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Personal Branding Part 2 – Channels

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I wrote here about the importance of having a personal brand nowadays, and the 3 steps to building your personal brand.

This post is about the online channels, or the “how to reach my target group”, once you have a clear message to convey.

1. Your Google results. What’s the first 3 things that Google returns once you do a search on your own name? My results are my Linked In profile and articles I’ve written. I think that’s pretty good, but could be better. You can post your public Linked In profile on the web (www.linkedin.com/in/yourname) or create a personal branded page with Lookup Page.

2. Linked In and posting on Linked In discussion boards. Who makes up your network? Make sure you’re connected with the people who share your interests, by clicking the “find users with this keyword” option that appears in the Interests section on your profile.  Also, look up groups which discuss about your niche of business. Get involved in discussions and contribute. Don’t try to sell directly via discussion boards – posting your resume there will not get you attention. Find something that will attract interest, and share. That will get you known (and liked) far easier.

3. Facebook. What do your status changes and application updates say about you? What kind of photos do you upload? Keep in mind, Facebook is not just a utility website for young people. You can actually post ads there, or create posts and links that direct users to your blog or website.

4. Twitter. What you twit about is who you are. I recently got on Twitter and found it immensely useful. I saw what some people were posting, and became very interested in them, visiting their websites, blogs, and re-tweeting their posts. I got to read 200% more useful information in the self development field, thanks to the links posted by the people I follow. I just started with a few connections, and surfing their blogs, got to other links, who pointed to other people, who wrote other articles, whom I started to follow. And so on.

But the above is only about the “listening” side of Twitter. What should you post? Do you want to be perceived as a trend setter? Then you need to stay online quite often, and post whatever is new in your field, or, better, come up with your own innovations. Do you want to be perceived as a networker and facilitator? Then you should follow all the interesting posts and re-tweet them. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to “unfollow” people who don’t fit your interest. Filter your information, and before you post anything, ask yourself: “Would this tweet add value to my followers?” Or even better: “Is this information so good, that some would pay money to get it?”

5. Blog. I guess this says it all. Don’t mix semi-professional or work related blogs, with sharing what you did last night in the pub. But then again, if your target audience would dig that, consider it.  In what kind of catalogs or networks does your blog enter? To whom do you link? A pretty good blog network I discovered is blogcatalog.com. Once you include your blog in this catalog, it will look somewhat like this. Of course, there are endless possibilities to promote your blog so that it goes up in the search list.

There’s also Technorati, the blog directory. Personally, I found it rather hard to digest, but I’m still going to give it some shots.

How often you write is another issue. You should write at least once a week. Experts say at least once per day, but I consider this to be a bit overdone. Once every 2-3 days is enough. Write about useful things, the sort of things who would interest your audience. Don’t be afraid to write. You don’t have to revisit each post 10 times before you publish. I’ve had the surprise that some of my posts which I considered mediocre were most visited and commented upon. Just write. You will see, the more you write, the more ideas will come to you.

6. Forum posts. What kind of forums do you use? Make sure your opinion is based on arguments. See above my mention on Linked In discussion boards.

7. Articles. I’ve heard about people who were in business or NGO field, and I had little idea on what their full time job was – I just knew I read their articles each month, and they were damn good writers. This made them known, more than promoting their business would have. And when one of them posted a note on starting an open training, I thought “Whoa! I know this guy! He’s really good. I would buy his service.”

You can use your blog posts to elaborate them into articles. To what websites? Look for those websites that fit with your style and mindset. Approach them and offer to write. Once you get better at writing, people will start approaching you more.   On what topics? Choose your topics wisely. Don’t jump into anything you’re not accustomed with. And always base your information on reliable sources. Just like a full time journalist.

8. Presentations and webinars. I only got as far as this with presentations (see my previous post on Prezi) but I know there are other tools as well to building online presentations and sharing slides (Slide Share is just one other example). You can embed it in your blog, share it via Linked In or Facebook.

All in all, these are just a few channels that can help you promote yourself online. The basic idea behind it all has to be CONSISTENCY.

Make sure that your message is crisp, clear, and that your audience can see this through your tweets, posts, articles, or even photos.

As for myself, I can only hope this made a difference to your personal development. And if you’re wondering how to get started, I can help – just click here and drop me an email to schedule a first coaching discussion.

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Written by effectivenesscoach

October 17, 2009 at 6:47 am

Personal Branding – How to get started Part 1

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Given the still active crisis on the job market, I’ve given some thought on how Personal Branding can help with finding a better job, faster.  But having a strong Personal Brand helps in other ways too – getting clients, getting known, getting to the right people. One of the best guys in the field seems to be Dan Schwabel – his blog here.

So how do you start to build a Personal Brand?

You can use the following 3 steps:

1. Think about who your target group is. Are you branding yourself for your future employer? Then focus on your achievements and skills. Are you branding yourself as an entrepreneur, for potential clients? Then focus on what they might need as services. Are you writing for a young audience? Then use crisp words and jargon expressions they use.  I’m writing mainly for my network and for whoever might be interested in personal effectiveness and growth. I gather that most of my readers are between 22 and 35, with a moderate to high income, working in business and open to self development.

If you’re not very sure who your target gr0up is, think about the people who appreciate you most. No, not only your friends. People you’ve worked with. What part of your work served them best? If they were your clients, in what category would you fit them? Now, could you generalize this category a bit? On age group, gender, income, interests. Well, there you have it.

2. What is it that you do, that interests your target group? It might be your creativity. Or your humor. Or the solutions you give. Find that unique selling point and make sure you put it in the front. From time to time, do a checkup to see if you can add anything to it. For example, mix creativity with practical advice on how to be creative.

3. How can you make sure that your target group hears about you? Here you have a few channels open. First and foremost, it’s your behaviour. Branding is not about what you as a “producer” believe about your brand – it’s what other people say about your brand. So why don’t you first do a checkup and see what the perception on your personal brand really is. And what kind of behaviour reinforces this perception.

Channels:  First, and obviously, day to day interactions. It’s how you speak, how you hold yourself up, how you dress, what type of equipment or gadgets you use. Even the minor details.

Second, in the online environment, there’s a few practical channels you can use.

But about these, in Part 2.

Written by effectivenesscoach

October 16, 2009 at 6:11 am