Friday, 17 March 2017

Personal Branding

7 Steps to Great Personal Branding
1.       Start Documenting your Learning, Thoughts and Ideas.
2.      Create a Brand Identity and Position Yourself in the Market
3.      Establish your Digital Communication & Broadcasting Channels
4.      Discover, Learn, Think & Share
5.      Publish EPIC Articles on your Blog
6.      Write, Speak, Train & Help
7.      Market Yourself to Take it to the next Level!
1. Document Your Learning, Thoughts, and Ideas
The first thing we do in the journey of becoming an expert is to learn. It’s obvious. We learn from books, other people, co-workers, seminars, workshops, blogs, video content and so on. But if we are not taking notes, we will forget most of what we learned.
The primary requirement to become an expert is to learn, and take notes. However, do not take notes on a random piece of a notebook. We know what happens to them – it just disappears into the universe, every time! So publish your notes on a Twitter account and/or a casual blog. This blog need not be your primary blog.
When you take notes while learning, the information will be in a very scattered format. It’s OK! But it is important to take those notes. Later, you can use these notes to publish more organized and read-worthy content on your primary blog.
I take notes all the time. Ideas, random inspirations, business ideas and so on. Such notes and other bits of information act as a foundation for more serious content that helps me with bigger and comprehensive articles on my blog and other publications. Even this article has been built on so many random pieces of such notes.
2. Create a Brand Identity for Yourself
You would have noticed that many brands try to be consistent with their colors, logos, punch lines and usernames. You recognize the name in different places like Facebook, twitter, website and even in offline places like expos and events. I believe you would agree with me that having a different version of their logo in each place would be disastrous for their branding.
However, we feel its quite OK with putting different pictures of our face with different usernames all over the internet. Though having a slightly different version of your profile pic has its own advantages (more on this later), it helps to keep the branding as consistent as possible. Personal online branding elements include profile pics, usernames, primary colors, taglines, elevator pitch, “about me” text and website URLs.
Checklist for creating your brand identity:
1.       Hire a professional photographer and get a professional picture taken with different backdrops. This should be your profile picture across all professional communication channels. You can have 2-3 versions of your profile pic but they should be similar. The primary goal is that people should instantly recognize you from your photo.
2.      Create a nickname for yourself related to your industry. For example, since I specialize in Digital Marketing I got the name OM SIR. Make sure that it is not too generic. It has to be unique enough to get consistent usernames/handles at many platforms. If you google “Check social media usernames” you will find a lot of websites which will help you find out whether your username or handle is available across many social media websites.
3.      Create a short and an extended elevator pitch for yourself. It is a description that you can communicate in 30-90 seconds, the average time it takes in an elevator. If someone asks who you are and what you do, you should respond with the elevator pitch instead of thinking on your feet and being all over the place. This elevator pitch can also be published on various online platforms.
3. Establish Your Communication Channels
Your digital communication channels will be your primary tool to share your expertise online. The most important and central channel should be your main blog.
For example, this blog  is my primary channel where I publish the best content and attract a huge audience. The other channels such as Twitter, Facebook, your secondary blog, etc. should link back and drive traffic to your primary channel.

You can collect email subscribers from your main channel and whenever you publish new content, you can notify your followers about your fresh content and drive traffic back to your blog.
Whenever you publish something new on your blog, you should update all your other social media channels – this helps bring traffic back to your blog. You can read my post about integrated digital marketing if you really want to get serious about driving traffic to your blog.
4. Discover & Share
Whatever field you are in, there would be news, blog articles, videos, tweets etc. related to your industry. Keeping yourself updated about what’s happening in your field is something that you would be doing already. It makes branding sense to share this on your social media channels with your followers.
This helps establish the fact that you are updated about what’s happening in your industry. Content curation is very powerful. You can also publish a round-up post of interesting articles that you have read and write a short summary of each article for your audience.

For example, whenever I discover something new and interesting in digital marketing, I share it across all the channels. All my connections and followers are subtly reminded that Om Maurya is a Digital Marketing guy!
This actually worked when I met a person in an event. He was connected to me on LinkedIn. We had never met before and when I tried to introduce myself, he instantly recognized me and said “Oh, you are the guy who keeps sharing stuff about digital marketing on LinkedIn!” It helped a lot in breaking the ice and then I had no problem boasting about my achievements and expertise in digital marketing!
Apart from just sharing the links that I discover, I also add something of my own. This makes me more human instead of looking like an automatic bot sharing the links! 
5. Publish EPIC Articles on Your Primary Blog
Whenever you feel like writing something, your secondary blog is there for you just to absorb what you say. But your primary blog should contain only Epic articles. By epic, I mean the articles which are in-depth, well researched and worth linking back to from the inter webs.
For example, I have published  many articles on this blog so far, but each article is unique, original and worth reading (Isn’t it?). In my experience, long in-depth articles always get more traffic than the shorter ones. The longest article published on this blog before this article naturally brought me the maximum number of visitors.
Such epic articles are like mini ebooks or chapters of a book. The content should be so valuable that each article on its own should be worthy of getting a promotion.
Apart from sharing these epic articles on social media, I create “Trailer” pieces of the epic content and distribute it in different channels to promote my epic articles.
For example, I wrote a post about 7 Ways to convert websitevisitors into leads in this blog. Then I created a presentation on the same with limited and uploaded it Anyone interested in converting more visitors into leads would see that presentation and for more detailed information they would visit my blog article.
The same presentation can be converted into a video usingkeynote and uploaded to YouTube. On a later date, you can also combine several articles and compile them into a book with minor modifications. For all the content that you create the copyright is owned by you anyway.
6. Train Other People and Help Them Become Experts
Experts on a subject can do different things, but in my research of several experts across different industries the most common things they do which helps them in their branding are write, speak, train and help.
For example, NARENDRA MODI– an expert in marketing, writes blog articles, writes books, writes wherever he can, speaks at several events, and he is definitely in demand for training and consultancy. So by reverse engineering the process, you can be perceived as an expert if you write, speak, train and help.
Depending on how good you are in your subject and in marketing yourself, you would get offers for speaking, training and helping people & organizations. Helping involves both consultancy and being a full time employee. The more you do it, the better you become at both your subject matter and marketing yourself and your demand will grow slowly but exponentially. Once you reach a critical level of branding and connections, your demand will skyrocket.
7. Market Yourself to Take it to the Next Level
All the methods discussed above so far doesn’t cost much. But once you start generating some income from your branding efforts you can take it to the next level by reinvesting some of the profits.
Here are some powerful ideas to market yourself:
§  Help journalists and authors. They will reciprocate by mentioning you in their articles. You can also follow them on Twitter and leave a comment on every article they write. Every writer loves feedback and comments on their work and there is no better way to get the attention of journalists.
§  Create a banner and retarget people with tools like For example, if someone has visited your training page, retarget them with your training offer. If some one visited your hire me page and downloaded your resume, retarget them.
§  Create an online training program and give it away for free like I do. Or price it well and promote it using affiliate partners. For example, you can charge a one time fee of Rs.10,000 for your course and offer Rs.3,000 as commission for anyone who promotes it. You will get more followers for your content.
§  Write a great ebook and promote it at 70-100% affiliate commission. Say your ebook costs Rs.299, offer Rs.250-Rs.299 commission for anyone who promotes it on their channels. You do not incur any cost because ebooks are digitally downloadable. But you will get some serious readers and followers for your blog and perhaps they will check out your training program too!
§  Hire a virtual assistant to manage your personal brand. She can send emails to several universities, event organizers and organizations informing them about your expertise and your services for speaking, training and consulting. If actors and celebrities can have such managers, why can’t we!
§  Buy a premium SMS service, collect people’s phone numbers while collecting their email IDs and ping them whenever you publish a new blog post.
§  Instead of using a free email subscription services like Feedburner, use MailChimp, Aweber or GetResponse to manage your email subscribers. Read my post about permission marketing.
§  Create a forum within your blog and make it a platform for discussion on the subject your specialize in. Invite other experts in your field to participate in the forum. For example, I created a Facebook forum – Learn Digital Marketing and it has 20,000+ members as of now.
§  Review books on your blog. The authors of those books are likely to link to your reviews and it also establishes the fact that you have read those books! What do experts do? They read books!
§  Hire designers to create infographics of your top content and publish them. Infographics usually generate a lot of buzz.
The above ideas are just some of the ideas which I got when trying to improve my personal brand. There are literally infinite ways to promote yourself and strengthen your brand.

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