Building Your Personal and Professional Brand

Building Your Personal and Professional Brand

how to build personal brand

When we hear the word BRAND, images may pop into your head of the Starbucks mermaid, that Smiling “A” that means Amazon or the little Apple with a bite out of it. These are such recognizable brands, that there is no question what they are “known for.” How did they do it? How do we become “known” for something?

The first thing to realize is your brand is not necessarily what you say about yourself or your company–although you can absolutely help shape it. Just because you put something on your website or social media bio, doesn’t mean that others will believe you. You have to prove it… and have others share that same proof for you.

Your brand is what others say or feel about you. You may say you are an expert in the real estate arena, the animal photography industry or in Italian women’s shoes (in which case you and I should be best friends), but if you aren’t putting out some sort of content or product that people talk about, share or otherwise come in contact with, your desired brand will have a tough time becoming known.

building personal brand

WHO ARE YOU?

To begin crafting and influencing your personal or professional brand you have to start by identifying what you want to be known for. Notice I didn’t say what you are good at. Many of us have talents or skills that we don’t even want people to know about. My ability to train dogs to roll over and do the moonwalk is not a skill I am ever going to want to be “known for.”

Perhaps we don’t enjoy doing something, or we have “squiggled” or pivoted on to a new career track. We have to start by creating a list of skills and attributes that you want people to associate with you and your brand. When people are talking to their friends or co-workers and one of these topics come up, you want them to say, “I know who’s an expert at this” or “I know who you need to talk to.”

 

WHO or WHAT ARE YOU BECOMING?

Now, what are the skills you’d like to be known for but haven’t yet mastered?  Is there an area you’re developing? This is important when you’re starting over, re-entering the workforce, or making a pivot in your career.  Don’t minimize these skills and don’t wait until you have that proverbial 10,000 hours of expertise before you start to weave it into your branding plan. Finish this sentence:

I am becoming ___________.  

Starbucks started out as a coffee roaster and BECAME the “third place” for people to come and hang out. Lululemon started out as a maker of surf and skateboard shorts and BECAME synonymous with yoga-pants. The Knot started by writing articles for unique and counter-culture wedding ideas and then BECAME the go-to planning site for all things “wedding!” What are you becoming?

 

START BEFORE YOU’VE ARRIVED

When you are working in a new area and BECOMING the expert or resource, you want to share this journey with the world. Jump into the conversation. Share what you are learning and doing. If you are launching a product, bring us along on your journey to involve us in your process. We love to come along when someone is learning, growing, and going somewhere we want to go as well.  If I am on that same journey or wanting to begin, your content will inspire and educate me, even if you have not “arrived.”

I know you can’t get great until you get started, so the longer you wait to begin, the longer it will take for you to get great. Start. Learn all you can, and share the nuggets of learning along the way.

 

avatar persona

WHO WILL YOUR BRAND REACH?

The next step is to understand who your brand wants to reach. Who is that ideal person that will connect and “get you?” This is important because it will shape HOW you share your expertise and brand attributes. Go beyond the “what gender, age, and income level define my ideal client.” Dive into the psychographics as well. What is your ideal customer interested in? What do they hate? What are the things your ideal customer would be doing during the day? How about on weekends? What does he or she read or watch on television? Where do you think she shops? How about online? What problems does she have that you can help her with? What are her pain and frustration points?

This may seem unnecessary, but it is so important to get this right. If you try and create content for everyone, you will create content for no one. The more targeted you can be with your products, services, or content, the easier it is to attract the right audience and the greater loyalty someone will have for you.

WHAT WILL YOU CREATE AND SHARE?

Content comes in so many forms. Written articles, blog posts, whitepapers, videos, podcasts, webinars. What will you create to solve a problem for that ideal person you identified earlier? If you need a starting point, simply write down the top FAQs your ideal customer would be asking Google, SIRI, or Alexa. Now take each of those questions and answer them in different formats—blog posts, articles on other websites, videos, podcasts, webinars, infographics, etc.

Be sure to stay focused on your overall goal for your brand.  This doesn’t mean you can’t share any other content on your social sites or that you can’t be involved in other side projects, but if someone you don’t know, looks at your body of work, can they tell what your area of expertise is? If you suddenly post political rants or lots of information on other topics, it begins to dilute or pollute your brand.  Do a self-audit. Scan down a page of your social media channels. What would someone say you were known for if they looked at it? Would YOU follow YOU?

 

WHERE WILL YOU SHARE IT?

Today there are so many channels to share your content. You can share your content on websites, blogs, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Medium, and Podcast channels and so many more. The question is often, “Do I need to be on all of them?” Absolutely not. I like to say, “Choose one and NAIL IT, before you decide to SCALE IT!” Select the social channels that you believe your audience is most active on. If you’re not sure, there are ways to do a bit of research first.

Where is the best place to post content

Look across the different social channels and search for your peers, competitors, and customers. Where do you find them hanging out? Are there groups they are participating in? Search industry and conference hashtags on each channel. This can pull up content that can help you discover where you might want to be found as well.

Start with one or two social channels and be consistent. Don’t spread yourself so thin that you can’t keep up with it. Sharing and participating on social media channels is more than just blasting your content out to the world. It requires you to participate in the community as well. Comment on the content of others. Ask questions in groups or share your expertise there when others ask questions. It’s the “social” part of social media.

 

HOW OFTEN DO YOU NEED TO HAVE CONTENT OUT IN FRONT OF PEOPLE?

This is another common question. There isn’t a hard and fast rule, but there is a direct correlation between frequency and the number of people who will be drawn to your content. Obviously, if the content is not good, people won’t share it or want to consume it, but even good content produced once ever 3-6 months is not going to do you much good if you are trying to establish a brand.

Many people want to be known like Seth Godin, Daniel Pink, Marie Forleo, or Adam Grant, but they don’t want to do the work those people do when it comes to creating and sharing content. The people who are considered thought leaders in their industries are sharing video content, blog posts, writing books, newsletter content, podcasts, and everything in between.

Start with a goal to write or create one piece of good content per week. This can be you answering a question or giving your opinion on a topic that has come up at work or in the news. Work to create a habit to write or record something every day, even if it doesn’t get published or used. By doing this daily, you will begin to get better and you will end up sharing more content more often, and in turn, you will become known for this.

time for social media

WHAT IF YOU DON’T HAVE TIME?

I get it. We’re all busy and our time is more limited than ever. This is why it’s hard to become a “thought leader” or well-known brand. If it were easy, everyone would do it. To stand out requires sacrifice somewhere. You can hire someone to do the writing and sharing for you (hint hint…that’s what we do at SocialKNX), or you can put in an extra hour each morning or each evening to do what others won’t do.

You can sacrifice evening television time for writing time. You can trade a couple hours of sleeping in on the weekends and get up to work on your personal or professional brand. When someone asks, where they should spend their time, my answer is, “it depends.” I can tell you where NOT to spend your time. Don’t waste it watching television. Don’t waste it attending meetings you don’t have to be in (don’t even get me started on this one).

Become a high productivity content creator. While you are waiting in lines, at appointments, at soccer practice, pull out your phone or notebook and jot down ideas. I love using Evernote for this. I have notebooks in there for podcast guest ideas, blog post ideas, Alexa and Google Briefing tips to create. When I sit down to create I don’t have to waste time thinking of ideas.

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

Now it’s your turn. What will you create to begin crafting that brand? What are you BECOMING? I’d love to hear in the comments below or on any social channel. Connect with me –> @GinaSchreck on any social channel and tell me what you are becoming. I can’t wait to hear!

 

 

 

Starting a Blog or Podcast – How Do You Measure Success?

starting a blog

You're thinking of starting a blog or podcast but you’re wondering how to ensure its success. No one wants to spend the time and energy creating content for a blog, a podcast, a video or social media posts for that matter if it’s not going to be successful. So how do you start producing content and ensure they are successful?

FIRST THINGS FIRST. LET’S LOOK AT THE WHY.

Why do you want to start a blog? Why would you start a podcast? Some are in it for the money. They want advertisers and sales of products from their blog, videos or podcasts. Some want to show potential customers their industry knowledge or authority. While still others create content because they want to leave a mark. They want their family members, for generations, to read their stories or hear their experiences. You need to understand your own WHY before you begin and keep that in the forefront of your content creation journey to stay focused and not be swayed by either shiny objects or other people telling you all the other things you should be doing.

WHAT IS SUCCESS FOR A BLOG OR PODCAST?

This question is hard to answer because it depends on why you are starting the blog or podcast in the first place.

Your consumers are online. I don’t care what industry you are in, people use Google, SIRI, Alexa, Facebook, and everywhere else to get their questions answered. “Google, how often should I drain the water out of my swimming pool” “SIRI where is the best place to find flowers for my mom?” “Google, what is the difference between social media marketing and content marketing?” People have questions and thankfully, most of the time, Google (and other search engines) has the answers.

how to start a business blog

If your business is producing (or creating) content to answer the questions your customers are searching for, it is likely that they will find you online. Now the question is, do you want 10,000 people to read your blog and leave riveting comments or do you want 100 people to find your content and 50 of them want to do business with you? Which blog is more successful?

One person wants a blog that is reaching millions, so she can attract sponsors or advertisers. Another blogger might want to share his story of adoption to encourage another family struggling with the same situation. These two bloggers are measuring success very differently.

A friend of mine creates lots of fun and interesting video content sharing their family’s journey. The purpose was to let others see the personal side of his life while he has other videos that are all about business. If you are having fun creating the content, and you are getting better each time, isn’t that also a success? Of course, it is.

HOW TO START A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS BLOG

I’m going to focus on a business blog because the ultimate goal is usually to attract new customers. When you are blogging for personal reasons or to encourage others, you will start differently.

For a business blog, start with the top FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) in your industry. What are those questions that you get asked over and over again? Don’t use industry jargon that only you use. Write the questions the way your customers would type them into Google or speak them into SIRI (even though she wouldn’t understand them).

Now, take each question and write a blog post to answer them. Then turn on that video recorder and create a short video answering the same questions. Now flip the switch on your podcast recorder and do the same. Do you see how that will help you get found? You could be blogging, podcasting, and creating video content on the same topics and they might be found by different people searching in different places. [Read: How to become KNOWN]

HOW OFTEN DO I NEED TO WRITE ON MY BLOG?

Google loves fresh content as much as I love a fresh cupcake! You can’t create these answers once and stop creating content. If you are a binge content creator, it will not be as effective as if you created weekly or even monthly content over a longer period of time. Today’s search engines want to know that you are in it for the long haul and they want to see that you have more than one small articles on a website about a topic. The more content you have answering these types of questions, the more they see you as a reliable resource.

Continue to create different versions of your answers. Create social media posts that ask the question and link to your blog, podcast or video. Add to your original content when you learn new information or have updates for it. Link from one blog post to your video or vice-versa. This starts creating a great web of content that shows your authority on the topics.

HOW DO I GET PEOPLE TO FIND MY BLOG CONTENT?

Once you have created your answers to the most asked questions, now you want people to find it. I’m going to give you the simple overview here:

  1. Tell others about it—email and social media
  2. Make sure you have “optimized it” –SEO elements on your blog content
  3. Tell others about it … again –Repeat all or part of step one.

Most people subscribe to Kevin Costner’s philosophy, in Field of Dreams. That is they believe, “If you write it they will come.” That sadly is not the case. With almost 2 BILLION websites online as of 2018 (according to Internet live stats), and an estimated 152 million blogs (this number is hard to track since Tumblr has stats on this and some websites have blogs that are not always formatted or seen as a blog.) There’s just a whole lot of content out there.

If you want people to find and subscribe to your blog, Google, Bing, Yahoo, and others will certainly help, but you have to tell others about it.

Let your email subscribers know about each new post. Get the word out on social each time you hit publish and then next week do it again, both with new content and reminding them of your older content. [Read more on HOW TO PROMOTE YOUR BLOG]

Watch this and PLAN TO BE FINDABLE BEFORE YOU WRITE


WHAT ABOUT YOUR PERSONAL BLOG, VIDEO OR FUN PODCAST?

So what about that personal content you want to write or create just to share stories and inspiration? Does it matter how many people read it? Not really. Sure, our ego wants the views. Our ego wants to have people share comments on how our writing has impacted them, but if we are creating this content to share from our heart, someone will be impacted even if they don’t stick around to tell us.

I write here for business and then a few years back I started a personal blog (Gina Unplugged), just to have a place to share stories that I want to pass down to my family. I was delighted to hear from people who said they loved one of my stories or they related to something I wrote, but I don’t do anything to optimize these posts and promote them very lightly on social media.

We can’t get great until we get started and the more we write, the better we get. The more we record ourselves on audio for podcasts or on video, the better and more comfortable we get behind the mic and camera.

SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

If you are ready to create content for your business, don’t wait another week. Start writing, start recording and get your business found. If you are just getting started or still feeling a bit intimidated, start that personal blog or YouTube channel just to get those ideas and thoughts out of your head.

For more tips and tools check out our 15-Day Blog Challenge in the DIYsocial community.

If you're ready to be more strategic with your blog posts, download our BLOG PLANNER to plan your blog topics and SEO elements before you begin writing.

blog planner

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