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  • Writer's pictureDouglas Kennedy

Mastering Personal Brand Storytelling on LinkedIn: My Journey and How to Start Yours

LinkedIn personal branding

In May of 2022, I embarked on a journey to carve out my personal brand on LinkedIn. Like many, I was initially unsure of my direction. My objective was clear though: to share my story in a way that resonates with and aids others. This journey not only transformed my professional identity but also offered me profound insights into the art of personal branding. Today, I want to share these insights to guide you in telling your personal brand story on LinkedIn.

1. Understanding Personal Branding on LinkedIn

Personal branding is about crafting and conveying your unique professional story. LinkedIn, with its vast network, serves as an ideal stage. Books like “Crush It!” by Gary Vaynerchuk and “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek provide foundational knowledge on personal branding and its significance in today’s world. They emphasize authenticity and the power of a personal narrative in creating a strong, relatable brand.

I initially started building a personal brand directly related to the company I worked for, and it worked really well for me. But over time I knew I wanted to do something myself — carve out my own path. Eventually I just started talking about the things I was passionate about: social media, marketing, and branding. 

2. Crafting Your Story

Your personal brand story on LinkedIn should be a blend of your professional journey, achievements, and personality. 

  • Start with Your ‘Why’: Inspired by Sinek’s methodology, begin by identifying your ‘why’. What drives you? What are your core values? This introspection is crucial for a genuine narrative.

  • - Highlight Milestones: Reflect on key moments in your career. These could be successes, failures, or learnings, as Brené Brown discusses in “Daring Greatly”, embracing vulnerability in your narrative enhances relatability.

  • - Showcase Your Expertise: Use your experiences to showcase your skills and expertise. Books like “The Brand Gap” by Marty Neumeier can help understand how to differentiate yourself.

These things are really hard for people to do if you are JUST starting out. All the time, people ask me, “What am I an expert in?” along with many other questions. Well, you’re going to have to take some time to get to know yourself. That’s the beauty of personal branding. 

3. Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile

Your LinkedIn profile is your digital business card. 

  • Professional Headshot: A professional headshot gives a face to your name, although the platform is being a tad more casual.

  • Compelling Headline: Craft a headline that encapsulates your professional identity. Think of it as your personal tagline. Make sure you cover who you help and how you help them. 

  • Engaging Summary: Your summary should tell your story in a concise, engaging manner. Include your ‘why’, key achievements, and a glimpse of your personality.

  • Experience and Skills: Clearly list your professional experience and skills. Endorsements and recommendations add credibility.

You want to audit this every 6 months. To be honest, I thought I was an expert in LinkedIn profiles until I met with a sales consultant. He helped me see what I couldn’t see and gear my profile towards my ICP. 

4. Content Creation: Sharing Your Story

Content is king in digital branding. 

  • Regular Posts: Share insights, experiences, and thoughts regularly. This keeps your network engaged and establishes your voice.

  • Articles and Blogs: Long-form content allows deeper exploration of topics, showcasing your expertise. Start a LinkedIn newsletter to host this longer form content. It’s great for SEO and you can always use it to drive people towards your more exclusive content you send to people you have actual emails for. 

  • Visuals and Videos: Humans are visual creatures. Incorporating multimedia can make your content more engaging. The fact that all major social platforms are focusing on videos is your advantage. It makes it easier to cross post on other platforms. 

Books like “Everybody Writes” by Ann Handley offer valuable tips on creating compelling content.

5. Engaging with Your Network

Engagement is a two-way street. 

  • Interact with Others: Comment on and share relevant posts from your network. Follow my 10–10–10 rule. Engage with 10 people who are your peers, 10 people who are your ICP, and 10 people who are influencers in your industry. 

  • Join Groups: Participate in LinkedIn groups related to your industry. I will say it’s hard to find a good LinkedIn group. You almost have a better chance of finding a group chat, discord server, or Slack community to fill this void. 

  • Networking: Connect with professionals who align with your interests and values. I recommend connecting with 5 per day.

“Networking Is Not Working” by Derek Coburn provides innovative networking strategies for the digital age.

6. Measuring Success and Iterating

Track your LinkedIn analytics to understand your audience. What content resonates with them? Use this data to refine your approach, as suggested in “Lean Analytics” by Alistair Croll and Benjamin Yoskovitz.

I use LinkedIn’s analytics as well as track everything in Social Pilot. 

7. Consistency is Key

Consistency in messaging and frequency of posts is vital. It builds recognition and trust in your brand. I know this is cliche, but it’s true. I’ve seen hundreds of people become LinkedIn ghostwriters, only to tap out in 3 months. After 6 months, their spouse is begging them to get a real job. 

That’s because they weren’t making a lot of money LOL. 

The journey of personal brand storytelling on LinkedIn is ongoing. It’s about evolving with your experiences . From my own journey that started in May 2022, I learned that authenticity, engagement, and consistency are the cornerstones of a successful personal brand on LinkedIn. Embrace your unique story, share it with the world, and watch as your professional network grows and opportunities unfold.

Anyone can craft a compelling personal brand story on LinkedIn. Your story is not just what you’ve done; it’s a reflection of who you are and who you aspire to be. Start writing yours today.

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