All of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You. Tom Peters, writing in Fast Company

Tom Peters wrote this piece on Brand You back in 1997, yet if anything his words are more important now than they were then. In a world increasingly characterised by abundance – of computing power, of qualifications, of services – standing out is essential. If you’ve been following our Ready for Anything series then you’ll already have worked out what values and skills set you apart and who your ideal customers are. Now it’s time to bring the two together and work on your marketing plan for you.

#1 Fail to plan, plan to fail

If you don’t have a formal plan, however simple it is, then you’re not going to get results. Book time in your diary at least every six months to write and review your marketing plan for the half year ahead. You can copy and paste these headings:

  • Goals for the next six months
    What are you seeking to achieve? How will you measure this? Why is it important?
  • Target customers
    Who do you want to work with? What are they interested in? How can you learn more about them or get to meet them? (Draw on the work you did in Part 2)
  • Key messages
    What do you want people to understand and remember about you? How do your skills, experience and values solve your clients’ problems?
  • Actions
    What are you going to do each month to promote yourself?

#2 Authentic actions to help build your brand

There are countless things that you can do to build up your personal brand. The best way to work out what suits you is simply to try some. To avoid coming across as crass or brash, anchor your activities in generosity and work on the principle that if you give, you will get. Here’s a selection of some of our favourite ways to share to start you off:

Share knowledge

Now you know what you want to be known for, look for opportunities to demonstrate your expertise:

  • Blog on LinkedIn, set up your own blog or offer contributions to other sites relevant to your specialism that you know your customers read (we’re happy to hear your ideas if you’d like to write a piece for Obelisk, drop us a line)
  • Share information you find useful on Twitter or LinkedIn, along with your own comments
  • Look into teaching or volunteering
  • Mentor other lawyers or professionals starting out in their careers
  • Offer to speak at events or conferences that potential clients attend
  • Write a book or article for a book

Share connections

Become the person that people want to know because you connect them to other interesting people or useful projects:

  • Start a regular meet-up with other freelance lawyers
  • Volunteer to organise social events with your clients
  • If you are writing, invite others to contribute
  • Listen out for opportunities to make useful introductions, for example you could help other lawyers to go freelance or introduce your client to a specialist in a different field

Share your time

Everyone loves to get something for free. Think of ways that you can put a little bit extra into the work you deliver for clients:

  • Present work in a way that’s easy for them to use and to share
  • Research their sector and share any useful insights
  • Be flexible where you can and accommodate last minute deadlines or extra work, within reason
  • Make proactive suggestions if you can see a way to improve a process or get a better result

#3 Get into the habit

You are clear about the skills and values at the core of what you have to offer. You understand who your ideal clients are and what they want, so you know how to show how your skills can solve their problems. Now it’s time to experiment with some of the ideas above and boost Brand You.

More picks for further reading:

More on Brand You at Tom Peters Blog
Help with Habit-Forming Strategies from Gretchen Rubin

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