What do you think of when you hear the word – brand? What about branding? Usually what comes to mind is the visual and ideological package in which we wrap, well… brands (businesses). However, in the dawn of personal trainers, lifestyle coaches, consultants, and gurus, the era of personal branding has risen.
If you’ve ever worked in a corporation you know exactly what the packaging process looks like. From what I like to call “team colors” all the way down to writing style, presence, gadgets, and branded sayings. A walking, talking company card. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not mocking business branding, in fact, I think it’s the greatest thing since cereal.
When you look at giants like Coca-Cola or Google, maybe even viralists like Buzzfeed – you’ll see how branded they are. From the stickers, campaigns, logos, their color palettes are known across the web, if not world. But how does that pertain to personal branding? It’s not like you can claim orange and tackle the world with your ingenious content marketing tips, we can’t all be Joe Pulizzi!
Setting Up Your Foundation
The foundation of every personal branding success is based on three principles:
- Your ambitions and goals
- The knowledge you possess
- Passion and personality that will inspire others
Looking 10 years forward, would you like people to think of you when a certain marketing aspect, business idea, or keyword comes up in a conversation? If so, that keyword is your goal. The next step is knowing whether you have the knowledge and expertise to talk about that goal. You can’t just passionately share lies, you need to inspire with the truth.
Joe Pulizzi is an advocate for the world of words – content marketing, hear us roar. He defined what he wants to talk about and what he wants to dig deeper into. Finally, with a passion burning bright orange, he inspired the marketing world to rise up and breed a generation of content crazy marketers.
The Art of Inspiring
Truth be told, you may not be able to coin orange anymore, but you can take a few tips from Joe Pulizzi. The king of content himself, knows how to make sure that he keeps a concise and consistent image. Google his name and you will see orange suits, CMWorld, or better yet a smiling ambassador of all things content-related.
Joe coined the term “content marketing” and he began an online revolution, he’s always smiling, always has a joke or two in his pocket, and he is not afraid to say what he thinks. Being real, and making orange the new “it” color is part of creating a bigger world of Content Marketing Institute, speaking events, or blogging for sites like Entrepreneur.
Across the board it’s the consistency. Creating a goal – content marketing, putting it in a nice package – a smiling guru in an orange suit, and sharing it with others to create a worldwide movement.
Obviously creating an empire based solely on you and your knowledge is not an easy undertaking. However, with the right drive and attitude you can reach the top and hear the trumpets of glory. I’ve mentioned that your first and foremost steps are to define a goal and means of inspiration, but as I’ve said – that’s only your foundation. You also need a cornerstone:
- Staying true to who you are – you can’t be one person on Twitter, another on Instagram, and a third on LinkedIn. Only to then show up at an even and be an even different version of who you are and what you do. There has to be a backdrop of a consistent person, an honest presence that sticks to the principles and values that he or she markets.
- Keeping track of your online presence – social media is your mecca. Yeah you’ve got your colors, logos, and branded quotes, but do you keep up with the Joneses online? Do you share content that is relevant to your field and your audience?
- Knowing who you’re speaking to – audience, who are you sharing your nuggets of wisdom with? Who resonates with who you are and what you represent?
- Providing valuable content – all our favorite thought leaders are prominent Twitterers and LinkedIn or Facebook sharers. Unfortunately sending one tweet a day or posting a blog post once a month will not get you far. You have to appeal to the masses, and they like content!
Staying On Top
As much as you can pick and choose “your” colors and tone of voice, it’s nearly impossible to always stay on top of social media. With people tuning in from different timezones and demanding more than just random, occasional posts, you’d have to give up sleep to keep up. Furthermore, checking your stats, what works, what doesn’t is crucial in creating a successful personal brand.
Thankfully, more and more people go for automated tweets, scheduled posts, and analytics that provide you with much needed insights. Anyone who wants to become a valuable thought leader with a strong personal brand should automate and plan ahead. Of course, leave yourself some room for breaking news! Some great tools to help you organize your brand are:
Klout – In my opinion, the underdog. Not everyone uses it, some may still not have heard of it (although I don’t know how that’s possible), but it is a life saver when it comes to scheduling and tracking.
Based on your areas of interest, you will have a plethora of recommended articles (which you can of course share or schedule) and people to follow. It allows you to track various social networks that you’re on, shows you analytics, and helps you recognize what is working and what isn’t working.
My personal favorite is the scheduling tool. You can choose the day, month, if you go crazy – year, but most of all you have a link shortener, audience, AND (this is the best part) a recommendation of three different times of day that are best to post, on a chosen day of the week.
Trello / Wunderlist – You can’t just go ahead and post random things or write whatever you feel like. Keep track of blog post ideas, guest post articles you want to or are scheduled to write, important news that you feel is worth sharing.
Organize and create content calendars to help you keep track of all the incoming and outgoing content. Make sure that you keep a consistent and easy-to-follow schedule! If you need to keep yourself in-check, Wunderlist is a great app to help you create a to-do list.
Insightpool – A platform that will not only help you find your audience but also reach it. Automate direct messages for those that follow you, send content to a list of Twitterers that you feel will benefit from what you have to offer. Don’t keep everything to yourself, let people get “premium” or special content.
Mention – Social listening is very important in personal branding. Knowing what people think about you and your endeavors will allow you to pave the road towards a happy audience. Respond to blog posts or social media posts that talk about you!
I feel like more and more of us marketers are starting to establish a personal brand. Whether you’re working in a company or are self-employed, there’s a growing demand for thought leaders. People who are working in their field, share their knowledge, falls and successes, and what they have accomplished using different campaigns and ideas.
People seek inspiration, someone who they can relate to and to whom they can say “Hey, if I work hard and follow your steps I might just succeed!”
Build your foundation and cast a strong cornerstone. Become a leader, inspirer, be someone who will tackle the hard questions and give simple answers. If you want to be that person, I strongly encourage you to also check out Quicksprout’s guide to personal branding to expand on what you might have already started.
Get your own pair of orange socks and start changing the world!
Editor’s Note: Post originally taken from LinkedIn Articles