Do You Make These 8 Personal Branding Mistakes?15 min read

Branding May 24, 2021 10 min read


Do You Make These 8 Personal Branding Mistakes?15 min read

Reading Time: 10 minutes

Elon Musk? Futuristic technology.

Neil Patel? Digital marketing.

Greta Thunberg? Environmental activism.

Each name sparks an instant definition.

So, how do people define you when they hear your name? (Don’t worry, your ex doesn’t count.)

The key to the answer you want is by having a solid personal brand.

If you’ve been trying to build one with barely any results (thus far), you’re not alone.

Sometimes, the best way to learn is from your mistakes, and that’s why we’ve compiled eight common things you (and many others) are doing wrong on your path to becoming your own brand. 

Lack of Clarity on the Purpose of Your Personal Brand
Underestimating the Commitment Involved
Don’t Try To Be Someone You’re Not
Not Creating Any Personal Brand Content
Focusing on Your Own Personal Brand Too Much
Networking Can Prevent Personal Branding Mistakes
Forgetting To Engage in Conversation on Social Media
Not Taking Time Out To Learn and Stay Relevant

Lack of Clarity on the Purpose of Your Personal Brand

Firstly, why are you here?

You know you want to be known for something, but you’re not quite sure what that’s going to be yet.

Obviously, if you’re unsure of your purpose, then your ‘target audience’ will be too. They won’t even know they’re the target.

Source: GIPHY

Knowing why your personal brand exists will provide the foundation on which all other elements are built.

Listen to Simon Sinek’s thoughts on the ‘why’ of a brand:

Source: YouTube

These days, the internet is saturated with a constant stream of content and creators. This is why you need to make the purpose of your online presence clear.

Yes, your personal brand should be about you, but you need to hone your focus. You may love classic rock and astrophysics equally, but too much variety can equal confusion.

‘Clarity’ also means keeping things simple. Don’t try to do too much too soon if it’s going to be a struggle.

Source: Medium

If you’re trying to align your personal brand to an established business, this part will be a lot easier. If you have expertise in a particular area, again, there’s your niche.

However, you can become an expert in nearly anything if you’re willing to put in the effort. It doesn’t have to be something you’ve done all your life. 

In this case, step one involves finding your passion.

Once you’ve nailed that down, take some time to research your competitors and see how you can differentiate yourself. What’s your unique value?

If it isn’t immediately apparent, it needs to be.

Underestimating the Commitment Involved

We live in an age of instant gratification. A new outfit, meal or date is only a few clicks away.

Conversely, building a personal brand takes time – especially on social media platforms.

Whether you’re on LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook, it’s not as easy as it once was to get your name out there. Organic reach is in decline and digital advertising at an all-time high.

Between work and your personal life, finding time to build your personal brand might be difficult.

Have you tried in the past and gotten side-tracked? Does this sound familiar?

  • Blogging activity is inconsistent
  • No social media strategy
  • Don’t bother networking
  • No time spent learning/researching

Source: GIPHY

If so, it’s time to change for the better!

There should always be a plan for where a business is heading; short-term and long-term. Your personal branding strategy should be no different.

We suggest a clear vision of the end goal and a plan of how you’re going to get there. Without this, you’ll probably see few (if any) results and give up.

Like anything, it’s challenging to stick to something until you see positive change. Please consider this when setting out your goals and give yourself a chance to achieve them.

If you’re a ‘commitment-phobe’, a solid overall plan can make things seem a little less overwhelming. 

To break it down:

  1. Don’t give yourself one primary goal – Break it up into smaller, more achievable targets to keep you motivated.
  2. Be consistent – Blogging once a month or less is ok (as long as you stick to it!)
  3. Create a plan – Map out your days and weeks in advance to make the process easier.
  4. Network – Join groups, online communities and attend events to get your name out there.
  5. Learn something new daily – constantly expand your mind to ensure you’re a better creator, curator and contact. 

Don’t Try To Be Someone You’re Not

When society is seeking honesty and transparency more than ever, you have to be genuine. This means being open (and perhaps even a little vulnerable) when sharing your story.

The term ‘influencer’ was sparked by regular people educating/inspiring others on social media by sharing their background and daily life. It was the polar opposite of mainstream corporate advertising of the time, and popularity soared.

Though you may not want to become an influencer, people still need to know where you came from and who you are as a person. It’s the human element of personal branding that will get your target audience on board.

In saying that, you can’t be everything to everyone. No matter how hard you try!

Source: GIPHY

Don’t chop and change your focus to morph into something you think the market needs.

You risk appearing ‘generic’ by covering too many topics, and a solid personal brand should be anything but.

Personal branding marketers, here’s how to keep it authentic:

  1. Go with your gut (not with what’s popular)
  2. Own your mistakes
  3. Show people who you are and be confident about it
  4. Tell a good story and write like you’re talking to a friend
  5. Know your brand goals inside out
  6. Keep it simple
  7. Remain consistent in branding, image and quality
  8. Trust is built, not bought
  9. Don’t use stock imagery
  10. Follow a passion and it should come naturally!

Summarised perfectly in this Forbes article:

“Get a handle on your personal brand, and then tell your digital story before you start expressing your point-of-view and exuding your brand. Starting with the real you is the key to ensuring that your online branding yields maximum value for you and your career.”

Not Creating Any Personal Brand Content

While curated content is vital in all marketing strategies, the whole idea of a personal brand is about you.

One of the biggest personal branding mistakes you can make is hiding behind your brand.

If you want people to be invested, you need to give them a reason to be. Creating your own content is a sure-fire way to entertain, educate and inspire.

Source: Promote On Purpose

If you’re not confident in front of the camera, don’t worry! There are plenty of less scary alternatives.

Blogging is a common starting point as it can be purely written. Once you’ve mastered that, podcasting can allow you to inject more personality without worrying about the visual element.

If you want to take it further, you can graduate to vlogging and then (once you’re confident) appear as a guest in any media format!

Here are some steps to take on your journey of content marketing:

  1. Regular blogging
  2. Write a book/eBook
  3. Start a podcast
  4. Vlogging (e.g. a day in your life)
  5. Apply to be a guest on podcasts and webinars

Focusing on Your Own Personal Brand Too Much

On the flip side, you may need to reassess this ratio if you’re a content-creating machine.

Promoting yourself is what personal branding is all about, but you know that annoying guy who constantly goes on about himself? You don’t want to be that guy.

Some new businesses/startups or those new to content marketing think blogging about how great their product is will convince people to buy it. Alas, this isn’t the case. 

Remember, “no-one likes to be sold to but they love to buy”.

Don’t get us wrong, the odd inward-looking subject matter is handy to explain your service, but you should be curating more than creating.

If you’re looking for a figure, this Hootsuite article recommends:

“While the ideal ratio will vary by industry and organization, a good rule of thumb is to share 40% created and 60% curated content, making adjustments to this ratio as you discover what resonates best with your audience.”

Online curation involves selecting, organising and presenting content and information (typically using professional or expert knowledge).

But this doesn’t mean sharing anything and everything you find, exactly how you found it.

Take your curation to the next level by adding personal insight to everything you share.

The most valuable benefit of this is that people will start to view you as a thought leader – with unique perspective and knowledge.

Here are some of the benefits of content curation for your personal brand:

  1. Could earn the status of ‘thought leader’
  2. Allows you to build relationships with those whose content you’re sharing
  3. Expands your industry knowledge
  4. Increases brand awareness
  5. Acts as ‘test content’ to see how your audience reacts before creating something similar

Networking Can Prevent Personal Branding Mistakes

Do you have a friend that you always go to for advice? One that’s stopped you from making a dumb decision?

You need these relationships in business too.

Since you want to stand out, you firstly need to be clear about whom you’re standing with. How can you realise your unique value if you don’t connect with your community?

Sure, you can do your research, but you’ll only truly find out what you have in common with people by getting to know them. Working out how you differ is even more critical.

If you are too similar to those with the same goals, it will be challenging to get noticed. Work those quirks!

Aristotle once said:

“In the arena of human life, rewards and honours fall to those who show their good qualities in action.”

When networking, it’s best to focus on those you’re meeting and what you can do for them.

Everyone has value, and you want to be known as someone genuinely interested in learning from others.

Source: FinancesOnline

If you’ve never networked before, here are some tips:

  • Always have a plan before any event (pack those business cards!)
  • Do it to form genuine connections and relationships (not just to help yourself)
  • Meet people through those you already know by asking for introductions
  • Never dismiss anyone as being ‘unimportant’
  • Have a plan before any event
  • Mix up virtual networking (via LinkedIn messaging, online conferences etc.) with in-person events
  • Follow up and follow through with anything you promise

In conclusion, networking can be a powerful addition to your personal branding strategy and learning from others’ expertise is invaluable.

Forgetting To Engage in Conversation on Social Media

Nowadays, social media plays a massive part in all branding efforts.

If you’re not particularly active online in your personal life, it’s time to get acquainted. Unfortunately, being invisible won’t help get your name out there.

Source: GIPHY

Virtual networking doesn’t have to take place at set events only. Social media’s public nature makes it a great, informal setting to begin and build relationships.

However, this isn’t just for one-on-one conversations.

If you want to build a solid personal brand, you need to get involved in public conversations (as well as starting your own).

Engaging on social media can be done by:

  1. Replying to direct questions from your audience
  2. Tweeting your opinion on a thread
  3. Commenting on posts from Facebook/LinkedIn groups and pages
  4. Responding to any replies on curated content
  5. Mention people in your posts (usually by adding an ‘@’ before their name)
  6. Regularly post conversation-starters (ask questions or comment on recent industry news)
  7. Provide an opinion/help where others are asking for input
  8. Follow the thought leaders in your industry and publicly converse with them

The power of engagement is in the name; to succeed on social media, you have to be social.

An active social media presence can also result in improved SEO – bonus!

As Buffer cleverly put:

“You probably wouldn’t go to a party just to launch into a speech and refuse to have any conversations, would you? To be engaging, you have to actually socialize, which means interacting with the people around you.”

If you want to build an audience and get noticed, you need to increase your engagement.

Not Taking Time Out To Learn and Stay Relevant

Our final piece of advice is for both newbies and expert strategists alike.

From the moment we’re born, we are continually learning. However, when we leave education and enter full-time work, it’s easy to get complacent.

Sure, you need to know how to do your job, but once you’re comfortable, why challenge yourself when you don’t need to?

If you can’t remember the last time you intentionally learned something new, this could sound familiar.

Source: GIPHY

We’re here to tell you that investing in learning and self-development will not only help you stay ahead of the curve; it will also ensure you remain relevant and secure your future success.

Wondering how?

Here are some of the benefits continuous learning brings:

  • New skills increase the value you can provide
  • Many industries continue to evolve, so you need to stay up-to-date
  • Accomplish current goals and create new ones
  • Competence = confidence
  • Increases your leadership skills to be able to pay it forward

Here are some more interesting facts about learning and the brain:

Source: An Ethical Island

Now, we know what you may be thinking, “but where will I find the time?”

We get it, modern life is busy, but this doesn’t mean you have to spend hours in the library or trawling through Google.

In fact, we’ve made it super easy to find a variety of content from thousands of sources on hundreds of topics. It’s called Quuu Discover, and it’ll be your best new learning buddy.

It’s a community of creators and consumers that all engage and share content across over 500 interest topics.

You can:

  • Create a ‘Discover Profile’ to keep all your content and links to your sites in the one place
  • Follow your favourite creators and comment/upvote their content
  • Submit your own content and boost it on Quuu Promote
  • Explore the sexy ‘reader mode’ experience
  • Save and share content from the site and around the web with our ‘Read Later’ browser extension

We’ll see you there!


Of course, it’s ok to make mistakes in any area of life.

Summarised by Henry Ford:

“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”

You may have been guilty of some of the above, but not any more.

From now on, you’re going to ensure your personal brand:

  • Has a clear purpose
  • Involves consistent commitment
  • Revolves around being genuine
  • Balances original and curated content
  • Builds relationships through networking
  • Engages on social media
  • Promises to benefit from continually learning

Anything we missed? Educate us in the comments!

Do You Make These 8 Personal Branding Mistakes?
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Do You Make These 8 Personal Branding Mistakes?
Learn about 8 of the most common personal branding mistakes and upgrade your strategy to create a solid, memorable personal brand.
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