Everyone has a personal brand. If you aren’t sure what yours is, drop everything and read this post.

People used to only talk about branding in terms of big companies. But today, everyone has a personal brand. Embracing and developing it is the best way to stand out in a crowded field. Here’s what you need to know to build yours.

Start With Some Recon

Ace Ventura with binoculars in carWhat does the Internet say about you? Google yourself and your city to find out. If you have a LinkedIn profile, Facebook page or Twitter account, you’ll come up on the first page. You may also see other things you forgot about, like that pie-eating contest you lost, or that angry review you left on a taco restaurant three years ago. If those don’t fit with your brand, they need to go away.

People who want to learn more about you are going to start with Google, so you need to know what they’ll find out. Delete accounts or posts that might embarrass you, and make sure your privacy settings are locked down.

Want to stay on top of what people are saying? You can set up alerts with your name to receive an email every time someone talks about you online.

Decide What You’re Going For

Gossip Girl shopping
Think about your goals, objectives and what you want to be known for. The world of personal branding is flooded with people who use generic labels like “entrepreneur”, “marketer” or “blogger” so you’re going to need to get more specific than that.

What can you be the very best at? Where can you add value? Finding a specific niche will make your audience smaller, but the people you reach will be more engaged and interested in what you have to say.

Create Awesome Content

Impressive figure skater at Olympics
The best way to build your personal brand is by creating content. For people who haven’t met you, what you write = who you are. So before you send content out there in the world, make sure it’s super high quality and reflective of how you want to be seen.

1. Buy a Domain

First things first. Whether you’re operating under your own name or choosing a new company name, you’ll need a domain. Pick the right domain extension for you, (like a $10.99 .COM) buy a couple more just for fun, and you’re rolling.

2. Build a Personal Website

Create your own personal website and show the world what you’ve got. Don’t worry if you’re a newbie when it comes to web design—you can use the Rebel + Weebly website builder to choose from 60+ beautiful templates.

Weebly website theme
It doesn’t need to be a gigantic, overwhelming project. Your site can include three or four pages with your resumé, links to your social accounts, a brief bio and maybe even a blog (see below).

3. Start a Blog

A blog is an awesome way to prove that you know what you’re talking about. Post relevant, insightful, carefully edited content regularly. Here are 15 tips to help keep your blog fresh.

4. Create a Newsletter

Once you get the hang of blogging, you can take it a step further and start a newsletter. Include your articles, links related to your expertise and insightful commentary. Along with your blog, your newsletter will drive people back to your website and keep you top-of-mind.

5. Curate Your Social Media Accounts

You don’t have to delete all the pictures of your last trip to Mexico. Just make sure your privacy settings are on point. Whatever you choose to post and make public, make sure it fits with your brand.

5. (Net)work, (net)work, (net)work

Like in the real world, networking doesn’t end with a handshake. Engage with other people in your industry on social media, connect with them on LinkedIn, answer questions on Quora, do guest posts on industry blogs, join groups and forums… prove that you’ve got valuable things to share about your area of expertise.

Keep it Real

American Pie dad
The root of your personal brand should be your actual personality. No matter what you do, be yourself. People can smell a fake a mile off, and you’re as interesting as anyone else!

Let’s get started! Step One: Grab a .COM on sale at Rebel for $10.99 (that comes with a free 1-page website, too).

Photos: Kalen Emsley, Giphy, The Gloss, Reddit, Reaction Gifs