Instead of taking a "no" response so negatively, Arruda said, think of it as a "not now" or "not yet." At the end of the day, it's better to have asked for that promotion or applied for that job and be told "no" than to never have tried at all.

It may sound simple, but read your personal and professional goals to yourself every single day, Arruda advised.

"If you read your goals every day, you are more likely to achieve them," he said. "And there is actual science behind that."

According to Arruda, reading your goals every day helps embed those goals into a part of your brain called the Reticular Activating System (RAS). Your RAS, he said, is essentially the "traffic cop" for what information makes it in your conscious mind and what doesn't. So, when you read your goals every day, your RAS is more apt to be on the "lookout" for opportunities that will help you reach those goals, Arruda said.

Like clockwork, most of us, come December, start planning for the next year. We write resolutions, we think about what we might like to change, and we evaluate ourselves and the progress we've made throughout the prior year.

Maintaining a personal brand should follow that same formula. It's an evolution, and not something that can be perfected in one year. Arruda suggested taking time at the end of each year to evaluate your personal brand, and identify areas for improvement.

Furthermore, Arruda urged using a buddy system for these kinds of reviews. It's one thing to set a goal when you're only answering to yourself. It's an entirely different thing to have somebody else invested. Your sense of accountability soars.

"We keep each other honest," Arruda said.